Collective Sacrifice

Mark Meredith, CFP®

Once upon a time Collinsville, IL was nationally recognized as a high school basketball powerhouse. I remember going on a family vacation to Florida as a child and someone asking our family where we were from. When we replied “Collinsville, Illinois” they said “Oh, the home of Virgil Fletcher”.

It has been 28 years since their last appearance in the state tournament, and 2020 appeared it would be the year they return to glory. The entire community rallied around them by packing the bleachers every week. Every year since 1908 the IHSA has crowned a state basketball champion (including during World Wars 1 and 2).

There will not be a champion in 2020. The tournament has been canceled due to fears of the Corona Virus outbreak. Kids who had a mission since their Freshman year of being one of the best teams the school had ever seen, had their end goal shattered without much notice.

It seems as if everything is canceled, and there is a cost. The negative economic impact from this is not trivial, but it is also not permanent. Depending on what you listen to or what you believe, the collective sacrifice of our society during this time could save many lives. Economic growth can be made up. Once a life is gone there is no bringing it back.

Even though I am essentially an M.D. with my 3 credit hours I earned in Intro to Health Studies, I have no idea what the truth about this virus really is, and I have no opinion if we are overreacting as a society. I do wonder what the reaction may have been if this happened 25 years ago, before social media. Maybe we’re smarter now (lol), or maybe we are more paranoid.

I am confident we will get through this. South Korea, China, and Italy have shown improvements already with the leveling out on the number of outbreaks. A Canadian company is now claiming they have the vaccine ready to go.

Of course it is a depressing time to check the value of your portfolio, but these types of scenarios should already be factored into everyone’s financial plan. While we all usually anchor to the highest value our portfolios ever reached, like this, those values are only on paper. The market will survive, and I have yet to witness a scenario in life where panic or emotional decision making improved the results.

The actions you choose to take or avoid taking in your portfolio the next few days or weeks will make significant impact on your wealth 10 years from now.

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