In March of 2020 our world changed. We stopped doing many things (eating out, going to the gym, shaking hands, and even hugging). We started doing different things (social distancing, using hand sanitizer, hoarding toilet paper, working from home, etc.), and we really didn’t know what we were dealing with day-to-day. The unknowns were everywhere. We worried about our health, our loved ones, our jobs, our businesses, and yes, our finances. As we now look back on the past 12 months, here are some reflections on what has transpired.
Technology became our friend (whether we liked it or not). Zoom became a household word. It allowed us to still SEE each other when we couldn’t BE together. Zoom birthday calls became common. Some played games with friends and families in ways they never did before. Maintaining personal connections was important. Driveway/garage and drive-by visits became commonplace.
We counted our blessings. No matter how inconvenienced we were and how much change we faced, the stories we heard about others was heartbreaking; from job and business losses to those suffering from Covid to the tragedy of so many deaths. Working from home full-time still isn’t ideal (according to our kids and spouses!) but having the ABILITY to work from home enabled many of us to maintain a job or a business during this most extraordinary time. Your Odyssey team is grateful we were able to change our methods and continue to maintain our level of service and advice throughout this pandemic.
We helped each other. There were countless stories of neighbors helping neighbors. We shopped for each other (toilet paper anyone?), picked up medications, and ordered products online for those who were technology challenged.
We learned to live with each other. Once the initial of shock of being home more wore off, we had to adjust to being together “all the time” – for work, for the family, for everything. For some, these last 12 months was a time of challenge and loss. For all its a time we’ll never get back. And for others, it was a time of unexpected joy – new babies & puppies – while others began new adventures. Robert, for example, was able to spend considerable time with his daughter Megan during quarantine since she was home the spring and summer of her senior year of high school and before going off to college. This is usually a time a dad may never see his daughter.
The market reminded us not to panic in times of crisis. Those 23 trading days in February and March when the S&P 500 Index declined 34% were torturous. But as we now look back over the last year since the market low of March 23, 2020, we once again see the virtue of a long-term, patient, and disciplined approach to investing. Many equity funds are up over 50% over that time. Those who stayed invested during the decline were rewarded, and those who invested additional cash earned a substantial return (vs. cash in the bank) the past 12 months. In addition, our systematic rebalancing process helped our clients “buy low” during the pandemic downturn.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’re getting close to the end of this pandemic but we’re not there yet. As the year progresses and more and more people are vaccinated we should start to see lower case numbers and most importantly, fewer deaths. The employment numbers should continue to improve and the extra stimulus money is expected to help create economic activity that spurs additional growth. We’ve come so far from the extraordinary events of March 2020. We’re looking forward to seeing you and getting back to normal sometime soon.
Reviewed and Approved: NS 4/12/2021