The following is an email letter sent out to clients on March 8, 2020. We are documenting this here for the benefit of those who are not (yet) clients as an example of how we believe an advisor should communicate with the people they serve.

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Hello –

Turbulence has returned to the markets. Covid-19, the latest strain of coronavirus, is affecting the stock market and will alter the future of the world economy. We’ve been tracking this story closely and I’ve already been called into the media to share our unique Wealth Health approach to something like this.

PORTFOLIO – Thanks, Diversification

I want to state right up front that your portfolio was designed from the ground up to help you when something like this happens. The rapid shift in investor sentiment has caused the Dow 30 to drop 9.5% year-to-date and 12.2% from the peak in mid-February, our average portfolio is within half a point of even since the beginning of the year and only 2.5-3.5% below the watermark high last month.

How did we do it? So far, diversification has been your savior as it is too early for most tactical triggers to confirm a change in what we own. We’re still invested across close to a dozen asset classes while the typical portfolio put together by most advisors is only in US stocks & US bonds (if in bonds at all).

As this disease plays out globally, we’ll be selling asset classes if they demonstrate mid-term weakness (successive lower lows and lower highs). That trigger could happen in the next week or two or it might be months, but I monitor the data at least daily and sometimes am running the analysis on an hourly basis. As always, we’re following our written investment policy and letting the data dictate our next move(s) rather than media hype or emotional impulse.

HELP YOUR FRIENDS

On a side note – It is very rare in this business to have your personal advisor and the person actually managing the investments be the same person. It’s a lot more work for me and has meant some sacrifices I’ve had to make in growing my practice.

I stopped using outside portfolio managers in 2008 when I saw them making decisions that vastly strayed from being what anyone would deem “best” for my clients. These were big-time names like JP Morgan, Wilshire and others. The current “passive investing” craze is a natural byproduct of this same disconnect. Unless you have 30+ years before retirement, a passive portfolio is NOT going to get you where you want to be … but its an easy sale for most investment advisors.

If you have friends or family members who might be interested in our more personal (hands on) approach, please share my contact information with them.

WEALTH HEALTH APPLIED

How do we stay above it all as humans (we’re not talking about money here)?

Like many of the diseases that have come before it (SARS, swine flu, etc.), Covid-19 IS a threat to human life and it is important to take precautions. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Most importantly, wash your hands regularly and avoid close proximity (3-4 feet) or physical contact with people who you aren’t certain are not infected (sorry about the double negative there). A fist bump or gentile nod is better than a handshake.

The regular old flu virus (influenza A & B) kills tens of thousands of Americans and well more than a quarter million humans worldwide every year. Many of those deaths could be prevented by healthier personal habits, especially in public. If you are sick, stay home from work and see your doctor. Hopefully the Covid-19 test will be available soon. Until it is, do your part to slow the spread.

My best to you and your family. If you have questions or concerns, let’s chat. I’m honored to be the person you have trusted with your wealth and a significant part of your future well being. I don’t take that duty lightly.

Yours in Wealth Health,

John

Wealth Health – Wellness For Your Wallet

John D. Buerger, CFP® MSFS
Wealth Coach / Financial Planner