On behalf of all of us at JFS Wealth Advisors, we hope you and your families are well and making the most of our new, but hopefully temporary, way of life. Our team has responded quickly to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. As a result, we continue to be available to provide guidance and advice to all of our clients during these uncertain times. Most of our associates are working from home, with some of our team members balancing the demands of working, taking care of children, and, in some cases, helping teachers with online education. The significant investment in technology that we have made over the last several years is paying dividends as it has allowed us to continue functioning at a very high level during this time.
During the third week of February, U.S. stock market indexes hit record highs. Following the most rapid decline into an official bear market in history, stocks have recovered somewhat. We can’t be certain where they will go from here, but we are confident that stocks will recover eventually and go on to achieve higher highs, as they always have. Periods of time like this reinforce the value of financial planning, making sure that we all can weather periodic storms. Finding the right balance ahead of time is crucial — we know we can’t eliminate stock market volatility, and we also know that investing in stocks for the long-term is a powerful way to accumulate and preserve wealth. So, diligent financial planning helps address volatility and better weather challenging times like we are in.
Many of us are ruminating about what life will be like over the summer, into the fall and winter, and throughout 2021. It seems apparent that we will all need to continue to use some measures of social distancing until one or more vaccines become available and most of us become inoculated. As a result, we are prioritizing video conference calls for both internal and external meetings for the safety of our clients and our employees. However, when necessary and when deemed to be safe, we are willing to meet in person once stay-at-home orders are lifted. We are also continuing to develop and utilize our technology with a focus on interactive meetings with our financial planning and investment management software. Our client portal is a very efficient and secure way of transferring and storing documents, and we continue to urge all of our clients who aren’t yet using our portal to begin doing so and familiarize themselves with its functionality.
We will continue to carefully analyze and assess developments and trends over the coming months. The closing of nearly one-third of our economy will have both short-term and lasting implications. We expect persistently low interest rates on high-quality bonds, low inflation or possibly deflation, above average intermediate returns from global equities, and eventual tax increases to pay down the national debt. Although we recognize that we will never have a perfect crystal ball, planning for a range of alternatives will continue to be our practice in spite of what we believe the trends might be. Future events are likely to vary significantly from any forecasts of the future. Investment asset allocation, broad global diversification, and personalized financial planning are tools that help us get through the storms.
We look forward to continuing to work together to assess your needs, circumstances, and objectives and guide you to independence and peace of mind. We appreciate your trust in us and take that responsibility very seriously. Please let us know what you are thinking and how we can better assist you.