It turns out pandemics wear you out. This “new normal” is starting to feel like “normal-normal”, but it’s not the day-to-day that I would choose for myself, or any of us. Countless friends and clients have lost their job or been severely impacted by shutdowns and stay at home. Pundits argue. Through all of this, everyone seems to be getting into the prediction game, myself included.
So, here is what I think about what is next – maybe putting pen to paper will help to get it out of my head and into the universe.
1. Nobody can predict what is next, but our recovery will seem SO obvious with hindsight.
The last decade marked the most unpopular bull market in history. People could not believe it was true and spent most of the time calling bull on that bull. Money and life are inherently difficult to predict. But with hindsight, didn’t it make sense to have a great run after the lowest valuations of many of our lifetimes?
Now, everyone is not just a market or economic expert, they are also going pro on public health and epidemiology. And that is just natural. We are all trying to work things out in our mind because certainty feels more comfortable.
Unfortunately, I do not think that the prediction game is all it is cracked up to be. When we make our forecast (or picked our side or prognosticator), then we are teaming up to oppose others who are doing the same. Talk about exhausting! Let your rational mind remind yourself that we are all just trying to get through this.
2. We are all being marked by this.
The COVID-19 state of mind is going to impact our individual and collective perspective, likely for generations. Our collective history has been bent and scarred or tattooed by events in the past:
- The Great Depression marked my grandparent’s generation with a knowledge of scarcity that our current society has not yet faced. How many of you remember your parents or grandparents reusing foil and living off cash? That was the case for my grandparents.
- In the 1960s, fights for civil rights and the Vietnam War transformed baby boomers.
- 9/11 is often considered a defining moment for millennials.
We are all experiencing a complete transformation of what we consider to be possible right now. Will the kids be back in school in the fall? Can they safely play with their friends soon? How soon is it safe to hug your extended family?
These changes will mark us, and we will remember it forever. We may have an additional 2020 lens that we put onto the decisions we make in our lives for a time, or forever. Acknowledging this will help us to identify and explore how we have changed so that we are not owned by new anxieties or fears subconsciously.
3. Disruption will continue to accelerate.
The retail sector was ravaged by Amazon and digital shopping habits before a pandemic made it the only way. But my favorite local businesses have pivoted and adapted to look more like a local Amazon, and I know they will maintain those habits as things become more typical.
I have been on both sides of the work from home aisle. I have been a manager within and continue to observe organizations that distrusted the work which was completed out of view. Not everyone will work from home, but the number of American workers with access to increased flexibility are growing.
My personal journey from a commuting executive to a local small business entrepreneur indicates that anything is possible once you open your perspective. The seamless productivity of the Pearl Planning remote team has shown me that location does not define an adaptive and resilient organization.
Those organizations that are less comfortable with change may be more challenged. But if you are open to examining what is sacred and what needs to adapt, you will be rewarded.
4. Empathy and self-care are the best antidotes.
May is Mental Health Awareness month and the timing is so right. I see so much value in incorporating personal mental health exercises into a fulfilled, contented life. The evidence shows that self-care and mental health maintenance boosts your ability to deal.
At Pearl Planning, we’ve hosted meditation and yoga sessions during COVID-19, but we’re also just available to listen and help. And I think in the future, there will be even more integration of financial planning and financial therapy as the financial therapy field continues to emerge. Across society, more adaptive, mentally healthy, and resilient citizens will excel.
5. It STILL is not different this time.
I have succumbed to “it’s different this time” investment and life campaigns multiple times in the past. Behaviorally, it’s so easy to fall for this. Most of us have or are.
Check out these headlines from 1918. They are laid out next to 2020 headlines and a century does not change much. Life will be altered, but it will not be halted.
Your life and investment lessons likely do not need to be scrapped. History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.
So, manage your emotions, bide your time, take care of yourself, and look forward to your future!