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I honestly can’t remember a time when people felt so gloomy as they do today.

Right now the country is in the midst of a real estate crash unlike anything since the great depression. The bull market for stocks that began five years ago is over. And inflation is pinching almost every corner of the consumer pocketbook so it’s only reasonable to expect the national mood to reflect these trials.

I firmly believe, however, this is not the time for gloom and doom. As a contrarian I believe that the herd is usually wrong and right now the herd is pretty darn pessimistic.

It’s also true that fortunes aren’t made by selling at the bottom. Fortunes are made by taking advantage of rare opportunities. And right now I believe we’re closer to making a bottom in these markets than we are to the top.

Don’t get me wrong. By no means am I trying to call the bottom in the real estate or stock markets or even the economy, for that matter. I am a realist and I understand that the current problems don’t lend themselves to the V-bottom scenario.

However, considering the fact that people are as negative today as they were in 1980 it’s only fitting to quote Herb Brooks: “great moments are born from great opportunity,” and I would add, “great opportunity is born from great adversity.”

So while today might not mark THE bottom for these markets, it’s my belief that looking for opportunities with a contrarian sense of realistic optimism will prove rewarding in the current environment.