“The investor who permits himself to be stampeded or unduly worried by unjustified market declines in his holdings is perversely transforming his basic advantage into a basic disadvantage. That man would be better off if his stocks had no market quotation at all, for he would then be spared the mental anguish caused him by other person's mistakes of judgement.”
- Benjamin Graham
2020. A horrendous year we won’t soon forget —
but let’s also acknowledge and remember what’s been positive
Looking back and reflecting on the year we’ve just turned the page on is not unusual for me, and maybe not for you either. For as long as I can remember, at the start of each new year, I routinely replay the year’s highs and lows. I always find it to be an interesting, revealing, enlightening and meaningful exercise.
When I think of 2020 what first comes to mind is one word: struggle
It has been a real struggle on multiple levels. But upon reflection, to some degree the last eight months are also about endurance, resilience and hope.
Some eight months ago, without warning we suddenly found ourselves being attacked by an unknown virus. One that attacked indiscriminately, viciously, relentlessly and globally. We’d never seen or experienced anything like it before, we were completely unprepared and at a loss for what to do.
The medical community also found itself in unknown territory, forced to scramble to find clues, answers and treatments — under immense time pressure — all while this unknown enemy, and its death toll, raged out of control — all while nurses and doctors, hospitals and morgues have been completely overwhelmed.
And literally in the blink of an eye, life as we’ve known it disappeared. Everything we’ve taken for granted, everything we’ve always considered “normal” ceased to exist. One day we were going about our business as usual and the next we were told to isolate; and stores, restaurants, museums, theatres, schools, offices etc. were in lockdown.
But here’s the thing:
Despite all this chaos, sadness and trauma, good things have happened.
First off, in a year that featured significant political discourse, politicians and central banks globally stepped in and injected money into their respective economies when it was desperately needed.
A move that was not popular with everyone it is, however, important to note that wherever you stand on the issue, it did help recover jobs, it helped boost the economy and thankfully it helped markets quickly recover — and an immediate economic disaster was averted.
On a smaller scale, but no less important, the small business community quickly found ways to adapt and re-invent themselves and before we knew it, we could order groceries, meals, alcohol, pharmaceuticals and just about any retail purchase you can think of online and have it delivered or picked up by a taxi.
It’s employed people, it’s saved businesses from having to shut down and for those of us using these services, getting everything we want and need is now more convenient and less complicated.
No sooner were we all forced to work from home and avoid crowds and public places, apps became available that allow us to meet, collaborate, celebrate and attend everything from funerals to concerts.
Everyday, more and more services and resources appear — all designed to help us navigate through these difficult times more easily and safely.
And frankly, I don’t think enough is made of all this.
So many have risen to impossible challenges. They’ve acted quickly, and have done what had to be done. Makes me think of the Nike tagline, “just do it.” And in the process we’ve demonstrated that we’re resilient, resourceful, creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.
Sounds like a formula for success to me and one I think we can apply to our own lives. And while I’m not suggesting that these ideas are the solution to everything, they reflect an attitude, a spirit, an ethic, a philosophy and a willingness and desire to improve and re-invent that can be applied to anything — and should, therefore, be unpacked from 2020 and brought with us to 2021.
There is now even more reason for optimism
We’re not out of the woods yet. Not even close. However, there is now a light visible at the end of the tunnel.
Given where we are with Covid right now, I can’t think of anything more positive and encouraging than knowing that the highly anticipated, desperately needed, much talked about and debated, game-changer vaccine is here — delivered in a time frame no one would have believed possible a year ago — which is a miracle in itself.
A process that normally takes four to five years, was accomplished in less than a year!
And therein lies a huge lesson:
- Don’t be limited by the way things have always been done.
- Keep pushing yourself.
- Never back away from a challenge.
- Always strive to be better.
- Embrace the ideal that there is always room for improvement.
- Success is a collaborative endeavor.
I’ve instinctively always believed this and it has shaped who I am. And it pretty much sums up our Friedman Investment Group culture. It is reflected in who we are, how we operate, what we expect from ourselves and each other — and what our clients should expect from us.
We are a group of professionals who work in an industry devoted to wealth. Our purpose is to achieve successful outcomes for our clients. That is our singular focus. Our success is predicated on their success. When they’re successful we’re successful.
Chris Amodeo, the newest addition to our team, shares our commitment to clients and I am very pleased he is joining us as an Investment Advisor. A 25-year veteran of the investment management business, Chris spent nine years at a boutique institutionally-focused investment management firm and 15 years at a large, publicly traded asset manager.
He is passionate, has great ideas and is excited about working with our team and our clients — and we are excited about the value we know he will add to those relationships. Because like us, Chris is focused on what really matters: our clients’ financial well-being and all that entails — now and in the future, whatever that shapes up to be.
Which brings to mind another lesson from 2020. We have to learn to adapt and embrace the idea that the future will probably look and feel very different than what we’re used to, but we’ll get through it together and we’ll succeed.
And, just as 2021 begins, we have one last piece of 2020 news to share with you. We are pleased to let you know that we have made a donation to Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation on behalf of our clients, as is our annual end-of-year custom at Friedman Investment Group.
Wishing you and your family all the very best for 2021. Let’s look forward!
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Alan Friedman is an Investment Advisor with CIBC Wood Gundy in Toronto. The views of Alan Friedman do not necessarily reflect those of CIBC World Markets Inc. CIBC Wood Gundy is a division of CIBC World Markets Inc., a subsidiary of CIBC and a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Regulatory Organization of Canada. If you are currently a CIBC Wood Gundy please contact your Investment Advisor.