It's absolutely bonkers, isn’t it
Across America, we’re working from home (many for the first time), homeschooling children (teachers deserve 10x what they get paid for this), and dealing with increasing levels of lockdown — and we can’t even distract ourselves with March Madness.
This virus has upended American life in a few short weeks and we are now living an experience straight out of a science fiction movie. Minus the jetpacks.
(But there’s hope on the horizon. Keep reading.)
Here are a couple of stories from folks who have also had their worlds and routines turned upside down by the pandemic:1
“As a professional athlete in an Olympic sport, I tend to plan my life in four-year segments. Now, I’m attempting to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo games in August in the midst of the new coronavirus outbreak.” — Molly Huddle, Olympic marathon hopeful
Molly’s spent years preparing for the 2020 Olympics. Will she still get her chance this year?
“Last night, I was called to a staff meeting during which I was laid off, along with all my colleagues ... We have no sick pay, no holiday pay, no safety net, and no income. We got a promise to rehire us whenever this crisis is under control. But promises can’t pay rent. It’s due in two weeks.” — Anna Bradley-Smith, restaurant worker
Anna is one of millions of Americans who find themselves suddenly out of work with bills to pay. (Keep reading to see just how many could lose their jobs.) Is anyone in your life in this situation?
Their stories show us that no matter how different our lives were a few weeks ago, we’re all going through this crisis together.
What am I doing during this time?
I'm having virtual coffee meetings, client planning meetings and intentionally having meaningful conversations with everyone via Zoom or phone. I'm having longer talks with family, clients, and friends about what's really important. Fewer trips to the store and staying home more are the norm for now. I did a deep house clean this past weekend. It needed it not because of the Coronavirus, it just outright needed it. A little spring cleaning in advance. I'm getting more reading time in as well.
Life has changed. Life still goes on and we will come out stronger than ever as this too will pass. It's who we are. PS I could use a haircut but they are all closed right now. I've never had a pony tail. There's a first time for everything though right? Luckily I was able to find a 12 roll package of toilet paper. Life is good and I hope and pray it is for you as well.
Based on the conversations I’ve had this week with clients and friends, I think you’re likely having one of three reactions to the crisis and bear market:
Response 1: I’m worried about what’s happening and how it affects me and the people I love. When will things go back to normal?
Response 2: Things are crazy right now, but this is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity and I don’t want to miss out. Point me to the bargains!
Response 3: I’m concerned about the virus and the economy, but I want to leverage the market opportunity as much as I can. What should I be doing?
Whether you’re worried about what comes next in this crisis or you're salivating about bear market opportunities, your reaction is normal and completely human.
Here’s my advice for weathering this crisis:
Be patient. There’s too much uncertainty around the virus response to make predictions about the market bottom. The coronavirus crisis and market volatility is likely to persist for weeks (even months).
Be strategic: Buying opportunities like we’re seeing don’t come along very often. We’re watching for bargains and will reach out as needed.
Be safe and focus on what’s within your control: Let’s trust the medical experts and avoid crowds, stay home as much as possible, and wash our hands even more.
Use this opportunity: Some are having a harder time with our current reality than others, but let's use it to grow closer to our loved ones, learn new skills, and reconnect with ourselves. Let’s come out of this stronger than before.
Now for some analysis of the current state of the economy: Our most timely indicators are telling us to expect a sharp contraction in 2020. (But there’s hope ahead.)
We'll have to wait a while to see official numbers on economic growth, but we can use data on hourly workers, restaurant reservations, and unemployment claims to get a real-time view of the pandemic’s effect on the U.S. economy.
We’re starting to see these layoffs in unemployment data. On 3/14, new claims jumped to 281,000 nationwide. One estimate suggests that new claims could spike to a record 2.25 million this week as the effects of business shutdowns play out.2
Is a recession guaranteed? It’s likely to occur, but a recovery could happen quickly when businesses reopen and people go back to work. One thing is clear: Heading off the worst economic impacts of this unprecedented crisis will require a massive “fiscal rescue” deal.
Things are going to be unpredictable for longer than we’d like. But eventually, the virus’ spread will slow, businesses will reopen, markets will recover, and life will get back to “normal.”
In the subject line of this email, I promised you hope. Here it is:
Humans are remarkably resilient. This is not the first time we’ve conquered a pandemic or economic threat. It will not be the last, either.
A Nobel laureate at Stanford who has modeled the pandemic is forecasting a faster-than-predicted recovery as long as reasonable social distancing measures are taken.3 China has already closed all its temporary COVID-19 hospitals in Wuhan as the growth in new cases has slowed.4
Unprecedented medical resources are being mobilized across the world. Researchers are fast-tracking experimental treatments, and more than 35 companies are racing to create a vaccine. We could see a market-ready vaccine in 18 months.5
I wish I knew how long this will last, but I don’t. But I do know this: We’ll get through it together.
I hope that you and everyone in your life is safe, healthy (physically and mentally), and as happy as they can be right now.
Do you have any questions I haven’t answered? Did I call your reaction correctly? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you.
P.S. If someone you love needs help with their strategies, please reach out and let me know. I’m leaving a few spots on my calendar open each week for folks who need professional advice right now. Just give the office a call at 763-201-1390 and we’ll take care of them for you.
Risk Disclosure: Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information; no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. For illustrative use only.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.