Clients and colleagues, I hope this letter finds all of you safe and healthy. This past month has been a time of change that I doubt anyone will soon forget. In response to the economic environment, we will be releasing a series of letters over the coming weeks that discuss how our office views managing wealth during an uncertain economic environment. This month we wanted to highlight how our office is setup to operationally manage your accounts remotely, as well as provide a brief perspective on market declines. Our next letter will discuss how we manage investment portfolios during a market environment like this. While each crisis may be unique, the methods for managing them are not.
In my December letter, I mentioned that in early 2019 we had completed a review of our disaster preparedness planning for our business operations. The scenario we addressed was ‘what if we were unable to come into the office for an extended period of time due to unforeseen circumstances?’ A global health pandemic is a unique culprit for being locked out of your office, but the end result looks no different than an earthquake or a fire. Thankfully, we have been able to leverage technology so that all of the same systems, including our phone systems, are securely accessible to each and every one of us at home. Out of consideration for the health and well being of our team members, we were able to start working from home long before the Bay Area issued their ‘shelter in place’ orders. As you can see below, we haven’t let that stop us from having our weekly staff meetings - now over video.
While this crisis is one of human health, the economy, and your investment portfolios, are being impacted as well. When it comes to your investments, it is necessary to remember the most difficult tenet of investing: you are provided a return on your invested money expressly because you are willing to endure the uncertainty of tough economic environments. If stock markets didn’t go down, then they wouldn’t provide you with a positive return over time. Planning for uncertain economic changes, even dramatic changes, are always built in to our investment and planning assumptions. These assumptions are reflected in how we invest your retirement portfolios or how we plan for the inheritance you will leave your heirs. In the short term, markets will move up and down as they try to forecast the duration and magnitude of the coronavirus. In the long term, businesses will resume, economies will move forward, and life will go back to normal. While we don’t know when this will happen, it is important to remember this when you consider how recent events have impacted your investment accounts. This too shall pass.
We have had the opportunity to speak with many of you over the past few weeks. Topics have ranged from home schooling children and working from home, to concerns over the health of elderly parents and family members. Our message to our clients is that we are here for you and we want to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We can be reached over phone at (650) 638-0111 or you can email any of us directly.
Thank you for your continued trust,
Aaron Brickley, CFP CPWA
We believe that to properly manage your assets, we need to have a complete picture of who you are and what you hope to achieve.