Am I the only one who feels like we are living in a movie? Someone please tell me that I am correct in my understanding that this is 2020. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be hoarding toilet paper and searching the city for FLOUR because the stores are running out of bread and I think it’s time I started baking my own. It looks like I am going to be homeschooling my kids for the next 2 months instead of sending them to people who are PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED to deal with them for 35 hours a week teach them to read and write. It appears that we are just a couple of zombies shy of total apocalyptic ruin. Whose life is this?! Surely it cannot be mine.
But, alas, it is. And as the days are turning into weeks and the media continues to project doom and gloom, I am just trying to figure out what my new normal is. Me, and everyone else, right? I think it is fair to say that we are in uncharted territory.
But are we really? Well, yes and no. As a nation, we have never experienced quarantine or quasi- quarantine quite like this. Every cold and flu season we are urged by doctors and notes on doors and Facebook posts to wash our hands and to not kiss babies that aren’t ours etc. etc. But to be told that we cannot leave our homes for the foreseeable future is a whole other level. So it is natural and understandable that it’s going to take all of us (and the market) some time to adjust. And let’s get real- the economic implications are nothing to sneeze at (pun intended).
What isn’t new is market volatility. While it is true that we haven’t seen drops and swings like this in a decade it is also true that we HAVE seen them before. And volatility often seems to come from nowhere. If we allow history to be the great educator that it is, we can see that these periods of uncertainty do have ONE certainty: they come to an end. Something else we can say with certainty is that if you make rash decisions now, you will likely miss out on the recovery period that is sure to follow.
I’m sure you’ve already heard this a hundred times, but the truth bears repeating: The important thing right now is to slow the spread of this nasty virus as much as we possibly can. The importance of this cannot be overstated. While we all try to wade through this new territory, let’s make sure we keep our priorities in order.
So, how long will I be canning my own vegetables and trying to understand/teach common core math? (Why can’t we just carry the one?!?!) How long will I be looking at the value of my investments go down, down, down? I don’t know. Neither does Jim Cramer or Warren Buffett or any other financial pundit you may be listening to these days.
For now, I’m just trying to ride the waves and find my new normal. I wonder if I will before the market does.