COVID-19 Top Reads
As we write this, we’re in the middle of what feels an awful lot like a world-changing event. By the time you see these COVID-19 top reads, we might be already experiencing some kind of recovery, thanks to our doctors and nurses working the front lines, our communities banding together (at a safe distance) to pick up groceries and otherwise care for each other, and hopefully our businesses and governments doing the right thing not just for the bottom line, but for everyone. We think especially of our gig and contract workers, people experiencing homelessness, and those in crowded shelters and inadequate reserve housing. Mr. Rogers told scared children to “look for the helpers,” but he told us adults who grew up with him to be the helpers.
Do what you can with what you have to be the helper.
All of this to say that this month’s reading list is heavy on investment and COVID-19 writing, and a little light on everything else. If you feel overwhelmed by all of this [gestures at everything], please take this as a permission slip to stop reading right now and focus on whatever helps you get through this, which might include a list of silly things to do at home or virtual therapy to name two.
If you’re up for it, Sandi’s top three picks for this month’s investment and COVID-19 top reads include:
- A compassionate reminder that it’s okay to not enjoy this kind of market turmoil
- A reminder that preparing for COVID-19 (and how to do it) is an act of kindness and not a weird survivalist thing
- Reflections on what the Teck decision could mean for a government focused on a just transition to the green economy.
If all that wasn’t enough for you, we have:
- A reminder that precious little should prompt you to alter your investment policy
- An investment advisor’s list of tricks clients should watch out for
- A deft articulation of why siding with the government doesn’t mean they’re siding with you
- A reminder that a jump out of cash and into a long-term investment plan never feels good
- For the first time ever in the history of Top Reads (we think) – a cartoon!
From James Osborne
“It’s okay to admit that this part is not fun. No one wants to see stocks fall this way (even us young folks who will ultimately benefit from being able to buy more and more stocks at last year’s prices). Seeing huge red numbers inflicts panic in our hearts, and because we have terrible brains for investing, brains that were designed to run from every threat on the savanna, we can only assume that TERRIBLE DANGER LURKS AHEAD.”
Read the full article here.
From Hadrian Morton’s-Kirkwood
“The case for government management of the transition to a cleaner economy is especially pertinent in the social context. When private investors pull out of fossil fuel projects it may be a win for the land and the climate, but the burden often falls disproportionately on fossil fuel workers, their families and their communities.
“The federal and provincial governments have key roles to play in:
- establishing clear timelines and plans for the phase-out of fossil fuel production (as they did with coal power), instead of leaving it to the whims of the market;
- supporting displaced workers with social security, retraining and career support; and,
- investing in new industries that create good, green jobs in the communities where they are needed most.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the transition to a lower-carbon economy is coming, regardless of the protestations of regressive Canadian politicians. As the CCPA has long argued, a just transition to a cleaner economy is an opportunity to minimize the harm and maximize the benefits to workers of the shift away from fossil fuels.”
Read the full article here.
You can read this month’s entire list below, and browse through past lists here.
“To a meaningful extent, the investing puzzle is “solved:” Own a broadly diversified portfolio at a low cost, and don’t touch it.
“So, if someone is creating a portfolio for you that you cannot wrap your head around, first, of course, ask questions. And if you still can’t understand it, then that’s a problem.”
“I was born for this!”
“Sometimes you get punched in the gut. Other times you get punched in the gut every day for months on end. Running away when the market rolls over rarely leads to a positive outcome. I have spoken to countless investors sitting on the sidelines, nervous about the market making all-time highs, not wanting to buy in before the next crash. Do you think they are excited to buy stocks now? Will they be ready if the market drops another 20%? Not likely.”
“We have been experiencing a steady erosion of labour rights, rights that were hard fought for, and hard won. At the core of that steady erosion is the manipulation of public opinion, which invariably paints labour actions as “threatening safety.” How? By withdrawing labour, health workers “threaten” public health, striking teachers “threaten” the ability of parents to work and put students at academic risk, picketing construction workers “threaten” the economy, etc etc.
“More and more we have seen governments tabling back-to-work legislation, and criminalizing labour actions, all in the name of “public safety.” The particular bargaining unit in any given situation is demonized: they are greedy, lazy, paradoxically “essential” while also being completely replaceable and unimportant.
“I point all this out to show you that any segment of the population can be rendered “the enemy,” even those who are supposedly “protected” by unions. Those without robust labour protections are even more vulnerable to the rhetoric of “public safety.’”
“Here’s the key: If you have appropriately allocated your portfolio to account for these all-too-common-and-expected market corrections, then the answer to the “What should you do?” question is to keep going to work, or playing golf, or reading books, or whatever. Anything but turn on the TV, lest you risk making a decision you will most likely regret.”