There’s no place like home

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST

Dorothy couldn’t have said it any better as she woke up from her nightmare in The Wizard of Oz. And right about now, nearly 300 million Americans and millions more worldwide feel the same way.

Our office tested a shutdown last week. It worked so well that we joined in with the rest of the concerned world and closed our office this past Monday. We are allowing one person per day to enter the office to get mail and make sure that we our IT room is stable with all systems go.

I am happy to report that our office closure has not caused any major disruption. We can do anything that we did last month except meet you in the office. A few bullet points below to let you know how we are accomplishing this.

  • Our office phone lines are forwarded to our cell phones and we can receive calls and voicemail from you.
  • We still have online access to everything. We can make moves in accounts, re-cast your financial plans, see copies of your wills, trusts, insurance policies and any other important documents in our systems. 
  • We have video conferencing available for those who really want to see us. Only minor computer savvy is needed to utilize this tool. Otherwise it will be Facetime. It works for grand-kids, and it works for personal financial consultations.

What we cannot do…

  • We cannot accept any trade orders via email or voicemail. We must talk to you live. This isn’t our rule, it is a regulatory rule.
  • We can’t order the markets return to status quo and go up. I’ve tried, and they didn’t listen.
  • We can’t control the behavior of others.

In our lifetimes, this is definitely a first. It is not, however, the first market panic and decline. In my career of 40 years, we’ve seen this a few times, and I’m not even counting the little blips like Greece, Brexit and the other small annoyances that have freaked out the nervous ones…

  • Black Monday. October 19, 1987. Ironically this is the day that Tom Fletcher started his trading career at Fidelity. Great timing Tom.
  • The Tech Bubble
  • 9/11
  • The Great Financial Crisis 2008-2009
  • Covid-19 Crisis

The one thing that the first four crashes have in common is that they were temporary. I personally know people who were so spooked in 2009 that they sold everything only to remain in low yielding cash since. They missed the entire comeback of the past 11 years. Don’t let that happen to you.

If your confidence is shrinking, you can be assured that this too shall pass. Professionally, we build diversified portfolios with days like this in mind. Not with the vision of timing the ups and downs, but in terms of understanding downside risks over extended market cycles. One month may be causing a lot of pain, but it is hardly a market cycle.

At some point in the future, you will look back on this as a painful shake out. We believe that capitalism will prevail and hard-working companies and their associates will rise and get through this fiasco.