March 11, 2020

COVID-19 Update

Michael L. Hines, CFP®

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As of this writing, it appears that we have over 1000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States with deaths rising to 31 individuals.

First, the most important thing for us is the safety of our clients and our team. We are regularly disinfecting our offices and if we did need to close our offices, our team is prepared to continue to provide the high-quality service you deserve remotely. For our clients that cannot meet us in person, we are readily making conference calls available to them.

From an investment perspective:

  1. Things may get worse in the US before they get better. However, study after study has shown that the old investment chestnut is correct: time in the market beats timing the market.
  2. Where it makes sense, we have been actively "tax-loss harvesting" in our clients' taxable accounts. Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy in which certain investment assets are sold at a loss to reduce tax liability. We are using proceeds from sales to purchase similar investments and maintain market exposure. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade and I have yet to meet someone that likes paying more in taxes than they need to.
  3. We are actively taking profits from investments that have done well and putting that money into things that have the merit to increase in value. This method of rebalancing and buying things when they are "low" and selling things that are "high" is the foundation of sound investing.
  4. When we put together your financial plan, we account for market pull backs like the one we are experiencing. Sticking to your plan, especially in times of uncertainty is critical to long term financial success.
  5. Many of our clients own high quality bonds in their portfolios. Bonds have increased in value during this pull back. We continue to focus on diversification and asset allocation.
  6. We are helping many of our clients invest their extra cash during this market drawdown. Things could get worse, but we do know that markets are much cheaper than they were few weeks ago.
  7. Dislocations like these, provide attractive buying opportunities of successful companies and asset classes that are being sold indiscriminately. Our investment committee is proactively seeking these opportunities.

Finally, I am proud of the work our team is doing during this time of uncertainty. We have taken similar institutional approach to help our clients navigate through many epidemics and market turmoil over the past 45 years. Below is a chart of how S&P 500 (broad US Market) has responded to prior epidemics. Past performance is no indication of future results, but on average market has appreciated 8.8% and 13.6% respectively after 6 months and 12 months after the start of prior epidemics.

Source: First Trust.  See footnotes for additional disclosures.

COVID-19 may be different, but we will continue to make sound financial decisions on your behalf every step of the way.

This material is being provided for information purposes only. Consolidated Planning Corporation and Raymond James is not associated with First Trust. Graphic source: Bloomberg as of 2/24/20. Month end numbers were used for 6- and 12-month % change. *12 month data is not available for the June 2019 measles. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 stocks used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or sales charges. Returns are based on price only and do not include dividends. This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. These returns were the result of certain market factors and events which may not be repeated in the future. The information presented is not intended to constitute an investment recommendation for, or advice to, any specific person.

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