Coronavirus and Your Portfolio: Part 4

Personal Money Planning |

By Gary Silverman, CFP®

The last three virus-related articles were written weeks ago. Nevertheless, the progression across the world was not surprising. Pretty much everything I said still applies, but I thought I’d take a few more weeks touching on what you should or should not do given the market drop. (If the market recovers by the time you read this, THAT will be the surprise.)

In the coming weeks, given that the market has gone into Bear territory (a 20% or more decline), I’ll try to cover some specific things you should or should not do investment-wise.

But today’s message is to those of faith (though it will be useful for anyone). I wasn’t planning on writing it, but in church today (realize “today” was a week ago) the sermon made me ponder on some things I thought I’d touch on here.

I was raised in a Jewish household, am now a Christian, and have friends in other faiths, so this isn’t a denominationally based theology lesson. That’s because just about every faith I am familiar with (and likely most all the others) there is a commonality: you, the human, are not in control.

This isn’t to say that whatever you do has no effect. As I said last week, if you plopped all your cash into the stock market last year for an expense you have this year, the negative returns you experienced were due to your actions. While you had no say in whether the stock market was going to go up or down in the last many months, there was certainly no requirement that you invest in it for a goal that was only a year away.

That’s the separation that needs to be made. Whether you like or don’t like what the President is doing, what’s being done is not under your control. The spread of the virus to this area of Texas is not under your control. Supermarkets running out of toilet paper is not under your control. For most of us, what you are reading in this newspaper, see on TV, read on the Internet, or hear on the radio is not under your control.

People of faith should know this. It’s an integral part of faith. Those of you who don’t believe in religion understand this, as well. The difference is that people of faith believe that there is protection afforded to them.

For me, it is a God who tells me that He will make everything come out just fine. Some think that means they will never go hungry, be cold, or have sickness. Instead, my faith tells me that while I might be protected from all of that (or not), the promise is not an easy life; the promise is in heavenly rewards. My short-term is not guaranteed. My long-term is looking great.

That may not be as comforting to those without faith.

Those with faith should not worry. Even if you did something that has made matters worse than they need to have been, you should not worry. Worrying is for someone who has no hope.


 Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing.