Back To Normal Won’t Happen


Back to normal happens when there is some detail that changes. Maybe you sprained your ankle or had a hangnail. Major changes do not let you return to normal.

Things like marriage, having children, graduating from university, losing a spouse or child. These are life-altering events. You cannot return to normal, you must discover and accomodate “New Normal” It will be difficult and it will take time. You do well to prepare.

Think about 9-11. What matters more today, the event itself or what happened after? Not really much question about that. 9-12 is the important date. It is the beginning of new normal. The corona virus will be such a trigger for change too.

  1. We can expect people to stop trying to be efficient by using Chinese manufacturing for all of their product.
  2. We can expect people to hold more inventory
  3. We can expect people to develop local capability to produce essential products and materials. Like drugs, hospital equipment and protective equipment.
  4. We can expect people to be more skeptical of governments and their agencies.
  5. We can expect the growth of mutually supporting communities. Maybe churches but they will have a lot of baggage to overcome.
  6. People will learn about their emotions and how to control them for their benefit.
  7. People will learn about and value the idea of preparation

With effort and luck we will be the better for the experience.


I help people understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve and exceed their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages. The result: more security, more efficient income, larger and more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

 

Some Thoughts For Troubling Times


The Covid-19 virus is real and among us. The Chinese lies about it in the beginning may have let us think there is a smaller problem than there really is. Time to take stock.

  1. It will likely last well into the summer
  2. The restrictions on contact will become more stringent before they go away.
  3. More people will die than we expect
  4. There may be a second wave of it after we think we are safe. The Spanish flu behaved that way. Vigilance.

So what to do

Worry won’t do much for us, but reasonable action will. Each of us has a different set of circumstances so our response should be personal to that context. There is much good to come from what is happening.

Discipline: A skill that serves well for all of life.  Good chance to practice. I think it is likely that we will see life more simply after this is over. We can be ready by tidying up our physical environment. Time to toss the things we no longer use. Time to rationalize the filing system. (I have tossed upwards of 100 pounds of old articles and such) You may not be able to easily dispose of old clothes, possibly repairable appliances, and many keepsakes. Set them aside and dispose later. I am  doing the keepsake thing using a triage system. Toss, keep and check again later. Keep for sure.

Organize: The things you need should have a place and when away from that place they should be in use or on their way back to it. If you don’t have a place for something, you must make one or do without the object. Maybe mini-storage, a garden shed, or better sorting. Have you noticed most things in the freezer take up more space than they need. Half empty boxes and bottles are your enemy.

Refresh your space: Time for cleaning and repairing the things you have never had time for. Check for mold in your home. Even a little can be disabling. Somehow clean and fresh makes us feel better. Feeling better will be an advantage as the time grows longer.

Exercise and diet: The “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse will sound hollow now. You don’t need to become an olympic athlete. Besides you might hurt yourself. Exercise is funny. It follows a power law, likely Pareto’s. 20% of what is possible will get you 80% of the value. That much more will get you less but maybe 60% of what’s left. After that it is not worth the trouble or risk. You can be reasonably in shape by doing physical things that don’t look much like exercise. A pleasant walk with the dog or the kids. Play with the kids. Playing on the floor will do some good. Anything but vegetating in front of the TV, computer, or Gaming system.

Get the right amount of sleep: Sleep makes you stronger ophysically and mentally.

Be in touch with others: We are a social crowd. We can go without much contact for a while but we miss it and that hurts our mental condition. Learn Zoom, use Facetime, Skype or Facebook messenger. Live connections ar emor uplifting thatn text.

Learn something new: Like perfecting a hobby, or learning a craft, or a language, or a new skill. Coding is a good one for everyone.  Check out code.org. The Kahn Academy will keep you busy if the isolation lasts 10 years. Learn about MOOCs. There are thousands of talks to see at Ted.com. You will be amazed at what interests you have.

Children: Children have way more physical and intellectual energy that we adults. They will flourish with the attention or become feral as the result of boredom and too little activity. We have a 9-year-old granddaughter teaching French to her younger brother and her father. I would like to have that help. I think she is planning a pop test. Help them explore and learn to manage there emotions.

Keep a record. It will help you discover what skills you have and have developed. The world will not stop in 90 days. Be ready for a new normal.

The defenses are purposeful

Avoid anxiety and depression. Fear reduces the efficiency of your immune system. Ultimately that will matter. Your immune system may be your only good defense for now. Make it stronger if you can.

Learn about you and how that and the skills you have will help you after the virus passes us by.

Now is the time to be “tough” Not tough like a thug, but mentally tough. Tough as in resourceful and persistent and brave. You might find this article helpful.  15 Habits of Mentally Tough People

A Ted Talk from the Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. It’s okay to be overwhelmed It’s an hour long. The theme “Humans are really good at dealing with fundamental change”

Be safe. Be strong. Be smart.

A thought from Robert Schuller,  “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

We are all capable and “tough.” Use your skills to advantage.


I help people understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve and exceed their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages. The result: more security, more efficient income, larger and more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

Do Rules And Protocol Get In The Way?


When the rules create situations where there is no result that satisfies anyone, we reach untenable positions. Governments everywhere should be aware their generally well-meaning actions can create that effect.

Case in point.

In the Cofid-19 envirionment medical workers prefer Personal Protection Equipment. (PPE) Who can blame them? On the one hand we have governments telling people to avoid contact with anyone and on the other telling health care workers to provide service to those who seem to be infected, but without reasonable protection. Health care workers are generously, for now, agreeing to provide that service at a risk to themselves and to others they care about.

They believe they should have every protection and are not unreasonable in so asking. Others are trying to avoid potential civil  liability and to look good. Who should prevail?

Do health care workers get protection?

Apparently not. It seems there are hurdles on the road to protection of crucial support workers. You would think, reasonably, that there would be none, but you would be wrong to believe that. Bureaucracies are rule generating and rule following machines. Rules are protecting bureaucrats not case workers. Maybe that’s always the way it is, but this time we don’t have the luxury of a margin for error.

The bureaucratic problem

There are those that might take advantage of situations where the rules were, arguably, not followed even if the rules were conceived for a different context. Should that take precedence over protection? If it does, eventually some health care workers will withdraw their services.

An Overview

Tyler Cowen published this article on 2 April. Barriers to masks

It’s a short read and here it is in full: {emphasis added}

I’ve been working with a generous donor to get a million PPEs (masks) to the myriad healthcare workers in NYC who constantly tell us they’re facing shortages. Yet, hurdle after hurdle of dysfunction is severely inhibiting us from getting donated masks to those in need.

Here’s a catalog of all the ways various forces conspire against this effort at EVERY level:

– Employers threaten to fire doctors & nurses if they speak frankly about shortages so it’s hard to determine the most at-need hospitals & if everyone in the chain is doing their job

CDC and WHO messaging about “no need for masks” provide cover for hospitals, limiting reputational damage and protects them from class-action lawsuits for not providing adequate PPE to their staff (which should be their job)

US PPE compliance is messy and confusing (different agencies setting different rules) which limits supply  – All 50 states, Federal agencies, hospitals, NGOs, and businesses bid against each other, pushing prices up

US authorities punishes anyone for “price gouging” so importers and suppliers are reluctant to order PPEs from vendors for fear of being penalized  – As a result, US importers and suppliers of N95 masks get outbid by foreign competitors so the US loses out

Because there are no export controls, local supplies of N95 masks get purchased by foreign buyers and are exported – FDA fails to authorize KN95 masks thus choking off total mask supply as KN95s are cheaper & available in larger quantities than N95s (they have similar specs)

– As a result, US Importers are hesitant to order KN95s (mostly produced overseas) because they’re worried they’ll get held up at customs or that hospitals would refuse to accept them even as free donations as they fear legal liability if healthcare worker gets ill using them

Healthcare workers don’t get the protection they need but they can’t complain to the press – Rinse, wash, repeat – (Chinese state propaganda uses this as proof that the US is just as bad as the CCP for silencing whistleblowers)


Rules, policies, regulations, and protocols have effects in the real world. They were designed to apply only in an orderly world, but bureaucrats seem to have been away the day that was explained. Rules and such do not create a mutual suicide pact in a chaotic world never considered when the rules were drafted.

Looking good, and looking right by the rules, is a stupid posture. Governments can and should do better. Leadership is about clearing the road ahead, not creating obstacles for the people doing the tasks needed. Let’s see some leadership.

This is more than disturbing. Please forward this piece to others. 


I help people understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve and exceed their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages. The result: more security, more efficient income, larger and more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

What Can Governments Do? Really?


Steven Moore wrote recently about an idea in Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.” The headline alone is eye-catching. Atlas Is Shrugging

The point of the novel is simplicity itself. What will happen if the producers in society withdraw their services and just let the rest of it collapse?

A fine question when people are running around spending money that is not theirs. Some of it on dubious projects.

The best incentive for businesses and producing people in general

Steven Moore quotes a passage from the novel that outlines the problem.

“Government help to business is just as disastrous as government persecution. … The only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.” — Ayn Rand

Governments are notorious for being poor producers and for spending money foolishly. I have seen a study, years ago, that pointed out, that for every dollar used as an incentive, it cost $1.68 to provide it. If money helps, that the $1.68 came from the same group the $1.00 is given to, it seems economical to just leave things alone. But, there is no joy in politics for leaving things alone. One must be seen to be doing things, even if the things address an imaginary need.

For each of us, the best government incentive is to remove the disincentives. People are more productive when there are fewer hurdles to success. Governments should be tasked with clearing the path so the people can flourish. Like infrastructure, a reliable set of property rights, border security, and objective police, prosecutors and courts. That’s what they did before they saw themselves to be the doer of deeds.

Their current methods litter the path with obstacles.

Read the article. It is not long and it makes a good point.


I help people understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve and exceed their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages. The result: more security, more efficient income, larger and more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

Information Cannot Tells Us Everything. Especially Not The Future


People are not good at using data. For example, people like trends and often predict the future based on the past.

I have a degree in mathematics and I must confess it is not especially useful. Other than math helps you to think in orderly ways.

One thing I remember is that linear regression only works inside the data set you have. Having information in a space say 0 to 100 will allow you to predict with reasonable accuracy what the missing data points might be. It says noting about where 200 may fall. It says nothing about point 101 even.

The example:

Suppose a deer is walking and you follow its steps for 300 meters. The steps have formed a perfectly straight line and are evenly spaced. Can you predict where the next step will fall? You cannot. You would like to say on the projection of the straight line, but there is a tree there.

You can infer data within the data set because its context is known or at least similar. Once you are outside the data set, you have no sound idea. Just guesses.

The point

Linear regression does not predict the future. Pattern matches are no better. The context is different outside the data set. Consider that when investing.

Consider this example from Twitter @benorlin :

*asteroid approaches*

SCIENTISTS: If we don’t stop this, it will destroy Earth.

PEOPLE: Oh no. How many people has it killed so far?

SCIENTISTS: None yet.

PEOPLE, SUDDENLY ARMED WITH STATISTICS: Why, that’s fewer than traffic accidents! Fewer than vending machines! Fewer than

In the same way, I have been told that the odds of being struck by lightening on a golf course is one in six million. However, if you know that statistic, it is one in six.

Another example. California defunds emergency medicine preparedness. Failure to prepare

Be smarter. Avoid obvious mistakes.


I help people understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve and exceed their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages. The result: more security, more efficient income, larger and more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

Knowing When To Quit Is A Valuable Skill


“There’s a lot of shame associated with backpedaling; things like quitting your job, getting a divorce, or simply starting over are considered shameful. But forward isn’t always progress and backward isn’t always regress.” Matthew Inman

The greatest failure of any decision maker is the inability to stop doing things that don’t work. It commits resources to known failing tactics and it denies the ability to learn from mistakes. People who cannot retreat have ego problems. Trying to prove you are right is a very costly way to manage.

Mistakes are your friends but become enemies if you stay with them too long.

When you make a decision it is a worthy thing to record the factors that lead to your decision and the ones you dismissed. That way when outcomes come up short you can revisit your decision parameters and decide if it is reasonable to invest more time and money. Many times people had unreasonable expectations and they should not necessarily quit.

When you can see the error, the best move is quit quick.


I help people understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve and exceed their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages. The result: more security, more efficient income, larger and more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

What Have We Learned So Far?


In the early stages of a crisis we can ignore it, but as time passes we begin to get the idea that just possibly our preparations have been inadequate. There is an old thought – Most of what does not work today is the result of a weak decision sometime in the past. In fairness, I suppose most of the things that do work come from good decisions.

What have we learned so far:

  1. Our plans contain only processes for likely, but mostly innocuous things. Automobile accident, vandalism, a supply of Tylenol, the regular package of group insurance at work, a little life insurance, intention to do a will and powers of attorney, communication with family members, and more.
  2. Governments, even the well meaning ones, are only slightly helpful. They have trouble giving up a crisis when partison advantage seems easy.
  3. Information is hard to come by in the beginning of a crisis. Other factors and filters tend to apply. We psy too much attention to fragments.
  4. We are uncomfortable when separated from our routines.
  5. We need some space to stay calm.
  6. Emergency funds are too small.
  7. Job is not certain.
  8. China is playing a different game on a different playing field
  9. Telecommuting works
  10. There are too many workers in some places

What we can do about it:

When life hands you lessons, the most useful thing to do is to learn something. Just now, list your worries. How many of them have solutions you have not yet implemented? Wished you had even.

Whe the crisis passes, take your hard earned knopwledge and do something about it. Craft a plan in your ffree time now and implement when you can.


I help people understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve and exceed their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages. The result: more security, more efficient income, larger and more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. don@moneyfyi.com 705-927-4770

%d bloggers like this: