The Art of Rewiring

When I first started this piece, I was focused on bringing to light the psychology of retiring or “rewiring” as a good friend of mine put it. Even though I am in my 49th year of full-time employment and should be thinking about what I want to do for the rest of my life, the concept of “rewiring” was and still is foreign at best. I don’t sew, knit, or garden. Sure, I could travel a bit, do some consulting, volunteer, and maybe teach some but would that be enough? I am a Type A personality and have a very hard time not being productive and busy.

As all these thoughts were going though my head it hit – the CORONAVIRUS! Suddenly it was not just about the people retired or nearly retired, the entire world was facing rewiring their lives, at least for a while.

Everywhere we turn we see the breaking news! The Covid-19 cases are going up as we all ride the roller coaster known as the stock market. Every one of us is wondering what these uncertain times mean for us both individually and collectively.

Even though I am an eternal optimist, as I watched the news, I must admit fear and a little panic showed its ugly head and I began to wonder what the future would hold. How could all of this be happening? Health concerns and the economy all at the same time. This was unprecedented.

Seeking some solace, I contacted my eighty-six-year-old stepmother to talk about the fear I was feeling, and she assured me that “this too shall pass.” Of course, my reply was “but THIS is different.” She agreed it was different but reminded me that my grandparents had weathered the Spanish Flu, WWI, and the Great Depression all of which were “different” at the time. She commented that she and my father were already retired when the stocks tumbled in 1987 and again in 2001, and let’s not forget 2008.

It dawned on me that through my many years at Private Ocean, our investment philosophy has always been to stay the course in trying times, minimize the news that shouts to us from our phones, computers, and televisions, and hold firm to the belief that “this too shall pass.” Of course, that doesn’t mean complacency and our investment team is always monitoring our investment strategies.

When I hung up the phone, I realized that now is the time for everyone to hone the art of rewiring. For some it is a time to learn how to work from home with children in tow. For others it may mean taking time to go through that box of old photos or clean the garage, to dust off that book you’ve been meaning to read or pull out that old instrument you haven’t played in years. For everyone, now it is a time for empathy and compassion for others.

Taking some time to reflect on all that is positive, there is no doubt in my mind that we will emerge on the other side of this moment in history better and stronger than before. As you take pause know that your portfolio is in good hands at Private Ocean and if you have questions or concerns your advisor is just a phone call away.


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