Some day we’ll be able to look back at 2020 in amazement, wondering how the world could be so screwed up on so many fronts all at once. We’ve all faced incredible challenges in our everyday lives, scenarios that were unimaginable but seem to be hitting us with unrelenting fury this year. I’m afraid it may get worse before it gets better.
In six weeks we’ll have an election that by all accounts will be more contentious and uncertain than any we’ve ever faced. It’s entirely likely that the election will not go smoothly, adding another layer of uncertainty on what’s already been an incredibly uncertain period.
My biggest concern right now for you is primarily not financial. We looked at your portfolio from a risk perspective late last year to confirm our approach. We revisited investment and financial plans again after a sharp drop in the markets in March. From an investment perspective, I would not recommend “going to cash” or trying to predict what the markets will do between now and year-end. Markets are basically flat for the year, so we head into these last few months in surprisingly good shape. I’ve had many conversations over the past month (and plan to have many more in the coming weeks) taking another close look at everyone’s financial situation to try to provide some certainty in what is otherwise a very uncertain world. If we have not yet spoken, expect to hear from me, or reach out to me and we’ll make sure your finances are not a source of concern.
At this point, I’m much more concerned about your mental and physical well-being. Many of you have shared with me the personal challenges you’ve faced this year, and the possibility that there may be more challenges ahead worries me. The level of stress in the world right now is dangerous.
This is a year where our goal may just need to be getting through it. We’re all stretched pretty thin, and that is important to recognize as we prepare for the next few months.
I’m not a trained psychologist, so I can’t counsel you as to what to do. But I will tell you my game plan:
Make sure I’m financially positioned to ride out this period
Focus on what I need to focus on
Try to ignore/not internalize the rest
Be conscious of my physical/mental well-being
My focus is 100% on helping you navigate this crazy year. That is a commitment I take very seriously, and through emails, webinars, calls, and Zoom meetings I am doing everything I can to fulfill that commitment. To maintain that focus I’m consciously rationing my mental energy, deciding what I need to worry about and what I don’t.
Treat the last three months of 2020 as though we’re under a hurricane warning: make your preparations now, and then just ride it out. Given what we’ve been through thus far, and what might be on the horizon, now is the time to prepare (both financially and mentally) for whatever the last quarter of 2020 has in store for us.
And looking ahead to 2021, as one wise client told me today, “I don’t usually stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve, but I will this year, just to make sure the damn ball does drop!”.