DO YOU HAVE THE COVID FREEZE?
UNABLE TO MAKE FINANCIAL DECISIONS?
COVID-19 has changed everything. Both of our sons have had their life’s disrupted – high school prom, high school graduation, college forced to remote learn – including our eldest son at The Citadel taking a Judo class remotely. Does anyone want to guess how Judo can even work remotely?
My work has been mostly virtual and paperless for years. Now it is 100% virtual. We all, including my virtual assistants from around the world, have had their lives completely turned upside down. Millions of people have lost jobs, careers, families, and far too many lives have been lost.
WHAT IS COVID FREEZE
The COVID FREEZE is simply the inability to make normal financial decisions during the current COVID pandemic.
During recent conversations with friends, family, and prospective clients I have heard a common refrain –“because of COVID, I’m not going to make any decisions or financial moves because … “the market is too volatile”; “this time is different”; “the world has changed”, “the world of COVID-19 and the silly season of Politics have merged” and many others.
The honest reality is some of these people might never recover from this analysis paralysis.
As a financial advisor, one of the most discouraging stories I share is about a former client who, during the worst of the 2008 “Great Recession” went to 100% cash. When he returned to the market in 2018, he had lost 10 years of compounded growth. Ten years he can never recoup.
CAN ANYONE TIME THE MARKET?
>Which brings me to the concept of market timing. I think it is fair to say from the research that nobody can consistently time the market. First, you have to be correct TWICE. When to get OUT and the when to get back IN. Mere mortals are not able – maybe a few like Warren Buffet can but he has strawberry ice cream and a Diet Coke for breakfast.
So, yes these times are crazy, scary, and there is no way to predict when or if this will ever end.
The COVID times could last forever, or maybe it will end soon. Nobody, not even the experts, has any clue. The employment situation is horrible, layoffs are pending, politics and society are in the crazy season. So, what are you to do now?
The short answer is no one knows! But then again, we as Financial advisors deal with the same lack of certainty daily every year. If we knew what the markets were going to do – then everyone would be doing the same thing.
WHAT IS A VOLATILITY PREMIUM?
This is why there is a volatility premium – this is why you get paid more for owning risk assets then you do for owning a CD or Annuity. And don’t get me started on Annuities – overpriced, sold to people for all the wrong reasons, high commissions, etc.
As Financial Advisors we deal with uncertainty every day, year in, and year out – yet we are not immune to the concerns mentioned. The overriding challenge facing us is how can we help clients best address their financial security and future during these COVID Crazy Days?
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR MONEY DURING COVID FREEZE?
The answer is the same for you and me.
- Have a comprehensive financial plan
- Align your goals, values, and investment model
- Have an investment plan that matches your risk tolerance and risk capacity
- Ensure your emergency fund has at a minimum of 6 months living expenses, maybe up to two years if your job is risky or at risk
- Ensure you have the foundation – legal, insurance, cash management
- Then make sure your investments are diversified
- Allocated globally
- Invest in the best companies in the world
- Keep your costs low
- Stick with the plan
Here are several studies that show the correlation between the number of times a client checks on their accounts … then the lower their return will be. This is due to human nature’s need to “do something”. Wall Street is DESIGNED to get you to do something since this is where they make their money. If you buy and hold, refuse to panic, and stick to your plan – you will WIN over time and in the long haul.
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF COVID
So, yes, now is terrible, horrible, and different from anything we’ve directly lived through before. But keep in mind that our parents and grandparents generations witnessed the horrors of WWI; the Great Depression; the Spanish Influenza pandemic; WWII (which cost 85 million lives – about 3% of the 1940 world’s population); the Korean War; the Cold War years when nuclear annihilation was an unending fear. Then came the race riots of the ’60s (with over 3400 USA bombings) that rocked the USA to its core. As did Viet Nam …
In other words – uncertainty is not as novel as it feels right now. And we will survive. How well you survive, and if you can attain long-held dreams, will depend on how effectively you can implement and/or adhere to your financial plan.
If you don’t have a financial plan – create one or hire someone to help. Review the 10 items above and use them as a base for your strategic planning.
To learn more about Hamilton Financial Planning click HERE
To learn more about Scott Hamilton, click HERE
Scott Hamilton is the founder and chief financial officer at Hamilton Financial Planning, a wealth management firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning for retirees in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, Texas. With over 20 years of experience in the financial industry, and has completed over 250 financial plans for retirees across all industries, but mostly the oil and gas industry, Scott is passionate about providing his clients with the tools and insight they need to achieve their financial goals.
He has a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from Texas State University and an MBA in international finance from Pepperdine University. Scott has also been happily married to his wife, Gayle, for over 25 years. To learn more about Scott, connect with him on LinkedIn.