Over the weekend, we celebrated a somber anniversary – it has been one year since COVID-19 was declared a Pandemic, and countries all over the world began issuing orders to lockdown.
The ensuing twelve months have been unprecedented and very challenging. Life moved online, we learned new technologies, and we weathered volatile markets at the same time as political and social tensions flared and the global health situation spiraled out of control. More than half a million people have lost their lives in the U.S. alone. It is staggering, and our thoughts and prayers are with anyone impacted.
One year later, there is a greater sense of optimism on many fronts, for which we are very grateful. There are viable vaccines, economies are beginning to reopen, and the equity markets continue to achieve new highs.
As we reflect on the past twelve months, it is interesting how many of the lessons we have learned about ourselves and people in general also apply to investing.
- Resiliency: Confronted with unimaginable difficulty and turmoil, people remained resolute and determined (to find treatments and vaccines, to improve social and political divisions, and to do what it took to keep ourselves and others safe). From Sage’s perspective, 2020 also tested resiliency. It reinforced how important it is that investors remain focused on longer-term goals and build diversified portfolios that can help them weather occasional volatility.
- Adaptability: In 2020, the world had to find new ways to live and connect. We introduced digital account opening and signature tools to our clients and replaced meetings with video conferencing and bound, printed reports with PDFs. We also, as appropriate, changed how often we communicated and made tactical, opportunistic changes in portfolios.
- The importance of relationships and value of advice: We relied on our relationships with family, friends, clients, and colleagues, perhaps more than ever, to endure this past year, and we have been fortunate to be in the position to help guide people through difficult times or challenging financial decisions.
We are excited about the future and grateful for the opportunity to help others.