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When Life Gives You Lemons



COVID-19 is certainly proving to be hazardous to our health as well as to our wealth. The changes to our lives and the world at large are unforeseen and unprecedented. We suddenly are now in a bear market which feels strange (and certainly unwelcome) after just enjoying the longest bull market in history! A bear market is neither unforeseen nor unprecedented and while we could not have predicted when it would come or what would cause it, we knew it would come at some point. This is not the first time, nor the last, that we are likely to experience a dramatic shift in the markets during our time working together.

These are remarkable and memorable times for us all. We have much to navigate. Social distancing, empty store shelves, business closings, quarantines, and cancellations. Not to mention the fear and the anxiety surrounding our health, lost jobs, and uncertain futures. As much as this is to digest, I believe there are ways that we can explore to help navigate and even take advantage of this current “new normal” we find ourselves in.

This is where we get to the Lemonade. But first, if you are a health care or other essential worker, thank you for your heroic efforts. Please rest when you can and stay safe amid the storm. For those of you working from home or caring for loved ones at home, abiding by stay-at-home orders gifts us extra time. I would like to share some of my intentional practices, or in this case making of lemonade, I have adopted to help me remain calmer in the face of this uncertainty. My hope is that they may be helpful to you as well:

  • A walk around the block to clear the mind, or, if you’re like me and have spring yard work to do, 20 minutes per day to do a bit at a time allows for fresh air, sunshine and a sense of accomplishment.

  • Taking breaks from watching and reading the news. I’ve explored digital books, audiobooks, and even old-fashioned books with pages!

  • Puzzles! Whether it’s crossword, jigsaw, or Sudoku, the diversion is welcome relief. My wife has been working on a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle for weeks now and finds the focused activity calming.

  • Regular exercise and yoga. I have particularly benefited from my discovery of “Yoga for Inflexible People” on Amazon Prime (best of all it is free if you are a Prime member).

  • Listening to podcasts – there are many interesting podcasts out there on a wide variety of topics. I would recommend 1865 (if you’re a history buff), and I also enjoyed Blood Ties as the equivalent of a summer “popcorn movie.”

  • Virtual visits with family and friends using the technology we have available to us. In the past month, I have spoken to my parents using the phone, Facebook Portal, FaceTime, and Zoom. I have done Zoom review meetings with clients who tell me they are hosting virtual cocktail parties and board game nights.
Hopefully, while you are busy doing the above activities, you will be less likely to worry about the health of the world as well as the health of your portfolio. Remember that together, as advisor and client, we created a long-term investment plan that included diversification, and appropriate risk exposure based on your personal comfort level and financial goals. As investors, we know that bear markets are a reality of investing. My job is to monitor the markets and help you stay the course with those long-term investment strategies we developed together. Let me carry the burden of monitoring your investment plan while you make this a memorable time not simply because of what is happening on the news but because you made intentional choices to make the best lemonade you could from this difficult situation.

If you have questions or if you would like to discuss the markets with me, you can e-mail me at mhaertzen@wtwealthmanagement.com or call (520) 204-1058.

Sincerely,

Matt Haertzen
Matt Haertzen



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