Our response to Coronavirus

 

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.

Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less. — Marie Curie

 

There is no doubt in my mind…the headlines we’ve all been reading for the past weeks are scary. And watching the financial markets react leaves us feeling uncertain, troubled, anxious, panicked, nervous…and all sorts of other uncomfortable words that come back to one emotion…fear.

The intent of this message is not to negate or minimize the feelings you might be experiencing right now. Rather, we want to use this opportunity to actively demonstrate some of our firm’s values which dictate our actions every day, not just on crisis days.

The media has certainly done its job in keeping the emotional throttle full-on. That’s the power of words. And those words are wreaking havoc on our financial markets and our emotional well-being even though most of us will never contract the virus that’s the root cause.

Words lose some of their power when facts lead to greater understanding. It’s true COVID19 spreads more rapidly than other illnesses like the cold or flu. Our elderly, particularly those with underlying health issues, are at greater risk. Washing hands, practicing other good hygiene habits, avoiding crowded venues, and limiting social interactions in the near-term helps reduce the spread.

I’m not going to recommend you invest any of your financial assets into hoarding toilet paper or preparing for Armageddon. This is not that. And panicked behaviors will not help or remedy this situation. This is a virus that apparently spreads more rapidly and more easily than others. The panic it is generating may have much longer lasting outcomes than the actual illness. We’ll let the doctors and other experts direct us in proper protocols for dealing with COVID19. By merit of their expertise, they should be the ones to address the physical and health-related implications of the virus.

We are your designated experts in our field and we also have a role. One of the most important roles your financial advisors can serve right now is to help restore your sense of well-being amid the chaos of the volatile stock market. Here’s how we construct portfolios so they can weather storms like this:

  • We customize allocations to investors’ needs. This is completed at the onset of our relationship and regularly updated based on changes in your life. We craft each investment plan based on your risk tolerance, risk capacity, and investment objective.
  • We ensure availability of liquid funds. We provide continuous counselling on sustainable distribution rates and ensure that each client has several years of distributions kept outside of the stock market.
  • We diversify investments. The funds we select are invested in every industry, in businesses across the world. This limits the effects of a downturn in any single industry while enabling the participation in economic growth, in whichever industry it may occur.
  • We have high quality IT capabilities. We invested heavily into high-quality portfolio management software to allow for continuous monitoring and the ability to make changes quickly and effectively.

Meanwhile, we are maintaining a healthy environment for our staff and our clients. We decided it is best to postpone learning events in our office for the time being. For now, we are continuing to have face-to-face meetings with clients unless you prefer virtual or at-home meetings with us.

I have notified all staff members to stay at home if any sign of illness appears within their own homes or if they have known exposure. We’re being vigilant about office cleaning particularly between appointments and frequently wipe down desks and tables, light switches, phones, door handles and other surfaces. We’re not hugging each other or clients as we often do and we’ve got a ready supply of hand sanitizer, disposable towels and plenty of toilet paper in our restrooms. We are caring for and about each other.

And perhaps that’s a good place to end this message. Let’s continue to care for and about each other. Coronavirus won’t undo us, and it won’t cost you your long-term financial security. We’ll get through this, as we have every market disruption, we’ve weathered in FSG’s nearly four-decade history.

Hang tough. Wash your hands (a lot!). Stay well. We’ll be in touch (without actual touching, of course)!

 

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