This spot-on predictor of who will win the 2020 presidential election is not the stock market or even opinion polls

Does the stock market predict the winner of U.S. presidential elections? Many argue that it does, pointing to the historical correlation between the incumbent party retaining the White House and the stock market’s strength in the months leading up to Election Day in November.

Given President Donald Trump’s preoccupation with the stock market, he apparently agrees. Recently he tweeted that if he’s not re-elected, investors’ 401(k)s will disintegrate and disappear — though one major Wall Street firm sees quite a different outcome for retirement savers if Trump’s presumptive challenger Joe Biden is elected.

Read: How to position your portfolio for a Joe Biden presidency

I’m not so sure about this alleged correlation between the stock market and the incumbent party’s chances of retaining the White House. Consider what I found upon analyzing the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s

return in every U.S. presidential election since 1900. I searched for any correlations between the Dow’s pre-election strength and whether the incumbent political party retaining the White House. I measured that strength over periods as short as the month prior, to as long as the entire year-to-date period (10+ months).

The results do not inspire statistical confidence. While some of the correlations appeared to be impressive, the majority were not significant at the 95% confidence level that statisticians often use when determining if a correlation is real. The lack of any consistent pattern suggests that there is less here than meets the eye, and so investors shouldn’t count out Trump’s re-election chances even if the stock market performs poorly between now and Election Day.

For example, the stock market’s year-to-date strength on Election Day is not correlated with the incumbent party’s chances. Nor is the market’s strength over the eight months leading up to the election. But, strangely, when the focus is on market strength over a period whose length is between these two — specifically, nine months rather than eight or 10 — the result in fact does become statistically significant.

Unless one can come up with a theory why market strength over a nine-month horizon should be predictive of the election outcome, but not over a slightly shorter or longer time horizon, then we should dismiss this apparent correlation.

The same inconsistency emerged when I focused on shorter time periods. The market’s return over the three months prior to the election is significantly correlated with the incumbent party’s chances—but not over the 1-month or 6-month periods prior to Election Day. This is especially important to keep in mind now since a factoid that’s making the rounds on Wall Street right now is that the stock market’s return over the three months prior to elections can predict the outcome.

Watch the betting markets

If these results aren’t enough to lead you to question the stock market’s record as an election handicapper, check out electronic betting markets such as and the University of Iowa’s Iowa Electronic Markets.

These online futures markets allow users to bet on various outcomes, such as whether Trump will win re-election. The futures that trade on these sites are all-or-nothing contracts, paying 100% if the particular outcome comes to pass and nothing if it doesn’t. Accordingly, prices reflect investors’ collective bets about that outcome’s probabilities. Extensive research has found that online betting markets are better at forecasting the presidential election outcome than opinion polls.

Correlating the stock market’s gyrations with those of the Trump contract at, for example, as shown in the chart above, provides insight into what investors collectively think of the president’s re-election chances. As of July 6, the odds of Trump’s winning re-election are 40% — down from above 50% less than three months ago. Over those three months, in contrast, the S&P 500

gained 20%.

These results make it hard to argue that the stock market will decline if Trump’s odds of winning re-election sink even further.

Mark Hulbert is a regular contributor to MarketWatch. His Hulbert Ratings tracks investment newsletters that pay a flat fee to be audited. He can be reached at

More: Here’s the real reason that Mary Trump’s tell-all book matters in the presidential election

Also read: Trump, Biden fight for primacy on social media platforms

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This hidden COVID-19 investment theme is ‘one of the best buying opportunities I have ever seen’

In the hunt for COVID-19 plays, investors have fallen head over heels for “work-at-home” stocks and companies in vaccines and therapies.

This makes sense. But smart investors are looking beyond the classic virus beneficiaries to snap up an unusual lot of COVID-19 stocks — insurers

Unlike favored virus stocks like Zoom Video
Teladoc Health
and Moderna
insurers won’t directly benefit from the virus. Quite the opposite. It looks like they are going to get hit hard by business interruption claims, meddling politicians who want to “socialize” virus-related losses, and a prolonged slowdown that could cripple demand.

But here’s the catch: Investors are overly worried about these concerns. These false fears have driven insurers down to really attractive levels.

While Nasdaq Composite
hits new highs and the S&P 500
and Dow Jones Industrial Average
get closer to their own records, many insurers are down 30% or more year to date. Insurers typically trade at around 1.2 times book value, but they’ve been knocked down to the 0.8 range. The relative performance of Berkshire Hathaway
to the S&P 500 is around a 19-year low.

Despite this terrible performance, underlying industry trends that many investors don’t recognize are about to drive outsized profits at insurers for years.

“This is one of the best buying opportunities I have ever seen, and I have been covering the group since 1998,” says Greg Locraft, an equity analyst for T. Rowe Price. “Don’t worry too much about the individual names. Just get money on the table.”

We’ll get to six names in a second. But first let’s look at the three main reasons why insurers look very really here.

1. Insiders are buying big time

One of the key themes I look for at my stock newsletter Brush Up on Stocks is broad, sector-wide buying by corporate insiders. That’s clearly the case with insurers.

There’s been very large (in many cases $1 million worth or more per company) insider buying at about a dozen insurance companies in the past several weeks. It’s happening across the space, from life insurance and annuity companies to workers’ compensation, home mortgage and auto insurance companies.

The biggest buying has been happening at property and casualty insurers and insurance brokers. They’re the ones that will benefit most by the favorable COVID-19-related trends. So we will focus on those as suggested stocks to consider.

2. The insurance market is turning in favor of the insurers

Insurance company investing calls for a twisted logic: Bad is good. And it looks like things are getting really bad (good) right now. Here’s why.

On top of all the weird storms and wildfires this year, insurers are going to get hit with large COVID-19 related claims. All these claims will cost them money — or capital. In this business, capital is capacity because to write insurance you need money on hand to back potential claims. Whenever capacity declines in an industry, this creates shortages that drive up prices. Those higher prices will be great for insurers and their investors in the coming years.

“The best time to invest in insurers is when they get hit with a lot of losses,” says Ania Aldrich an analyst for Cambiar Aggressive Value Fund
Like now.

Big losses also drive out irrational underwriters and discourage new entrants which also curtails supply, points out Chris Davis who co-manages the Davis Opportunity fund

Meanwhile, all the uncertainty around COVID-19 and the weak economy makes managers and people in general more insecure. So they want more insurance. “People value insurance after they feel a loss,” says T. Rowe Price’s Locraft. “They are going to buy more insurance, and pay more for it.” All of this creates favorable pricing trends for insurers, a dynamic known in the industry as a “hard” market.”

“You have classic hard market emerging in property and casualty insurance, and it is the first hard market since 2001,” says Locraft. “That is why insurance insiders are buying. They know it. They see it. And they’re buying it.”

Insiders who were recently buying confirm this. “We expect that market pricing will continue to remain strong, to allow the industry to absorb the higher losses that are expected to emerge from this pandemic,” Axis Capital Holdings
CEO Albert Benchimol said in his company’s most recent earnings call.

3. Investors are worried about false issues

First, concerns are high that a wave of lawsuits will force insurers to pay companies for COVID-19 downtime. But this is unlikely. Most business interruption policies include exemptions for pandemics, viruses and bacteria. Payouts also require actual physical damage to property.

One way around this might be to claim that COVID-19 caused “damage” by being present on the surfaces of restaurant tables, office desks and factory equipment. But this probably won’t work. “How do you put COVID in the building when it was shut, and the virus dies in 48 hours? I don’t know,” says Greg. “If it breaks bad, it will be really bad. But my view is they are fine.”

For the second false fear, investors worry there’s a risk that state politicians will pass laws forcing insurers to pay out for virus-related business downtime, even though policies obviate this. This also seems like it will go nowhere. Indeed, politicians in several states are already backing off.

“The politicians will figure out this would be very unprecedented, and they will destabilize the sector if they force insurers to pay for these damages,” says Aldrich at Cambiar Aggressive Value Fund.

Here’s how Benchimol at Axis puts it: If states crippled the industry with forced payouts, who will cover damages from the next big hurricane to hit Miami? No one, unless the insurance industry itself gets bailed out, which would sort of defeat the purpose of making them pay.

Finally, investors are worried about prolonged weak demand for insurance and sustained low returns on investments at insurance companies, given low bond yields, because of an extended sluggish economy.

But if like me, you believe that the huge dollops of stimulus will make the economy rebound nicely, then interest rates and business demand for insurance will follow suit. “The yield curve is steepening and the economy is getting better. And inflationary pressures may build which would make interest rates go higher,” says Todd Lowenstein, an equity strategist at The Private Bank division of Union Bank.

Favored insurance companies

To profit from the bullish insurance sector trends shaping up, consider the following names. Many of them pay decent dividend yields which look secure. In property and casualty, insiders have recently been big buyers at Axis Capital, Selective Insurance Group
and State Auto Financial

Also consider “creative” underwriters like Markel
and Chubb
which are good at coming up with customized specialty lines of insurance for things like classic cars, horse stables and summer camps, says Davis.

Finally, insurance brokers and consultants thrive in a “hard” market where prices and insurance demand go up — like right now. These are fee-based businesses with a decent amount of recurring revenue. Here Davis likes AON
and insiders do, too.

At the time of publication, Michael Brush had no positions in any stocks mentioned in this column. Brush has suggested AXS, SIGI, STFC and AON in his stock newsletter Brush Up on Stocks. Brush is a Manhattan-based financial writer who has covered business for the New York Times and The Economist Group, and he attended Columbia Business School. Follow Brush on Twitter @mbrushstocks.

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Tesla’s stock is forming a bubble and new buyers should buckle up for a crash

“Tesla is a bubble that is going to pop.” That’s the headline of a column I wrote in early February — and I’m repeating that prediction now.

To be sure, I have no expectation that this forecast will come to pass quite as quickly as it did after my early-February column. Over the six weeks following its publication, shares of Tesla

dropped almost 60% in a plunge that admittedly was caused in large part by the coronavirus pandemic-induced bear market. COVID-19 had nothing to do with my forecast then.

Instead, the prediction was based on the sheer magnitude of Tesla’s stock price runup in prior months. According to a model constructed by three researchers at Harvard, the odds of a crash increase in lockstep with how much a stock has gained over the recent past. Put simply, the higher a stock goes, the harder it falls.

How far? The table below reports the crash probabilities that the Harvard researchers calculated based on trailing two-year market-adjusted returns. They defined a crash as a drop of at least 40% over the subsequent two-year period.

Price run-up over prior two years relative to market

Probability of a drop of at least 40% over subsequent two years











When I wrote my early-February column, the odds of Tesla crashing were approaching 80%, since its trailing two-year return relative to the S&P 500

was 134 percentage points. The probabilities of Tesla crashing are even higher now. Tesla’s two-year return is 324 percentage points higher than the S&P 500.

To be sure, the Harvard researchers focused on industries rather than individual stocks. So I am going out on a limb in applying their model in Tesla. How far? For insight, I turned to another study that focused specifically on individual stocks’ crash risks. This (unpublished) study, “Overconfidence, Information Diffusion, and Mispricing Persistence,” was conducted by Kent Daniel, a professor of business at Columbia Business School; Alexander Klos of the Institute for Quantitative Business and Economics Research at the University of Kiel in Germany, and Simon Rottke of the faculty of economics and business at the University of Amsterdam.

The professors focused on those stocks for which there is a reduced amount of the selling pressure that normally keeps their prices in check. Because such stocks are therefore unconstrained, they sometimes can soar into the stratosphere, untethered from economic fundamentals. The researchers found that, after experiencing these huge gains, such unconstrained stocks on average proceeded to lag the market by a cumulative total of 53% over the five years following their price runups. That would certainly satisfy the Harvard researchers’ definition of a crash.

To identify these unconstrained stocks, Daniel and his co-researchers focused on stocks for which there are few short sellers. They did this by identifying stocks for which few shares are available in the security lending market for short sellers to borrow.

This is not the case for Tesla. But there may be another factor that just as effectively discourages the shorts from betting against Tesla: the stock’s extraordinary volatility. That volatility discourages short sellers, since it means that even if they’re right over the long term, they face the not insignificant prospect of outsized paper losses along the way. A recent article in Barron’s, for example, carried the headline “Tesla bears should hide in their caves.”

Tesla’s stock — even if it does well over the long-term — is now too far ahead of itself.

Looking at Tesla stock, it’s worth remembering John Maynard Keynes’ famous line that the market can stay irrational for longer than you can stay liquid. As evidence of the possibility that shorts are being scared away by Tesla’s volatility, consider the number of shares of Tesla stock that have been sold at various points over the last year. In July 2019, for example, Tesla’s open interest (the number of shares sold short but not yet covered) topped 40 million shares. Currently, in contrast, it’s around 15 million shares. That’s odd, since there appears to be no shortage of commentators who still think that Tesla’s stock is in a bubble. Why, then, has there been such a decline in the number of traders shorting the company’s stock?

Needless to say, there’s no way of knowing how much of this reduction was caused by fears of a short squeeze. It could well be that the erstwhile short sellers changed their minds and now believe that Tesla deserves to be the most valuable automobile manufacturer in the world.

That strikes me as an extremely long shot. Both the Harvard research and the Daniel, et. al, paper suggest it’s much more likely that Tesla’s stock — even if it does well over the long-term — is now too far ahead of itself.

Mark Hulbert is a regular contributor to MarketWatch. His Hulbert Ratings tracks investment newsletters that pay a flat fee to be audited. He can be reached at

Read:  Tesla shares at $2,000 is new ‘bull case’ for Morgan Stanley

Plus: Tesla’s stock soars to 4th-straight record as Wall Street’s biggest bear raises price target

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Pioneer of target-date funds looks to the future: hedging and ‘tail-risk’ strategies

Investment-research firm Morningstar recently bestowed an “Outstanding Portfolio Manager” award on Jerome Clark of T. Rowe Price, a pioneer in developing target funds for the Baltimore-based mutual fund giant.

It was recognition for Clark himself, who along with his team members, launched T. Rowe’s first target-date funds in 2002, a year before Vanguard started its own. (Fidelity Freedom Funds began in 1996.) But it also validated how important these funds — which adjust their asset allocations based on how close they are to the target retirement date — have become.

More than $1 trillion in employer-sponsored retirement plan assets are invested in target-date funds, which drew 59% of new contributions to those plans last year, according to Vanguard. They are among the few bright spots for a struggling fund industry. Vanguard is the largest player, with 37% of that market, followed by Fidelity and T. Rowe
with about 13%-14% each, by some estimates.

Clark is currently transitioning from active portfolio management to a broader, more strategic role with the firm, so I thought it was a good time to get his thoughts on where target funds have been and what’s ahead. (He’s also one of the most prominent African-Americans in the fund industry and has a lot to say about how to address the huge, persistent wealth gap between Black and white Americans. We’ll get to that in a future column.)

‘We don’t expect people to know how to do surgery’

Clark believes, as I do, that target funds remain the best overall way to invest for retirement for most people, who have been given the responsibility to manage their own retirement but not the tools to do it properly.

“Just like we don’t expect people to know how to do surgery like a doctor would, in a 401(k) plan we ask a lot of people to do things that they’re just not prepared to do,” he told me.

That includes fund selection, asset allocation and rebalancing along the “glide path” to retirement. ”All those different things, you take it out of their hands and you put it into the hands of a professional,” Clark said.

It can also mitigate what behavioral economists have identified as emotion-driven actions including overconfidence, confirmation bias and the fight-or-flight syndrome.

“They’re just not prepared, they don’t have the investment knowledge and investment experience,” said Clark. “We see behaviors that are what we call suboptimal.”

“Suboptimal” is the fund industry’s euphemism for “self-destructive,” but you get the point.

Avoiding big mistakes

Active mutual fund managers have underperformed for years, but target funds have kept investors from making the very worst mistakes, such as selling at the bottom or buying at the top. Much of it is so automatic — direct withdrawal from paychecks, default investing in a target fund — that investors don’t obsess over it when things go bad. In investing, a little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.

In fact, according to Clark’s colleague, fund manager Joe Martel, since 2006 fewer than 2% of target-fund investors have moved their money even during quarters when the market dropped 5%.

“No matter what environment we’re in, investors at all ages are about four times more likely to react to markets and make trades [outside than] within a target date fund, which is a good thing,” Clark told me.

A new role

In his new role, Clark will be shaping the future of target date funds. T. Rowe recently announced it would be stepping up its equity allocations throughout the glide path to retirement, but not at retirement itself. That’s a bit surprising, since its target funds are the most aggressively invested of the Big Three. Why? Because they say their clients have big shortfalls in retirement assets, and are more likely to run out of money late in life. (I’ve had issues with that thinking for a long time and still don’t completely buy it.)

That’s why Clark is working on some strategies that could hedge the increased risk of holding more stock. They may include techniques such as call writing and fixed income-like vehicles to cushion volatility and provide some insurance against rare, “tail risk” events (like the financial crisis or COVID-19) that might occur just as people retire.

He’s also looking at some hybrid products that combine the target-date framework with elements of separately managed accounts to provide clients with more personalized solutions for the period shortly before as well as during retirement to help them spend wisely what they’ve built up over the years.

T. Rowe Price isn’t the only firm experimenting with more customized target-date products. They represent the next wave in which standard target date funds before retirement are followed by more sophisticated payout funds afterwards — in other words, a synthetic pension, the kind the 401(k) was supposed to replace.

But people want that certainty and security, which is why what goes around looks like it’s coming around again.

Howard R. Gold is a MarketWatch columnist. Follow him on Twitter @howardrgold.

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How is coronavirus changing us? 12 life lessons we are learning

A lot has changed in the last several weeks, and it likely won’t be going back to being completely normal soon. This time at home has taught us a lot, though. I think for many, we are learning life lessons and resetting our priorities.

We need to hang on to these essential life lessons even when we start moving forward and go back to whatever new normal awaits us. Think about it — much of how we lived our lives before this point included a ton of social media, a bunch of keeping up with the Jones’, and a sense of financial security and health invincibility because the stock market was doing well.

We as a society were traveling like crazy and doing all kinds of new things without getting sick; according to the World Tourism Organization, tourist arrivals across the globe were supposed to cross 1.5 billion by this year.

That has all come to a grinding halt. Mother Earth has made us a victim of her latest punishment. We as humans need to not only stay safe and sane during this time (and please do: work to relieve stress, and practice self-care, please), but we also need to take this wake-up call and learn from it. We CANNOT keep going as we were. It’s not sustainable.

So what life lessons am I referring to? I made a list. See if you agree, or if you’d have anything to add.

1. Prioritizing our relationships with family and friends

This is a must, and I don’t think we were doing this enough. Now we are forced to, and I’m sure some families are at each other’s last nerve. But I think we should take a minute and appreciate what we are being given: a chance to reconnect and understand each other. An opportunity to work on our interpersonal relationships, let go of past issues, forgive each other, make new memories and get creative with how we are spending our time together.

Life Lessons: I think this is an essential life lesson to take away. The people closest to you deserve your time and attention, and vice versa. Use this time to reforge these relationships so that you can carry them with you for the rest of ever. No more excuses for not having enough time to do so; we have enough technology at our fingertips to stay connected no matter what.

For those who feel they can’t reach out to family, remember that not every family is made of blood. So find your people, your loved ones, and use this time to strengthen the bonds you do have.

2. The importance of health and wellness

I hope everyone who once took their health and their access to medications for granted now realizes how lucky we’ve been thus far. I also hope everyone says, “OK, time to make health a priority.”

Until you are taking care of yourself, you will not be able to fight not just COVID but any illness.

Life lesson: Take steps now to redefine your view of fitness and health. I’m not saying you need to become a bodybuilder, but pay attention to your food and activity levels, and work on developing healthy habits and build a healthy lifestyle. Think of food like it’s medicine and use it to work for you and keep you fit (versus what a lot of people do with eating fast food and the like, and it makes them ill). Pay attention to your activity and movement.

Take care of yourself now so that your body and mind can fight for you later.

3. Decreasing pollution benefits us and the planet

Climate change is real (polar ice caps are melting, earth’s surface temperatures have increased, sea levels have risen, and the ocean is warmer). This is all due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. One of the good things to come from this situation is that it has put a halt on production and factories have shut down. Thus, air pollution levels are at an all-time low, and animals are coming out to play.

Life lesson: I think this is one of the most important lessons ever. The planet doesn’t need us; we need it. Let’s start respecting the ground we live on and take care of it because by doing so, we will extend our ability to live in it, and we’ll make life better for ourselves.

Read:That 100-degree day in the Arctic underscores how this region is now warming twice as fast as Earth

4. We really don’t need to spend as much as we usually do

How many people under normal circumstances would have online shopped and gone to the mall about five times now? I could probably fall into this category. Spending money is a wonderful stress reliever.

Life lesson: How much of our spending is actually necessary? I’ve saved a lot of money in the last month alone, mainly by not eating out and not buying things I don’t need. Funny thing, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

Hopefully, this has shown us that we don’t need much to be happy, what we have is good enough, and we need to be thankful for it, the rest is just excess and look how easy it is to cut it out of our lives! Those items you thought you couldn’t live without? Guess what, you’re living without them now, and you’re surviving!

So let’s reconfigure how we treat our hard-earned dollars and go forward spending wisely and showing more respect for our money.

Read:How to save money in tough times: 6 do’s and don’ts

5. We need to have an emergency fund

While you’re creating that spending plan, take note of emergency funds. This is the longest rainy day/period ever. For anyone who couldn’t figure out why they needed an emergency fund before, I hope it all makes sense now.

Life lesson: You should have about 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses put away, and it should be untouched except for in an emergency. This might seem like a lot. However, the purpose is to give you a cushion if you lose your job or need some time to transition between jobs. Going forward, this is also your pandemic relief fund. Basically, it’s so that you don’t go into debt or have to sell you prized possessions to get by.

Read:‘I don’t want to be someone in need of cash’: How economic slumps inflicts permanent ‘scars’ on spending and saving

Also:Are you bankrolling your adult kids in a crisis?

6. Career backup plans are important

So many people are suffering pay cuts or losing their jobs during this time. Unemployment topped 13%! A common theme to address this that I’ve noticed is advocating for multiple income streams or starting a side hustle. While I think that’s a viable option, not everyone can do that. Their skill sets don’t allow them to, or they are already bogged down so much by their primary jobs, or there is some other reason.

Life Lesson: Yes, multiple sources of income are one way to cushion yourself in the future, but I think we should all also consider career backup plans going forward. This crisis has shown us that you never know what can happen; even health care is not a secure profession (many people in the front lines are taking pay cuts, as are subspecialty services that only do elective procedures or outpatient care). We all should have an idea of what else we could do with our skills; or what areas we’d be willing to learn so that if we’re forced to, we can pivot.

Times are changing, and more change is coming. We must adapt to these life-changing events and be prepared for any possibility.

Read:Midcareer? Your job is at risk — here’s what to do now

7. Social media exaggerates

How many are completely overwhelmed or frustrated by social media? There’s only so much any brain can take. Now we all have so much time on our hands, and I’m sure much of it is spent online. But, as I’m sure you are finding out, it actually makes this worse.

Life lesson: There’s a lot on social media that is exaggerated, falsified or taken out of context. I had to stop reading stories because of all of these reasons. I hope that everything you read online from here on out, you take with a large grain of salt.

Find trustworthy news outlets to understand the facts; trust the experts who are doing their best and working tirelessly to bring you updates; and most importantly, take a break from your phones. You don’t have to always be connected.

8. Our teachers are so, so important

How many parents are home schooling right now? How many think that poking their eyes out with a hot stick would be less painful?

Life lesson: Our teachers are some of the most essential people in our society. They really work hard and deserve so much more respect and money than they currently get. When schools reopen and we continue moving forward with life, let’s give our teachers a huge shout-out and advocate for their support.

9. We need to slow down

We live in a world that is “go go go.” We are constantly under pressure to be productive, to compete and be better than our peers or ourselves, and to never take breaks. While this has resulted in many of us having successful careers, as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t sustainable. We are burning out, we are getting tired, and we are hiding our depression. In essence, we have lost our work-life balance. We need to get it back and start living our best lives.

Life Lessons: Let’s slow down. We need to live one day at a time and pay attention to where we are at. I know this is much easier said than done, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan for the future. I just think that we need to do a better job of being present and being more mindful. We all know that life is short; let’s wake up from this and try to really enjoy life and make every moment count.

10. Mental health is important

What we’re going through right now, dealing with being confined, coping with boredom, going crazy in our homes, learning to cope with our fears, and struggling to keep our sanity…. some people fight this battle every day, every week, every year. To simplify it further, life is made up of all kinds of nonsensical stuff we have to deal with, and now it’s worse due to the pandemic.

Recent research is showing that over one-third of Americans are suffering from depression and anxiety — an increase from before the pandemic.

Life Lesson: Mental health is an integral part of our health and needs to be continuously addressed, just like our physical health is. It’s not taboo. It’s real, and it’s normal. I hope that this pandemic will bring to light the need to have regular mental-health checks and care.

11. Who we consider essential has changed

I’m sure our perspective has shifted in the last few weeks about who really matters for us to function as individuals and as a society.

Life Lesson: It’s not the online influencers that matter most or the makeup artists that you can’t live without. No, it’s our health-care workers — including everyone who works in a hospital — our minimum-wage workers and the labor force that does all the back-end work that we never notice, and our banks and grocery stores that provide us with the core essentials we can’t survive without.

Let’s all take a minute to recognize these people, be grateful that they exist, and that we have access to them. As we come out of this quarantine, let’s continue to show gratitude, compassion, and kindness for them and recognize their hard work. Let’s change our mindset and take care of them as they care for us. Let’s NOT take them for granted anymore.

12. We are all equal

Illness and natural disasters are great equalizers, and they also highlight the disparities in our society.

Life Lesson: Money, status, fame and looks have no bearing on what happens to you, nor does it protect you in any way. At the end of the day, we are all susceptible to the same human vices, illnesses and consequences.

We need to remember that we are all human.

In summary, the situation, hopefully, is helping you to reprioritize your time and your life purpose. I hope you can use this time to find yourself and realize what truly matters to you and allows you to live your best life.

Let’s carry these lessons with us as we move forward so that we, as a society, are better as a whole because of this experience. Let’s not make the same mistakes we have been making.

Sanjana Vig is a physician anesthesiologist who also has an MBA. She blogs at YouBeThree, with the aim to empower people to be the best version of themselves. This was first published on Your Money Geek, a website that aims to make personal finance fun.

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