Give yourself a (financial) break

May 24, 2020
Happy Memorial Day weekend! I hope you have wonderful, socially distanced plans to relax with your family and friends. Tomorrow is supposed to be a day of relaxation and remembrance, and today I want to remind you that it is not a day to stress about COVID-19, practice financials and your personal financial situation. In fact, if you’re having consistent heartburn about falling behind during this crisis, this message is for you: give yourself a break.

It's natural to have regret
Almost always when I talk with practice owners, they tell me what a great year their practice was poised for in 2020. Revenues were up and high margin products and services were growing. Schedules were booked and even perhaps a group had made an offer to purchase your practice at a high multiple.

I think it’s safe to say even with some kind of catch up, 8-12 weeks of little to no patient care, then reduced care with distancing/sanitary provisions will have a big impact on your practice finances. Which will probably mean your personal income will be impacted for the year too.

On top of that, your 401(k) and investment accounts are probably down. If you’ve listed a home, it may be slow to sell, or investment real estate isn’t generating revenue. You may be paying for things like gyms or country club memberships that you can’t use. 

"If only" has probably crossed your mind a few times. If only you had sold all your stocks. If only you had bought Zoom and Pelaton. If only you had more cash on hand. If only you hadn't just done that big renovation. If only COVID-19 hadn't happened.

Looking forward, not backward
If you find yourself spending time regretting this isn’t going to be the year you thought it was, or about what you should have/could have/would have done, cut yourself some slack. Remind yourself of these things:

  1. Unless you were selling wildlife at a wet market in China, this is not your fault.
  2. Unless you secretly developed a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment you’re withholding from the world, there is very little you can do about this situation.
  3. Chances are, you have done everything that is in your control: developed new practice protocols, applied for PPP/EIDL loans, made difficult decisions about furloughing and firing, refinanced debt at a lower rate, reduced expenses and more.
Instead of giving yourself a hard time and for a situation completely out of your control, remind yourself of the serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

There's a great investment quote to end on: "stocks go down faster than they go up, but they go up more than they go down" (David Garner). Don't beat yourself up over a bad year or negative investment performance. Remember that this is just a moment in time with more chances to have that banner year, watch your portfolio to grow and do some better financial planning for the future.

The views expressed here are as of the date of publication and are subject to change. This information should not be construed as investment advice. It is presented for information purposes only and is not intended to be either a specific offer (or recommendation) Hayes Wealth Advisors to sell or provide, or a specific invitation for any investor. Information herein may have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Hayes Wealth Advisors is unable to warrant its accuracy.
All data, projections and opinions are as of the date of this report and subject to change.
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