Greetings from a hotel room. I’d like to make this a happier message, but life has thrown a curveball. My U.S. publisher is a very good friend. She tells me all the time that when I write – I need to be funny. But there’s only so many “Dad Jokes” one can tell. Or I could just read you the headlines out of Washington, and you’d likely laugh at the absurdity of the truth. I’ve written satire. The problem with fiction is that you have to make it up.
It’s easier to just point to reality and hope that we can laugh about it. With that in mind. Some news. Over the weekend, an ER diagnosed my three-year-old daughter with COVID. Nasty illness. She had pneumonia and a 103-degree temperature for two days. She’s back home now with my wife. Her fever is dropping, and we’re monitoring her health.
Meanwhile, I have severe psoriatic arthritis and take Enbrel. That makes me immunocompromised. My wife will juggle knives and punch alligators in the face. But she also reads the warning labels, calls doctors for 15th opinions, and tells me what I need to do until I finally agree (my wife and my publisher have a lot in common). I have taken the first Pfizer shot. I had an appointment to get the second one today. But that’s off the table.
If I don’t have COVID – and it seems that I do not – I must quarantine away from her for 14 days. That’s the type of gut punch I hadn’t anticipated. My doctors ordered me to pack up and head to a hotel. I’ll get a test today. There are worse places to find oneself than at a hotel beside the Gulf of Mexico. But there isn’t a worse scenario in my mind than not being able to be with my family in person each day for the next two weeks. It’s important to share this with you. We’re still getting to know each other.
More To Life Than Numbers and Letters
For a lot of people, I’m a name with a series of letters behind them. There are four degrees and a certificate on my wall. But more important there are pictures. Like this one.
It’s from my daughter’s first baseball game at Wrigley Field when she was ten months old. These are the more critical things on the wall. And though the Cubs lost that day (are you surprised?), I couldn’t tell you the score. I can’t tell you who pitched. I only recall this moment.
So – here I am – three miles from my house. Three miles from normalcy. And this event is a reminder that our state of affairs is still anything but normal. I state this because the current events impact my views and interpretations of the world… in the short term.
Having a Strategy For Times Like This
Time freezes for me. But the markets will continue. Disruptions in my life are coming for the next two weeks, yet my money remains in jeopardy. There are plenty of reasons why the market could pull back sharply in the weeks ahead. Are we seeing another wave of the pandemic? Is Europe’s drop into a double-dip recession a harbinger of peril? What about this commodity crunch that has sent food prices, lumber prices, and more, higher? Serious problems are facing U.S. supply chains.
We have geopolitical tensions in China, Russia, and across the Middle East. The world isn’t going to stop for me. No matter how bad things get. The markets won’t either. So, I won’t be as active in my trading as usual over the next two weeks. I’ll be uncomfortable, my mind elsewhere at certain times. And why would anyone blame me otherwise?
So, I have to use a strategy. I will have a few minutes to check the markets each day. I’ll monitory market momentum like I always do. If the momentum is positive, I’ll continue to let my six-month positions continue to ride. I’ll do something a bit more unusual, I’ll put trailing stops on them across the board as well, just in case.
I’ll set each position at a 10% trailing to rising prices – a reasonable short-term protection strategy. But, if I wake up and momentum is negative, I’ll move to cash. Simple as that. I want to remind people that cash is a position.
Yes, I’m aware that the U.S. dollar remains under pressure. But I also know that there has been an inverse relationship between the dollar and the market. A selloff only improves the value of my cash on hand. Whether you’re on vacation or facing a short-term disruption in your life, it’s important to have a plan. I’ve shared mine. What is yours?