When will the shelter in place policies end?
When will the economy reopen?
When the economy does reopen, what will the business environment look like?
How will this affect my job prospects moving forward?
How will this affect my investment portfolio and long-term retirement plans?
The questions above are a few facing us right now, and unfortunately, there are no easy answers. However, despite the uncertain environment, we as investors, business owners, and employees must find a way to move forward. The fact our current situation seems a bit worse than normal does not absolve us of this responsibility, and we owe it to ourselves, our employees and our families to make sense of the uncertainty and act on a well thought out plan of action. Here are my thoughts on how to do just that in these uncertain times!
Many publicly traded companies will not survive the current economic environment, so casually allocating resources towards markets without a deep understanding of what you own is ill-advised. Investors must do their homework! If you want proof of what can happen, look no further than the United States Oil Fund Exchange Traded Fund (USO), which dropped approximately 35% just this past week (about 80% on the year). Many investors didn’t understand the product, how it exposed them to the oil markets, and were subsequently punished for it. If you do not have time to do your own research, seek the advice of a professional.
For Business Owners:
Business owners need to intimately familiarize themselves with the Guidelines for Opening America set forth by the President and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines will give owners an idea of what to think about as they try to establish a safe work environment for their employees and customers. However, my advice is not to stop there. Each owner must find creative ways to re-establish confidence in their specific customer/client base. Remember, the public is yearning to return to some semblance of normalcy. Help them feel confident and believe again.
Employees need to be proactive in communicating with their bosses about how they can add value and help get business back up and running once local authorities give the go-ahead. Remember, companies may struggle in the new work environment, and if employees are not proving their value, they may be replaced, or let go. For the unemployed, government assistance may be available in the short run, but will not be long term. Now is a good time to learn a new skill, update your resume, and have a plan to reengage the marketplace as soon as possible. Do not assume the current level of government assistance will last forever.
Follow The Welch Group every Tuesday morning on WBRC Fox 6 for the Money Tuesday segment.
Fox 6 Talking Points:
- For Investors: Do your homework!
- For Business Owners: Understand CDC Guidelines/Be Creative.
- For Employees/Unemployed: Show Value and Plan for Future.
Marshall Clay CFP, JD, is a Partner and Senior Advisor at The Welch Group, LLC, which specializes in providing Fee-Only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. Marshall is a graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. In addition, Marshall is a frequent guest on local television stations as an expert on various financial planning matters. Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by The Welch Group, LLC (“Welch”), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this article will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. More information about The Welch Group and important Disclosures can be found on our website. Consult your financial advisor before acting on comments in this article.