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Another week for the history books

It is difficult to put this past week into words. Like any past crisis, we are going to learn a lot from this one – and be better off for it. In the meantime however it is very uncomfortable and sometimes just plain scary. 

You already have a lot of information coming at you from all directions and I don’t want to add to that noise. I do however want to share some perspectives that might help you navigate these uncertain times. To do that, I thought I would use the Health, Wealth and Happiness model I introduced in my 2018 letter. 

Health

We have all heard by now how social distancing is meant to slow down the spread (flatten the curve) to ensure our health system does not get overrun. None of us wants to get this virus, nor spread it to anybody else so we should be sufficiently vigilant and fearful. 

When will this end? I am not sure but this video does a great job at explaining exponential growth and how it applies to the virus. Understanding the model might help you make sense of all the data and growing numbers of cases we will continue to see in the short term.

Do you feel stressed and anxious? The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) issued some helpful tips on their website.  These are some I practice (especially with the in-laws and four kids now at home).

  • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting

Looking for some exercise ideas while at home? To be honest I have never been great at exercising at home. I like going to the gym, well rock climbing gym to be more accurate, but with everything closed I will have to start doing something to keep in shape – and for my sanity.  There are some workout apps for people who hate working out or Youtube channels for getting fit at home that I will be looking into. 

Want to stay up to date with the numbers? I find this website available to help track the new cases, growth rate and recoveries

Wealth

Even though we know that volatility is part of the investment journey, seeing our investments go down in value is never enjoyable – especially in the steep fashion we have seen over the past month. Almost everyone I have spoken to over the past week or so was anticipating being down more than what they actually were, which is good news (relatively speaking) . It is worthwhile reminding ourselves that what we see on the news/markets is not our direct experience. You have the best managers working tirelessly to structure you for success when things start turning around. 

Ben Carson, of Ritzholtz wealth management, did a good job in his blog this week to point out where we are and what things might look like in the future. His comment “But eventually we will get past this. We ALWAYS do. If you don’t believe this, what’s the point of investing in the first place?” is well taken.

The actions that governments across the world have been taking show how committed everyone is to limit the impact of the virus and bring stability back as soon as possible. You can find the details on the support programs for individuals and businesses from the Canadain government here. I have also attached an outline of the financial support from the Knowledge Bureau for your reference.

Happiness 

I still have a lot to be grateful for and am looking forward to doing an all-nighter with Corban (13) and Reuel (11) tonight watching movies and playing games. It is a bit of a tradition when spring-break starts but dad hardly ever makes it all night.

What things are you doing that adds to your happiness right now? Is there something you have been putting off, like an old hobby you wanted to start again, that would be worth pursuing again?   

I appreciate the people who have made me laugh over the past couple of weeks. One being surprised that I haven’t quit my job to become a Skip the Dish driver yet.  

I was reminded this week of something my grandpa used to say, “All storms run out of rain at some point” and this one will too. 

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