The Impact of Covid-19 on our Financial Planning
There was much talk, in the early days of the lockdown, of the significance of COVID-19, and the impact this virus will have on our lives, and potentially our finances. It came at us so suddenly that I think we all probably spent the first few weeks digesting what had just happened, and trying to get our minds around the situation in which we all found ourselves. Most of our thoughts were very much centred on the present, as we waited in anticipation for our President’s next address. Now, almost 84 days later, we are witnessing the real impact of this pandemic. Reading the news this past week, it has become apparent that a vast wave of retrenchments are lying ahead, along with many businesses closing their doors.
I have spent some time in a few client meetings recently and have realised the significance of the last few months on all of our lives. One couple shared how they had just retired in March and had six months of travel planned, most of which was booked over a year ago starting with a road trip to Namibia, with further plans to see more of Southern Africa. Another client has just completed building their retirement home in the Cape and was due to move in early April, they are still in Johannesburg and anticipate being here for the balance of the year. This past week Kim and I ran the first of a series of workshops for 80 pilots who are all facing retrenchment. These pilots range in age from the early stages of their working life, to pilots a few years from retirement. Given the specialist training and career of a pilot, and the difficulty in trying to find other work, made worse by the fact that the airline industry is probably the hardest hit globally, made this session particularly tricky. It is not easy to plan under these circumstances.
I am sure that many of you have not only been worried about your health, but also your finances, and added to this the potential burden that your children could be facing retrenchments or pay reductions. These feelings that you are experiencing are indeed not isolated; it is quite apparent that every one of us has been affected in different ways.
If we stop and reflect on our lives before lockdown, there are many lessons we can learn from a crisis such as this one. We have all learnt to slow down and appreciate the simpler things in life. The younger generation has possibly realised that this fast-paced material world that we are trying to keep pace with is not worth it. The importance of having some savings during this time is most likely proving invaluable now, especially as job security and earnings are threatened. Many people have had to revisit their financial plans and make adjustments to get them through this uncertainty.
On a positive note, the markets have made a remarkable recovery, a good lesson for all of us to sit tight during these unpredictable times as it’s impossible to second guess the stock markets. Thank you all for your feedback in the recent survey, it was comforting to know that you appreciate all we have tried to do to keep you informed and cared for during the extreme uncertainty we have lived through in the last few months. I am most grateful to our incredible team at Chartered who have all needed to adapt to working from home. Many of whom have young children and needed to juggle their careers and home life.
Wishing you all the best as you venture out to treat yourselves to those long- awaited golf games, pamper sessions or visits to the hairdresser, but please continue to take care in the months ahead as we anticipate the increased spread of this dreaded virus.