Financial Planning in a Crisis: Learn

Learn Things…

I admit it, during this self-quarantine lockdown called the Coronavirus Crisis (or pandemic) I’ve become a NCIS: New Orleans junkie.  Very quickly after binge-watching a few seasons, my favorite quote is one by Dwayne Cassius “King” Pride in just about every episode: “Let’s learn things.” A great way to motivate his team of agents working on a new case.


Thing is, the case we are currently faced with – the coronavirus – isn’t a new one.  Sure, the cause is new (the virus) and presents a challenge in and of itself.  But the idea of a ‘crisis’ isn’t new.  We have seen crisis after crisis hit Wall Street.  And time after time, investors tell us the some of the same things:

“What do I do?”
“Should I sell everything and protect what I have left?”
“It just feels different this time…”
“I’m going to lose everything!”

I could go on and on with similar quotes or headlines.  But let me challenge you to think a little differently about this.  It’s like we are sitting in MTAC or the squadroom and Agent Pride is telling us to, “Go! Learn things!”.

Falling stock markets have a way of teaching us a lot about our risk tolerance, our patience, and our goals.  So, what have you learned about yourself over the last two weeks?  Maybe it’s that you aren’t as risk averse as you once thought.  Maybe it’s that you’re more of an opportunist than you once thought, and are ready to invest to take advantage of lower prices.  Whichever the case, what needs to be different this crisis is what you choose to learn about yourself.

So, stop and reassess your reasons for investing.  Then write it down!  Remember, “The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.”  As you go through this process, one of two things are likely to happen: 1) you may just learn something new about yourself, or 2) you confirm what you already knew about yourself.  Either way, take this information and use it to reinforce your personal investment plan.