A Healthy Dose of Perspective


Fear around the Coronavirus is deeper than a run on hand sanitizer. It’s also driving a lot of recent market volatility. Considering all the information floating about, I remembered an article by Dr. David Katz that I read a few weeks ago. Dr. Katz is a leader of the Yale Prevention Center, and his article put things in perspective for me.

He begins by pointing out that, in America, the chances of being affected by the Coronavirus – at the time of his writing – was one in 100,000. That has likely changed by now, and probably continued to change from the time I wrote this to the time you’re reading it. Still, for most Americans, if you follow recommendations such as proper handwashing and social distancing, there’s a good chance of never being infected.

Now, the perspective. The chance of an American being struck by lightning is one in 3,000. It’s a significantly greater risk, and yet it’s one that, as a society, we’re apathetic about. Why? As Dr. Katz points out, there’s a larger apathy when no one’s talking about it. After all, when’s the last time you read a major news story about being struck by lightning?

In his article, Dr. Katz also brings up the continued misuse of food and diet, and its link to obesity—another topic we are apathetic about. Here in the United States, more than half a million people will die this year because of a poor diet.

Right about now, you might be wondering how this relates to you and your financial services practice. It’s a fair question. Let’s start with the market volatility I mentioned earlier. So far, it’s been about 10 days of an unsettled market. Your clients feel this uncertainty. And the uncertainty feeds the volatility.

What we should be worried about, though, is not just the last 10 days, or the immediate future. We need to be considering a larger epidemic. And we need to be talking about it and countering the apathy that comes when we ignore it. Are you ready?

People have not saved enough for retirement.

In addition, they continue to misuse Social Security. They are losing guaranteed defined benefits. Add that to the fact that we’re living longer than ever before. In fact, in today’s world, if you take a couple aged 45, there’s a 50% chance that one of them will live to age 95.

So, what do we need to take from this? Basically, it’s vital that we address the larger epidemic as opposed to talking about short-term blips in the market. If they aren’t addressing it with you, they’re probably talking to someone else. And that’s definitely not something to be apathetic about.


Transformational Tactic: Make sure you’re talking with your clients about the end goal. The biggest fear you have should be about the client who’s not calling.

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