Reflections on COVID-19

We are living in a moment of history. SARS happened in yr2003 and right now COVID-19 will also have its stamp on history. I have always told people that times like these are the best times to observe human behaviour/character than during times of abundance. Hence, I feel its best to pen down a post to record for posterity and future reminiscence.

Panic buys at Supermarkets.

I believe those who truly panic and hoard, are only a subset of the crowds seen. As I have volunteered delivering Willing Hearts‘ prepared food to society’s challenged, I know for a fact that there is a portion of society that have difficulties stepping out of their homes to get daily necessities. Those who make large purchases at the supermarkets during this period, might be purchasing on behalf of them or their own relatives. Absolutely nothing with that, and they should not be given the label hoarder.

A Government that understands.

Annotation 2020-02-18 171508
Source: http://www.mom.gov.sg

For the quarantine measures to work, compliance is necessary. But that can be very hard to do, especially for those who are on daily wages. One can argue the moral high ground of social responsibility to dictate the actions of others, or be empathetic of the conflict in priorities between social responsibility and putting bread on the table for the family.

The government can don’t give this $100 per day. But it did.

Importance of an Emergency Fund in Financial Planning.

A founding doctor of Phoenix Medical Group self imposed quarantine by not returning home to his family and stayed at a friend’s empty apartment.

“Although I was not yet officially told to be quarantined, I knew the right thing to do was to stand down and stop seeing patients or be in contact with people,” he said. ~Quoted from Straits Times article dated 8 Feb 2020.

It is highly probable he earned less this period.

Any proper financial planning fact find will reveal the presence/absence and size of the emergency fund. This emergency fund is an essential component to your overall personal financial management. Not all risks are insurable.

I believe the good doctor is able to manage his income volatility. Others may not be able to do the same.

Insurance policy lapses mean defeating the plans laid for it at inception in the basis of recommendations. Due to the remuneration structure of most financial adviser representatives, the onus of ensuring that you have adequate emergency funds to support the budget for the plan falls on one person only, you. Due to the remuneration structure of most financial adviser representatives, there is no compensation for advising you to save more and build up your emergency funds before contemplating anything else, though that might actually be the best advice at times. Due to the remuneration structure of most financial adviser representatives, the competing priority of building up the emergency funds tends to take a back seat versus other priorities. Take control and ownership of the outcomes of your financial planning priorities before your financial adviser representative does. Reordering a person’s financial priorities for a sales target does little for future buyer remorse that does more harm than good.

Different People View Risks Differently.

Anecdotal observations will suffice. Some people wear surgical masks and others don’t. Even if the statistical odds of death from the COVID-19 virus is stable, different people view those same odds differently and respond differently.

What more for investment outcomes that do not have statistical stability. Not too long, the markets rebounded from Iran’s attack on an Iraqi airbase. Do all market pull backs have V-shape recoveries? Can it be W, U shaped or a start towards the downside? There is a tendency of seeking consensus advice online these days, thinking that might be infallible. But assuming you don’t get confused by the myriad of replies, remember that general advice is permissible online content in the eyes of the regulator. Specific individual advice is a licensed activity.

Due to the remuneration structure of most financial adviser representatives, there is a lack of respect for the markets with excessive forecasts because confidence sells, humble acknowledgements of the craft where statistical outcomes are not stable, is not as marketable.

Enough musing. The nature of my craft has to change.

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