Self-isolating is not easy, particularly with no end in sight. No restaurants, no nightclubs, no date nights. But if it helps to flatten the curve and slow the virus spread, then we ought to consider our ability to Netflix and chill as a luxury.
Something else that is becoming a luxury of the not-quite-quarantined? Condoms. if you thought rationing toilet paper was a challenge, you might be forewarned that the world’s supply of condoms is rapidly shrinking.
According to The Guardian, "Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. It has not produced a single condom in its three Malaysian factories for more than a week because of a lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of the virus…. That is already a shortfall of 100m condoms, normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex…"
It’s commonly known that periods of shut-ins, such as during blizzards, blackouts or ice storms, lead to a spike in the birth rate some nine months later. "Almost every major natural disaster in the US inevitably has been followed by headlines claiming a spike in births. It was the case for Hurricane Sandy in 2013, the freak snowstorms in Buffalo, NY, in 2015, and hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Harvey in 2017," reports Quartz.
A 2008 study further noted that the "blizzard baby" or "blackout baby" effect was most pronounced among couples who already had at least one child and were perhaps more open-minded to the possibility of another pregnancy. Also, less likely to race to the pharmacy for the last pack of condoms.
What does this mean for you, apart from more aggressively social distancing from your partner? Busts are followed by booms. Baby booms, if they go on long enough, can create a huge demographic of consumers that power the economy for generations, such as the post-war baby boom that kept pumping out babies for 20 years. From diapers to real estate to bifocals, the needs of the Baby Boomers have shifted resources from one part of the economy to the next for eight decades.
Millennials born in the 1980s-90s also constitute a smaller yet significant baby boom, which, supported by a mix of late Boomer & early Gen X parents, turned the childcare and baby stuff industry into big business. You might recognize Millennial influence in the tenacious endurance of rose gold, avocado toast and social media. And while they may not be buying homes, this cohort has had a powerful influence in democratizing the travel industry, elevating the food & hospitality industries and inventing the sharing economy with innovations such as Airbnb, Lyft, UberEats and RentTheRunway.
These are dark days, but beautiful ideas (and beautiful kids) are often born out of periods of seclusion and retreat. Now is a good time to find a financial planner to position your finances for the inevitable boom—particularly if it involves adding a new member to your family.