Friday, March 20, 2020

My 7th Update on the Coronavirus and Its Impact Upon the Economy and Your Investment Portfolio

Dear Clients, Students, Colleagues, Friends, and Family:

One of the best articles I’ve read about the potential impact of the Coronovirus, and explaining why “social distancing” is an imperative, is from the Washington Post, and I highly commend that you read it at this time:


As the article notes, the Coronavirus is likely to be with us for the next 15 months, possibly longer. It will likely peak in May (perhaps later in some parts of the country), resurge in the Fall, and resurge again in the winter of 2020-21. 
  • The article’s basis for these peaks in large part due to the experience with the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918.
  • Note that some viruses become less transmissible as temperatures and humidity rise in the summer months. But we simply don’t have the evidence on the Coronavirus to know if this will be the case here. In fact, since Singapore - which has a warm and humid climate - has seen significant spread of the virus, it just may be that the Coronavirus is too contagious, and too few people are currently immune, for seasonality to play much of a factor in the Summer of 2020. But let’s hope otherwise.
  • As the article also points out - to prevent overwhelming our health care system (which would dramatically increase mortality rates), we need to “FLATTEN THE CURVE.” That means “social distancing” - staying at home if possible, limiting visits to the store (use home delivery where possible, or pick-up outside a store for stores that offer same).
What is not known, however, are answers to these questions - that may well determine the impact on how we all live and work, and how severe the U.S. and world economy is impacted over the course of the next year.
  • How long does the coronavirus linger in the air? The Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, expelling droplets into the air. What is not known is how long those droplets remain in the air. This may well determine how far apart we must stay from each other, and whether we can walk through retail stores (at a safe distance from each other).
    • The weight of the evidence suggests that the new coronavirus can exist as an aerosol — a physics term meaning a liquid or solid (the virus) suspended in a gas (like air) — only under very limited conditions, and that this transmission route is not driving the pandemic.
    • Higher humidity levels, such as those that occur during summer months, likely lead to less possibility that the virus will stay in the air.
    • Currently, it appears that the risk of infection is low, unless we are near someone who then coughs or sneezes into the air. Or if we touch surfaces that contain the droplets.
  • Can those who have had the Coronavirus become reinfected? This is a question with big implications. If those who have been infected are highly, highly unlike to become reinfected (at least for a year or longer), then those persons could return to normal activities. Also, the Coronavirus spread would slow, if a significant part of the population has already been infected.
    • One study done on monkeys suggests that immediate reinfection, after the monkeys got better, does not occur.
    • Early observations from China are promising, but more research is needed.
  • Can those under age 20 become seriously ill, or die from the disease? (Yes!) We do know that children who have contracted the disease don’t appear to get severely ill. However, some research suggests that a small percentage of them will have severe illnesses, especially those children with other health conditions (including asthma). 
    • Children in China with COVID-19 showed less severe symptoms than adults, but infants and toddlers were vulnerable to moderate and severe infection, according to a new study in the medical journal Pediatrics.
    • 6% of the cases involving children were severe, and there was one death.
    • For cases involving children less than 1 year old, unfortunately 11% of those cases were severe and/or critical.
    • The percentage of children with severe illness was one-third of the percentage of adults with severe illness.
    • The morality rate for those ages 20-30 might be only 0.1% to 0.2%. But, to put that in perspective, that is 1 in 500, to 1 in 1000. If the 17,000 students at Western Kentucky University were all to get the Coronavirus, that means 17 to 34 might die from the disease. (And that’s why universities have moved to online classes!)
  • Will testing be greatly expanded, and become simpler and faster?
    • In the United States, just 4,000 tests were being done a day, as of March 14th (the latest date for all of the available data).
    • Testing kits are not yet being produced in sufficient quantities. The main problem appears to be a lack of the “reagent” - a chemical used in the testing process.
    • Large scale testing is needed to verify who has already had the coronavirus. (Which determines whether those persons can return to work, as noted above.)
    • New tests are being developed. And existing tests are being scaled up.
    • But it will likely be a couple of more weeks, here in the U.S., before testing of all those with current symptoms can occur. And weeks after that before testing becomes available to confirm those who have had the Coronavirus already.
  • When will a vaccine be ready? Will the vaccine be effective? Will medicines exist to lessen the severity of the disease?
    • Health experts are suggesting that it may be Summer 2021 - 15 months from now - or longer, before a vaccine becomes available.
    • Treatments for the Coronavirus - i.e., medicines that lessen the severity of the illness - are far more likely to become available soon.
    • We simply don’t know, at present. There is a great deal of speculation about medicines, vaccines, in the media.
      • Some “Class I trials” of vaccines are already underway. (Class 1 trials determine whether the vaccine is safe enough to move to Class 2 trials, which then measure effectiveness.) Vaccine development and testing takes time.
      • Some medications already on the market will likely be “repurposed” to aid in easing symptoms of the Coronavirus. But too little is known, at present, as to how well the current medications on the market (for other conditions) will work when applied to the Coronavirus.
      • New medications for treatment of Coronavirus symptoms will be developed, but this will take more time than re-purposing existing medicines.
Answers to these questions will affect the future of the U.S. and global economy.

Just trying to “think this through,” here are some possibilities:

(These are just possibilities, and reflect a lot of speculation on my part.)

Some areas of the economy - food production, pharmaceuticals, food delivery - will do well. Other portions of the economy - travel, hospitality, and entertainment industries as extreme examples - will likely suffer for long periods of time.

Other types of businesses will have to adjust - and adjust quickly, in order to survive.

For example, as more research is known on how long the virus can linger in the air, after someone sneezes or coughs, and as research reveals if those previously infected are unlikely to be reinfected anytime soon, some adjustments by restaurants and retail stores can be undertaken.

Here are some possible outcomes, over the course of the next 15 months or longer. (Please note, a lot of this is speculation on my part!)
  • Workers who have already had the Coronavirus, and who are confirmed to have had it, become more valuable to companies.
  • Restaurants may re-open, but perhaps only serve patrons at half their capacity. Tables will be separated by 6 feet or more from each other.
  • Large social gatherings - Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events - will not occur. But some professional sports may re-emerge to be played, but with the audience only via television.
  • Universities and colleges will likely stay online during the 2020-21 academic year.
    • There is simply too much risk in putting 20-40 (or more) students in a classroom.
    • Some colleges may seek to recruit students who have previously had the disease, for on-campus (and residential) instruction. But this will vary by major, as a sufficient cohort of students may exist.
  • K-12 education will change and adapt.
    • Students who have had the disease might be permitted to return to school, for in-person instruction, once testing verification has been submitted to the school.
    • Home schooling will become much more widespread. Perhaps in small groups of students, such as 5-8 students. And perhaps taught by teachers.
      • If so, the demand for high school, middle school, and elementary school teachers could soar. Enough so that credentialing standards for teachers might be relaxed. 
  • Retail stores (other than groceries / pharmacies, which remain open now) will begin to reopen. But perhaps “by appointment” - or with a limited number of persons permitted in each store.
    • Online sales by small stores will proliferate.
    • “Shop local” calls will become more intense, to prop up small businesses.
  • Airlines, hotels, and other travel-oriented businesses will suffer far-reaching and long-term consequences. Very long large-term infusions of cash into large corporations, such as airlines, will occur via loans or preferred stock.
  • For the next year, those able to work from home will do so. Again, if those previously infected are not susceptible to re-infection, some offices may be staffed.
  • Employment in transport of goods - home delivery, for example - increases (as it has) and maintains higher levels for at least a year.
  • Landlords, faced with those unable to pay rent (or all of their rent), will face difficult choices. 
  • Municipalities (states, cities, towns) will need U.S. government support, through transfer payments, as government revenues plunge due to lower tax receipts.
    • Forward-thinking municipalities will issue long-term debt, as quickly as possible, to take advantage of historic low interest rates on municipal bonds. The sooner the municipalities act, the better. (Are you listening - WKU?
    • A lot of currently outstanding “callable” municipal bonds will be called and refinanced.
    • This will actually strengthen state finances in the years ahead, as debt burdens will be lower due to lower interest rates on debt.
  • Congress is drafting a huge, trillion-dollar economic stimulus. Much more will be needed in the months ahead.
    • Direct payments to some taxpayers will occur. But the “fairness” of these will be questioned. And some fraud will occur.
    • Long-term, very-low-interest loans to businesses will occur, sometimes backed by U.S. government guarantees. These loans will likely be originated through local banks.
    • Unemployment compensation payments will be extended, far beyond the current maximum for receipt of benefits.
    • Still, unemployment will surge. Some economists are predicting unemployment rates of 20% (close to the 25% estimated unemployment rates of the Great Depression).
How Does This Affect My Investment Portfolio?

You may think, from my economic predictions above, that the sky is falling. It is not. As I stated, these are just predictions. What actually occurs in the economy is subject to a wide variety of factors.

The U.S. stock market is currently, by my estimates, close to “reasonable values” (compared to historic valuation metrics). Large cap growth stocks remain overvalued, while small cap value stocks are undervalued (although companies that are smaller are more susceptible to bankruptcy, should a severe economic crisis occurs).

Some financial advisors and pundits are stating that the market is “cheap now.” I don’t concur. The U.S. stock market, overall, was significantly overvalued when all this started, near the beginning of the years.

If you are working, continue to fund your 401(k), 403(b) or other retirement plan accounts. You are now buying securities at less expensive levels. This bodes well for you, over the long term.

If you are retired, your anxiety level about your investments is likely quite high, as there is a “threat” to your nest egg. Yet, if you possess an appropriate strategic asset allocation (as my clients do), and an investment policy statement that sets forth a plan for rebalancing, then stick to the plan. Certainly, if you have questions, discuss things with your financial / investment adviser. But, history demonstrates that long-term investors do well, following a strategic asset allocation with targeted rebalancing.

More to come, after Congress passes its third (and most significant) package to address the impact of the Coronavirus. I expect it will be enacted sometime next week.
 
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Thank you.
Ron
Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP
Personal Financial Advisor
Scholar Financial
 Email (preferred):
   Ron@ScholarFinancial.com (clients and prospective clients)
   Ron.Rhoades@wku.edu (students and others)
Phone (cell) or text me at:
   352.228.1672

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Free Training and Podcasts/Blogs, and Reading List, for Finance / Investments / Personal Finance / Soft Skills Development - for College Students

Dear Investments / Personal Financial Planning Student Scholars:

If you have “spare time,” and if you desire to learn more about the financial planning and investment professions and recent developments, there are a wide variety of resources available to you – for free.

Some Free Training Courses for Essential Finance Skills:


  • MoneyGuide Pro and eMoney financial planning software - online free training for college students. Please contact Professor Head.

Here’s a list of blogs, podcasts, books, etc. – that I hope you will explore, in the weeks ahead.

Michael Kitces’ Blog. Consider subscribing (for free) to, and reading each week, Michael Kitces’ Nerd’s Eye View “Weekend Reading.” Visit https://www.kitces.com/. Michael Kitces is the most widely-read commentator in the personal financial planning space today.

Advisor Perspectives has some excellent articles, found at www.advisorperspectives.com. Subscribe (for free) to receive emails of new articles, commentaries that are posted. The Discussion Boards on articles can be quite illuminating, as well. After subscribing, check out: www.apviewpoint.com.

Podcasts and Videos. There are many podcasts, and similar online videos, that illustrate what is going on – and how individual financial planning and investment advisory firms are communicating to their clients during this time. And some firms have weekly podcasts. Watching these, and reading firm communications, can provide you with real insights for the future. Severe market downturns will likely occur several times during your career. Observing current communications can foster the development of your approach, in future years. For examples, see:

Financial Economist Blogs. I like to listen to, and read, blogs and videos from some investment researchers and economists I respect (or, at least, challenge my thinking from time to time), such as:

Other Blogs for Financial Advisors: Also, check out Michael Kitces’ “Top 50 Financial Advisor Blogs”: https://www.kitces.com/top-financial-advisor-blogs-and-bloggers/

Recommended Books. 
  • Storytelling for Financial Advisors, by Scott West and Mitch Anthony
  • Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions, by Gerd Gigernzer
  • Advice That Sticks: How to give financial advice that people will follow, by Moira Somers
  • Financial Planning 3.0, by Dick Wagner
  • The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham
  • Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street, by Peter Bernstein
  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton Malkiel
  • The Behavior Gap, by Carl Richards
  • Common Sense on Mutual Funds, by John C. (“Jack”) Bogle (best read when you are freshman or sophomore, before taking FIN 331; it is an easy, but important, read)
  • Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter, by Dan Ariely
  • Your Complete Guide to a Successful and Secure Retirement, by Larry Swedroe and Kevin Grogan
  • The New Retirementality: Planning Your Life and Living Your Dreams...at Any Age You Want (2020 edition) By Mitch Anthony
  • The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley
  • The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio, by William Bernstein
  • Winning the Loser’s Game (7th edition, 2017), by Charles D. Ellis

YouTube Videos for Professional Development: (just search for the title, as set forth below). Challenge yourself to think differently, and learn the secrets to success in all phases of your life.
  • Dr. James Maas: Sleep for Success (12:06)
  • Dr. Maas on Sleeping for Success (3:47)
  • What a Good Night’s Sleep Does for the Brain (2:28)
  • Marcus Taylor / Why Expand Comfort Zones (5:51)
  • Sunnier Days Sesame Street PBS NEWSHOUR / Self-Control (9:36)
  • Charlie on Procrastination (4:18)
  • Grit / Angela Lee Duckworth (6:12)
  • Big Talk (6:24)
  • The Skill of Self-Confidence / Dr. Ivan Joseph (13:21)
  • 100 Days Without Fear / Michelle Poler  (15:00)
  • Look Up / Gary Turk (put down your phone) (4:59)
  • “If this video doesn’t convince you to put down your phone, nothing probably will” (3:28)
  • 8 secrets of success / Richard St. John (3:25)
  • An Experiment in Gratitude: The Science of Happiness (7:13)
  • Oprah’s Gratitude Journal Ophrah’s Lifeclass (3:38)
  • Shawn Achor / Happiness Advantage (12:29)
  • What makes a good life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness (12:46)
  • Stacy Kramer: The best gift I ever survived (3:17)

As always, if you have any questions, or if you have concerns and don’t know where to turn, then just reach out to one of your professors, or Ms. Doreen Williams-Holmes, by email. During this time of disruption and increased anxiety, we are there for you. We may not always have all the answers, but even then we can connect you with other resources on campus.

ALSO – A Message from WKU’s Counseling Center: “The Counseling Center will remain open this semester, but we will NOT be offering face-to-face counseling sessions in our center. All counseling will be done by phone or computer applications. Students will still be able get quality counseling through these applications. This allows students and staff to continue social distancing and reduce their exposure to the virus. Our staff counselors will be working from home as well. Please feel free to call the Counseling Center with any questions you may have about counseling (270-745-3159). We encourage students who want to begin counseling, call our center to make an appointment. We will take some information from you over the phone and then connect you with a counselor who will call you.”

Thank you,
Dr. Rhoades

Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP®
‘Da Bear
Director, Personal Financial Planning Program
Asst. Professor – Finance
Gordon Ford College of Business
Western Kentucky University
Stimulating the Minds of the Next Generation
Of Outstanding Personal Financial Planners

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

6th Update on the Coronavirus: Some Hope, But Much Cause for Concern

Wednesday, March 19, 2020 - 10:00 p.m. CT

Another Special Update from Scholar Financial

More Insights Into the Coronavirus

Summary

As we learn more and more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), there is hope … but there is also cause for concern.

According to one study, while the rates of severe illness and mortality (death) increase with age, even young adults have significant risk. Approximately 2-4% of those younger adults (ages 20-44) who catch the Coronavirus will end up in intensive care units (if beds are available).

And, it may be necessary for most of the population to undertake social distancing for many months, according to another study.

The U.S. Congress is putting together a $1 Trillion stimulus package, to keep the economy afloat. I suspect that even more stimulus will be needed, throughout 2020, and perhaps even into 2021.

There are many brave essential souls who are transporting and selling groceries, prescriptions, and other necessaries. And delivering health care, often without adequate supplies and other resources.

Let us hope that many of us who are working at home, or furloughed already, can return to work within the next 2-3 months.

Regardless, I do believe our economy will adjust. Retail deliveries will substantially increase, not just for necessaries but for other goods. Safety measures will be put in place to permit even more individuals to return to work in our factories, stores, and offices in the months ahead. We can and will find ways to adapt - and survive. Because thats what we do. In times of crisis, we pull together. Our innovative nature drives forth solutions.

The Hope.

The hope lies in our ability to roll out many more test kits within a couple of weeks. It appear that 80% of those who are younger and who get the disease will have little or no symptoms.

And it seems (though this is far from certain) that those who get the disease may have protection from getting it again … at least anytime soon. That would permit those who have had the disease to “get back to work,” so to speak. (Although, of course, many “essential” workers – especially in health care, and those transporting and providing necessary goods to us – are still working.

Additionally, it appears increasingly likely that summer heat and humidity may deter the spread of the disease.

Even the Young Can Get Severely Ill. 

However, the concern lies in the 20% who do suffer symptoms. A CDC report, released today, can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912e2.htm?s_cid=mm6912e2_w
The report states: “This first preliminary description of outcomes among patients with COVID-19 in the United States indicates that fatality was highest in persons aged ≥85, ranging from 10% to 27%, followed by 3% to 11% among persons aged 65–84 years, 1% to 3% among persons aged 55-64 years, <1% among persons aged 20–54 years, and no fatalities among persons aged ≤19 years.”

But, the report goes on to state, however, that 1 in 7, and perhaps as much as 1 in 5, of those between the ages of 20 and 44 who contract the Coronavirus require hospitalization. And between 2% and 4% of those ages 20 to 44 will be admitted to intensive care units (providing, of course, beds are available).
In other words, even younger adults are at risk.

While the fatality rate for those ages 20-44 is only about 0.1% to 0.2%, that range is from 1 in 1000, to 1 in 500. Not an insignificant risk.

Why Social Distancing Needs to Be Everywhere.

The epidemiological study that spurred on the widespread adoption of social distancing (i.e., stay at home if possible; don’t congregate with others) has now been released. Read the study at:  https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf.

The report notes that “mitigation” strategies are insufficient, stating: “We find that that optimal mitigation policies (combining home isolation of suspect cases, home quarantine of those living in the same household as suspect cases, and social distancing of the elderly and others at most risk of severe disease) might reduce peak healthcare demand by 2/3 and deaths by half. However, the resulting mitigated epidemic would still likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and health systems (most notably intensive care units) being overwhelmed many times over. For countries able to achieve it, this leaves suppression as the preferred policy option.”

The report then looks at “suppression” as a strategy, instead, and states: “We show that in the UK and US context, suppression will minimally require a combination of social distancing of the entire population, home isolation of cases and household quarantine of their family members ... The major challenge of suppression is that this type of intensive intervention package – or something equivalently effective at reducing transmission – will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more) – given that we predict that transmission will quickly rebound if interventions are relaxed.

In Conclusion.

Reach out (via email, lext, phone, FaceTime, Skype, etc.) to your family and friends. In times of unique stress, as we are experiencing, talking with those whom we know, and letting them know we care, can be a powerful form of medicine.

And practice self-help. Get exercise, each and every day. Meditate. Write in a gratitude journal (or app). Eat healthily. Get plenty of sleep.

Together we will get through these times. The road may be long, or at least seem that way. But there is a bright horizon ahead, even if we don’t know - at present - precisely where it lies.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. 
Thank you, Ron 
Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP
Personal Financial Advisor
Scholar Financial
 Email (preferred):
Ron@ScholarFinancial.com (clients and prospective clients)
Ron.Rhoades@wku.edu (students and others)
Phone (cell) or text me at:352.228.1672

5th Update: What I Learned About the Coronovirus From a Webinar Hosted by Advisor Perspectives (3/18/2020)


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - Update #5 - on the Coronavirus itself

Dear Clients, Students, Colleagues, Family and Friends:

I listened today to a webinar hosted by Advisor Perspectives, with Julie Parsonnet, a professor of medicine from Stanford University, who provided some insights on the Coronovirus.

I'm not a physician, of course. And different viewpoints may exist, within the medical community.

Nevertheless, here is a summary of the webinar content, which I hope better informs you.

Most people who are infected have no symptoms.

The virus stays in the upper respiratory tract. But 20% get significant symptoms. And a subset of these become very severe cases. There are effects of the virus on not just the lungs, but the heart.

This virus spreads very, very easily. There is some evidence that those infected may be transmitting the disease for longer than 2 weeks after they become infected (for those who have little or no symptoms). 

The older you are, the higher the mortality rate. Those who are over 80 are “massively at risk” – 15 times greater risk - as their immune system responses are generally lower. The increased risk appears at the age of 50, and over (and perhaps the age of 40).

Those who have hypertension, obesity, underlying lung diseases, asthma, heart conditions, are at greater risk. Anyone with a depressed immune system, as well. (But the greatest risk is for over the age of 80.)

Italy has a high mortality rate, due to the high average age of their population. (A lot of Italians, percentage-wide, are over the age of 60.) Italy did not “close down” quickly, leading to an overwhelming of the health care system in Italy.

Should you receive packages?

A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine that was published on March 17th indicated that the virus remains on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on glass and stainless steel for 2-3 days or longer.

So, it is essential to clean those surfaces.

If you receive a delivery of an item shipped 72 hours (or longer) before, don’t worry about becoming infected.

[Note: Thus far, experts have said there isn’t any reason to believe the coronavirus can be spread through food. But, the packages the food is shipped in may be able to spread the coronavirus. Also, eat the food while it is hot … when food is at room temperature, bacteria growth accelerates.]

How to stop the spread.

If everyone stayed at home, this pandemic would die out. Social distancing, in the ideal world, is the best means to contain this disease. But, some people have to deliver food, render medical care, deliver mail, etc.

Hand-washing with soap and water (works better than hand sanitizers) and not touching your face are important. If you go out, having gloves on will help you to not touch your face and provide a barrier. Does not matter, really, what types of gloves.

Closing schools may be a mistake, in communities where there is not an outbreak. It is believed that children rarely get sick from the disease, and they may not be very good “vectors” of the disease.

Dentists are at very high risk, and most dentist offices in areas that have confirmed cases have shut down except for emergency.

Having food delivered is better than going to the market. But, wash the food (such as fruit), upon receipt, as many persons may have handled it. Or wash the outside of cans.

Masks are not very effective, as long as social distancing. A little protection may exist, but not a lot.

However, if you live in a household with someone who is infected, the infected person should wear a mask.

Health care providers need masks, as well – and there are not enough of them. Training for health care providers on the Coronavirus is being delayed, due to shortage of masks.

There are still not enough tests in the U.S.

Health experts would like have enough tests to be able to test people without symptoms, as a means of trying to further limit community infection. 

The big obstacle to having enough tests is the reduced supply of reagents (chemicals needed to run the tests), and sampling equipment (such as nose swabs).

We don’t have an antibody test yet, to show us who have been exposed. If that is developed, and if those who have had the disease won’t get the virus again, then those persons could return into the workplace. We don’t know how close we are to having an antibody test.

We should have much better testing in about two weeks, which will help screen those who are arriving from traveling abroad, etc.

The potential overwhelming of health care systems is the reason everyone needs to act to reduce the spread of the disease.

Physicians and hospitals in some areas of Washington State and California are already running out of equipment, gowns, and gloves, and other shortages have occurred in other areas.

One of the problems is that there are very few “negative pressure” rooms in hospitals, which makes it difficult to quarantine infected patients. Huge strains on our health care system are very probable.

Health care experts expect that those who have had the virus will develop some form of protective immunity to it, similar to other viruses. But this is not certain at this time. And how much protective immunity exists may vary by person.

Are There Treatments to Reduce the Mortality Rate?

There are indications that a drug, Remdesivir, may have benefits for those who have severe symptoms. Another new drug in China may have significant benefits 

Other medications, already on the market, may have benefits in decreasing the severity and duration of the illness.

But more research is needed.

When Will a Vaccine Be Ready?

Any vaccine under development will be fast-tracked. There are vaccines in clinical trials already, in humans (Phase I trials for safety). Realistic, it will be 12-18 months before a vaccine is ready, although hope exists that this might be a bit less (but not a great deal less). It will not be in the next few months.

The current flu shot does not provide protection against this COVID-19 Coronavirus. But it does prevent against the seasonal flu, and people are encouraged to get the vaccine – which will help to reduce the strain on the health care system.

How Long Will Self-Isolation Last?

China may be a model. China has started to re-open stores and factories, after 2-3 months of closures. But we don’t know if there will a significant increase in the number of infections, in China, as a result of these re-openings. China is clearly several weeks ahead of us, or even a couple of months ahead of us, in having the disease spread and then in addressing the disease, so watching what goes on there will provide lessons for Americans.

It may take a month, or several months, before it is safe to go back to work, for most persons, according to the speaker.

For example, if a test is available to discern those who have already been infected, and if those who have been infected develop protective immunity that prevents them from being re-infected, then those persons will be able to get “back to the office or factory” sooner.

Also, as the weather heats up, and we have higher humidity, the virus may become harder to spread, and easier to contain. But health experts don’t know this, for certain, yet.

More Diseases to Come?

This particular virus came from a bat, that invested another wild animal that is prized for herbal medicines in China. China has now banned wild animal markets. This may help us reduce the risk of new viruses emerging, but it will not completely stop the emergence of new viruses completely.

[Where can I go to get more information?]

There are many resources available. 

The most authoritative one might be from the Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

4th Update from Scholar Financial: Examining the Relationship Between Decreased Portfolio Values, Expected Returns, and the Retirement Rate of Withdrawal


The Coronovirus, the Economy, and the Markets
From Dr. Ron Rhoades
EMAIL: ron@scholarfinancial.com (clients)
EMAIL: ron.rhoades@wku.edu (students, family, friends)
Text #; Cell Phone #: 352.228.1672

Tuesday, March 17th
Dear Clients, Students, Family and Friends:
This communication is designed to update you on the Coronavirus(COVID-19) and its potential impacts upon you. In this 4th “Special Report” since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, I first seek to relay additional information on the importance of self-isolation (for those who can).
I then provide some perspective on valuations of equities (stocks, in particular stock asset classes) and the expected returns of various asset classes. As you will read, when market valuations go down, then the future long-term estimated returns of investments go up.
Don’t panic. The world is not ending … But do – have a plan.

The World is Different … for a Year or Longer.
The world is different – at least for a while. For many Americans the next few months will be difficult, as huge changes have and will occur within our society as to how we work and play.
And, most likely, many of those changes will need to be maintained for the next year. Health experts are reaching a consensus that the Coronavirus infections will peak sometime around early May, but infections will continue thereafter. After a reduction of the number of infections during the Summer, new infections of the Coronavirus will accelerate in the Fall. Hopefully a vaccine will be available, but predictions remain that such a vaccine is highly unlikely until about a year from now.
I’m reminded of a quote from William Crawford Gorgas, a U.S. Army surgeon who contributed greatly to the building of the Panama Canal by introducing mosquito control to prevent yellow fever and malaria. He wrote, “In times of stress and danger such as come about as the result of an epidemic, many tragic and cruel phases of human nature are brought out, as well as many brave and unselfish ones.”
I am already amazed at the courage of so many health care professionals, who have committed themselves to working long hours in the months ahead to care for others.
And the bravery extends further. To those who work to deliver necessary goods and services to us all. For example, our food distribution system cannot shut down; it can only somewhat adapt. So, kudos to those who work transporting and selling groceries and other necessaries, despite the risks of working around others.
Let us hope that, with this pandemic, the best of human nature will be brought out, and that – despite our fears – we can avoid the selfishness seen in past pandemics.

Why Is Social Distancing and
Self-Isolation Important?

The U.S. health system is about to be overwhelmed.
But we can lessen the mortality rate of the Coronavirus, by lessening the demand on our health care system.
Our goal, as a society, is to avoid a huge upsurge in cases, as was seen in Philadelphia in 1918, when city officials did not undertake sufficient measures to limit the quick spread of the virus.
The Coronavirus leads to pneumonia-like symptoms. Many patients will need intensive care, and will need to be put on a respirator. But there are not enough intensive care beds … nor respirators … nor other types of medical supplies.
As a result, it is incumbent upon all of us to, by every means possible, to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. So that, when shortages occur, there will be far fewer decisions which have to be made by physicians – as to who lives and who dies.
How I Am Adapting.
“Have a plan.”
Those were my words from my last Special Update. Permit me to convey how I am adapting, as I work from home.
Adequate and consistent sleep. A set bedtime. A morning alarm. An adequate amount of sleep, and a consistent sleep schedule, is very important for one’s overall health. 
Walking, 30 minutes, twice a day. At 11:00am CT, and again at 3:30pm CT, I am taking 30-minute walks in my neighborhood. I am fortunate to live in a wonderful suburban neighborhood of single-family homes, with sidewalks and low traffic. If another person is walking and is approaching, I move into the street to maintain social distancing, and then wave and/or chat from a safe distance.
Longer trips to public parks – with trails to explore – are likely. In Kentucky, there are many areas to visit that are infrequently visited by others.
Sunshine, Meditation, and My Gratitude Journal. In addition to my walks, as the weather gets warmer, I hope to sit out in the sun, soak up some rays, and undertake some quiet meditation, for thirty minutes each day. I will continue to also record things that I am grateful for each day.
To get into the habit of being thankful for what we have, I encourage you to start a “gratitude journal.” Write down three things you are grateful for, each day. There are also gratitude “apps” available for smart phones and other devices.
Eating Healthy. Not being one who is used to being at home for days on end, I have to consciously watch my food intake. Adequate nutrition is essential for good health.
I have plenty to keep me busy!
Investment portfolios to monitor. Financial advice to provide. Economic, investment, and other research. Writings, phone calls, and other communications to clients.
Classes to re-design, and new lessons to prepare, for the balance of this semester. Including recording many videos for my students to watch. Then, quite possibly, preparing for online classes for next Fall.
Finding new ways to provide experiential learning opportunities for my students. For example, rather than taking field trips in a van with 10 students, I will be reaching out to financial advisors to schedule video conferences for my students. I hope many of them will view this as an opportunity to learn more about the profession. For many, observing how financial advisors are dealing with this economic crisis will be a powerful learning experience.
Many longer writing projects exist, which will receive my attention as time becomes available. My first major project is a textbook on Personal Finance, for first-year university students. I hope to have this completed by July, for use in my instruction next year. My second major writing project is a book on How to Choose Your Financial Advisor, which I hope to complete by year-end. Along the way, some other writing projects (a fiction book, public advocacy briefs, and chapters on investment due diligence) will attract my attention.
What I will miss.
Seeing my clients, this year. Phone calls and video chats (via Skype) will take the place of in-person visits during 2020. Because I don’t won’t to take any risk that I might capture the Coronavirus and spread it to any others.
Seeing my students, in-person, during classes and in mentoring. I love the interaction that can exist in the classroom environment. Because some students lack fast internet access, or are not used to taking online classes, many of my remaining lessons this semester will be recorded, rather than using video conferencing. That may change, by Fall. While I can and will use video conferencing (and emails, texts, and phone calls) to communicate with students one-on-one, I will miss being in the classroom and being available to students in my office.
Travel. I love to explore, and especially to view natural wonders and to visit historic places. That will be put on hold for the remainder of 2020.
Business plans. I plan to retire in 15 years or so. In anticipation of my eventual retirement, this year I had begun to visit firms and interview advisors. I have the goal of  either joining a like-minded firm (with shared values – especially as to taking care of my clients, and shared investment philosophy, and where I might bring value to a firm), or alternatively taking on a partner. My goal of achieving this by year-end will be pushed back by a year, and a new goal of either identifying a firm to join, or identifying a partner (and a few of my former students are candidates, in this regard), by the end of 2021 (instead of this year) has been adopted.
Live Life as Large as Possible.
While each of our lives will be disrupted this year, often in major ways, I encourage each of you to “have a plan” for the months ahead.
Adopt S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
Plan out each day, and/or week.
Find new ways to reach out to others (Facetime, Skype, or other video communications – or by writing those good, old-fashioned handwritten letters).
Be available to others … to listen, to mentor, and if the need arises, to empathize and console.
Live life to the fullest, under the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

“My Nest Egg is Endangered!”
Don’t panic ... Permit me to explain.
No one likes to see a 32% drop in U.S. stock market prices, as we have seen from the peak values seen earlier this year. And the effects of negative economic growth will hurt, for years to come, both in the U.S. and globally.
But, the reality is that your retirement income stream – i.e., the cash flows derived from your accumulated investment portfolio – are not substantially changed as a result of a large stock market drop.
In the pages that follow I’ll re-explore what works, and what does not work, when market declines occur. And, along the way, I’ll provide some insights into valuation levels of U.S. stocks, currently.

The “Fight-or-Flight” Response … and How to Counter Same.
During times when our financial security blanket – i.e., our “retirement nest egg,” is under threat, our hard-wired brain lets loose with emotions. In the 1930s, Walter Bradford Cannon identified the fight-or-flight response that occurs in reaction to perceived harmful events. It is an actual physical response triggered by a change in brain chemicals that drives us to act without any thought. It is our instinct and happens automatically.
While the fight-or-flight mechanism may have served us well during the hunter-gatherer times of human history, when large predatory animals existed, this same mechanism can be counter-productive when it comes to your investment portfolio. Why?
            When the stock market goes down, you have an urge to “flee” – i.e., to sell.
            Either that, or you desire to fight – i.e., to kill your financial advisor. (Let’s not go there!)
The legendary value investor Benjamin Graham, whose principles of investing are still taught 70 years after they were first developed, often liked to point out that when the market goes on sale, no one likes to buy. And when the market is exuberant (i.e., has gone up significantly in value), and is expensive, everyone likes to buy. Warren Buffet, a disciple of Ben Graham, often repeats this observation.
What should you do, rather than adhere to the “fight-or-flee mechanism”?
            Repeat after me …
                        Buy low. Sell high.
            Now, repeat after me again.
                        BUY LOW. SELL HIGH.
Of course, you might inquire why, if the market is going down, you should not just “get out” until later. But that involves two really big decisions … when to sell, and when to buy.
The historical evidence demonstrates that, due to behavioral biases and other limitations all humans possess, the track record of “getting out and getting back in” is fairly dreadful.
To overcome the benefits of investing in stocks, for the long-term, you must make really great decisions. You must get out at the right time. You must get back in at the right time. Few investors (and investment advisers) have this ability.
The fact of the matter is … no one has a crystal ball.
The sounder strategy – one that has consistently worked through the ages – is strategic asset allocationfollowed with targeted (or periodic) rebalancing of the portfolio.
This involves, when the stock market is going down in value, buying more stocks (via low-cost, highly diversified stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds) – not knowing if the market will go down further. If the market does go down further, it involves purchasing stocks again. And again, if need be.
Then, when the stock market goes up in value, it involves a disciplined process of taking gains off the table.
The result is a “rebalancing bonus” that is secured for your investment portfolio, which boosts (moderately, but significantly) your portfolio’s returns over the long term.
But only if you adhere to the discipline.
Only if you … BUY LOW, SELL HIGH.
I’m watching my clients’ portfolios carefully at present. And contacting clients when rebalancing or other portfolio actions is needed.
Let us adhere to the discipline. Why? Because it works.
Let’s follow the plan. Your strategic asset allocation, and rebalancing strategies, set forth in your Investment Policy Statement. Why? Because this investment philosophy has withstood the test of time.

Exploring U.S. Stock Market Valuations … and Their Impact Upon Future Returns.
Now, let’s get into some details. For the purpose of providing you with insights into how stock market valuation levels change, and how they affect your portfolio’s future expected returns. And, in turn, how your portfolio’s expected future returns relate to how much you can withdraw from your portfolio.
For nearly twenty years I’ve monitored stock market valuation levels closely, using a variety of techniques. Through the bursting of the “dot-com bubble” (2000-2002) and the “Great Financial Crisis” (2007-2009). And through the upsurge in the stock market, in other periods.
There are many ways to “measure” whether the market – or “asset classes” (such as “U.S. large company stocks” or “U.S. small capitalization value stocks”) – are fairly valued. I have long settled on using price-to-book ratios as my key valuation metric.
But I look at other metrics, also, and survey the views of many other investment researchers. Let’s explore one of these other valuation metrics, that I believe has real utility.
Measuring the “Fair Value” of the U.S. Stock Market Using the Shiller Total Return PE10 Ratio.
One of the most interesting ratios, from the standpoint of predicting future average annualized returns, is known as the Shiller PE Ratio (also known as the Shiller Cyclically Adjusted PE Ratio (CAPE Ratio). This price-earnings ratio methodology smooths out earning over the past 5-year, 10-year, or 15-year periods, with inflation adjustments undertaken.
While the Shiller PE Ratio can be computed for any index, it is most commonly associated with the S&P 500® Index – an index consisting of the 500 largest (more or less) publicly traded companies that are headquartered in the United States. While there are several thousand publicly traded companies that make up the entire publicly traded market (excluding “penny stocks”), the S&P 500 Index covers about 80% of the total value of U.S. publicly traded stocks.
What is interesting about the Shiller PE Ratio is its predictive power. Not as to where stocks might be tomorrow, or a week from now, or a year from now, or even several years from now. But, rather, what the future average annualized returns will be, over a 10-year, 15-year or longer period. 
More recently, a “Shiller Total Return PE 10” ratio has been published by Professor Shiller, which undertakes adjustments due to changes in corporate payout policies. For purposes of this newsletter, I will refer to this adjusted measure as the “Shiller PE10 Ratio.”
The low point of the Shiller PE10 Ratio, over the past 100 years, occurred in December 1920, when the ratio hit a low 6.58. The high-water mark for the ratio was Dec. 1999, when it reached 48.01. 

The median of the Shiller PE10 Ratio varies, depending upon the period measured.
For 1871-2018, the median is:                                   15.77
For 1960-2018, the median is:                                   23.39
For 1990-2018, the median is:                                   27.66

Where does the Shiller PE10 Ratio stand today?                 23.50 (as of close of trading,
                                                                                                            Monday, 3/15/2020).
This suggests that the U.S. stock market is, after the 32% decline seen from its highs, overall reasonably valued.
One of my favorite charts was published seven years ago by Butler|Philbrick & Associates. It shows the predictive power of the Shiller PE10 Ratio (the original version) combined with another ratio known as the Q Ratio, as to future U.S. stock market returns (after adjusting for inflation). This chart demonstrates that, when the Shiller PE10 Ratio (the original version) and Q Ratio are low, expected returns are predicted to be high. And, when comparing those predicted returns against the actual returns seen, there is a close correlation between the two.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Source: Shiller (2011), DShort.com (2011), Chris Turner (2011), World Exchange Forum (2011), Federal Reserve (2011), Butler|Philbrick & Associates (2011). Data as of February 28, 2013. 

What can we conclude from the Shiller PE10 (TR) Ratio, today? Overall, the U.S. stock market is reasonably valued. We can expect, over the next 15-years, that the estimated average annualized return for U.S. stocks, overall, will be close to their long-term 9% to 10%, using historical long-term data. However, I would personally lower this estimate by 1.5% to adjust for factors such as lower population growth in the United States in the future, and higher personal and government debt levels – that will likely lower future U.S. economic growth somewhat.
There is no guarantee that future returns for U.S. stocks, on an average annualized basis, will be in the range of the 7.5% to 8.5%, however. But this assumes “reversion to the mean” of valuation levels occurs at the end of the 15-year period, and assumes that inflation stays around 2% to 2.5%. The potential range of future 15-year average annualized returns likely falls somewhere between -1% and +13% … a very wide range, indeed! But there is a high probability that future U.S. stocks, overall, will return somewhere in the range of 6% to 10% per year (as average annualized returns over the next 15 years).
Warren Buffett’s Measure.
Warren Buffett states that the percentage of total market cap (TMC) of the U.S. stock market, relative to the U.S. Gross National Product (GNP) is “probably the best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment.” 
The raw data for the "Buffett indicator" only goes back as far as the middle of the 20th century. When this ratio is at 100%, it is said that the market is “fairly valued.” When the ratio is above 100%, the U.S. stock market is overvalued, and a ratio of less than 100% indicates an undervaluation.
Jill Mislinski put together a recent chart, showing the fluctuations in the Buffet Indicator. The last number shown is for the end of February 2020.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Source: Jill Mislinski, “Market Cap to GDP: An Updated Look at the Buffet Valuation Indicator.” Advisor Perspectives, March 3, 2020. 
Where does the Buffet Indicator stand, as of now. It stands at 114% (as of 3.17.2020, 10:35 a.m. CT), which indicates a modest overvaluation for U.S. stocks.
Looking Deeper … One Segment of the U.S. Stock Market Remains Overvalued, While Another is Undervalued (Somewhat).
The Value and Size Factors, ExplainedA concise statement of the value factor might be … “Over any given 20-year period of time, a highly diversified basket of value stocks possesses an 80% or greater probability of outperforming a highly diversified basket of growth stocks.” 
Over the past decade (or a bit longer), “growth stocks” (i.e., stocks with higher price-book ratios) became significantly overvalued, while “value stocks’ (i.e., stocks with lower price-book ratios) became only modestly overvalued. While a few pundits have opined that the “price factor” (also known as the “value risk premium” or “value factor”) is no longer meaningful, I disagree. There exists a strong risk-based explanation behind this factor, making it difficult to “arbitrage” away. Those whose research and writings I respect (including Rob Arnott, the researchers at Dimensional Funds, Professors Fama and French, and Larry Swedroe) all agree that the price (value) factor still possesses meaning.
There is also a size (small cap) factor. A concise statement of the size factor might be … “Over any given 20-year period of time, a highly diversified basket of small company stocks possesses an 80% or greater probability of outperforming a highly diversified basket of large company stocks.”
The academic research supporting the size factor is strong, but the size factor is not as robust as the value factor. Interestingly, however, historically the value factor is stronger in small cap universe of publicly traded stocks (i.e., U.S. stocks with market capitalizations – the total value of outstanding stock – of $50 million to about $3 billion) than in the large cap universe of publicly traded stocks (i.e., U.S. stocks with market capitalizations over about $12 billion or greater). 
Let’s return to looking at the valuation of U.S. stocks. But this time we compare “U.S. Large Cap Growth stocks” with “U.S. Small Cap Value stocks.”
The Methodology, Explained. I utilize price-to-book ratio data for six different U.S. stock asset classes that can be discerned from various FTSE Russell U.S. indexes. This data goes back to early 1978. I have gathered this data, over the years, from various sources. The most recent data on price-book ratios is discerned from the iShares exchange-traded funds web site, for each asset class.
I then utilize the Fama-French research indexes, for my historical returns data. I then make several adjustments to expected future returns: (1) for a lower projected future rate of inflation (2.0% vs. 3.76% long-term historical average); (2) lower U.S. economic growth, due to reduced growth rate of the U.S. population and high personal and government debt burdens; and (3) for certain “factors” (size factor, price factor) I make adjustments to reflect a likely less robustness of the factor, as knowledge of the factor is more widely known today. I do not undertake any adjustments, however, for the use of other factors by some of the mutual funds utilized in my clients’ portfolios (such as the profitability factor, momentum factor, and investment factor), even those might suggest a long-term modest boost to the returns of those funds.
The Results.
Using data from the close of trading on Monday, March 16, 2020 (a day when the overall U.S. stock market was down about 12% in value), I find:
            U.S. large company stocks are fairly valued, at present.
            U.S. large company growth stocks remain overvalued, by 10% to 35%.
            U.S. small company value stocks are undervalued, by 30% to 40%.
The valuation levels of these and other asset classes also lead me, with the adjustments noted in my methodology, above, to these estimates of future expected returns, over the next 15-year period:
ASSET CLASS
Estimated expected average annualized returns over next 15-years, using March 16 2020 4:00pm valuation levels
U.S. large company growth stocks
4.6%
U.S. large company stocks
7.4%
U.S. large company value stocks
9.0%
U.S. small company growth stocks
6.6%
U.S. small company stocks
11.3%
U.S. small company value stocks
12.5%
Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Estimates of future returns are just that – estimates. Actual average annualized returns will be different. Returns will vary significantly from year to year. Data based on methodology, and using sources, as noted above, and using proprietary adjustments made by the author.


How Do Changes in Valuation Levels, Which Affect Future Returns, Affect the Amount I Can Withdraw from My Retirement Portfolio?

Here is an example of a retirement income projection done using data in early January 2020. Figures that will change (in the chart on the next page) are highlighted in yellow. Data is shown as of December 31, 2019.
Asset Class
Expected Average Annualized Return over Next 15 years
Target Asset Allocation
Contribution to the Portfolio’s Returns
U.S. large cap stocks
0.5%
20%
0.10%
U.S. small cap value stocks 
10.3%
30%
3.09%
International mid-cap/small-cap value stocks 
7.0%
10%
0.70%
SWAN exchange-traded fund
4.5%
20%
0.90%
Bond fund and/or CDs
2.5%
20%
0.50%
Expected return, gross:
5.29%
Less mutual fund (0.35% estimated)
and Scholar Financial’s financial planning 
and investment advisory fees (maximum of 1%):
(1.35%)
Investment Portfolio Net Return:
3.94%
Plus expected rebalancing bonus:
0.60%
Net estimated average annualized return, over 15 years:
4.54%
Estimated Inflation, over time:
(2.20%)
Projected rate of withdrawal, with annual increases in the amount withdrawn to account for inflation, and with very high probability of not outliving the portfolio:
2.34%
Expected average annualized returns are not guaranteed. SWAN ETF is an exchange-traded fund that invests 85% to 90% in U.S. Treasuries, with the remaining amount invested into call options on the S&P 500 Index. Please refer to the prospectus of the fund for further information. Expected returns of the SWAN ETF, and all other asset classes shown, are based upon a proprietary analysis undertaken by Ron A. Rhoades.
For a $1,000,000 portfolio, applying the rate of withdrawal indicated above, this suggests a reasonable rate of withdrawal, for an early retiree (ages 60 or less), is $23,400 per year initially, growing each year at a rate equal to the actual rate of inflation.
Now, here is the same portfolio, using updated data – different expected returns, reflective of changes in valuation levels and changes in value of the underlying funds through March 16, 2020. Note that in addition to higher stock asset class returns, the long-term returns for bond funds and CDs have been lowered, to reflect lower interest rates now seen in the marketplace.
Asset Class
Expected Average Annualized Return over Next 15 years
Target Asset Allocation
Contribution to the Portfolio’s Returns
U.S. large cap stocks
(25.83% decline in value, year-to-date)
4.6%
20%
0.92%
U.S. small cap value stocks
(42.51% decline in value, year-to-date)
12.5%
30%
3.75%
International mid-cap/small-cap value stocks (37.71% decline in value, year-to-date)
9.0%
10%
0.90%
SWAN exchange-traded fund
(3.20% decline in value, year-to-date)
4.5%
20%
0.90%
Bond fund and/or CDs
(no changes in valuations assumed)
2.0%
20%
0.40%
Expected return, gross:
6.87%
Less mutual fund (0.35% estimated)
and Scholar Financial’s financial planning 
and investment advisory fees (maximum of 1%):
(1.35%)
Investment Portfolio Net Return:
5.52%
Plus expected rebalancing bonus:
0.60%
Net estimated average annualized return, over 15 years:
6.12%
Estimated Inflation, over time:
(2.20%)
Projected rate of withdrawal, with annual increases in the amount withdrawn to account for inflation, and with very high probability of not outliving the portfolio:
3.92%
Expected average annualized returns are not guaranteed. SWAN ETF is an exchange-traded fund that invests 85% to 90% in U.S. Treasuries, with the remaining amount invested into call options on the S&P 500 Index. Please refer to the prospectus of the fund for further information. Expected returns of the SWAN ETF, and all other asset classes shown, are based upon a proprietary analysis undertaken by Ron A. Rhoades.

For a $680,020 portfolio (a reduced amount, reflective of the decline in the stock markets from January 1, 2020 through March 16, 2020), applying the newly computed rate of withdrawal indicated in the chart above, this suggests a reasonable rate of withdrawal, for an early retiree (ages 60 or less), is $26,657 per year initially, growing each year at a rate equal to the actual rate of inflation.
As seen, the estimated amount to be withdrawn from the portfolio is not very different – only about a 10% to 15% variance (which is within the range of estimation errors).
In other words, since expected returns of stock asset classes have substantially increased, since the first of the year, this will offset the lower value of the investment portfolio that has resulted from this sudden, and severe, stock market decline.
There are many assumptions that make this analysis work, however. Foremost is the need to rebalance the investment portfolio. Second, in the event of a “Great Depression” the cash flow needs may increase; in this instance a “layer cake” approach to pulling monies from the portfolio would be undertaken. In other words, the bond fund/CDs, and then the SWAN exchange-traded fund, would be liquidated first, in order to permit the years necessary for the stock values to recover.

“I am still working. How does this affect me?”
You are lucky, if you still are working and have a paycheck.
You are also “lucky” – at least in the sense that as long as you continue to save and contribute funds to your investment portfolio (such as by funding your 401k or 403b account, or by other means), you are now buying stocks at much more reasonable values than just a few months ago.

IN CONCLUSION.

Writing the foregoing 16 pages, and doing the analysis, took about seven hours. I’m returning now to my investment portfolio reviews, and to formulating new assignments for my classes.
As I reflect on the changes in my life, it occurs to me that staying at home, as I am likely to do at least through the mid-summer months, is a glimpse at my “retirement” should it occur in about 15 years.
I’ll hopefully never fully “retire” – as I hope to continue my research and writings indefinitely.
But I will likely be staying home. And I’ve always wondered if, despite the profound love my wife and I have for each other, whether we can peacefully co-exist in the same house, 24 hours a day, each and every day.
I’m now two days into this “Grand Experiment” – i.e., seeing what a life at home, full-time, would look like. Things are going well! 
I wonder how Cathy and I will feel about all this – several weeks or months from now! Will we still be talking to each other? Or, will Cathy poison me, and collect all that life insurance she has on me. (Somehow, she knows the precise amount of the death benefit ... I don't even keep track of that!)
Again, at any time, if you have questions, please drop me a line.

Thank you, and be safe!

Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP®
Personal Financial Advisor
Scholar Financial, a fee-only investment advisory firm
Email (preferred):       Ron@ScholarFinancial.com (for clients, prospective clients)
                                    Ron.Rhoades@wku.edu (for students and everyone else)
Cell phone or text:      352.228.1672