Letter From the Chairman: “Don’t Look Back; Something Might be Gaining on You.”
The quote above is from Satchel Paige, the first African American baseball pitcher to play in the major leagues. Hired at age 42 by the Cleveland Indians, he has the distinction of being the oldest rookie ever to be hired. In an interview with the press, he was asked why someone at his age was still trying to compete. The quote above was his response.
What point was Satchel Page trying to make when he said “Don’t look back”? I think he was saying look ahead, live today with purpose and energy. Don’t be mired down by things in the past which can not be changed. With the pandemic raging, small business closing and social distancing from our loved ones it could be easy to be depressed. But we must not.
This year has been a crazy roller coaster ride that can be divided into three phases: Extreme Uncertainty, Some Clarity and Recovery.
Phase One. Extreme Uncertainty
The first third of 2020 was a period of surprises and unprecedented volatility in the markets. We came out of 2019 with a booming economy and saw the stock market drop like a rock by more than 30%. Even worse, there was no understanding of the insidious virus. Unemployment topped 15%. Oil prices went negative. We fell into an instant recession. Visibility was zero.
Phase Two. Some Clarity
In the middle of the year the Fed stepped in and provided some financial relief with stimulus programs for both individuals and small businesses. At the same time, we were learning more about the nature of the virus. There was a reduction of uncertainty providing more visibility for the markets going forward.
Phase Three. Large Market Recovery
In the last third of the year the promise of a vaccine became more believable with several major drug companies working hard to produce a cure. The anticipated development of a vaccine has been a large part of the reason for rising stock prices. Today the vaccine is a reality, with the first distribution of it underway.
What lessons can we take away from 2020? There are many. Certainly, one is that no one or anything should be taken for granted. More than a few of us have lost a family member to the virus and all of us have felt the pain of not being able to be next to our loved ones.
Next the “Old Normal “is gone to never return. But that is ok. Some of the “Old Normal” was not that great and will not be missed. But some of the “Old Normal” remains. In fact, our mission has not changed. Our mission to offer financial peace of mind to our clients is unaltered.
The “New Normal” will be what we want it to be. The events of 2020 have reminded us of just how resilient people are. Change can be frightening but when change is embraced remarkable things happen. When forced out of our comfort zones we innovate, adapt, and grow. Now we must live each day with purpose. We must dedicate ourselves to looking forward, not back, because something might be gaining on us, and it is the future.