Whenever someone utters the phrase, 'please, have a seat', we know there's typically bad news to follow. Typically the deliverer of bad news is either priming the recipient for the bad news or they are truly worried that person may pass out and make a hard situation even worse.
So before you open your March statement 'please, have a seat'. It should probably not come to anyone's surprise, the month of March was the worst performing month since the 2008-2009 'Great Recession'. We witnessed some of the best and worst performing days since the same time period. Unfortunately, there were quite a few more bad ones than good. A very volatile month in the markets to be sure. The good news is your month-end statement looks better than the value on March 23rd. The bad news is we can't be sure we won't see those March 23rd lows again.
You would not be human, I don't think, if you didn't experience some degree of fear in regard to what is going on in the headlines. The fear is even magnified to a greater degree when we are discussing our health and the health of our loved ones.
There have been many plagues and pandemics in the history of mankind. I firmly believe there has never been a better time to be alive when one of these pandemics has happened. Our healthcare technology to provide a cure or vaccine, our manufacturers ability to retool so they can begin producing ventilators, masks, respirators and shields and our ability to communicate and connect with loved ones has never been better. This swift communication can also give us access to information quickly and give our leaders the ability to make and communicate changes in a timely matter. Hard to believe penicillin wasn't discovered until 1928 and the world wide web wasn't invented until 1990, but I digress.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to play itself out, as all of the numberless 'crises' have before it. It remains impossible to predict when and how this problem will be resolved. Likewise, it is impossible to know when and how the markets will react to such a resolution. The great achievement, at times like this, is to overcome the fear in regard to your financial plan. In a very real sense, times like these are why we plan in the first place.
Our purpose at this time is to simply suggest that - difficult as it may be - we take our focus off the onslaught of catastrophic headlines, and put it where it belongs: a) on your goals b) on your long-term plan to achieve those goals and c) on your portfolio as the long-term way to fund that plan. For many of you reading this article who are already retired (or near retirement) we have an allocation of assets to help you produce the income you need to live on for the next few years. For those of you who have longer before relying on your investments to fund your goal, I encourage you to begin focusing on the sales prices. I am certainly not predicting we are at the lowest sales prices, but time is on your side to own great companies for the long haul.
As we move in to the coming days and weeks ahead it is impossible to know exactly how this virus will play itself out and how the markets will react. I will continue to focus on the things that are important and control the things I can control. Most of that revolves around my attitude and being here for those who need me. Thank you for reading this month's blog. Please call if you need me.
Enjoy the day!