To say we are in interesting times would be an understatement. As we all watched the news in January, we started to see the impact of the deadly Coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19). However, if you were like me you went on with your daily routine not realizing at that time what would happen to all of us within 60 days.
Within the last two months we have seen COVID-19 rapidly spread resulting in massive shutdowns, layoffs, and claiming the lives of over 2,200 U.S. citizens. Furthermore, we have seen panic in the financial markets and most of us have seen our retirement and investment accounts decline by 30-40%.
During my career I have been impacted by the wage/price controls in the 1970’s, interest rates at 20% in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the S&L crisis in the late 80’s where real estate values plummeted, the dot.com bubble crash in the early 2000’s, the 9/11 attack, and the mortgage crisis starting in 2008 that lasted several years. In each case it created anxiety and fear and fear that the crisis would not end, and we would not recover. However, in each instance we came roaring back and recovered taking us to the next decade.
This crisis will pass but, in the meantime, it is creating fear and anxiety like we have never seen in our profession both personally and from our clients. The current state of news and social media has added fuel to this anxiety with the distribution and dissemination of facts that are true and, in many cases, information that is not true but creates headlines that sell and capture one’s imagination.
This crisis is bringing out the “best and worse” of us as we deal with the unknown. We are seeing a run on toilet paper and basic food items resulting in current shortages. I don’t approve of this behavior because it is selfish and puts our seniors and disadvantaged at risk. On the other side we are seeing tremendous effort being put in by our health care workers and first responders and your efforts are greatly appreciated. You are truly heroes! In addition, we are seeing America step up to help solve the shortages and we are seeing American ingenuity and entrepreneurship at its best as we get through this problem.
We all have taken a huge financial hit and now face uncertainty as to what happens next. I am confident we will return to some sort of normal within 30-90 days but all of us must figure out how we get through this time period. For our business clients it is truly a matter of cash flow survival and dealing with the unknown long-term impact on our businesses. For our individual clients it is concern about getting back to work again and having the cash flow to make our mortgage payments.
To help employees, individuals and businesses, Congress has passed several bills over the last three weeks which have all been signed by the President. The most recent bill was the “CARES Act” (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act), which was signed by the President on March 27th. This bill will provide over $2 trillion dollars ($2,000,000,000,000) of financial relief to businesses and individuals.
There has been so much legislation it is hard to keep on top of everything. At Axtell Haller & Slachta we will attempt to help all of our clients through this crisis by staying current on all of the changes and get that information out to you and hopefully, it will be in terms you will be able to understand.
Over the next days and weeks, we will be updating our website and posting information that we consider helpful to you. We will do our best to keep you informed. Our only qualifier relates to accuracy on these complicated issues. If we discover our interpretation on a subject was incorrect, we will attempt to correct it and update our posting and links. Make sure you check back frequently.
With great respect and concern,
Amy, Linda & Rod