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"Scary Times" Manual

"Scary Times" Manual

| March 27, 2020

We’ve lived through a lot of scary times in our lives.  I was born 4 months before the Cuban Missile Crisis which for 13 days, brought the two most powerful countries to the brink of nuclear war.  I remember none of this, of course, but my parents were undoubtedly terrified, along with the rest of the world.  My grandparents were alive during the Spanish Flu in 1918 when there was also a quarantine—for 3 months, and this was a mandatory stay-in-your-home variety, with 1/4th of the world population ultimately infected.  Do you remember where you were when Kennedy was assassinated?   How about Y2K when the planes were supposed to fall out of the sky?  Or one of the most memorable crises in recent time 9-11?  And the stock market during all these times?

What about on a personal level—how many near misses have we experienced in our lives?

Today we are facing yet another in a long line of scary times—the Coronavirus.  When the world appears to have nearly shut down for business, we find ourselves working from, or at least confined to our homes, and we wonder what horrible news this day will bring.

It seems that we have momentarily forgotten all about our Bigger Futures.  Consider two short months ago—what were you thinking about?  What were you aspiring to?  Maybe it was that day in the not-too-distant future when retirement becomes a reality, or the new fishing boat, or when we can send our kids to college.  Today, we are so caught up in securing provisions at the grocery store, that we are completely disregarding the future that we all have, the one that is much bigger than what we are feeling right now.

I believe that we are here to live our lives to the fullest and to make things a little better than we found them, helping others along the way. 

Here are five things that you can do to refocus that lens beyond today:

  1. Stick to the plan. Wealth planning is like our windshield wipers; when you need them, you need them now.  What matters is not where the S&P 500 closes, it is how we are going to replace our paychecks and make this last for 30 more years after retirement!  With some quality seat-time at home, now might be an excellent time to update (or create) your wealth plan—and we can help.
  2. Make lemonade out of lemons. While the IRS provided a temporary reprieve for completing our income tax returns to July 15, 2020, economic shifts like we have today can provide opportunities for tax planning strategies that can potentially reduce this burden.
  3. Don’t forget the other virus. Unfortunately, during tumultuous times, the bad guys (scammers) become very opportunistic, thinking up new ways to con us out of our hard-earned money.  Be especially vigilant of suspicious emails, links, or phone calls.  When in doubt, check it out!
  4. Throw out the anchor. Sound investment principles are never out of season, which is especially important to remember when our stomachs feel like they’re on a roller coaster.  You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel anxious right now.  But feeling fear and acting on it are two very different things.  Let’s chat!
  5. Adjust our lens. Our objective is not only to weather the storm, but to thrive in the rebound.  It is during scary times just like this that many entrepreneurial breakthroughs and new opportunities occur, and this will likely prove no different.  I have discovered no less than three new initiatives for our firm just in the past two weeks.  Remember your Bigger Future!

 As Mary Oliver so eloquently put it, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and crazy life?”


My very best,

Mark Reinert