I’m not going to add to the repetitive national chorus of how unusual this time period is or the easily-said-but-hard-to-do “Don’t panic.” Here are seven suggestions you likely won’t hear anywhere else. These are things I’m trying to do in my own life too.
- Read your Bible more than you read news. Only there can you be reminded of Jesus’ words, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
- Count your blessings. Most of the world would leap at the chance to trade economic places with you. Write down a blessing list and review it. Sing that old hymn and sing it loud!
- Laugh. Don’t watch an apocalyptic movie. Watch a comedy. Watch comedians on YouTube. One I heard recently…”Times they are a’ changin’. We used to cough to cover up a fart. Now, we fart to cover up a cough.” (Because toilet paper seems to be top of mind for society, why not throw in potty humor!)
- Be a contrarian. Not with your attitude, but with your investment action. Instead of thinking about selling, consider buying. Acting different than everyone else is often a wise approach to building wealth long term.
- Think long term. I framed my oft-repeated phrase to help clients and even my children, “The longer-term your perspective, the better your decision.”
- Trust our plan. I approached your situation with principles of having emergency savings, minimizing debt, diversifying your portfolio, and investing for many years later. Yes, the long-term investment portfolio has declined currently, but we expect such declines to happen. I’ve been through many market declines in over 30 years in my career.
- Keep giving. Giving is the vaccine against materialism, selfishness, and even fear. Give to your church, help those in need, do random acts of giving, and support not-for-profit organizations. Warning – the side effect of this vaccine is joy. You will feel some pangs of joy when you give.