At the time of my last correspondence the number of Coronavirus cases and related deaths were accelerating, financial markets were reeling, and the outlook on both fronts appeared grim. The S & P 500 had declined 35% from its February 19th peak, and credit markets were facing similar stress given the implications of widespread business and economic shutdowns. We were very much in the “heart of the storm.” My message to you then was simple: “Believe in America.”
Now, just a few weeks later, we are beginning to see the benefits of our collective American resolve. The curve of new virus cases is flattening, preliminary treatments and potential vaccines are showing promise, and the groundwork is in place for phased reopening of the American economy.
Although our future is bright, it would be premature to give the “all clear” sign. Occasional setbacks related to the virus and financial markets should be expected. Like the virus in its early stages, upcoming employment and economic indicators are apt to get much worse before they get better. Investors already know this, however, and such expectations may already be discounted into current market prices.
Throughout the numerous conversations my team and I have had with you in recent weeks, we continue to be amazed by your strength and resilience in such challenging times. We feed off the energy of our clients, and have been uplifted by your many notes and words of gratitude and encouragement. Although our paramount concern is you, we are touched that your paramount concern frequently seems to be us. In times of crisis, it’s natural to turn to family for comfort and support. We consider you to be an extension of our family, and words can never properly convey our heartfelt love and appreciation. We are always here for you. Whether you realize it or not, it gives us considerable solace and comfort to know that you are always there for us.
Matshona Dhliwayo once said, “the ugliness of the storm determines the beauty of the rainbow.” In the midst of the current storm’s turbulence, we are already witnessing vibrant glimmers of light and hope begin to emerge. Yet this light has been with us throughout, and no storm regardless of its brutality can ever diminish its brightness. It’s visible for all the world to see in the love and kindness inherent in each other. Ironically, without the adversity of a storm, we might otherwise never fully observe or appreciate such a powerful force that love and kindness can be.
Rays of sunshine are piercing through the parting clouds. They are mixing with the rains that remain to create magnificent colors. A rainbow is beginning to form, consisting not just of seven distinct bands but of countless ones from the light shining brilliantly within us all. If you can picture it as I do, it is of indescribable splendor. I'm convinced that the rainbow that is coming will be the most beautiful one yet.
Stay healthy, be well, and be safe.
-Kevin Smith and Smith Wealth Advisory Group