The Power of FUD

May 20, 2020

The current state of our world has left many of us with a overarching malaise brought on by FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. While not a part of normal medical terminology, it most definitely is an emotional state that can be prevalent in us, and especially in times like this. We have lived in an age where “certainty” can be ascertained fairly easily. All you have to do is:

  • Google – how many miles is it from home to vacation?
  • Hey, Siri – what’s the temperature today?
  • Alexa – does anybody really know what time it is? (For friends of the band Chicago, you really should do this…)

But there are no ready answers to the questions surrounding COVID-19, and how long it will be a dominant factor in our lives. There’s no certainty about how we are to go about re-entering a social society, or how we balance the health concerns with the economic perpetual motion machine that was intentionally ground to a halt. The answers (which are more guesses at this point) arrive slower than we want, and emotions can swing wildly from day to day based upon the most recent headlines.

Enter Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt…

So, what do we do to combat this? First, we need to recognize that we are only 3-4 months from the very beginning of this pandemic in our country. We shouldn’t expect to have this all “figured out” yet, no matter how hard we try. Second, take the time to enjoy what you CAN safely enjoy right now. It’s been great to look out my home office window and see the amount of people walking, talking to neighbors – albeit from a distance – and enjoying the warmer weather. Golf courses are busy, as you can easily social distance while on the course. And soon, we will be making a modified re-entry into our favorite stores, restaurants, etc.

Third, and most important from a financial planning standpoint, have a PLAN of how you are approaching things. And recognize that HOPE is not a plan… We continue to recommend that you keep an adequate amount of cash on hand in case this current situation drags on longer than any of us wish. Rebalance your portfolio so that you keep an appropriate mix between stocks and bonds. To that end, we have a few portfolio changes that our Investment Committee has approved and will be implemented in the coming weeks. Most of all, remember that investing is a long-term endeavor, and don’t allow yourself to get mentally whipsawed by the volatility that we are seeing.

One of the things that you may have noticed from me in previous email communications is a focus on finding moments of positivity or inspiration. It sure is easy to find BAD news out there, but it is equally easy to seek out items that make you feel better about life. Many of these of late have been musical in nature, as people have not allowed their creativity to be stifled out by social distancing. “Virtual concerts” show up in my online feed regularly now, and I continue to be amazed by the talent level of these artists.

For those clients who have been with us for some time, you may remember that we have brought in our friend Bill Kanengiser to perform for you in the past. Frankly, once this whole virus outbreak has died down we would love to do so again. Bill is a founding member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and an accomplished solo artist, as well as being a faculty member at the Thornton School of Music at USC. He recently shared with me two virtual performances – one from the USC Guitar Orchestra and another from the legendary Sergio Assad. The second is literally a collection of the greatest classical guitarists on the planet, and you’ll see Bill and his quartet throughout the piece.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t include one solo clip of Bill. While he has MANY songs that I am personally just amazed by, this one has always been my personal favorite. Just close your eyes, and then remember there is only ONE person playing…

USC Guitar Orchestra - Dirait On
Bill Kanengiser - Ronda Alla Turca

Hopefully we can all go out and replace these temporary feelings of FUD with something uplifting, like this.

Have a great day, and please let us know if there is anything that we can be doing for you. All our best.