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Midtown ATL: When will we be able to get back to normal?

Article by By Renée Weese, CFP®, Founder Nora Wealth

Originally published in Midtown Lifestyle

As a Midtown ATL resident and business owner, I adore the lifestyle we enjoy. I feel so fortunate to be living in this community, surrounded by amazing services and fabulous food at my fingertips, and immersed in the historic charm, urban experience and diverse culture it brings. Like many of us, I personally worked hard to get here. Having grown up in the Atlanta suburbs, my long-term aspiration was to move to one of the lovely old neighborhoods in “downtown” Atlanta. I’ve now been here for over 20 years, and I’ve watched those neighborhoods flourish. While one of the things I cherish most about Midtown is our diversity, one aspect we all have in common is that we are drawn to this place and its lovely lifestyle.

We also currently have one daunting question in common: When will we be able to get back to normal? It’s the question on everyone’s mind right now, and one that none of us can answer. Whether it’s what school will be like for the kids in the fall, when we can go back to the office, when eating out and visiting our salons freely will return, or simply when no masks will be needed, we are all shaken and confounded by the uncertainty. We know things will likely not be the same, but just understanding how our “new normal” will look would be a huge relief.

At the same time, the impacts of the current pandemic have shown us some new perspectives. For me, I needed to simplify, to find more peaceful time.  By doing so, I’ve learned better ways to cope with the challenges of isolation and loss of control, to find strength in the face of adversity, resilience in the face of uncertainty. Many of us have also needed to reset our spending to adjust to changes in our income, or simply to become more cautious, given financial uncertainty. Along with our physical and emotional resources, our financial resilience has been tested, as well.

When I look at the current global financial picture, one thing that stands out to me is the resilience of the financial markets, given the uncertainty remaining in our economy. I know that the markets quickly incorporate information into stock prices and that the fundamentals of our economy were fairly solid prior to the onset of the pandemic, both of which give me comfort in our long-term economic prospects. Also, government actions happened fairly quickly, giving a vote of confidence to the markets. What gives me pause is that it’s the events we can’t or don’t predict, like a pandemic, that cause markets to tumble, and with over 40 million people having recently filed for unemployment, the longer-range impacts cannot yet be predicted or understood. Interestingly, however, despite historic levels of unemployment, US savings rates are up for the first time in over 40 years.

We have to depend on the basic tenets of financial management that have provided a resilient base in the past: clearly defined goals, informed investment, proper diversification, realistic risk tolerance, time horizon and the old adage, preparing for a rainy day. No one is happy about the financial conditions we’re currently experiencing, but If you feel stressed because of the financial impacts, here are a few things you can do:

·      If you haven’t already, review your goals and objectives to see if you still match up to your assets, given the market declines.

·      If you feel stressed or worried because of the downturn, you may have something out of alignment in your plan and strategy. Find a trusted resource to talk with this about.

·      Remember that you are not in this alone. Perceived financial “failure” is one of the leading causes of debilitating stress, and it adversely impacts our health, relationships and overall wellness in damaging ways. It’s never too late, or too early, to tackle financial discomfort. The road to financial resilience starts here.

And finally, one of my favorite books on resilience is Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. They wrote the book together after Sheryl’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly and left her grief stricken and unable to function. Sheryl learned that resilience is the key to overcoming life’s challenges and dealing with its inevitable uncertainty. We will recover, Midtown, and we’ll be stronger and better than ever. Let’s be there for each other, take as much time as we need, and still believe in each other and our community. #midtownstrong