Setting financial goals during the COVID-19 pandemic


MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — While Washington is working on a plan to help the American economy, many of us are thinking about our own finances.

“It’s very uncomfortable for people. At any point, regardless of what’s happening, there are things to buy and things to sell,” said Michael Morgan, Vice President, Trust & Wealth Management Director.

In the past few weeks, stock market prices have dropped, making many people concerned about their investments.

“Obviously markets hit all-time highs in the, not too distant past. We hit a peak in mid-February, in terms of the United States markets and we’ve sold off dramatically from there.”

Michael Morgan, the Vice Present of Trust & Wealth Manager Director in Marquette believes during an uncertain time maintaining stability is important.

“You can have contingency plans in place, but when it actually happens, it’s very difficult in the short term, to decide how to react to it, but the reality with event risk, is that it’s shorter in duration and on the other side, we are going to come back and life gonna go back to normal,” said Morgan.

“The same thing is going to happen here. Life will go back to normal after, as the health officials say, ‘the effection rate peaks, plateaus, and levels off, and starts coming down, things will go back to normal. Life will start going back to normal, some of the restrictions will be taken off.”

Morgan says instead of worrying about the past, to use this time to reevaluate your financial situation.

“From now forward, what is my opportunity? Because I can’t change what I paid for it. From now forward, what’s my opportunity? Making those decisions and understanding. When I say moving forward, I don’t mean next week, next month, I’m taking 2, 3, 4, 5 years down the road.”

He encourages people to talk about realistic goals and expectations.

“If you don’t need the money tomorrow, you don’t need the money next week, you don’t need the money next year, you’re investing for a long-term goal, for retirement or something else. These bumps in the road represent an opportunity to rebalance what you have and maybe put more assets to work to grow for you for down the road. If you needed the money 3 months from now you probably shouldn’t be in the market and that’s something that an investment advisor needs to work with their customers on understanding.”

Morgan says being smart with your money now means a more stable future, whichever way the market goes.

“You’re excited when you need to get a new refrigerator when it goes on sale for 20-25% off. You’re making big savings, you’re happy to write that check, you’ve got that new refrigerator to replace the one that is dying, and you saved all this money. Well from the point where you signed that bottom line of the check for that appliance, it’s going down in value. It’s gonna go to zero eventually and you’ll have to replace it. Investing is a long term opportunity to grow.”

While not everyone might be in a place where they are able to invest, Morgan says there are some basic things we can do.

“A time like this, the food pantries are going to see things in higher demand, why not help them out. I know that there is a critical demand for blood out there, people should be getting out and donating blood. There’s a lot of things that community members can do to help their fellow community members,” said Morgan.

“Take advantage of sitting down with somebody in the financial services industry and talk about setting up a plan. The reserve requirements for the banks have been relaxed. The emphasis is going to be helping people bridge a very difficult time.”

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