These are unprecedented times. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard or read that sentence numerous times over the last few months. Interest rates haven’t been this low in fifty years. “Eventually we’ll be looking back at COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crash of 2020 and talking about it the way we used to talk about the 2008 recession,” said Cambridge Realty Capital President Jeffrey Davis, who has some advice for senior living operators and borrowers: “remain grounded,” and not in the physical sense, although people in many regions still are.
“Not only are we in unprecedented times, but also traumatic ones,” Davis stated, “with the coronavirus still an unknown feature and not under control. Picking up your phone or opening up your computer immediately brings headlines filled with doom and gloom,” headlines such as:
Highest unemployment rate since 1990 and expected to rise even further by June 1 and beyond.
The virus will not peak until sometime around the Fourth of July in Chicago and many other parts of the Midwest.
It’s easy for fear to take root and grow, choking out hope and impeding forward movement. But Davis is adamant that this dark cloud, too, has its silver lining. “What is needed is a change in perspective,” he said. “Achieving that new perspective will require a shift in thinking, as well as adopting conscientious practice of some new habits.”
When it comes to new habits, Cambridge has compiled some vetted advice for operators and borrowers to help them cope, as well as to take advantage of this unique moment in history to help their companies, businesses, and employees:
* Turn off your phone and computer for at least an hour a day to focus on other types of non-digital tasks. Absorb yourself in these tasks, and when you finish, celebrate what you have accomplished.
* Eliminate distractions as much as possible. If you’re working from home during this time, it will probably be hard to eliminate all distractions. However, even making minor adjustments to your environment (opening/closing blinds, wearing earplugs to cut down on ambient noise, etc.) can help boost your productivity as well as help you focus on your tasks
* Write down your top three tasks to complete each day. Putting this list in writing (rather than just keeping a running tab in your head) reinforces the idea that you have priorities in your day and it will motivate you to complete them. You get a boost in morale when you’re able to physically check off each task that you’ve completed. It also helps you focus on today while also preventing you from becoming overwhelmed by what tasks the future might hold, as well as things that are out of your control.
* Always create a written to-do list of long and short-term goals. Again, this serves to solidify those goals in your mind and gives you a physical, tangible way to track your productivity as well as a way to look back at and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Revisit your list regularly and edit it as needed, as circumstances are changing daily.
* Reward yourself for your accomplishments and realize that you’re making progress and not wasting valuable time on the wrong priorities.
* Check interest rates weekly, not daily.
“The low interest rates of today are truly a unique point in time,” Davis declared. “It is certainly one of the silver linings of this pandemic cloud. If refinancing was a part of your plan for 2020 before the emergence of coronavirus, you should take these low rates as a sign to continue on that forward trajectory in spite of the pandemic. This has the potential to save you many thousands of dollars in interest over the lifetime of your loan.”
Although it may be hard to envision the end of this pandemic, Davis reminds operators and borrowers that it won’t last forever, “and neither will the current low interest rates. Like the virus, this opportunity has a limited lifespan.”