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April showers bring May flowers, or so we hope...

April showers bring May flowers, or so we hope...

April 12, 2020
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  • The S&P 500 as of the close on April 8, 2020, is down 14.88% YTD, however, April has shown around a 9% increase.
  • Zoom Video Communications (ZM) is up 73% YTD. We use the technology for client meetings, team chats, and family ‘reunions’ – I'd never heard of Zoom two months ago.  
  • Webster has a new term; social distancing.

NEWS FROM THE OFFICE

The team is sheltering in place but staying on top of client needs. Crystal has added ‘teacher’ to her resume and can hardly wait to turn it back over to the pros. Matt came into the office to do the billing and get a change of scenery. The phone is relatively quiet but email requests are up. I guess you figure if I am here by myself, getting through might be difficult.

THE QUESTION ON EVERYONE’S MIND

A big question on everyone’s mind is what type of recovery we can expect:

  • V Recovery- The economy suffers a sharp but brief period of economic decline with a clearly defined trough, followed by a strong recovery.
  • U Recovery- Longer than a V-shaped recession, and has a less-clearly defined trough. GDP may shrink for several quarters, and only slowly return to trend growth.

I tend to anticipate a V recovery, though I think the recovery has a lot to do with another V: Vaccine.

Remember markets dislike uncertainty. The spread of the COVID-19 virus has created many questions and a ‘none too rosy’ picture. However, as the increase in cases begins to level out and fall, as supplies become plentiful again, the stock market may begin to rise.  

The Federal government is doing what it can to ‘goose’ the economy with various stimulus packages, to get some money into peoples’ pockets so they can spend, of course stores have to be open to spending (right there, my old school comes out, because there are plenty of places to spend on-line), and encouraging us to keep employees on the payroll.

ADVICE FROM THE ADVISOR

As a planner, I would love to see people pay off debt and build up a cash reserve. In other words, don't spend whatever is coming from the government. Unfortunately, that advice will not ‘goose’ the economy. Therefore, what does this advisor advise?

  1. Stay healthy and follow the instructions we have been given.
  2. Enjoy this time with your family: Read a book, start a puzzle, gather the family on Zoom and share stories, (I found a Napa Rocks in the garden the other day. Someone painted a flat stone and placed it along the sidewalk for me to find, and smile. Little things count BIG when you’re isolated.)
  3. Don’t panic: if you notice, the word pandemic contains the word panic. 
  4. Turn off the news.
  5. Call a friend. 
  6. Do some service. 
  7. If you have more than five years to retirement and are still getting a paycheck, keep contributing to your plan. If you have less than five years and want to talk about your plan or portfolio, use our calendar link and set up a Zoom meeting or phone call.
  8. There are many new rules this year. For example, we started the year with increasing Required Minimum Distribution age to 72, as opposed to 70 ½. Now they have eliminated the need to make a distribution in 2020.
  9. Lastly, (and I am sure, the highest anticipation), take the time to get your financial house in order: Look at your budget, check your insurance coverage, and generally consider the ‘currentness’ of your estate plan.

Thanks for the continued trust you have placed in us.