Without a doubt, the COVID-19 virus has changed our lives. Many went from a 30-minute daily commute to a 24/7 non-commute. Some medical personnel are working around the clock while others are seeing only a handful of patients.
Sadly, far too many lost their jobs and many business owners went from fast track to a standstill overnight. School hallways are no longer teeming with bustling kids, and our places of worship are empty as well.
Some have died from the virus, while others have battled and survived. Some research shows many have had the virus and didn’t know they were infected.
Throughout my career, I have guided many clients through some difficult financial times. I don’t want to say this is the most difficult downturn I’ve ever been through, but I can say it’s been the most heartbreaking and the most inspirational.
The heartbreak, of course, is the great loss of life throughout the nation and the world. Our country’s incredible loss of jobs is equally tragic. I never imagined I would see long lines of Americans waiting for food.
And yet, there is plenty of inspiration. Difficult times often bring out the best in people. The thousands of volunteers putting packages of food together and passing them out to complete strangers is ample evidence of that.
Equally inspirational are the professionals in the medical field and our civil servants who put their own health at risk to help so many in need.
Their bravery has been unwavering. For anyone who thought it was gone, recent events have certainly shown that the American Spirit is alive and well.
I especially like to listen to Dr. Fauci because, like a financial advisor, he hedges his words. Rather than say “always,” he uses phrases like “most likely.” After all, we are in an environment where there are a lot of unknowns even to the medical experts. And while I strongly value the advice of medical experts, I also think it is ok to ask questions.
For example, there have been medical claims that diet pop is ok, coffee is both good and bad and eggs give you high cholesterol. I’m still not sure about butter vs. margarine. In other words, although well- intentioned, medical advice is not always spot on.
Financial advice? Like I said, it’s smart to ask questions. Failure to ask appropriate questions is one of the reasons scam artists are so successful. If someone guarantees you no-risk, double digit returns, it’s definitely unethical and probably a scam.
Financial advisors are trained to ask questions. If a family told me they can live on $5,000 a month with no money in the bank and a loan from their retirement fund, I’m asking some questions. And they, in turn, need to ask me some questions.
Even in good financial times you need to be inquisitive. Because times can change. An investment that fit you like a glove years ago may no longer be appropriate. Or maybe your goals have changed.
On another note, I want to wish all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day. These are difficult times and there are many moms who can’t have visitors or hug their children and grandchildren. You are all greatly appreciated and hopefully next year will be Happier.