Broker Check

Corona - changing the future (and how to keep up)

May 18, 2020
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Life has changed; how do we adapt without losing sight of what we want to achieve?

As you've heard me say before, no one knows how the future will play out, but we should still look ahead and think through the consequences of what's happening.

I believe that our society and our economy are experiencing a massive shift.

We will never go back to the world we had before COVID-19, and the lens that we used to evaluate ideas, markets, economies, and personal choices over the last decade may need a new prescription for the next decade.

Here are just a few things that I see changing as a result of what's going on now:

Social Support: 36.5 million Americans have become unemployed in two months, and the effects are rippling through families, communities, and the economy.1 The government has responded with trillions of stimulus dollars to individuals and businesses. More relief is likely to come. What does this mean for our society? Who should get a helping hand in tough times? Will we permanently expand the social safety net? Will we see higher tax rates to pay for it?

Work: Thrown into the largest work-from-home experiment in history, more workers and employers will transition to remote work post-pandemic. This shift in work has major implications. Which places will be a draw if workers can live anywhere and employers can have their pick of a nationwide (or global) workforce? Will those who must physically show up demand different compensation? Will the demand for office space decrease?

Education: Students, parents, schools, and universities are being forced to re-evaluate the definition of education (and its price tag) now that the on-campus experience has gone online. What's missing if you attend from home? How much should education cost? What alternatives to a traditional four-year degree will arise?

Shopping & Entertainment: Brick-and-mortar retailers may never recover from the body blow dealt by pandemic lockdowns. Online shopping, grocery delivery, and digital services may finally overtake offline channels. What will the retail landscape look like when it's easier (and maybe safer) to eat, shop, and watch at home? What will happen to the value of the real estate that houses these activities?

What do you think? What do you see changing in the world? Please hit “reply” and share your thoughts.

No one has all the answers about the new world and things are not always what they seem.

Though it appears that the stock market has moved past the pandemic, we shouldn't celebrate just yet.

Why?

Much has changed in the world and longer term consequences are still uncertain.

How can we adapt? How can we still pursue our goals in a totally different world?

We think it through with humility and an open mind.

We'll do it together.

COVID-19 is going to be with us for the rest of 2020 and possibly into 2021. So, we're adapting.

At Life Strategies Advisors, it means I will continue to be available for you always, while face-to-face meeting will be held virtually for now, and probably at least through the summer.

It also means big changes in our personal lives. The word "drive-by" has turned positive with all of us celebrating birthdays, graduations, and even weddings in creatively festive car parades.

Our much-anticipated summer vacation to Alaska is canceled, but we're still hoping to make it to Israel in July to celebrate my younger daughter's Bat Mitzva.

We're taking it day by day.

How about you? What changes are you making to your plans this summer and fall?

Be well,

Daniel Ruben, MD, MPH, MBA

P.S. A number of clients and friends have reached out to talk through options around a potential lay-off, buy-out offer, or early retirement. If this is on your mind, please let me know. We can work through it together.

P.P.S If you've got a kid in college this fall, I have a question for you: is virtual university still a compelling offer? Are you and your student considering a gap year or some alternative? Please hit “reply” and let me know. I'm interested in learning from your experience.


1https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/14/unemployment-jobless-claims-coronavirus/

Chart source: https://www.artsci.com/studentpoll-covid-19-edition-2