April 15, 2020
Easter has traditionally been one of my favorite holidays, but this year was so completely different and it’s hard to put into words what it felt like for me. Traditions are always big in my family (as I wrote about here last fall) and it was the first Easter since I lost my grandmother. Since it was also one of her favorite holidays, she was on my mind. We are stuck in a quarantine situation over a global pandemic which meant a quiet dinner at home with my immediately family only. Shopping for the kids for Easter was also a challenge (thank goodness for Instacart)! I suppose so many things were just simply out of sorts. Nonetheless, we were all happy and healthy and that’s what mattered most.
On the evening of the holiday after my kids went to bed, I downloaded and watched the Andrea Bocelli performance. All I can say is WOW! He’s such a classic with a voice near that of what angels must sound like and the performance moved me to tears. In a beautiful church in a part of the world that has been so devastated by what we are now fighting, a true gleam of light tore through dark clouds and for a few minutes and made it feel like everything was going to be okay. The world felt unified as pictures of other coronavirus effected areas were displayed and, in that moment, it was felt clearly to me that faith would prevail over fear.
Fear is very real these days and it is everywhere. Many people who are furloughed do not know what their employment situation will look like in the future. We do not know when our children will be returning to school. It is a nightmare to get our necessities because we are afraid of becoming ill. We just don’t know what the world will look like when this crisis is over. Having said that though I think it’s fair to say that it is safe to presume that our economy will run and function differently. People are going to reassess what is important most in their lives and adjust accordingly. Maybe more people start telecommuting on a regular basis. I’m sure complete career changes are in the cards too for some folks. It’s hard to identify some of these things, especially as we are actually going through them.
What I have found interesting though as an advisor during these times, is that although the markets are volatile and it is clear that we are in a global economic slowdown, investors are not that afraid. Granted, there are many people who are on the cusp of retirement and I am sure they are having more than a little trepidation about the current state of affairs, but having said that most people do understand that this is a point in history and we will get past it. And now with everyone living a bit differently I see goals reshaping themselves as well.
I think we are all struggling to some degree right now because life is not normal. Whether it’s hard to manage remote work, keeping our kids up to date on school, or craving social interaction. An important part of what I do is walk alongside those who put their faith and me and mitigate the fears and doubts they have. In this time of uncertainty, it’s been just as important to check in on people’s mental health as it has been their financial health. Sometimes we all just need a friendly hello. Those happen to go a long way on long days, at least for me.
Prior to the impact of the coronavirus, the markets were due for a correction. The impact of the virus alongside an all-out oil price war, caused a stir in the markets that was not anticipated to the depths of what actually happened. But if we take a look at history, it will lead us to believe that these markets will recover and there are many opportunities for investors to capitalize on. A good financial plan will weather storms like what we are facing, and if changes occur in your life then it is time to reexamine the plan and adjust accordingly. Planning is just as important now as it ever has been before, even as we face unknowns. If you find you want new things out of life, or different goals, that’s ok! When your faith exceeds your fears, the gap between reality and your dreams shrinks, and that only gets you closer to making the highest quality of life a reality for you. Be strong, have faith, and stay healthy.
Iris Buczkowski is the founder of Birch Wealth Management (birchwealth.com). Original content provided by Iris is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice.