I don’t how to talk about the current health crisis better than anyone else, but I still want to acknowledge the reality we’re living in.
I don’t know if you know this, but black swans do in fact exist.
Unfortunately, so do “black swan” events.
Though really, do we need to call them “black” swans? Couldn’t we come up with any other color? Green swan? Burnt sienna swan? What’s the crayon that no one likes? Periwinkle?
Sorry, but I just had to add some color to the situation.
(Okay, I’m even more sorry. Not really, but read on for more.)
You already know
I’m not going to go into details about what’s going on in our world. You already know. You read the news. You get the emails. Your life is affected in some way. Hopefully not so terribly.
We can argue whether something like this was predictable or not. I think most experts agree that it was.
But who cares? We’re in it now.
In terms of health, I don’t have anything new to say that hasn’t been said many times before. First: listen to scientists.
Don’t listen to politicians. Don’t listen to editorializers. Don’t watch YouTube videos that talk about the “shocking truth”.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t touch your investments.
Large friendly letters on the cover
Do not do anything to your 401(k) that you weren’t planning to do three months ago.
If you do anything now, you will regret it. Crises are not good times to make new investment decisions.
What is shameful
I jokingly said once that I love it when markets tank. What I meant was that when markets go down, as an investor, your investments are likely to have more purchasing power. Think of it like a sale. Wouldn’t you buy at 20% off?
But what I don’t love is the human aspect of the markets tanking. Lost jobs. Greater life insecurity. The fact that our safety net in the U.S. is a national disgrace.
People die from black swan events, of course, but the heartbreaking part is that I’m not talking about disease vectors. If you lose your insurance and have no money, you are at risk. And many people are going to lose the former and already don’t have the latter. These people may die because of this.
Is that worth lower taxes? (Sorry, I’ll stop.)
Find people and help them
Which leads me to the only other suggestion I can make. I’ve always said to “find people who need help and help them,” and this is never more true now. Reach out to others. Tell your loved ones that you love them. Tell everyone you care about that you care about them. Be helpful.
The world will not end. The world may change, but it will keep going. We have a future. Keep hold of it. Work toward it. Envision what the best possible future might look like, and let’s all work to make it happen.
And seriously, don’t touch your investments. Pretend your 401(k) has been coughing a lot.
Also, you can reach out to me if you need someone to talk to. Sometimes talking to someone outside your circle can be helpful and bring a different perspective. We don’t even need to talk about finances. Send me a note or schedule something with me.
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- If you’re thinking about taking an early withdrawal from your 401(k) - May 11, 2020