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Finding Opportunities in the Disruption

by Robert W. Tull | September 21, 2020 | Financial Planning, Retirement Planning

On April 22 nd of this year, I wrote about how I believe the Pandemic Crisis of 2020 will be remembered for many years just as 9/11 and the Great Recession were defining moments. We are now six months into a period of quarantine, mask wearing, and for many a fear of the unknown. Many lives have been lost to the virus and we pray for those families that were affected. We are so grateful for the health care workers who continue to serve their patients.

Webster’s defines the word disruption as “the act or process of disrupting something: a break or interruption in the normal course or continuation of some activity.” COVID-19 has been a disruption from what any person would refer to as normal. As I shared in the earlier blog, the common thread when faced with “disruption” is to first respond with panic and fear followed by ongoing concern and worry. The third response depends on the individual. So many of us have responded by looking for opportunities to encourage one another that this season will soon pass. We must continue to maintain safety precautions but at the same time we should prepare for life after COVID.

As financial planning professionals, “preparing for life” is what we do best. This crisis has reminded us once again that we must plan for possible disrupters. We cannot eliminate them, but we can lessen their impact by planning ahead. During retirement it is prudent to set aside 12-18 months of retirement spending. Annually, we often recommend you revisit the proper asset allocation for you based on what I often refer to as your “sleep level” or the amount of risk that is appropriate. Each investor’s risk tolerance is the single most important factor when constructing their investment portfolio. Remember to look for opportunities in times of crisis. We found opportunities during this crisis when stock prices became oversold due to panic selling, opportunistically we add to equity positions when prices fall.

I have said throughout this crisis that I want to look back on the actions our team has taken and be proud of how we responded. We hope you have been able to do the same. I believe we have done this well and passed the test. We have communicated regularly with our clients and followers, sharing our thoughts and the opinions of others who we respect regarding the economic landscape.

Depending on your age (and I may be giving mine away a bit here), you may have grown up watching the 1962 cartoon, The Jetsons. It illustrated the future of a typical family with flying cars, robotic maids, and video conferencing. I am reminded of the cartoon as this crisis has thrust us forward into a world and time when I am able to meet in the homes of our clients in Raleigh, Roanoke, Richmond and San Antonio over the span of one week via Zoom Conferencing. In the week prior, I had “traveled” to California to meet virtually with one of my first clients from the 80’s who remains a friend to this day. He and his wife had moved from our area 15-20 years ago and they both recently turned 90. We had spoken on the phone many times, but with the help of technology, we were able to once again see each other through the ease of a Zoom meeting. It was a memory I will keep for many years.

Our team has maintained a level of financial planning service without interruption and will continue to do so in the days and weeks ahead. We continue to look for planning and investing opportunities as our country and our world begins the long road to recovery.