May 27, 2020 -
Summer finally arrived in southern Wisconsin just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
After being cooped up by COVID-19, many people decided beautiful weather was just what they needed to be out and about this past weekend with family, friends, and even public crowds.
What happens over the next 7-10 days will likely have a significant impact on public health policy and the financial markets going forward.
If current COVID-19 cases start climbing we can expect more stringent social distancing requirements to be put in place and a negative reaction from traders who have been optimistically projecting a return to “normal” sooner rather than later.
May 20, 2020 -
Companies that earn profits are more desirable to own than those that don’t. That seems easy enough.
The real question is how early before profitability are you willing to own a company? Many companies lose money for years before they either gain traction or succumb to failure. Even companies like Apple and Microsoft were once floundering startups that faced numerous life-threatening challenges along the way to becoming global successes.
The current economic reshuffling makes it even harder to predict future earnings for companies big and small, and thousands of stock analysts are paid to calculate those predictions every day.
May 6, 2020 -
“Jigsaw Puzzle Industry Warns of A Shortage of Jigsaw Puzzles” blares the headlines. “Puzzles Sell Out During the Pandemic.”
Apparently my family is like many who must find cooperative activities for homebound family members. Since March we have had puzzles in varying states of completion on the dining room table for any family member that wants to help put the pieces together. Whether it is five minutes or an hour, working together can be fun.
It can also reveal what you are escaping.
April 29, 2020 -
I sense that we have reached a quadruple inflection point in our country’s pandemic progress, and the next few weeks will be pivotal in determining how the rest of 2020 unfolds.
Inflection Point 1: Flattening the curve. The mantra since COVID-19 first appeared has been to “flatten the curve” to ensure our health care system is not overwhelmed like Italy. This strategy has worked except for a few isolated hotspots.
April 22, 2020 -
It turns out that making our contagious world safer by shutting down people’s lives is much easier than making it “more dangerous” again.
As I observe people’s varying viewpoints on the appropriate level of risk to take, I can’t help but surmise what their investment portfolio must look like.
Supersafers would likely prefer that Safer at Home restrictions be upgraded to Safest at Home. They were the first to adopt facemasks and self-isolate.
April 15, 2020 -
Six months ago it was October 15. Odds are you were at least thinking about carving pumpkins, buying or creating Halloween costumes, or maybe even picking up some Halloween candy.
Little did you know that that Halloween candy – or the candy collected by your children a couple of weeks later — would be serving as your primary rations during an economic shut down six months later. Or that the toilet paper mummy costume you saved for next year would prove so useful in a pinch.
Predicting what your life will be like six months into the future is really hard.
April 8, 2020 -
I feel like it is March right now.
I really do not like March. Gritty snow piles, gloomy days, cold rain, and brown lawns have no appeal to me. It is like the calendar and weather patterns conspire to pack every environmental irritant I have into one singular month.
The only way I can slog through March is that I have higher expectations for April and May.
April 1, 2020 -
One of the most amazing revelations from the COVID-19 pandemic is how little control we actually have over our daily lives.
In February our daily routines provided us with a sense of comfort, we generally had the freedom to do what we wanted when we wanted, and our social circles gave us a sense of community.
All of that is gone, and for millions of people their jobs disappeared as well.
March 25, 2020 -
This is the moment of truth.
You have seen the financial markets fall over the course of the last month. You are cooped up in your home and deprived of your normal social contacts. Your life has been turned upside down by a microscopic virus.
What do you do? Do you act on your fears and participate with the panickers?
March 18, 2020 -
One month ago our world was very different.
Back then we saw some clouds of uncertainty on the horizon, but nothing that impacted us personally. Most of the time those clouds dissipate, but occasionally they turn into a storm.
Looking back, we can always say “I had a bad feeling about this.” But if we are honest with ourselves, we know that a large majority of our bad feelings never turn into bad events. We easily forgive and forget those false bad feelings because everything turns out well.