VIX closes at 82.69, highest close ever in market history.
The VIX, or Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, is often called the Fear Index, as to how afraid investors are of current market conditions. In the 30 years the VIX has been around, the highest it previously closed was 79 during the start of the Great Recession.
As per previously, if you’re not retiring in 5-10 years, do nothing with your investments beyond what you’d normally do. Do not, for any reason, look at your 401K balance. You’ll panic unnecessarily.
What the market needs to know is whether the consumer will get back in the game after the pandemic – and selective bailouts of companies won’t do that. Senator Romney’s proposals today were a great start – cut checks to consumers to keep people from going under, backstop small businesses who can’t bridge a 6-month gap of little to no income, and reduce debt burdens where possible for federally guaranteed loans. I hope Senator Romney’s proposals are taken seriously and enacted.
The thing we have to think about, for those of us who work in or own businesses, is what habits will change after this is over. How much more work will be telework, once companies realize that the world doesn’t end if you can’t Lumbergh someone’s desk every 15 minutes to ask about the TPS reports? How much will this change our dining habits, our spending habits, our shopping habits?
The common cliche is that it takes 21 days to change/set a habit. We will be in social distancing mode for considerably longer. What habits will change and stick? When the pandemic finally fades away in the late summer/early fall (per NeherLab’s simulation), what will remain?
There will be upsides, too. The amount of CO2 humanity emits during this time will be a fraction of what we normally do, which will make a tiny but measurable dent in climate change. Perhaps as our habits change, we’ll realize we didn’t need some habits at all. Some people may find the lack of a commute really appealing, even at the cost of less face to face interaction.
Take this time as an opportunity to change and ditch some habits you had out of convenience. That daily $5 cup of coffee? That $15 lunch? Put a little savings back in your pocket as you pick up something new.
Change is what we make of it.
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Also published on Medium.