Readers' Submissions

Timing Is Everything

  • Written by Baht Man
  • December 24th, 2018
  • 4 min read

I’d like to pose the following question:

Is an upcoming global recession the best time to visit Thailand?

Here’s my opinion: I’ve visited many different countries and traveled coast to coast in my home country, America. And I’ve always had the best time travelling during periods of recession. This was particularly true during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis when I had the time of my life in LOS. And that is why I hope to see another one of those financial crises before I’m too old to visit and/or retire in Thailand. Why would I want to live to see another economic meltdown? — or retire in Thailand during or just after a crisis. Am I crazy?

No, I’m not crazy. And I’m not unsympathetic to what a crisis does to local people. The next global economic meltdown will cause abject poverty for tens of millions of people. So, I don’t wish that on anybody; however, when it happens I want to be around to enjoy lower prices and the buyers market that always occurs during such tumultuous times. It’s been my experience that in life, timing is everything. Moving to a foreign country at the right time can change a man’s life forever. It did mine. Buying a house at the right place and right time can change a man’s life forever. I experienced that, too. Even buying a truck at the right time can make a significant difference in an individual’s quality of life and financial future. For example, the best truck I ever bought was a 1972 classic that was totally restored from bumper to bumper. I purchased it back during the Great Recession of 2008. I bought this absolutely beautiful truck from a man who had to sell it because, if he hadn’t, he would have lost his house. He needed the money that bad. I drove the shit out of that truck for 3 years and then gave it to my son who then drove it until last year. Last year (ten years after I bought it) I sold the truck for more than the original purchase price. And here’s the kicker: I never made any major repairs to the truck, and neither did my son. In other words, my son and I basically drove a truck for free for 10 years. Do you see what I mean when I say “timing is everything”?

The second best truck I bought was also a distressed sale. I purchased it back in 2003 in Chiang Mai from an older prostitute who had made a lot of money during her prime, but now that she was older nobody with big money wanted to sleep with her anymore. So she sold me her beautiful Toyota Tiger. I loved that truck and have so many good memories from driving it from one end of Thailand to the other. The best house I ever owned in Thailand was purchased back in 2000. Again, it was a distressed sale. Timing is everything. Just ask any old timer when the cost of living was the best in LOS. Most will tell you that it was during and after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. So the answer is yes, the best time to visit Thailand is during and / or shortly after a financial crisis when the prices of everything reset.

On the other hand, if an individual is in the position of getting financially pounded during an economic downturn, then it’s no fun at all. That happened to me during the 2008 Great Recession. And the only thing that saved me from losing everything was I had already acquired a lot of assets; so I did some wheeling and dealing and salvaged a portion of my holdings. But I still got hammered — big time. Baht Man’s wings didn’t just get clipped, they got amputated. This was an acutely painful experience that I’ll never forget.

It’s taken me 10 long years to recover and reposition myself for the next big buying opportunity. And by the looks of the global economy I won’t have long to wait. China ‘s stock market is down 30% and its economy is one massive bubble that was blown up by 40 trillion (U.S.) in debt. The Chinese have so overbuilt their real estate market that there’s nothing like it in history. Remember back in 2008 how the over-levered U.S. real estate market sparked the Great Recession? Well China’s building boom makes America’s look tiny. What could possibly go wrong?/sarc/

In fact, every country is looking like a total mess to me, including America. Time and space doesn’t permit me to detail just how fucked-up is the global economy, but we’ll all feel it when it finally blows….. Right now, I think America is about to go into a long-overdue recession. It’s been 10 years since the last recession, and America is overdue. The business cycle in America is normally about 7-8 years between recessions, so we should have had one already. But our central bank kept interest rates low for an unprecedentedly long period; and that in turn kept the economy going through credit expansion. Now that our central bank is raising rates and shrinking the balance sheet it won’t be long before economic activity slows dramatically. And the U.S. has the world reserve currency, so that means what happens at our central bank here in the U.S. (The Federal Reserve) affects everybody. So get ready and prepare accordingly. Thailand is overdue, too, for a downturn. And it’s not a matter of if, but when. Are you ready for when the music stops? Will you have a chair to sit down on? Are you ready for when everything in Thailand goes on its biggest sale since 1997?

Anybody who wants to let the good times roll like they used to back in the late 90s and early 2000s just might get their chance…… But, remember, “no money no honey”.

Timing is everything.

The author can be contacted at : [email protected]