Independent advisor George Papadopoulos, CFA/CPA, is active on Twitter as @feeonlyplanner. He frequently has to remind others that he’s not that George Papadopoulos, the former advisor to President Donald Trump who was sent to prison (for two weeks) for lying to the FBI.
He took a break from tweeting and working from home in the greater Detroit area to answer via email five questions about his work and personal life during the COVID-19 crisis.
What are your clients asking you about?
Most of my clients have been with me for many years. We have been through at least a few bear markets. Therefore, I have not heard from them regarding their portfolios. They know we are sticking to the long-term plan, and they will be OK.
I did notice a higher level of concern from my clients in the medical community. Hearing what they are facing, I think this is totally understandable. One of them really wanted to know if the family will be OK and that there is enough money to send the kids to college.
[Overall,] it is business as usual around here.
How are you responding to their concerns?
By being proactive in communicating with them. That this is all due to the complications of the coronavirus pandemic. We should expect a recession and the extreme volatility to continue.
They know I am dead set against timing the market, and I told them to avoid looking at stock market tickers and business news, as I will be letting them know what they need to know.
And [I advise them to] focus on what they can control and that we will eventually see a recovery. Stay the course. Scheduled investment portfolio reviews and rebalancings continue.
How is it working from home during the pandemic?
I have always worked out of my home office, so I don’t have much to add here. I do visit my clients at their homes, and I certainly miss that a lot.
I must admit it is really strange having my wife and both of my kids at home during weekdays. I am sure enjoying our lunches at home, though.
What’s the oddest part about the current work/life situation for you, and how are you adjusting?
The oddest part is that we all need to stay together by staying away from each other. And the fact that we don’t know for sure when we will return to normal, since it depends on the virus.
The loss of control and the invisibility of what we are dealing with, in addition to the steep job and market losses, make for a very stressful situation for all of us.
I miss seeing my friends, my colleagues, attending conferences and of course visiting my clients. Being confined at home and only going out to walk/run just feels very limiting.
But we realize we must do this to defeat the virus. It is our best chance now and gives our medical personnel a fighting chance to save as many people as possible.
This is something new for all of us. We need to keep it together, help each other and stay positive.
What are you doing for inspiration/stress relief these days?
I picked up running two years ago, so I go out and run. If I could not even do that I would go crazy!
And I try to deal with positive things, such as avoiding certain toxic politicians and hyper-financial news coverage of daily market fluctuations. They are just not important.
I make it a point each day to make a donation to a local charity or buy a gift card from a local business.
I am also dealing with tax season work, so I do escape on Twitter to blow off some steam.
I also love having breaks and playing frisbee with my kids, so not all things virus-related are bad.
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