Back to School Blues

9/16/2013 | By Matthew Bechard

Published in the September/October 2013 issue of REIT magazine.

As I grudgingly pushed a shopping cart through the school supplies aisle at my local big-box, dodging glitter pens and One Direction-covered folders, I felt a wave of sadness rush over me. No, it wasn’t because we hadn’t even gotten to the clothes shopping yet. I was feeling a strong sense of loss, like something was coming to an end. Then I realized I was getting the same feeling I used to get when summer ended and it was back-to-school time.

But why? For most working adults, summer may be a time when the dress code gets more casual and the workload lightens, but it is no longer the multiple months of “no more pencils, no more books.” Even if we do take a week or two of vacation in the summer, it is almost always accompanied by a laptop or smart phone. I remember once in the summer after fourth grade, I saw my teacher (my first grade teacher, mind you) at the local fair and ran the other way for fear of being reminded of school.

Investing in a foreign market can also cause angst and discomfort.

It is all about patterned behavior. From the time we pull ourselves from our mother’s hips and step into kindergarten, we become conditioned to anticipate the accomplishment, release and freedom that the end of the school year and start of summer signifies. So, even long after we have stopped having to decide if we want a red or green backpack that year, the start of the school year still has a subconscious change in mood and attitude associated with it.

Of course, part of the reason we fall into patterns is that they provide a level of structure and comfort to our journey on this whirling ball of gas we call home. Things seem out of whack when our known patterns are disrupted. Like when you go to buy your kid’s Halloween costume and you have to walk past the Christmas tree display first.

Investing in a foreign market can also cause angst and discomfort. That is why the REIT approach to real estate investment has become such a favored model around the world. Investors may not know the emerging retail markets in Shanghai or trends in office vacancy rates in Amsterdam, but they can obtain a level of comfort in the superior management and disciplined strategies most global REITs provide.

REITs have become a global brand, and, as this issue of the magazine shows, they are having a positive impact on the commercial real estate landscape and investor patterns in markets across the world. And they are doing it all without the aid of a No. 2 pencil or glue stick.

 

Matthew Bechard
Editor in Chief

Column/Department: 

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