It is official! After a continual decline in COVID cases and severe “cabin fever” by many, Governor Ducey has begun the process of re-energizing the Arizona economy by opening commerce back up effective May 4th. This is what is happening:
- May 4th – Retail businesses can resume partial operations including curbside delivery.
- May 8th – Retail businesses can resume partial in-person operations under certain guidelines.
- May 8th – Cosmetologists and barber shops can resume appointment-based services.
- May 11th – Restaurants and coffee shops can resume dine-in services, with safety measures.
Also heard that elective surgeries are returning to the hospitals and outpatient surgery centers on a limited basis. While not absolute or a long list, it is a start in the right direction. For the most recent information within Arizona, feel free to visit www.azgovernor.gov.
We too are seeing positive momentum for our team and the markets. First, thank you to those that reached out to Pattie with encouragement for her first Commentary. We knew she would do a great job. Honestly, I think she would have preferred a root canal over the assignment. Her Commentary got the greatest client responses yet. (Yes, my feelings are hurt.) Second, to those of you that visited and commented on our new launched website, we are grateful for your participation and support. We got positive feedback and had some who graciously made us aware of spelling and grammatical errors. With all that has been going on, we cannot express how truly grateful we are to be able to serve you, your families, and your businesses. We are so blessed!
Our biggest area of gratitude is that Emma arrived back home this week. For those that may not have been following, Emma is Jon’s significant other. She is a nurse at Banner Hospital and has been on the front lines working on the actual COVID floors. Due to the risks associated with her work, she made the difficult decision to move out of the home she and Jon share, to prevent him from being infected. While a big part of Jon was missing, we are happy to report that Emma surprised him and returned home this week. We are so grateful for the “Emma’s” of the world who despite their own fears about the risks they were taking, made life better for all of us knowing they where available if needed. Jon and I were talking how truly fortunate we feel that none of us or our families have had to deal with this virus firsthand. While I have spoken to some of you that have lost loved ones to COVID, many of us have arrived what I hope to be on the other side infection free. Sometimes, I wonder why horrible and tragic things like this pandemic happen. As I get older and more introspective of my own life, I think some of the answers lie in the tragedies of what other people and families have to deal with, at least for me, helps keep my own life in perspective. No matter how bad or how big my complaints, there is always somebody, somewhere that is dealing with a whole lot more. And suddenly, with that perspective, I have a lot to be thankful for. I only wish I could keep that perspective at the forefront of my mind continually without the part about other’s tragedies to do so. Thank you Emma and to those that served others in need through all of this. Literally putting it all on the line every week, so the rest of us could stay healthy. Your work truly matters. Thank you for your service and welcome home!
As we have shared, our team made the decision to stay open through what I call the “COVID Close” as an essential business. With how fast the markets went down in February and early March, we needed to be available to respond to you and your concerns. While we have been doing video and conference calls during that time, we have been protecting our environment by not having in office meetings. I am thrilled to report, we began in office client meetings this week. While we prefer the face to face interactions, we now have a new method of communicating with you using video. If you feel more comfortable doing meetings in the comfort of your own environment, we can schedule those conferences. If you have access to a computer that has speakers, a microphone, and a camera we can accommodate video conferences. Those of you that work better with us in person, we are open again for in office meetings on a limited basis. Please keep in mind, that depending on the complexities of your situation, meeting in person may be easier and preferred. We will do our best to accommodate you based upon your own preferences and ensure you only interact with us and no other clients by scheduling meetings far apart. While I did not miss my suits or ties and enjoyed wearing blue jeans (yes, I do have a few pair) and tennis shoes to work, I am thankful to put some “normal” back into my routine. Now, if I could only get the gym to open back up.
The stock and financial markets had more gains then losses in the month of April. There still has been more volatility than we would prefer, but the gains have been more than the declines last month. For the month of April (4/30/2020) both the US stock indexes were up; Dow Jones 11.20% and S&P 500 12.80%. Both indexes are still down for the year and the S&P 500 dropped below the double-digit loss year to date threshold at -9.30%. 1 There were large advances in April with the losses that occurred in February and March. Stimulus checks continue to be distributed to Individuals and families. My oldest daughter thought that since her stimulus check had not shown up in her bank account, that I must had gotten it from the IRS. She reported this week that it finally arrived, and the sanctity of our family dynamic has been restored. Whew! In addition, the government approved another $310 billion package for the Paycheck Protection Program. We have heard from many of you, the process with your banks was much smoother and easier than it was with the first round of funding. While some of you may still be looking for loans, many of you have had poor success with the big global and national banks and much better success with the regional and local banks. We have a few connections with some of these smaller banks if any of you are still looking for funding. However, act soon as we expect this second wave of funding to be gone quickly. The first round was gone in 13 days. With all the money being pushed out of Washington into citizen’s pockets, there is still uncertainty as to how we pay for all this stimulus. Time will tell for certain, but one viable possibility is increased taxes.
Lastly, I would like to acknowledge all the Mothers and wish all of you a wonderful holiday weekend. One of the common traits among every human on the planet, is that we all have one. Having watched my own wife, Amy, birth three daughters, just the process of childbirth and the devastation it had on her body deserves something gold plated. Either to wear on her finger, ear lobe, or around her neck or something with 4 tires and an engine. Even though I knew what was coming after the first one, it always amazed me, and I no longer call Amy weak for not keeping up with me on a bike. One thing I knew and was reminded of during the COVID crisis, when children get scared, anxious, uncertain, or fearful, even our oldest who no longer lives at home, at least my girls need their Mom. She does so much for them, me, and our family. I pray to God I never get put into a position I must live without her. As much as I like to think I am the cornerstone of our family, I would be lying. It is 100% her and we all need her daily. I would also like to acknowledge my own Mom. While I could tell you, she was lucky because she had me, I was the lucky one when I got her. I was a swimmer through junior high and high school and as only competitive swimmers know, you are in the water at 5:30 AM before school and 4:00 PM again after school. She took me to all my practices before I could drive and rarely missed any, only when my dad tagged in, of my swim meets. She taught me about believing in yourself regardless of what others say, fighting no matter the cost for doing the right thing, and to never, ever, give up. Valuable lessons to this day. Again, so blessed! I know for certain I would not be the person I am today, without their love, patience, and investment. I encourage you all and specifically the fellas, if you still have your Mom or she birthed your children, make her day extra special this year. To all the Mothers, and especially to mine, thank you for loving us and Happy Mother’s Day.
Pursing Wealth, Wisdom, and Wealth Together,
Todd C. Martin
- Amundi Pioneer Market Monitor (4/30/20)