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Episode Info: With the novel coronavirus spreading like bushfire all over the world, it is a terrifying time for both individuals and businesses. The future is indeed uncertain, and the anxiety is setting in. Andrew Stotz has lived through many different personal and financial crises over the years. Today he shares his story of loss. It’s not his worst investment but his worst personal moment, and it came with lots of lessons that we can all borrow from to carry us through the current COVID-19 pandemic and the looming economic crisis.   “Stay calm, and look forward to a great future because things will turn around.” Andrew Stotz   Worst moment ever The calm before the storm It was around 1995, and I was riding high as a stock market analyst in Thailand. I had been promoted to be the head of research of W.I. Carr, which was the number one foreign broker in Thailand at the time. All was going well. My best friend Dale came to visit and suggested we set up a coffee business in Thailand. Initially, we were going to buy coffee from other roasting companies, package it, and then sell it. However, we couldn’t find companies that would be able to produce the coffee to our standard, so we decided to build a coffee factory. Well, no problem. I was making good money and had already saved a lot. Dale moved to Thailand, and we set up CoffeeWORKS. We started our sales in 1996. Riding my first wave of a financial crisis In 1997, the Asian financial crisis happened. I remember walking into work in July, and the news was that the Thai government could no longer defend its currency, the Thai Baht, and it was going to collapse. The collapse soon started. The Baht at that time was 25 to the US dollar. By the end of 1997, it was at 60 Baht to the US dollar. Companies that had US dollar debt were in serious trouble because they didn’t have enough money to pay it back. The economy started to collapse, and everything got worse. Our plans for our business soon disappeared. We had plans to sell coffee to many companies as the economy was expanding in Thailand before the financial crisis. But instead, our sales dried up to almost nothing. Every day, we saw no new customers come in, and existing customers disappeared. And of course, no income. Yet we still had a factory and people working in it. Gloom was setting in fast. Riding my second wave of loss As if the poor launch of our coffee business was not enough, in April of 1998, I lost my job working in an investment bank. All of a sudden, we had a business and a factory, and a lot of costs, but no revenue, and no employment for me to feed the cash needs of the company. There was very little hope that I would get a job again in the financial industry because everything seemed to be decimated by the collapse that had now hit Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and later on many other countries in Asia. Time to scale down Dale and I had lived together in a house in Bangkok. We decided to move out to cut down costs. So we moved into ...
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