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Covid-19Today's message is about how to stop the spread of COVID-19 and how we are changing the show a bit to deal with this crisis.

Transcript below:

Hi, I’m Kathe Kline, the founder of the Rock Your Retirement Show. I’m recording this special episode on Sunday, March 22nd 2020,  and it’s regarding COVID 19.

If this is the first time you’ve listened, understand that today’s show isn’t our normal type of show.  I wanted to talk with you and share some things about this crisis that we are in throughout the world.

Last week I sent everyone on our email list a note about my thoughts.  My husband, Les, and I went on a 9-day cruise that returned on March 15th.  We had already made plans to stop at Costco on the way home to pick up our normal items because we live 2 hours away from a Costco.

You already know that all Hell had broken loose and there was a shortage of toilet paper.

Before I continue, I want to say something about toilet paper.

If you were one of the people who stocked up on it, or if you were one of the people who were concerned that you didn’t have enough, I just want to point out to you that you’ll use much less toilet paper if you spend $100 on a Bidet.  You can spend more money if you want warm water or a blow dryer, but you might want to order a basic bidet converter online and have it delivered.  I’m serious.  If toilet paper is important to you, make your life easier by using less toilet paper.  It’s cleaner too.

OK, rant over.

I know that it’s scary.  We’ve lost a ton of money in the stock market.  Maybe you have too.  So I’m going to be bringing on at least one guest to talk about how to protect ourselves.

We're going to talk about the financial side of how to invest in a bear market, how to handle the fact that a recession is almost inevitable, how to prepare for a possible layoff, and tips for being more productive if you're working from home.

  • If you haven’t retired yet, what should you do?
  • Were you planning on moving overseas?  Joining the Peace Corps?  Which has brought everyone home?
  • Were you planning on using Trusted House Sitters to become a nomad?
  • What about living on a boat or RV?  How will COVID 19 affect those plans?
  • Have you discussed the risk with your spouse, your children, and your parents if they are still living?  Your parents are at great risk.
  • So is my husband, Les.  Not only is he 76 years old, but he is also surviving cancer.  He can’t afford the exposure to the disease, and neither can I due to my own health issues.

I have other family members who are cancer survivors as well.  You likely do too, or at least know some cancer survivors.  Do you worry about them?  I know I do.

What can we do to help?  We’ll be having those discussions as well.

On Friday I paid my cleaning lady to clean my house, but I didn’t have her clean.  On the ship, I gave extra cash tips to my room steward.  Yes, I’m feeling poor with the stock market decline, but I’m trying to be generous.  We all need to be generous right now.

You probably know or come across hourly workers and people who rely on tips for a living.  These service workers are in a serious economic bind right now.  I’ve already had one person tell me that her husband got laid off and they are losing their insurance.

Of course, I’m helping them get on Medicare because they are old enough to do so, but I want to be able to help in other ways too.

I’ve learned from one of my Facebook groups that there are people stranded all over the world that were doing house sits.  The sits got canceled, and now they have nowhere to stay.  People are stepping up with their spare rooms to assist.  This warms my heart.

If you have a spare room and would like to help, I can put you in touch with the group.  Let me know in the Facebook Group that you want to help and I’ll connect you.

If you are listening and haven’t joined our Community yet, go to RockYourRetirement.com/Community for instructions.  It’s free and now is the perfect time to come together.

I don't know how many of these episodes we’ll have.

I’m thinking that I’ll create them as I can.  I have my mom staying with me now, and I’m not sure how long it will be.  She lives in Washington State and we are preparing for them to shut down Seattle airport.  JFK in New York was shut down, so Seattle, which has a higher death rate at this recording, is probably close behind.

No one knows how long it will take to get back to normal.

Because the information we’re talking about is so critical to get out there, I’ll likely not be editing much.  We might not include the intro and outro music.  We might not edit at all.

These COVID 19 episodes will be here to serve the purpose that radio originally served, which is to communicate through audio in times of crisis.

But the world is changing around us very rapidly, and I want to respond quickly.

We still plan on releasing a normal episode every Monday morning as long as we can.  I’ve told you before that I batch the episodes.  That means I tend to record several in one day, and then they all get edited and released over time.

But I can’t do that with these COVID 19 episodes.

My intent is to do both, but honestly, it depends on my time.

The first thing I’d like to do is thank all the healthcare workers who are working to heal those who are ill.

Many of us have the luxury of staying home, self-isolating.  But that’s not the case with many of our healthcare workers.  They are putting themselves in harm’s way to help us through this crisis. I have many former clients who were in that business.  I’d like to thank you all personally, but of course, that isn’t possible.  So please accept this as my Thank You for what you are doing.

I am certain that some of my listeners and guests have already been exposed to the COVID 19 virus.  I want to let you know that I’m here virtually supporting you.  I’m also supporting those people who have yet to be exposed by staying home.  Les and I have been self-isolating since March 15th.  When must go out to say, collect my business mail, or pick up food that we’ve ordered, I go in and Les waits in the car.  I wear gloves and a mask.

This is because I’m assuming I’ve already been exposed.  You should assume that you’ve already been exposed too.

We’ve all heard that it takes 14 days to know if you’re sick.  I’m hoping that you are taking that seriously.

I’m also assuming that at least one of our guests has been exposed.  We have had guests who travel and live in other countries.  Our guests are adventurous.  I’m praying for all of them and I’m praying for you too.

There is a podcast that I listen to called Afford Anything.  Paula Pant is the host.  Several of her guests have been affected by COVID 19.  One of them is a firefighter in the city of Austin.  She’s responding to 911 calls without the proper protective equipment.  She’s putting herself at risk every day.

I’d like to thank our first responders too.

Paula is the reason I’m recording this episode.  She created one for her listeners, and I used it as a template to talk with you.

My listeners are different than hers as she talks to the FIRE community.  We’ve brought that up before in earlier episodes.  The FIRE community is generally younger than my audience.  They’re generally math nerds.  They live and breathe personal finance.  That’s not what this show is about, but I love listening to shows about FIRE.

You may or may not know that I was a full-time financial advisor until 2015 when I stopped taking new clients and cut my existing clients from about 2000 to about 20.  So that’s probably why I’m so fascinated with the FIRE community.

Although I’m not a math nerd, I know what an exponential curve is.  I believe that we are currently at the beginning of an exponential curve.

When you look at it on a graph, that start of that curve looks linear.  If you're living through an exponential curve, then at that start of that curve, your experience might feel linear. It might feel like the virus is spreading one person at a time.

A lot of people seem to be dismissing how dangerous this virus is.  When I went to pick up my groceries today, I was the only one wearing a mask and gloves.  No one seems to be concerned.  People are still playing golf and pickleball where I live, even though all the other amenities have shut down.

You probably saw on the news that the beaches in Florida were packed with people.  No one seemed to be worried about the spread of this virus.  One kid said that nothing was going to stop him from partying.

I feel like this kid might be spreading the disease to my dad, who lives in Florida.  He’ll be 80 this year and is compromised.  If he gets COVID 19 I’m sure he won’t survive.

One thing Paula said in her episode was that much of the Florida population is comprised of brave World War Two veterans.  These are our parents.  She said grandparents, but then she’s much younger than I am.  But what she said resonated with me, and that is we need to come together, if not for our sake, then for theirs.

And for their sake, we need to do everything in our power to not let this spread.

When you can see that on the horizon is an exponential curve, I hope you see that it's time to take drastic actions.  If you wait until you can see the curve, then it’s already too late.

Assume that it's already in your community; assume that you already have it that you are asymptomatic.  Assume you already have it, and you don't want to spread it to others and make every decision from that framework. That’s what Les, and I have been doing.

The problem that we are having right now is that in the absence of testing, and in the absence of information, people are defaulting to the assumption that they don't have it. And as a result, they're going out and they're spreading it to others.

So we need to switch the default setting we need to default to the assumption that we have it because coronavirus has a long incubation period it can be asymptomatic for two weeks.

How many people have been accidentally infected before those who test positive realize that they have it?

I watched the governor of my state and the head of the state’s health department.  She said that they were not going to try to notify anyone who’s likely been exposed anymore.  What that means to me is that you need to assume you’ve been exposed.  Default to assuming you’ve been exposed.

Don’t panic about it, don’t hoard, but assume you’ve been exposed.  Stay home so that we can slow down the spread of this awful disease.

Please don’t go to the ER or hospital if you don’t need to.

If you got my email, you saw that Medicare is covering the tests.  Some Medicare Advantage plans are waiving co-pays for teledoctors.

And if you don’t have access to a teledoctor, you can go to http://MedicareQuick.com/TELEDOC to get a plan for under $20 per month.

I will earn a small commission if you use that link.

If we don't take radical steps to flatten the curve, our hospitals will soon be overwhelmed.

And on my end, to the best of my ability to the maximum ability that I have the power to do so I am committed to using this platform to first flatten the curve.

And second, of course, I will be opening up this podcast to discuss more financial topics during this crisis.

Because finances are extremely important.

Money gives you the ability to access food and shelter and medicine.

Money is a tool that helps you financially deal with crises. And so we're going to talk about how to invest what to do with your retirement accounts.

I plan to talk about your Emergency Fund.  Do you have enough?  What happens if you get laid off, and you weren’t ready to retire?

How can you help your friends, neighbors, and family members who are struggling…

And if I can communicate just one message, if you learn one and only one thing for me, in the entire time that you listen to this entire podcast, please stay home, flatten the curve. There is nothing that I can say that is more important than those five words. Stay home, flatten the curve if you can.

Stay home as much as you possibly can.

If your boss is not letting you, but you have the type of job that could be done from home.

Speak up, protest band together with your colleagues. Because we all need to come together to defeat this. I know that it's called social distancing or social isolation.

If there are workers or providers who it used to come into your home, maybe you have a house cleaner who comes every two weeks, maybe you have a hairdresser.

If you are ceasing to use those services right now, continue to pay them. It was in your budget already, you already planned on paying those bills. You already planned on paying that hairdresser or that house cleaner.

So keep it up. So that way they don't have to go out there and expose themselves to serious risk for the sake of making up that lost income.

And you've been doing that for years and as time has gone on, you've gotten to know this person reach out to them.

Check on how they're doing, see if they need any help.

And if it feels appropriate to do so, consider giving them a gift, a giant tip, no strings attached, they don't have to do any new work in order to get this tip.

That’s what I did with my housekeeper.  She didn’t want to take the money, but I insisted.  I said it was a gift.

If you have friends or neighbors who are worried about how they are going to adjust to these new changes. Look into non-monetary ways that you can help them out.

Could you batch cook a whole bunch of dinners for them and leave it on their doorstep? Could you offer to walk their dog for them? Of course, donations of money are wonderful.

Money is not the only gift that you can give. That’s what our show has been about.  There's also your time.  You might be going through your attic or boxes since you now have more time than ever.  There might be some things you can give away.   After disinfecting them, of course.

But whatever you can safely and comfortably give. This is the time when we all have to come together in ways that don’t involve actually being together.

Because that's the thing about dealing with a virus that grows and spreads exponentially.

Every Day Counts. Every Day Counts.

So to the best of your ability to do so stay home, encourage others to stay home. And for those others, if staying home, presents an economic hardship, do whatever is in your power to share your resources with them.

I would love your help.  Come over to the Facebook community and post a comment.  Start a thread.  Say something uplifting.  We could all use it right now.

So thank you in advance for going above and beyond your call of duty. Thank you for staying home. Thank you for looking out for your neighbors.

Thank you for being part of the effort to flatten the curve.

We are being called to come together and patriotically sit on the couch and binge-watch Netflix.

This the service that this nation needs from us right now, this nation and every nation because this threat is worldwide.

This is the biggest global event since World War Two. And we all must join the efforts of hanging out in our living rooms binge-watching TV.

Thank you for listening.

Thank you for staying home.

Thank you for coming into the Community and being an inspiration.

I’ll see you next time, on the Rock your Retirement Show.