I, like most people am anxious and excited to be officially saying good bye to 2020. 2020 was a year filled with challenges, disappointment, uncertainty, anger, fear… you name it. I think we all are looking forward to being able to turn the calendar, start fresh and hope that the memory of 2020 quickly fades into the backgrounds of our minds so that we can finally get back to “normal”. Although there is still work to do, hope and help is in sight with the development and administration of vaccines and better therapeutics available in order to combat the coronavirus. The path to “normal” is day by day becoming more clear and we all wait in anticipation. However, it would be a mistake to not look back and examine how we and the world around us has changed so that we may better understand how we might operate going forward.
We have been lucky that our business operations were mostly unaffected by the coronavirus. The challenges that we faced were miniscule in the grand scheme of things and thankfully we were able to still navigate clients through some difficult times of market volatility. Most small businesses are not able to say the same. Retail stores, restaurants, bars, hair salons, etc. have faced outright closures, canceled projects, limited capacity, protective equipment mandates, curbside pickup, ill employees, etc. They have been forced to change operations in ways they could have never imagined a year ago in order to survive. Entire industries such as leisure and hospitality, the arts, travel and tourism have been completely dismantled as we have all, to a certain extent, hunkered down. Many of our friends and clients have suffered immeasurable loss in the form of death or illness in their families, fear and loneliness. Even our Churches have had to close and when reopened do so at limited capacities. In looking back at 2020 it can be difficult to find the good.
We should however remember the great and appropriate admiration that we all felt for all health care workers on the frontline of the pandemic, the police and firefighters who kept us protected and safe, the teachers who went to extreme lengths to try and educate our children, the grocery store workers who worked tirelessly to keep the shelves stocked with needed supplies, the truck drivers who delivered them, the food delivery folks, the Amazon, UPS, FedEx, USPS workers who met essentially all of our needs from the comfort of our own homes. We can often look past each other and this past year was a reminder as to how important each one of us is to the success of our communities. We would be well served to hold on to this respect for one another into 2021 and beyond. We must continue to support our local businesses and support our communities. 2020 was also a great year for technological innovation. We developed a vaccine within 9 months for the coronavirus, we’ve all managed to bring the office remote with tech such as Zoom or Teams, we’ve changed how we’ve attended school, Church, meetings, concerts, etc. This past Christmas I was even able to get my Mom to log on to a family Zoom call with virtually zero assistance which is a tremendous feat. We have all found ways to continue to engage, support, and communicate with one another. This is the thing that defines 2020 for me; that despite the circumstances that we all have a will to press on, innovate and make the best we can out of a bad situation.
What does this mean going forward? Over the past year we have accelerated trends that have already been in place. Albeit, we didn’t want to, but once the toothpaste is out of the tube there is no going back. What does this mean for our economy, the way we do business and how should investors position themselves in the years to come? Some of the trends that we have seen and can expect to continue are online purchasing and remote work. As people have become more comfortable making purchases online for a variety of different products I would expect that consumers are likely to continue that trend as it moves from necessity to convenience. That being said the retailers who have the best online presence for delivery and/or pickup are likely to remain winners going forward and retailers who have failed to adjust will likely continue a downward spiral. Small/Medium sized business who embrace technology in advertising are also likely to outperform their peers. Working remote may have lasting impacts in at least two major ways. 1. With trips into an office or HQ less necessary it may continue the trend of people leaving city centers to reside significant distances away. This may manifest in a sustained increase in demand for housing and housing related items and may change the look of urban centers as we know them today. Working remote may also have a sustained impact on business travel. Some business travel may always be necessary but current tools allow meetings to take place remote that at one time would have required travel. Since business travel has large impacts on airlines, lodging, rental cars, etc. any or all of these industries may have to make adjustments going forward. This hyper-acceleration of trends will have a profound impact on how we interact personally and economically. It will be important for all of us to leave behind the pain of 2020 but to embrace the pace of change that will be with us in 2021 and beyond.
So, while we say good riddance to 2020, let us also take the opportunity to recognize how much we have learned and how we can continue to adjust. While things continue to change we will continue to be alongside you in order to help you and your family make high quality decisions financially. We can’t thank you enough for your business and friendship and are honored by your trust in our process. We hope that you and your family have a healthy and successful 2021!
*This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.*
About the Author:
Kevin W. Meyer is a Financial Advisor at John Bailey Financial.
You can learn more about Kevin here: https://www.johnbaileyfinancial.com/team/kevin-w-meyer
and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.
Investment advice offered through JOHN BAILEY FINANCIAL, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial