I was asked this question, is this the worst market that you’ve been through? My immediate answer was “yes” but then I thought more. The worst market is the one that you are in. I believe our Lord designed time to heal our memories a little.
Watching the morning market shows in the Tech Wreck of ’00-’02, full of anxiety; I told myself, “learn to stomach these markets or find a new job!” In the Financial Crisis of ’08-’09, I stopped watching those shows for good. Sammy once picked on me, “ah, you weren’t around for ’87!” But when Lehman Brothers failed and Merrill Lynch was bought out on the same weekend, I remember telling him, “don’t ever tell me I wasn’t around for ’87.” All he could do was nod in agreement. In the summer of ’11, I didn’t sleep for two months. In the winter of ’16… well, that doesn’t compare.
But isn’t this time different? Yes, in one large way it is. This is a tough health crisis causing a financial crisis. Our nation will solve one problem at a time. Hopefully, for only 30-60 more days, we will socially distance, then we will focus on a deeply hurt economy and those losing their jobs. For some of us, it is our job to focus on the financial aspect of this problem today, and we are.
But why ask this question, is this the worst? In one way, possibly, morbid curiosity. But I think the real question is, “has this killed my financial dreams?” Does this wreck my retirement, college savings, or future job market for my family? Will this ever come back? In short, NO and YES. The US economy was strong going into this crisis and will be strong again. But how your dreams go depend a lot on how you act. Are you managing the economy in your household? Are you watching your expenses and savings? If you have lost your job or business, are you doing all that you can to earn income, capture benefits, or new lending opportunities? No, this should not kill your financial dreams and yes, we believe the American economy will return. These events may refine, change, or delay your financial dreams. But if you adapt, learn, and work hard this could make your dreams stronger.
There is a cool old Bible verse that the Byrds made a huge hit song from “Turn, Turn, Turn.” King Solomon (rather God through him) first made it cool 3000 years ago in Ecclesiastes 3, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…a time to tear down and a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
This is a time for tearing down, weeping, mourning. But there will time again for dancing, laughing, and building. While we look forward to this, we praise God for both days!