Corona Diary 9 April 2020

2020-04-08 12.32.28

We have a new joke in the house… “This is my best lockdown, ever!”


Attitude is everything

Last year, I could barely make it a week on vacation with my kids. Tomorrow is the end of Week Four and we’re doing ok.

A desire to set a good example can be a powerful motivator.


Corona Bod

Replacing uphill skiing (~1 hour a day on average) with walking around my neighborhood (14,300 steps per day in lockdown) has me feeling soft. I often feel like I’m coming off a meat-loading phase for the Crossfit Games.

  • Twice a week, Monica makes a giant mixing bowl of salad. I eat most of it over two days.
  • We buy, and I eat, a lot of apples, carrots, frozen broccoli, cauliflower and green beans.
  • I remind myself, a lot, that I’ve always lost the weight.
  • Make fresh choices easier, spend effort with preparing huge salads/veggies.

Binary is better for me. My wife can handle portion control. I do better with abstinence.

My home gym helps. I’m a lot stronger than four weeks ago. However, I’ve been managing a constant stream of niggles => calves, upper back, groin, hip. All are weak points, hopefully, being addressed by my program.

Getting strong trumps self-starvation because you’ve “lost” your cardio.

2020-04-08 16.13.01

Media Funnel

  1. How are you staying informed?
  2. What are your sources of reliable information?
  3. Do you have access to believable people, who disagree with you in a way that breaks through your biases?
  4. Do you have a system for reducing noise?

I want to make it easier to read books therefore I don’t have any media/email subscriptions.

I’m always tempted to subscribe to make myself “better informed” but read Taleb about the negative impact of additional information, especially from career journalists.

Read Mauboussin, Think Twice, about better thinking.

Good books, especially older ones, have more believable information than current media. See Fooled By Randomness => NNT has an excellent section on the impact of noise.

Very little video => too sensational => I prefer written stuff as I get to read in my own voice

No cable news => it’s an entertainment business model.

I struggle to stop making predictions. So tailor my feed towards people that focus on lessons of history and reminders of human misjudgment.


How do I play the markets? Three people asked me this week.

The best answer I’ve come across…

If you are changing strategy more than once a decade then you don’t have a strategy.

In case you missed it, #2 in my March 12th article is my market strategy – in the last big decline, I slid towards equities (72%/28% from 60%/40%).

This is not a recommendation for you. I have a lot of optionality in my life – see Cash Holdings in Context.


Asset Allocation

An excerpt from my family strategy document…

  • Simple
  • Low cost to hold
  • Focused on long term capital gain
  • Liquidity in event of capital being required
  • Tax effective
  • If it won’t make a difference then wait

The larger document tracks lessons over time. We have found our family’s “mistakes” tend to repeat, often at similar life cycle points. One of my jobs is to pass this knowledge through to future adults.

Humans are remarkably similar with how we react to life.

2020-04-08 07.03.12

Climate Change

Think about how fast Corona hit us.

Think about how wrong the experts were in the early stages.

Think about the massive economic costs from many different reaction paths.

Speed of change, potential for error, massive costs from different response paths => points to the benefits of the Precautionary Principle (link is to Taleb and others, 2014).

Most important to me => I don’t need to believe in Corona, or climate change, for it to impact me.

My opinion, the media’s treatment, my politics… have no impact on the large potential harm and disruption to my life, your life.

This whole experience is an on-going lesson in humility.


Core Cost of Living

This is a number you should know.

  • Four weeks of lockdown.
  • Total cash out the door.
  • Multiply by 13.

That’s your lockdown core cost of living.

I compare to Net Assets and track in “years.”

To see the impact of leverage in your life:

  • Mark your assets down by 35%
  • Subtract your liabilities from this marked down figure to get “New Net Assets”
  • Change your cost of living calculation to [January + February] times 6
  • Divide “New Net Assets” by “Pre Corona Cost of Living”

See how the “years” change.

2020-04-08 13.35.40

Home School

Here’s a PDF of the writing template I use for my Primary School kids.

Disgusting Science was making blood and scabs. Hot water, agar powder and red food coloring. We watched a Brain Pop on Blood and did the quiz together.

2020-04-08 19.10.54

Medical Representatives

I asked myself if I would want to be placed on a ventilator.

This is similar to the pacemaker discussion I wrote about in 2016.

Here’s an article on COVID-19 survivorship – I discussed with my wife last night at dinner.