July 23, 2020
As I was thinking about what I wanted to write about this week there were certainly no end to the options. All we have to do is turn on the news and brace ourselves for an instant headache, debate, or general doom and gloom. I’ve taken to reading the news instead of watching it as I find it much more palatable that way. Having said that, though, it is something I cannot avoid. I need to be on top of what craziness is out there, good and bad, and how it impacts my profession and clients, so I have come to the conclusion that I need embrace the idea of being stressfully educated.
Now you might be thinking, why the stress? That’s a great question! Throughout this strange time in our history I have tried very hard to see the light and brightness in what is not a good situation. Back in the spring I wrote about the important of finding humor and prioritizing self-care in my blog called Hard Time Humor, but let’s face it, finding humor is hard right now. I am the type of person who internalizes many of the feelings of those I care most about. My friends, especially those who are teachers, are stressed out over school reopening plans and how it will even be possible to teach children under our current circumstances. People who have small children are worried about what happens if their children cannot go back to school and how it will impact their ability to work. I know plenty of people who are still not employed and struggling to find work. If you don’t know folks in these situations, all you have to do is not be like me and turn on the television. It’s all right there, and for those I personally know who are in these precarious situations, my heart just breaks for them.
The million-dollar question, of course, is what to do? I think whoever comes up with the perfect answer to that should put it in a pretty little package and patent it because they would become rich! But there is no perfect solution and the best approach is a multiple of things. Like I always say, investors are not cookie cutters and there is no one-fits-all solution to finances. The same holds true for any of us who are struggling to live in the current climate we are all in. So, in the end I think there are two fundamental pieces to what we should do and, to me, it’s quite simple. Be prepared and be kind.
According to the Oxford Dictionary the definition of preparedness is “a state of readiness, especially for war.” Well I don’t know about you but some days I feel like we’ve all been through a war! Applying this concept comes in many ways from being prepared domestically, medically, financially, and emotionally. Despite the continued climb of the financial markets, the economy is not in good shape. There are a multitude of factors pushing the markets forward and I would say that emotions remain high and often control the day. Over the past weeks we have seen huge swings. Recently the Governor of California announced he was closing all restaurants and bars the DJIA dropped that day from 530 points at its high point to a closing level of +10 points. On another day when there was an announcement for a promising vaccine study and perceived win against coronavirus, the stock market soared. Market stability seems unpredictable at best and driven by a high degree factors that are outside of our control. We continue to be conservative and invest in high quality companies, but we all need to prepare for upcoming rainy days. Robert Herjavec just said on Good Morning America today, “It’s going to be a long winter. Pad your savings and be prepared.” Sounds like sage advice that I have also been giving as well.
Let us not forget the other piece. We all need to be kind. The sad truth is we are all struggling in some way. My kids miss their friends. I miss my friends! I do not want to be out and about unless it is absolutely necessary. And, for me, it is especially hard because my pre-COVID social life was entertaining and cooking for people so we could all get away from the craziness of life for even a small time to enjoy each other’s company, quiet date nights with my husband, or fun family outings with my kids. Now, life is just crazy! Our educators are stressed to the max so please remember to have compassion for those who do take care of and teach our kids during school. Hold your tongue and do not be quick to criticize. Tell people that you love them when you can and be sure to do it often. This is something I have always done with everyone I care about because it has become much more important since we no longer have the luxury of expressing our feelings through personal interactions. I was never a hugger – I even have a sweatshirt that says this! I never realized how much physical contact meant to me until it was taken away.
I love famous quotes and all things literature as you likely gathered if you have been reading my blog. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never know when too soon will be too late.” That is a very true statement! We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we can save our pennies, be prepared, stay educated, and have compassion. We are all in this together and maybe if we do this, coming through to the other side at the end will foster a touch more brightness in the world.
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.