Letter to Our Clients – March 20, 2020
March 20, 2020
Dear Clients and Friends,
We hope that you and your family are doing well in these difficult times.
We are continuing to monitor the crisis created by the coronavirus COVID-19. The virus has already caused tremendous human suffering, and new cases are expected to continue to increase exponentially around the world for some time. As different countries and local governments enforce measures aimed at slowing the rate of infection, we are seeing the global economy grinding to a halt. Businesses and entire industries are closing down temporarily or working remotely to practice social distancing.
All of these developments have led to a crisis in the financial markets as well, with global stock markets experiencing significant declines. Most other financial asset classes have also seen increased volatility and uncertainty. Some people have even compared market reactions to those that have been experienced in times of war. While we have been cautioning about the potential for stock markets to drop for some time, for a variety of reasons, the unpredictability we have seen in the markets recently has been significant.
While the last few weeks have been historic and, in some ways, unprecedented, we continue to feel that the fundamentals of our economic system are solid. We expect that the closures and disruptions will cause economies and corporate profits to suffer, likely through 2020 and possibly beyond. However, long term, the virus is likely to have a passing effect, and relatively soon our economy and by extension our stock market might return to “normal,” whatever that might actually mean.
For now, we will continue to monitor the situation, and will be reaching out to you if at any point we feel that the strategies we have crafted with you need to be changed. Our goal was always to build “all-weather” strategies that will help you reach your financial goals, regardless of what the markets do in the short term. These last few weeks have not changed our conviction in those strategies, as we feel that what we have experienced so far is exactly the kind of contingency for which we have been planning. However, if anything about your financial situation or comfort with your strategy has changed, please reach out, as we will want to talk about all of this with you.
In the meantime, we wanted to let you know that earlier this week we came to a group decision to have our team work remotely. Out of concern for our team, our clients, our collective families, and the most vulnerable members of our communities, we decided to do our part and implement social distancing procedures as recommended by health experts. We had contingency procedures in place and have experienced a very successful transition. We feel confident that we will be able to serve our clients’ needs just as well with this temporary system as we could before. The only real change this should mean for you is that any meetings with our office over the next few weeks will be via phone calls or video chat, rather than in person. Other than the lack of face-to-face time, we are committed to providing the same client service as always, and so encourage you to please call our office number (503-452-9300) or email whenever you have thoughts or questions, just as you always have. While we do not anticipate any challenges with our new work situation, please do be sure to reach back out to us if you do not receive a response to a call or email within 24 hours.
Thanks in advance for your understanding, and please do let us know if you have any concerns or questions for us. Also, since these are uncertain times, if you have anything time-sensitive that we should be addressing, such as tax documents, making IRA contributions for 2019, or a withdrawal from your account, we encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible so we can be sure address all of your concerns in a timely matter.
As always, we are so appreciative of the opportunity to work with you. We will get through these trying times, together, and will hopefully be stronger on the other side. We wish the best for you and your families, we hope that you all remain healthy, and we will look forward to talking with you again soon.
Theodore R. Haley, CFP® AIF®