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The seasons of change can bear fruit

15 September 2020 Alexi Coutsoudis, CFP® at PSG Wealth Umhlanga Ridge

For most people 2020 has been a fundamental inflection point. Humanity has been through many incredibly trying times in the last century and remarkably our will to not only survive, but to thrive, has been unwavering.

In South Africa, we are emerging from what feels like a long and cold winter. The level of negative news locally (and internationally) has been almost unbearable (and not just because of COVID-19). The emotional and mental scars will probably only be properly understood in years to come.

Change is hard
An example to illustrate the difficulty with change is the adage that moving to a new house is one of the most stressful things a person goes through. We might need some new analogies to explain stress in modern times, as surely moving from one property to another can’t be that stressful by comparison? But perhaps the stress is not the physical move. Maybe it’s the mental story we tell ourselves in the process. Even though a move is often good for us in the long-term, the short-term emotions we go through are those of uncertainty or even loss, of what we once knew. This may be the biggest burden of COVID-19, fear of change and an uncertain future.

September is in session
The month of September marks South Africans celebrating our 26th Heritage Day. What a diverse heritage we have, like a rich tapestry intertwined with pain, conflict and struggle but also of justice, humanity and beauty. The freedom we live in now is a result of seeds sown years ago. A South Africa for all, whatever your heritage or creed, is always the hope. Hope brings with it, possibility and plans can be made, even when planning sometimes seems impossible. It’s important to persevere.

So, in the season of spring, which September brings too, how does one use the lessons of our heritage to become a better investor or to build a great investment portfolio?

It may simply require looking through the winter of our discontent to see the quality that is often right in front of us. It is true that often only in hindsight, we understand that success can come from the most unlikely places and from the humblest of beginnings. We need to look through all the noise (social, political, economic, etc.) and instead look towards the potential in our country - our future depends on it. In order to have green shoots this spring, we need to plant the seeds for the future and remain committed to the long-term story.

Long-term investments have deep roots
The market has been tough for many investors, and many people are also suffering the hardship of a reduced or dried-up income altogether. There is opportunity to see the signs of a new season as a reminder to reinvest in your financial goals. Even planting small and slowly can yield great results in the years to come.

Your investments may have taken a knock recently, and some may require some reconfiguration, but ultimately your financial plan should remain intact. Touching base with your adviser to seek some unemotional advice to guide you through these difficult times is highly recommended. There are, always, signs of hope.

Quick Polls

QUESTION

The intention with lockdown was to delay or flatten the Covid-19 infection curve and give both the private and public healthcare sectors time to prepare for the inevitable onslaught. Did the strategy work?

ANSWER

No, the true numbers are not reflected. Almost a quarter of South Africans may already have been infected with Covid-19
It’s too soon to tell. We will likely get a second wave with stringent lockdown regulations in place again
Yes, South Africa bought enough time to make a significant difference. We saved lives and have passed our peak. The worst is over
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