The world has changed! The corona virus has made a lifelong impact on most of us. Your race, ethnicity, religion, or most other factors do not really matter. We are all dealing with the same issues. This too shall one day pass, and we will be a better society from the lessons we will be given during this turbulent time. I am not making light of the situation. The corona virus is real. It’s shut down all sports from kids recreational leagues to professional, its closed schools, restaurants, and prevented most of us from working the way we feel comfortable. Life can change on a dime, and it’s the lessons we learn and hold onto that allow us to take from these life changing events and own the lessons we are often gifted with.
We just went through the greatest bull market in US history. Approximately 11 years of a run in the market like we’ve never seen before. Wealth grew exponentially for many; retirement plans grew at a rate that changed many perspectives on the ability to retire. Everything financially was rainbows and unicorns, and then Corona Virus poured gasoline on small little flame and the market turned into a firestorm. It’s bad enough we are dealing with this virus, but global financial markets and interest rates dropped; they dropped quickly and painfully. Disease, possible recessions, everything is falling apart in front of our eyes!
No one plans to fail, they fail to plan. We generally want what we cannot get. We want Life Insurance and Long-Term Care after it’s too late. We want a Financial Plan after we lose 30% in the market and we hope the loss magically goes away. Planning has become the foundation of financial success. The interesting part though, is the base of financial planning is not about investments or rates of return. It’s the legal documentation that provides the true foundation for financial planning. It’s having basic estate planning done in advance of the bad: A Will, A Power of Attorney, Possibly a Trust, Legal Guardian and more. This foundation sets up the base of protection and planning when the inevitable or unforeseen happens; and at some point, it will.
All my perspectives and thoughts were validated when I was 39 years old. Being in the financial services industry for the majority of my life; my father is a financial advisor, and in 1997 I started in this business at age 23. I was owning a deeper understanding of what the job of a planner is. It’s not about stock picking or day trading, it’s about a plan that prepares us for the good, protects against the bad, and allows us to receive positive news during difficult times. Being prepared for what can happen tomorrow, and not focusing on yesterday is the basis for controlling emotion. These were lessons I had engrained into me at a very young age, and I practiced everything I preached. In 2013 when I was diagnosed with Grade 3 Astrocytoma Brain Cancer, I realized everything I spoke about, all the necessities of planning in advance of the bad, were done. They allowed me to avoid regret and resentment and take on the battle at hand. That was driven through planning in advance of the bad.
The second part of planning is the investment component. The hardest part of investment planning is removing emotion. Avoiding making decisions based on what happened yesterday, fear, or nervousness is extremely hard to do. With all the news we can ascertain in an instant through the internet, controlling emotion is more difficult than we realize. Utilizing a financial planner to remove that emotion and help you maintain the proper investment strategy is worth more than many realize. We often make decisions as fear sets in; who can you work with to maintain your focus on the end game, and not what happened yesterday. If you haven’t removed the emotion, or acknowledged you are not an expert in what you think you are, I strongly recommend going to a professional to help you navigate the waters to have independence and dignity because a proper plan was set up.
From a financial perspective; take a deep breath, stop looking at your statements, make sure you have a financial plan in place to preserve and protect, and work with someone who avoids emotion to guide you through these difficult times. That’s the real job of a financial planner, to be there for you when things are bad; to have a plan in place prior to the negative; to give you good news when you need it the most! Learn from what we are going through, focus on tomorrow, and know this will end at some point.