Apr 03, 2020

Reading List for April 3-5

Current times are impacting every aspect of our financial lives, so this week’s list is a bit longer than usual, allowing you to decide what is relevant in your world at the moment.

Economics/Federal Reserve: The view of what is going on and how the Federal Reserve is working to mitigate the economic hits from this crisis has been presented by regional Federal Reserve Presidents:

  • Neel Kashkari (Minneapolis) compares the 2008 response to this year’s stimulus bill in an Op-Ed piece that appeared in the Washington Post. (Minneapolis Fed)
  • Tom Barkin (Richmond) talks about the challenges of Covid-19. (Charlotte Business Chronicle)
  • Loretta Mester (Cleveland) is interviewed by CNBC.


  • Unemployment claims this week doubled last week’s unprecedented claims reaching 6.6 million. (NPR) This article contains a graphic that allows you to see which states are getting hit the hardest:
  • The March jobs report, which reflects surveys completed on March 12, showed the first decline in a decade of 701,000. Unemployment ticked up to 4.4%, but is expected to easily hit double digits in April. (Yahoo Finance)
  • $350 billion of the CARES Act is aimed at supporting small businesses. It was supposed to go live this week, but there is much confusion about how this will work. (CNBC)


  • First quarter 2020 will go down as the worst quarter in history for the DJIA. (CNN)


  • Life insurance policies are selling like hotcakes. (Business Insider) Yes you can still buy life insurance, but the premiums are/will be going up. (Money)
  • Will insurers pay out on business interruption policies? (WSJ-subscription

Student Loans

  • Did you refinance recently? Will you be able to skip payments for a few months like Federal borrowers can? This is a survey by Student Loan Hero of the key players in the student loan refinancing market and what they are doing.


  • While we would rather focus on how many people are stepping up and helping in this crisis, scammers will be scammers and are not passing up on this vulnerable time to attack in new ways. (WSJ) (The IRS will NOT call you asking for your bank account information to deposit your $1200 check!)


  • What you need to know about the stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and other assistance during these difficult times: a great summary of resources. (NBC video)
  • Need extra cash? Here are some suggestions from Michele Singletary of the Washington Post.
  • Cleveland personal finance writer Teresa Dixon Murray ponders what the post-pandemic financial world will look like. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • As unemployment skyrockets and small businesses shut down, who will be able to pay rent, and what will happen to tenants and landlords? (Slate

Behavioral Economics (Emotional Health)

  • People do not deal well with waiting, especially in the face of so much uncertainty. Learn about this phenomenon, and how to take steps to lessen the impacts.(MarketWatch)


  • It’s not surprising that streaming services are among the winners during this crisis. (Hollywood Reporter)

Topping off this week's list with some more positive news. Corporate America is pitching in to help with the desperate shortage of N-95 masks and protective gear for health care workers and first responders. The following section is a direct quote from the April 3 Morning Brew:

So companies are helping out 

Home Depot said it has stopped selling N95 masks entirely and donated its stock to hospitals, first responders, and other healthcare providers. 

Amazon barred consumers from purchasing N95 masks, testing kits, and some other medical supplies on its site. It created a new site for hospitals and government agencies instead. 

Last but not least, when Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was scrambling for supplies, he tapped his friend Jonathan Kraft—son of Robert, president of the New England Patriots, chair of the Massachusetts General Hospital board, and Viceroy of Greater Bostonland. Kraft came through in spectacular fashion this week, importing 1.2 million masks from China in the Patriots' jet. 

These really are extraordinary times. Red Sox fan Kraft donated 300,000 masks to New York.

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