Wow, this past weekend my thoughts were all about taking the plunge. For months I have been talking about it. People all over the state have been talking about it. And since Monday, thousands are chatting about how glad they feel to have taken the plunge.
This economy has been such a roller coaster for so long, the weather has socked it to us for the past several months, and people have been stir-crazy with pent-up energy. They needed to get to their bank accounts, piggy banks, safe deposit boxes, friends and families to assemble as much money as possible so that they could “take the plunge.” In such a short period of time, over 3,000 took the plunge last weekend and used their hard-earned money to feel good about the future. The fundraising numbers were pretty high, considering the goal was over $500,000. I know what you are thinking: That’s a lot of money. In reality, $600,000 looked better.
As one said after taking the plunge, “I know we exceeded our goal, and that’s great. In an economy like this, it is a wonder anyone has any money to take the plunge.” “Are you happy about having taken the plunge,” I asked. “ I have never felt better,” he said and will tell all of my friends and family that they need to take the plunge.”
The “plunge” is not into the housing market, but the 20th annual Polar Bear Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Delaware, which I had the honor to MC. It occurred on Super Bowl Sunday, and it was fantastic. An event that was started 20 years ago has grown from 78 plungers raising a few thousand dollars to this year’s event, which featured 3,094 plungers that raised over $575,000. Plungers came from far and wide to participate. Russia, Norway, Germany and Canada were represented. Several states sent representatives. And local schools, industries, families and friend groups all enthusiastically waited for the countdown to run into 36-degree water to fund a program that touches over 3,500 athletes, from children to adults, with emotional disabilities.
I was proud to be there and be a part of it. This is my 18th year being involved with the plunge and it just keeps getting better and better. What was once a few-hour event on a Sunday has grown to a full-blown weekend of events and fun, culminating with the cold dip in the pond we know as the Atlantic Ocean.
The weekend started with a Cake Off competition featuring six bakers who were finalists on “The Cake Boss” on TLC, including the winner, Dana Herbert from New Castle. Two teams made cake creations that took six hours to complete. One team took the prize from the expert judges while the other took the people’s choice—a win-win for all. I enjoyed being the MC for the event, as the chefs were mic’d to answer questions posed for an audience of more than 400 people or just banter about with each other.
They were astonished to see how big the weekend’s events were, they decided to plunge into the ocean and donate money to our cause. A 5K run was the second event, followed by a chili contest that featured samples from 12 local eateries. Rehoboth was open for business, with more than 30 restaurants and bars doing a brisk trade and hotels offering discounts.
Sunday morning the air warmed to a balmy 38 degrees, but you couldn’t tell by the dress—or lack thereof—parading around the boardwalk. For six blocks it seemed as though it was the Fourth of July, except for the hats, scarves and gloves.
There were probably 10,000 or more people crammed in a six block area, getting ready to plunge, supporting a plunger, or just experiencing the excitement. I interviewed many people on stage, including Governor Jack Markell, Miss Delaware, Mrs. Delaware, Miss Del-Mar-Va, Louie P. Bear, Rocky Bluewinkle and a host of business people while roving reporter Jon Buzby of Special Olympics interviewed plungers to get their perspectives both before and after. It seems that everyone after agreed to come back for our 21st in 2012…a testament to the giving spirit of Delawareans. Regardless of the economy, people still find a way to help those in need.
Driving home, exhausted, I had time to reflect on the event and how it made me feel. I received great joy knowing that so many can come together a do a good thing. I am blessed to have friends like the staff at Special Olympics Delaware, who do so much to make an event seamless (don’t look behind the curtain), especially Ann Grunert, Jon Buzby, Gary Cimaglia and Brenda Zullo, who work tirelessly day in and day out to improve the lives of others. These people help make a difference, and I am proud to be associated with them. Another thought crossed my mind while daydreaming my way up Route 1 en route to my home and a pre-Super Bowl nap.
There are many reasons to take a plunge and many plunges that need to be taken. Another such plunge is the one into real estate. It is a well-known fact that real estate and jobs will bring us out of this economic quagmire. I can’t help on the job front, but I can do my best to help you in real estate.
You should take the plunge and buy real estate this spring or move up this spring. Why? The inventory is spectacular, the rates are at an unprecedented low and it is the right thing to do to help stimulate this stagnant economy. Buy an investment property in 2011 and you will be singing my praises in 2021.
Housing is cyclical, and since we are at the bottom of the cycle, the only place to go is up. There will be a shortage of homes in the next five years due to demand and expansion, so the prices will rise, as will the cost of financing. This isn’t a bandwagon to jump on but a train of opportunity to ride to the destination of acquired wealth. If you are not sure, contact me and I will provide you with adequate information to make an informed decision. Just take a look. It could be your doorway to starting a successful real estate portfolio.
According to Forbes magazine, of the wealthiest 100 people in America, the majority’s wealth comes from their ownership of real estate. Many started small and grew as the market changed. Plunge in and take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime climate, which offers the most opportunities since the 1950s.
So whether you are plunging into the Atlantic Ocean in February for a great cause like Special Olympics Delaware or plunging into real estate to help create wealth or provide yourself with a home to call your own, you are heading in The Right Direction.
The crowds were huge, the excitement contagious. Thank you Phyllis Aerenson for the pictures.