The Independent Market Observer

Looking Past the Headlines

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

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This entry was posted on Oct 23, 2020 2:03:01 PM

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It’s been a roller coaster ride in 2020, and the rest of the year looks to be no easier. But we’ll get through this together.We have had a roller-coaster ride in 2020 so far, and the rest of the year looks to be no easier—and probably just as hard. The election is coming up, the third wave of the virus is underway, large parts of the country are on fire, and a record-setting hurricane season is in progress. And that’s just in the U.S. Looking abroad, at least two things—Brexit and the U.S.-China trade war—would be making bigger headlines here in any other year. There is a lot to pay attention to, a lot to worry about, and a lot that could go wrong. With everything in play, we need to remember to do something critical.


I will be honest with you. 2020 is starting to get to me. It is my job—and my temperament—to think things through, to analyze, to stay calm, and to carry on. But these things are getting harder and harder. The events and risks and headlines just keep piling on. I know I am not the only one thinking this way.

But, in truth, these times will pass. Lift your eyes up from the headlines. Look outside. It is fall, the leaves are changing, and life goes on. We will get through this.


Any one of the things we are facing is something we could handle by itself. A contentious election. A very severe hurricane season. Wildfires. Even the pandemic. But facing all of them together sometimes seems just too hard. But remember this—all of these are things we have seen before and surmounted. We just have to take them one at a time.

Pandemics end. Elections pass. Fires go out, and spring will come. Every year, we face various disasters, and some are worse than others, but we move on. A year from now, the election will be old news. The disease causing the pandemic will likely have better treatments, and maybe a vaccine. The hurricanes and fires will have passed and been cleaned up. And we will be focused on other disasters, without thinking of the ones we overcame this year.

The truth is, we are handling our various crises, although it is hard to tell from the headlines. The election is being fought out and will be resolved. The fires are being fought. The hurricanes will be weathered. Better treatments for the coronavirus are becoming available, and vaccines are in the final round of testing. Everyone is taking each crisis a day at a time and making real progress across the board. But that is not what shows up in the headlines.


Focus on your life, not the headlines. Our families and our friends are what matter, and we will make it through 2020. My own family has had a tough time dealing with the pandemic, despite our many blessings, but we will make it through. Our friends help us, and we help them.

In that light, I am more grateful than ever for the Commonwealth community. We are managing the firm through the crises with everyone in mind. We are taking care, as best we can, of our staff and our advisors and their clients. We are thinking about managing for the long haul, knowing that crises pass, but relationships live on. We will still be here next year, and the year after that. And so will our friends and families.


As hard as life has been and will continue to be, I am staying focused on moving forward one day at a time. Steady progress—which we are seeing against the pandemic—eventually wins through. My family, my friends, and my company are all there to help make sure we get through this situation. Many of you reading this are part of that group. Thanks for your help, and I promise you I will keep doing all I can to help you. And in the meantime, remember one thing.


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