At times it is hard to believe what we have been through the last three months. First there was skepticism that the Coronavirus was actually something to worry about, then there was fear as it started spreading faster, then a realization that we were in this thing for a while, and now it seems like people are anxious for things to get back to normal (or as normal as it can be).
I am a glass half full kind of guy, and I have viewed this time as an opportunity to learn more about myself, my work, and what I truly find important in life!
1. Family is, and will continue to be, #1.
I have spent about half of my days working from home during this time. This means a lot more time with my 5-year-old son and dog. This is time I would not have gotten otherwise and has truly been a blessing! We have gone on many walks and have been able to see the trees and plants in our neighborhood transition from bare to blooming before our eyes. Though work has been pretty stressful during this whole thing, I am learning the importance that this time away from work has on my overall health.
2. Market movements are hard to predict.
Personally, I have not lived through a bear market as a financial advisor. I was in college during the last big downturn in 2008/2009 and was aware it was happening, but it is very different going through it in this profession. This bear market in particular was unprecedented. The quickest bear market drop ever. It has taught me that there is a lot that we do not have control over. All we can really do is make decisions given the information in front of us and be patient. What is most important is communicating with our clients and being transparent about what we are doing to help guide them through this time. What a learning experience for me as a financial advisor!
3. Stress is real, and habits are important.
Everybody deals with stress differently. For me, I had some unhealthy habits that I made a conscious effort to change. For the first month or so I spent a lot of time on the couch watching Netflix (Tiger King anyone?), eating and drinking whatever I wanted, and avoiding sleep. I found my stress levels rising. I learned pretty quickly that taking care of your body, mind and spirit during times like these is paramount. I have read 2 books during this time. I don’t think I read 2 books total last year. I spend a lot more time outside. I have been working out and eating better. I have tracked my sleeping to make sure I am getting enough. Taking care of myself by paying attention to things like this has helped my stress levels through this time.
4. Technology is a game changer.
Imagine shutting down the economy WITHOUT the technology we have today. We are able to quickly and easily communicate with our clients. We have hosted large group webinars and individual meetings via Zoom. Most of the Compass team has worked from home throughout this time, and we are thankful that Virtual Happy Hours are a thing now so we can connect “face to face” each week. We had a Business Continuity Plan in place for situations like this, and it has proven to work great. It may change how we conduct business moving forward as clients and staff members have gotten more comfortable with technology.
Who knows what the next 6 months will bring. We are keeping an eye on things as businesses start to slowly open back up here in Iowa and around the United States. It has been a learning experience for EVERYONE. But, the good news is, we are all in this together. Everyone has been affected by this pandemic in one way or another. I believe we will come out of this better and stronger, because we, as a people, are resilient and learn from experiences like these. I know I have!
- Caleb Pearson, Compass Advisor & Owner