A Letter to Our Clients On Navigating COVID-19

The past several days have yielded turbulent markets, and intensifying measures across the country as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 have dramatically increased. In the last 24 hours, we've seen limits placed on both travel and public gatherings, with the White House placing a 30-day travel ban on foreign travelers to the US from Europe as well as a suspension of the NBA after a player tested positive. The markets have opened sharply lower again this morning as investors were disappointed by the lack of a stimulus package in the United States. As we sort through the data and understand the economic impact of this pandemic, we recognize the innate human element present both in investing and in the daily business of living. We know that this news is alarming, and we want to begin by first saying that this is a very sensitive matter, and the ramifications of these events go far beyond our account balances. As such, our thoughts go out to those most affected by both the virus and the resulting closures.


On Monday, we sent out a summary of what was going on in the markets. As more information has come to light, we wanted to offer a more in-depth response. To date, we have not been actively trading your accounts unless there was a specific need to do so. While we are monitoring your accounts daily and checking in with our fund managers and preferred economic experts, we still believe that trying to time the financial markets is unreliable and more likely to detract from long-term performance. We do not know how long it will take to contain the spread of the virus, nor do we know what the total impact will be. We do, however, remain confident in our investment philosophy. We will rebalance your account if we see opportunity or have reason to believe we should change our long-term strategy based on our ongoing research and what we're learning from our fund managers.


As we continue to monitor the financial markets, we anticipate the possibility that things could get worse before they get better. While there are economic underpinnings to how the markets operate, as we've shared in the past, there is a human element to investing. Emotions like fear and greed often exacerbate downturns. In times like these, we often see harsher selloffs than are justified due to investors' panic-selling. At the same time, we also see individuals trying to time the markets, and as such, we do expect a bit more whiplash in the days and weeks to come as emotions work their way through the financial markets. We know that this can be difficult to stomach, which is why we want to reiterate the crucial role that diversification and financial planning play in long-term investing. We are pleased to see that our bond funds are doing their job in mitigating some of the selloff. Furthermore, in all of our planning assumptions, we anticipate these types of events, which is why we insist on robust plan probabilities for all of our clients.


When it comes to our ability to serve you during this time, we want to reassure you that we do not expect to experience any interruption to our trading or account management capabilities. If you are concerned about your accounts or what's going on in the news, we are available by both phone and email and would be happy to speak with you. Concerning our upcoming events, we have chosen to postpone our forthcoming Getting Started Workshop until a later date when we have more information about what is safe and responsible with regards to public gatherings. As for our Charity Golf Event, we still plan on hosting this event in the latter part of June. We will continue to keep you updated on all our upcoming events by email and on our website at www.sherwoodfp.com/events.


As always, we remain committed to our partnership with you in stewarding your finances and the wonderful lives that you have built with them. If there's anything we can be doing to ease your fears in this volatile time, please don't hesitate to reach out. We hope this letter finds you and yours safe and well.


Respectfully,

Matthew and Hannah

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