We’re about to learn a lot about ourselves

Published: Friday, 17 March 2020 | 2:53 PM ET

By: Ivory Johnson, CFP, ChFC, Founder, Delancey Wealth Management, LLC

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There are things that happen slowly and others all at once, changing our perspective with the speed of a switchblade. In just a few short weeks our world, if not already turned upside down, is stumbling badly. The financial markets have careened 20 percent lower from their highs and by definition have now crashed.

Local entities may soon begin to ask (or tell) citizens to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus in increasing frequency. If you think the supermarkets resemble children chasing an ice cream truck on a July afternoon, imagine what happens if a planned shutdown is announced.

I am not a scientist, don’t get me lying about what the impact of the virus will be. What I do know is a humanitarian crisis brings out the best in people, but usually when the hurricane stops howling or the ashes begin to cool. This time people may be afraid to risk their family’s health or resources in short or no supply at all.

We will learn a lot about ourselves if supplies ever dwindle, the number of infected citizens spike or the financial crisis does not moderate. Rumor has it that 40 percent of Americans don’t have $400 in emergency funds, and if true, and if you have $401, what will you do with those four quarters? How many slips of paper will you slide under the door of elderly neighbors asking if they need something that you do not wish to relinquish from your own stash?

This will likely be a time when we can be the best of ourselves, an opportunity to be good stewards of our religious beliefs when religious institutions stop holding service. Charity is giving what you don’t want (or have) to give and it requires sacrifice. But if you know like I know, you get from the world what you put out, whether that be love or fear, compassion or disdain.

The markets are in flux, businesses have shut down, people will be losing their jobs and many us will have less than we did before. So be it. Life is a full contact sport. The way we treat each other in the immediate future, however, is what matters most. It speaks in complete sentences and says more about us than any virus or investment ever could.

Ivory Johnson, CFP®, ChFC
Delancey Wealth Management, LLC
20 F Street, NW, Ste. 750
Washington, DC  20001
(202) 507-6340

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