As the shelter in place orders wear on, markets are fidgety and the large majority of us are testing boundaries of our own with the continued balancing act of work from home schedules, having young children at home (whilst working from home), Zoom-everything from work conference calls to virtual class instructions, family check-ins, friend social hours etc. Even the kids have resorted to Facetime with their friends as young as the kindergarteners. An intense schedule overhaul for many and an understandable contradiction to the "not too much screen time" mantra we all clung to pre-COVID-19 era.
We are working virtually for our clients through emails. Responses may take a longer to circle back as a result of sheltering at home with young children. We know you understand, and it is worth mentioning to include Ira in all emails to SAS. He has no young children at home and is quickest to respond to your questions.
In conversations within our social networks, this past week it seems like everyone collectively hit a wall. If this was your feeling too, know that you're in good company; it's a normal reaction to this new reality, especially not knowing how long this will last. For the bay area, this week brings the official 30th day of SIP.
Give yourself permission to acknowledge the chaos, and then detach from it personally. Take a deep breath and know that "this too shall pass." Keep in mind that we can use this time constructively to decide what we want to bring back with us on the other side. While we can in time go back to the ‘normal’ we knew, is it worth it to bring back all our old habits? Take the time now to reflect on how we defined ‘normal’ previously and to make an intention to only bring back those routines and habits that serve us best. The silver-lining of this global halt to ‘business as usual’ is an opportunity for us all to re-define our ‘normal’ on our path back to life as we know it.
April brings a cycle of financial due dates, reach out to your providers for help as soon as you foresee any difficulty in meeting deadlines. Basic advice is, if you question your ability to make a payment without going into the red this month, contact your provider for other options.
- Mortgage, Rent, Creditors, PGE, Water, Sewer and Garbage, Car Insurance, School tuition, Childcare providers, the list is long and most of these providers have options.
- Property Taxes (check for your specific county deadline adjustments)
- 2019 State and Federal income tax filing deadline
- Now July 15th, automatically without filing an extension
- To extend beyond July 15th, file an extension
- Hang tight for now, things may change again between now and then
If you need guidance on where to start, check here:
We’ve welcomed a new staff member! Some of you have already met her if you had an in-person meeting with us this year. Monique San Miguel Lopez joined us in the first quarter. She brings a decade of experience in financial services spanning both the non-profit sector, the private sector and most recently the fintech world. She (like Elizabeth) was a student in Ira’s class. Since meeting five years ago, we have been planning how best to work together as a trio. 2020 is the year we made it happen!
Read more about her on our website here: http://www.sasadvisors.com/team-member/monique-san-miguel-lopez
IN THE MARKETS
Believe or not we entered a Bull market for stocks two weeks ago. A Bull market is defined as a 20% gain or more from the bottom level reached of a bear market. It sure does not feel like a bull market. This Bull to Bear, and back to Bull market occurred in six weeks. Head spinning. Have the markets figured out how the economy will recover from this shock? We think this is a time to be cautious and sort out the impact of this changed lifestyle, its impact on the economy and on our own households in terms of personal finance, mental health, social activities and work/life balance.
THE GREAT NEWS
It is becoming clearer how we will emerge from this public health crisis. Governor Newsom issued a step by step plan to move forward putting public health issues and science at the forefront. Testing, capacity for treatment, and protection for vulnerable Californians are the first set of benchmarks. In order to protect our community members, our major institutions, businesses and schools, will need to adapt to the likely risk of new infections and new best practices. Newsom expects the current restrictions to last through May, so we have more shelter in place time in store as these orders continue to be shaped by our progress on getting past the virus spread. These restrictions will be lifted gradually, incrementally and based on public health and science first. One step at a time.
Our portfolio plan going forward is also opportunistically incremental. We are not sellers and portfolios have recovered substantially from the lows reached on March 23rd. That was 3 weeks ago. As we approach the beginning of earnings season, stocks will respond positively if the news is not as bad as expected. This can only be determined after the fact.
The bond market has calmed down as well and there are opportunities in purchasing individual bonds at excellent prices. We have been taking advantage of the great yields. Municipal taxable, tax-free and corporate bonds have all offered excellent low risk returns at much higher rates than US Treasury Bills.
We’re here for you if you need us. Keep in touch.