Things To Do Before And During A Second Lockdown

There was a second lockdown in many states. However, thankfully, the country is opening up thanks to more people getting vaccinated. This post highlights things to do before a lockdown so you don't go nuts. Mental health is a huge issue during the pandemic!

Due to to a surge in COVID-19 cases across America, a second lockdown is an inevitability. Even though the coastal states are fairing better than the heartland states for now, the virus will spread everywhere again.

Los Angeles is back on lockdown for a month. And San Francisco has closed all outdoor zoos and aquariums given the city has been downgraded to the “purple” tier.

I feel bad for businesses who spent money to open up and now have to close. It is also disappointing that our freedoms will once again be taken away as curfews are implemented, at the very least.

When the first lockdown was implemented, we didn't have much time to prepare. After more than 10 months, at least we're all lockdown veterans now!

To prepare for the inevitable, let's first discuss some things we should do before the second lockdown occurs. Then let's discuss some things to do during the second lockdown.

For 2021, most of the country is under a second lockdown. However, many citizens are not following the latest stay-at-home orders. We are sick and tired of government officials telling us what to do while they go eat at fancy establishments like The French Laundry!

Things To Do Before The Second Lockdown

Before the government welds your gates and doors shut, here are some things I recommend doing before the second lockdown occurs.

Go on a vacation.

You don't have to get on an airplane if you don't want to. Instead, I recommend getting in a car and going somewhere within a several hours drive. Even if your vacation only lasts a couple of nights, at least you will get the vacation bug out of your system before the lockdowns begin.

The more you get out and about, the more you can contain your inner werewolf that starts clawing its way out after several months of lockdown. Further, once the pandemic ends, you can look back and say at least you took a vacation. This way, you won't be as frustrated or angry at the pandemic or the government.

My wife and I traveled almost like gypsies for three years before we had children. We traveled so much that we were content with staying at home for years after our son was born. It's too much of a PITA to travel by plane with kids under three, especially if you've already traveled a lot.

Related: What's It Like Taking A Vacation During A Pandemic

Stock up on all necessities.

Instead of having to go through the anxiety-inducing process of buying enough toilet paper like last time, do so now before the potential rush. Better yet, get a Toto bidet already for goodness sake! Just make sure you have an outlet close by to plug it in.

Most people always wait until the last minute. For some reason, few people can break out of the herd mentality. You have the power to prepare earlier.

Other necessities include canned goods, dried goods, toothpaste, cleaning wipes, hand soap, hand sanitizer, dental floss, contact lenses, glasses, underwear, shoes, mouth wash, diapers, and bottles.

Go to all your health care providers.

If you feel comfortable going, it's best to get your annual checkup before the second lockdown. This way, you can figure out if there's anything wrong with you and treat the symptoms.

Cancer, for example, is something that's best detected early. By the time you feel discomfort, it may be too late. Hopefully, the second lockdown won't last longer than a year.

Go to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned and your gums and teeth checked out. Once the second lockdown occurs, you'll feel good knowing that your dental needs were taken care of. Teeth cleaning is usually covered by insurance every six months. Double check.

Go to the optometrist to get your eyes checked. If you wear contacts, it is recommended to get your eyes checked once a year. Once you've determined the health of your eyes and your prescription, you can rest well knowing you've got the best care for your eyes as you wait for the second lockdown to lift.

Finally, go to whatever type of doctor you need to treat a health issue. Once the second lockdown occurs, it may be much harder to schedule an appointment.

Related: Tried To Get My Money's Worth For The Health Insurance Premiums I Paid

Find a much better place to live.

Your lockdown experience is partly dependent on the quality of your home. Obviously, if you have a large home with lots of amenities plus a vacation property mansion with a helipad, you're going to enjoy the second lockdown more than if you live in a studio with a view of another building.

If you prefer renting, try and find a larger and nicer place if you can afford it. If you want to finally own or upgrade, then buy a larger home with more outdoor space and more views.

I promise you will love living in a nicer place during a lockdown. More separation of space between family members will really help your sanity as well.

See: The Best Near-Term Real Estate Opportunity Is Right In Your City

See your loved ones!

Out of all the things you should do before a second lockdown occurs, seeing your loved ones is the most important. The worst-case scenario is if you don't see a loved one before he or she passes away.

I'm somewhat lucky in that I saw my parents between December 2019 – January 2020. They came to visit for the birth of my daughter. We generally only see each other once or twice a year. However, each month that goes by, I worry a little more that I may never see them again.

Therefore, I plan to visit them no later than 1Q2021! I pray by April 1, 2021, there will be major progress towards treatment. Stay safe and healthy mom and dad!

The second lockdown is coming

Things To Do During The Second Lockdown

Now that you are thoroughly prepared to stay at home for months again, it's time to go through some things to do once the second lockdown begins.

Review your investments.

If there is a second lockdown, your investments might get hit or have already gotten hit. It's time to ensure that you have an appropriate amount invested and an appropriate asset allocation.

Another 32% decline in the stock market in one month can absolutely happen again. If you found yourself OK with such a decline back in March 2020, you're good to go. Leave your asset allocation the way it is and prepare to buy more if there's another sell-off.

If you weren't OK with such a massive decline so quickly, you need to get more conservative since we've rebounded so much.

I've currently got about 25% of my net worth in stocks, which is my limit. My comfortable range is between 20% – 25%, so I'll probably lighten the load next year to spread out my tax liability.

Start your side business already.

The internet is your best friend during a second lockdown. Establish your web presence by starting your own site. From there, you can start a consulting business or any number of other web businesses. The cost to operate an online business is so cheap and it's easier than ever to launch.

Starting your own web business is a hedge against further lockdowns in the future. It feels good knowing that your website can stay up 24/7. Due to the high certainty of staying open relative to other businesses, online businesses are increasing in value.

Get in the best shape of your life.

After the first lockdown, it was easy to eat more and exercise less. We blamed COVID-19 for our weight gain. Now, we don't have any excuses. If we end up gaining more weight during the second lockdown, we're probably just lazy!

Instead of gaining weight during the second lockdown, we should get into the best shape of our lives. Years from now, when we look back at our pandemic pictures and videos, we'll be so proud of our weight loss accomplishment.

Keep a journal and a disciplined schedule.

One of the problems with a lockdown is that the days start blending together. How many times did we confuse one day for another? Keeping a daily journal or blog is one way to recollect what happened during the lockdown. It's why I started doing monthly recaps instead of just semi-annual or annual recaps.

Another way to help the time go by smoother is to create a routine. Perhaps you can play tennis or go for a run every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. Maybe you can make every Tuesday and Thursday evening the time to call your relatives. The more you can keep a routine, the easier you can make the time go by.

Do relocation research.

Thanks to more work from home opportunities, it's easier to move and find new work than ever before.

If you prefer to live in a state that emphasizes health safety over personal freedoms, the coastal states tend to more closely follow this ethos.

If you prefer to live in a state that emphasizes personal freedoms and the economy over health safety, heartland states more closely follow this ethos.

Ideally, you would have relocated to a new state that fits your life philosophies already. But we didn't have enough coronavirus and economic data to analyze until about eight months after the first lockdown began.

Having so much shut down in San Francisco for so long was not enjoyable. However, I made it work because I still played tennis at least two times a week and went to the beach often. With San Francisco likely to be one of the last cities to enter a second lockdown, I'm just going to stay put for now.

Also, it’s worth looking for a new job anywhere in the country or world since we’re all stuck at home again. Although I'm not looking for a job, maybe I should be.

The ideal job for me is probably Chief Content Officer of a small-to-medium size company. If you're interested in hiring one, let me know. I've got 11 years of experience building something from nothing baby!

Do some home remodeling.

Given you're stuck at home more, you might as well do some work to improve your home. Painting is the easiest home remodeling work to do. The next easiest thing to do is landscaping and gardening.

Other home remodeling work that can improve the value of your home is changing fixtures. You'll be amazed at what new door handles, lampshades, and cabinet handles can do. Finally, you might want to treat yourself to some new appliances like a washer/dryer or range.

Set up a COVID-19 pod network.

To improve your lifestyle, you may want to set up a COVID-19 pod network. This pod network includes a few families and friends you enjoy hanging around with. You guys can all agree to a set of health safety conditions. This way, you can hang out with each other with less stress.

Alternatively, if your house is big enough, you may want to have multiple generations under one roof. However, the risk is that you guys end up resenting each other for being always in each other's space.

Start a family

There may be no better time to have a baby than during a lockdown. It's much easier to time the cycle when both of you are always at home. After all, you really only have a 2-4 day window once a month.

If you are pregnant during a lockdown, life is better at home than having to commute and work in an office. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable and hard on your body. Thus, it is wonderful to be able to go to the bathroom and fart any time you please.

If you give birth right before or during a lockdown, you won't want to get on a plane for the first 6-12 months anyway. Therefore, a lockdown won't feel nearly as bad. When you look back, the positive memory of raising your baby will trump the negative memories of the lockdown.

When I look back on the 2008 – 2009 financial crisis, the number one thing that always pops up in my mind is my wife and I getting married. We had a small 16-person wedding on the beach.

Rolling Lockdowns For Life

Besides death, the worst thing that can happen during the next lockdown is that you end up losing a lot of money, gain a lot of weight, lose your job, break up with friends and loved ones, and not do anything productive. Actually, even worse is all those things right before a vaccine is available to you!

To motivate yourself to make some changes, mentally expect to experience rolling lockdowns for life. Now do everything possible to make the best out of a suboptimal situation.

If you can't get rich, get fit. If you can't get fit, get rich. In the unfortunate situation where you can't achieve either, then improve the most important relationships in your life.

There is no way I'm going to let a potential second lockdown defeat me or my family. I will maximize the next lockdown by spending as much time with my children and writing a new book. I’ll also treat the second lockdown as an injury timeout to let my body heal after playing too much sports.

Use the next lockdown as an opportunity to change your life for the better!

Some things we've done during the second lockdown:

1) My wife increased her life insurance. There are over 400,000 COVID-19-related deaths so far. Getting more life insurance was a no brainer. She got twice the coverage for less with PolicyGenius. PolicyGenius signs a light on the opaque life insurance pricing system by giving real, no-obligation quotes to choose from.

2) Lost some weight. Given COVID-19 is worse for overweight and obese people, we decide to lose 3-5 lbs each.

3) We made more money. Although both of us don't have jobs, we do have Financial Samurai. Given there are less fun things to do, we decided to make more money online. We've found more business partners. Once we get vaccinated, it's back to early retirement!

4) We bought a larger home. Thankfully, a sweet house with panoramic ocean views came up a month after the first lockdown. I was able to buy the house for $200,000 below asking. Now comps are about $50,000 over the original asking. We love living in a bigger, nicer home while we shelter in place. Further, we thing the demand for big city real estate will SURGE once the majority of Americans get vaccinated. Hence, I think buying before the herd returns is smart.

Now That The Pandemic Is Over

At last, on May 11, 2023, the Federal government declared the pandemic to be over. At least the emergency health order was lifted. The pandemic really was an experience in hedging your life. You had to figure out what to do and what not to do to beat back regret.

I'm so glad things are back to normal. We'll be better prepared for the next pandemic. But I'm also exhausted as well. It's time to take things easy again!

Related: Solving The Happiness Conundrum In Five Moves Or Less

Readers, do you think a second lockdown is coming? What are you planning to do differently before and during the next lockdown?

38 thoughts on “Things To Do Before And During A Second Lockdown”

  1. Hi Sam,

    Here in Denver we are back in Level Red which is most restrictive. Even so, the Mayor traveled to be with family during Thanksgiving while encouraging everyone not to travel, here is a good link:

    I hope that the next wave does not materialize and not as dire as in this article from John Hopkins News Letter that was then retracted – glad there is the “Way Back Machine” so here is a link to that article:

    I look forward to the next article.
    Semper FI,

  2. If you are thinking of relocating in the US there is a You Tube channel called – The World According to Brigs
    He has many short videos on what its like to live in different cities across the US. Metrics such as livability score, school ratings, etc. are provided.
    If you are in a work from home situation there is potential for a great opportunity in moving.
    All the best

  3. Lindsay Wing

    My only comment would be to please be mindful of how you phrase health. Health and weight are not the same thing. Gaining weight could be because you finally aren’t stressed out from your job, you took time to lift weights, or you used to walk to work and don’t anymore. Phrasing it as simply a time to move more in ways that make you feel better, and eat foods that you enjoy and also make you feel good. Saying it’s about weight comes off as fatphobic and further stigmatizes weight, which is only correlated to health. Otherwise very great post and awesome suggestions. I know you would never want to cause harm to a stigmatized population intentionally.

  4. This really has been a good time to reevaluate some habits (eating, exercising) that are easy to blame on being “busy.” Without the crutch of commuting/working, I’ve had to take ownership of some areas in which I’d let myself slip. And thanks for the reminder to go buy some TP!

  5. “Go to all your health care providers.”

    This is/was good advice. NorthEast resident here. I spent our summer lull doing teeth, ears, and body for every family member, with exactly this in mind. Given the superlag for appointments, was only able to wrap the last appointments (flu shots) just this past week.

  6. Christine Kwasny

    This is a good reminder that life in many ways is a mind game. It’s easy to become negative and depressed, yet life’s challenges can present us with opportunities as well. The last lockdown (I live in Europe) was a bit shocking to say the least, and really made me appreciate the opportunity to again move, shop, and see health care providers freely over the summer. This fall is no surprise, and I am grateful for what we were able to do between lock downs. Pandemic or not, this is a good reminder to seize the day and take advantage of what is available to you since windows of opportunity open and close all the time based on our age, health, employment, and other life situations that are out of our control.

    Personally, the pandemic forced me to re-evaluate some of my life choices, and change them. Nothing short of a global pandemic was going to alter my Type-A, die-trying life plan. But, I am happy with my newly and dramatically altered life path, and may be grateful to this life-altering experience for the results….only time will tell!

    Thanks for the positive post about this seemingly endless global crisis.

  7. It appears we are about seven weeks away for when the first responders and the highest risk begin to get the vaccine if everything goes to plan. After that things should only improve. I’d assume the market rebounds on the November release of vaccine results, assuming that they’re good results. The hardest hit stocks would likely pop higher.

    1. I hope you’re right. I read Pfizer CEO’s open letter on the vaccine, and it looks very promising, their progress.Then we’ve got a bunch more companies racing for the cure as well.

      Just got to hang tight until the new year!

    2. I think that might be when they get first dose, but it requires two doses, so realistically Q1 is when the first (small) batch of recipients will have been vaccinated with the appropriate efficacy. If everything goes right.

      1. I am not sure myself but I see Moderna’s CEO recently just stated “the company expects to be able to produce 20 million doses by the end of the year, and between 500 million and 1 billion doses in 2021.” Operation Warp Speed with our great military’s help should help expedite the dispersal.

        As Sam mentioned, Pfizer and other companies look promising as well.

        1. I see you’re listening to the hype. Look, I’m very close to the pharma industry. The political hype is nowhere near the reality. The military’s helps is not that useful (sounds great on a campaign slogan though) for vaccine manufacturing and “distribution”. If we start using them for massive national level testing operations, however, THAT would be interesting.

          I’ll see you right back here in March for the “when are we all getting a/the vaccine” discussion.

        2. Following up Moderna’s projections.

          Pfizer’s CEO this morning — “Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.”

  8. History seems to be repeating itself. The first round of lockdowns did nothing but slow the spread and unless the Western govts are willing to lockdown using the China model there is little point. When you ‘reopen’ get ready for the third wave. Repeat over and over until all are infected and/or immune.

    Slovakia seems to be the only western country trying something different by testing the entire population and only permitting those testing negative to be outdoors. Of course this would require massive coordination but it is much better than these useless lockdowns.

      1. My point was that Slovakia appears to be the first western nation to follow the Chinese model. All others have failed and a new round of lockdowns will accomplish little unless using the Chinese model. Note that China is not having a second wave.

  9. This surge is, in effect, the first real wave for many states. I can see the gov’t doing more shutdowns, but I also think we are much better prepared for it vs. March. Hopefully, the TP manufacturers are better prepared as well.

    Stay safe and healthy out there everyone.

  10. It’s surreal that the pandemic is still happening. I remember back in March I thought it would be 3 months MAX and look where we are.

    I’m lightly stocking up on some supplies but am much less panicked than before. I still have a lot of canned beans left from my initial stock up back in the spring lol. I’m trying to order some things that were harder to get or that were out of stock for long periods.

    I already got stuffing mix and cranberry jelly to save for Thanksgiving since they have a long shelf life haha.

    But kidding aside I hope we won’t need a second lockdown. This virus needs to die out for good already! Sending props and best wishes to all the first responders, doctors, nurses and research scientists who have been working so hard through this whole crazy year.

    And thanks for the great tips Sam and keeping us entertained and educated through this whole pandemic too!

  11. I switched apartments when the first lockdown ended. No way I would survive another period like this in my old place.

    Easily the best decision I made in preparation for this upcoming lockdown.

    Not sure if you saw the footage of the mass exodus from Paris after another lockdown was announced. Crazy stuff.

    1. Good move! Living in a larger, nicer place is so important during times like these. It is priceless actually. This is not the time to save money on housing. This is the time to live it up at home.

  12. Frugal Bazooka

    We do seem to be living thru a real life twilight zone episode don’t we? Quite serendipitous that the virtual world that has been expanding for the last 25 years comes in so handy just at the moment that our analog world has shrunk. Where would we be w/o online stores, zoom classrooms and email? I’m guessing that the great Covid epidemic of 2020 that has accelerated our reliance on technology will hasten our evolution into a fully digital society. While this change was inevitable I’m not sure our institutions can keep up with the speed of change. I also fear the billionaire class of elites who have created this tech world are not as wise and forward thinking as our analog forefathers. It may be time to dust off my copy of 1984 by Orwell and get some pointers on surviving our brave new covid world.

  13. Great advice, thanks for sharing. I know I have used a number of these e.g. getting to the dentist! With us being in a colder climate I have really thought about ways to keep our kids active inside, in a fun way, during the winter months. One idea we have come up with is putting in a climbing wall in our basement. It should be a lot of fun for them but it will be an interesting winter. I hope you and everyone else stays safe!

  14. The BUFFETT INDICATOR has predicted the and 2008 crashes
    Its now about 66% above average
    Shiller feels as well to be that this is a time to be careful

  15. Craig D Kanaya

    With two kids under 4, journaling and getting into shape has really helped my quality of life during the pandemic. Journaling has been a way to get out all my thoughts on paper and move onto the day. Getting in shape has helped me not get tired trying to keep up with the kids. The Nike Training app has been a good tool to keep workouts fresh.

  16. Great advice. I would also say to continue to dollar cost average into a low cost SnP index. Start a daily routine to meditate/pray and focus on making changes that build happiness and fulfillment. In that regard think about how you can help others especially in a challenging time.
    Also make a list of things to be grateful for and read it to yourself every day.
    This is an opportunity for positive individual change.

  17. “It’s kind of sad that the stock market is melting down again”

    Why? Speculators absorbing losses is not a bad thing…maybe it will someday focus a return to more prudent analysis, investment, and assessment of risk. But somehow I doubt it. The Federal Reserve and both parties are committed to propping up the stock market despite absurd valuations. Yes…it is trouble for people who don’t have a career and have put all their money in stocks who are demanding a 10%+ per annum return to fund their lifestyle. But it may eventually be a much better buying opportunity for those of us who have been patient.

    1. Mark – you hit on rule number one during a recession. Keep your job. This is indeed most important for most people. Not sure where you are in your investing lifecycle but it appears to me that you do not yet have substantial savings / wealth. If done right, returns from investing will be more than income from your career. From the tone of your comments it appears that you are still in the first phases of saving / accumulating wealth. It is disappointing that the market is falling. But a long view is important. For most compounding is most important. so stay patient, keep savings, keep investing. But there are people (retirees) who are counting on some level of investment returns to fund retirement. Plus pension funds need solid returns. Me – I prefer investors make money.

      1. It’s funny you should say the number one rule is to keep your job during the recession. Because I was just reviewing my passive income streams, and the biggest concern I have is one of my tenants in my condo losing her job or relocating, which would impact my income.

        So everybody really is affected in some way or another.

      2. Hi Alex,

        Actually, I am in my early 40s and have a seven-figure net worth, all accumulated without inheritances, insurance settlements, and with under 10% of the total within the stock market through the two last decades. So obviously I’m a disciplined SAVER. I would surmise the majority of people on this blog, apparently, would have been unable to accomplish as such due to their debt, undisciplined spending habits, and/or weak early career income, but were fortunate enough to time the stock market correctly to “bail” them out. The problem is, by every historic measure, the US stock market is grossly overvalued. Mathematically, you are guaranteeing low future returns because those returns have already been pulled forward through the outperformance of the market over the last decade. And where else to go? Savers have been thrown under the bus for the last decade with negative real interest rates…which encourage people to spend beyond their means and to throw money at businesses (many of which are not likely to remain a going concern) and stocks of such business in pursuit of higher returns–which props up their valuation well beyond fundamental measures.

        I mean, seriously, if you cannot see a bubble when Tesla, which makes some 400,000 cars a year, is worth more than the three largest automakers worldwide combined and also greater than the value of Wal-Mart, then you are either misinformed, stupid, or a speculator–not investor. The distinction is important because if the support somehow erodes underneath this stock market (that is, if risk is once again appropriately priced), the speculators/gamblers will come crying again, just like in March. I actually felt sorry for them at the time…but once again, they have been loudly crowing about their investment intelligence and how rich they are once again. They have made their choice to put money in overpriced assets. Unfortunately, the desire of the Treasury and Federal Reserve to keep soothing the stock market has real consequences–debt which will either have to be paid back by future generations, or higher taxes, and/or most likely, debasement of the currency. The very fact the Federal Reserve has now spoken to target an inflation rate above 2% should be met by widespread protest and outrage–they have said in fewer words that they will “steal” at least 2% of your net worth a year, every year. All at a time where there are few assets that have not been absurdly overpriced. This is where the real wealth equality source is…not so much the popular notions that people ascribe to today.

        1. Mark,
          I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has noticed that about Tesla. I won’t repeat it since you described my thoughts perfectly. You sound like me financially as well except for the $300k inheritance I received a few years ago;)

        2. Mark, love the comments. My thoughts exactly. Most of the markets “gains” are fueled by debt. How long the party can go on is anyone’s guess. Currency debasement is the most likely scenario going forward imo. Weird times!

        3. Mark, I am in a similar boat. Big saver, live below means, just on the other side of 40 as well. Curious as to how you are thinking about your assets as the dollar loses value through money printing. Where else are you putting savings other than the market given many other assets seem inflated as well.

        4. Congratulations on your wealth.

          This uneducated, speculative, and mostly like very wrong statement you made:

          “I would surmise the majority of people on this blog, apparently, would have been unable to accomplish as such due to their debt, undisciplined spending habits, and/or weak early career income, but were fortunate enough to time the stock market correctly to “bail” them out.”

          …is all I need to know about the veracity of your post. SMH.

          1. Hi Grettman,

            I’m sorry you took offense with my comment. I should have elaborated. My thought was that many of the high earning salaried folks (physicians, surgeons, etc.) are often saddled with large student loan debt with hinders their ability to save for the first 10-15 years of their career. Also, given the excitement on this blog about the $1,200 stimulus check, I concluded that since this begins to phase out at a relatively low salary of $75,000 ($150,000 married), many of the folks here have very middle income salaries (certainly I suspect many who read this blog also make much higher salaries of course). After all, one could argue $75,000 per year in big cities on the coast is actually more of a “working poor” salary given housing costs. So that is where I was coming from, nothing more.

            As far as hedging for debasement, I’ve dedicated a small portion of annual savings to gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium since 2005. I stopped my purchases of these early this year as the costs rose. The home run was Rhodium, which is up 10 fold since my purchases in 2013-14. I do think commodities will be a relative outperformer in the next decade in this environment and also given that they are historically cheap relative to equities.

            1. I didn’t notice any higher than normal excitement about the $1200 stimulus check program.

              The readership here is considered mass affluent. You can take a look at the median household income and net worth from this post:

              I’m curious what are your thoughts on my finances and what position I’m coming from when I write. I am trying to broaden out the topics more to help more people. Thanks

              1. Thanks, long time reader and follower of the site and podcast. I fit in the low side of the mass afluent demographic noted. I’d be interested to get your thoughts on bitcoin as an asset class as it chugs along with more credible adoption.

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