Dear Clients and Friends –
Having been “Sheltered In Place” for a couple of weeks or so now (who’d have thought I’d ever use that term?), I’ve taken the opportunity to glean insight from investment professionals, health consultants and even family counselors. With both this first stretch of isolation and the first quarter in the financial markets coming to an end, I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you in hopes that you may find some value in these perspectives.
Comfort in Connection - One of the hardest aspects of this crisis is this social distancing required between you, me, friends, neighbors, colleagues, even our families! We have to stay connected…even as we socially isolate. That’s why you’ll be hearing regularly from me while this volatility lasts--by phone, emailed market/economic updates, online meetings, more phone calls… it’s critical we stay in touch. As invaluably, please reach out an e-touch someone, a long-lost friend or even a neighbor that you suspect may be lonesome.
Comfort in Separation – In contrast to our need to be connected, for most of us we never before have been in a situation that has required such a “closeness” to those within our homes, be they family or roommates. Thoughtfully and intentionally practicing patience, gratitude and kindness will help keep these bonds solid. And with teens and those kids home from college…double that effort!
Strength and Courage - In difficult times, America’s greatest strength has come from pulling together – working shoulder to shoulder – to generate the ingenuity, resilience and tenacity that solves problems and creates opportunities. We’ll overcome this crisis too, I have no doubt. From six feet apart, if necessary. One thing I want you to remember as you watch the markets and the news: You have the strength and the intestinal fortitude to survive this storm.
Statement Shock - This is a market storm…a temporary event you and I have long prepared for by making smart, responsible decisions about allocating assets and diversifying holdings. We based your portfolio on Nobel prize-winning investment strategies that have protected investors for the last 60+ years, and they are helping to protect you now. That said, with equities down over 20% year-to-date this has been the worst first quarter for stocks ever, yes ever. And with the exception of CD’s and US T-Bills, most other asset classes also struggled, with bonds, commodities and even gold all being hurt. Your accounts have suffered declines, but not disasters from which we cannot recover.
Today and the Future – As I have shared, the “what next?” is all about the timeline and human toll of Covid-19 running its course. Loss of life is tragic, and for that I mourn. However, the health of the economy will recover. If the virus settles down in another month or so, I think the markets will start to stabilize. If this stretches out into the summer, markets are vulnerable for further declines. Given the strength of the economy before the health crisis, some experts believe a recovery could be fairly fast and strong. No one knows, of course, and I am monitoring the markets and your investments with extreme diligence to keep us well-positioned for positive days ahead.
Your Goals, Your Needs – Like all others, I do not know if these markets have bottomed, or if not, when or where they will. Each family has different financial circumstances. For some clients, after discussions, we have made adjustments to make sure comfort levels, cash flows and long-term goals are met. If we have not yet spoken and you would like to do so, please be in touch.
Prosperous days will come again. They always do. This time is no different.
Please stay healthy.