What of this, "New Normal"?
I was in the Scottsdale, Arizona area for our annual trip to meet with clients not so long ago. Today, thinking back on that trip, what’s striking is how uneventful it was. February is a good time to visit Arizona, the clients were (and always seem to be) content. Their good cheer reflective of how well markets had performed in 2019. One client had the flu and asked that we reschedule. I didn’t see that as a problem. Libby was making a follow up trip in April and would want to meet the same people anyway. Libby’s trip, of course, never happened.
My visit to Arizona in February belongs to another world. A world that exists to another time….the pre-COVID era. Much like before the 9/11 attack upon the World Trade Center, a way of living has been lost to us and is being replaced with a way of life we are now inventing. So what of this, “new normal”? I would suggest, without any particular expertise, that we not succumb to fear or dwell too long on darker possibilities. Not that this virus or even a possible age of viruses is not a grave challenge to our lives and our way of life. Rather, we should fear less because we know, deep down, that as a people we were made for challenges great and small.
As you read this newsletter, great men and women have already risen to the task of defending us all. They are in our hospitals, labs and factories. There will be many problems that need solving, so expect there to be many champions. America will provide its share. A country that produced Edison and Salk will not shrink from the challenges of this era. Financial services is not a heroic profession. This is a “service industry”, but we aim to do our part. Fortunately, we had a disaster recovery plan in place and extensive remote working experience before the crisis. We adapted and overcame our technology and service issues. Today, meetings may be by Microsoft Teams and occasionally we will ask you to dial a cell phone number instead of the office number (only one employee at a time uses the office), but we set out months ago to meet this challenge and with the help and understanding of our clients, service has been maintained.
That being said, I miss the meetings. I miss our clients and I want to reopen this office so badly, but not so badly I would allow contact with us to lead to the spread of this virus. Your health comes first, so for a bit longer, we will continue with our existing protocols.
A few words about the next generation here at Iowa Wealth. Early on, I let Becca and Libby know that I thought this crisis would be worse than most people expected. That working in a robust office building might be dangerous. As such for the remainder of the crisis, they were not required to work at all. They could go home to their families and IWM would pay their salaries and benefits for the remainder of the year. They both rejected my offer and have insisted on working every day markets have been open. Neither has taken a vacation or sick day. Their only demands have been for additional hours at the office. I don’t think we have to worry about the “Soccer Trophy Generation”…they are up for challenges great and small.