My youngest sister owns a bakery in Hampstead, MD. She employs about 15 people and has been in business for about four years. She is still open today, serving the people of Hampstead, keeping her people employed, and continuing to live her dream to the fullest. She’s lucky in that sense, but her reality is a bit more complicated. My sister had to change and adapt to the new realities of doing business in the world of COVID-19. She’s adapted by setting up a platform for mobile orders, placing shields all around the shop’s counters, offering curbside delivery, accommodating employees who are frightened for their health, and a whole host of other COVID-19 preventative steps to keep everything together. At the same time, she’s running a social media campaign highlighting the small businesses in her community, reminding people that businesses like hers are the backbone of many towns. I could not be prouder of her.
However, she’s not the only one. Two clients of mine, a husband and wife team in central Jersey, own a pharmacy right in the heart of a community rocked by the virus. Still, they get up and service their community every day, typically filling prescriptions for vital medication needed by their neighbors. Like my sister and many business owners, they have had to change and adapt to their environment. From protective gear to changing the service delivery model – and changing just about every aspect of their normal client interactions – they have made it happen. I am proud to know them.
This is a time of great uncertainty, marked by genuine concern over our health and the health of all those we care about. Our jobs, our finances, and our immediate future are all drawn into question. It is very real, and it is very frightening.
But there is something that we can do. Like my sister and like my pharmacist friends, we can change and adapt. We can focus on the future and recalibrate. We have the capability to survive and to thrive.
Here are a few of my thoughts that I’ve shared with my staff and my clients:
1. Reflect on what is important in your life. Your family, your friends, and your health. Take the necessary steps to ensure that you keep those who are important to you close. Make that call you may have put off, say those words you may have long neglected, do those things that are important. Take steps to protect your health and those around you.
2. Do your job well. Go the extra mile, focus on serving the public and focus on how you and your clients might emerge from this better.
3. Seek advice from a host of advisors. If you are uncertain about how to move forward, look to your CPA, your attorney, and your financial advisor. Being proactive is much better that sitting and worrying.
4. Revisit your investment plan. Take the time to evaluate your plan and make necessary adjustments for the immediate needs with an eye to the future.
5. Be optimistic. I’ve been a financial advisor for nearly 30 years. Each time there is a calamity, downturn, or tumultuous circumstance, I’ve heard people say, “This time is different.” But each and every time, we’ve emerged bigger and better than before. I will never count the United States out, ever.
The best of luck to you and your family. If you need help with your investment plan, call me – I’m happy to help.