Life after Corona


Life after Corona

The Sterling REPORT

Sunday, April 05, 2020

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You may look at this title and sigh. For many people, this has been a long, drawn -out process with seemingly no end in sight. Hardship is easier to bear when the end date is known.

This is why everyone has such words of wisdom in hindsight after a crisis, to say what should have been done. One useful technique during this challenging time is to imagine what life will be like after the crisis is over.

What investing goals did you have prior to 'corona' ? Would they have changed? For some people, they may be able to realise their dreams even sooner by picking up assets at depressed prices.

Unfortunately for some, this may add years to your timeline. It all depends on the specific objective and your financial situation.

Firstly, stick to your investing principles. Market shocks will occur as, unfortunately, they are just part and parcel of investing. However, many investors have already made emotional decisions that have permanently affected their portfolio.

Headlines are designed to highlight all the negatives and cause panic while throwing us into depression. Regardless, don't let despair or negative thoughts prevent you from taking advantage of the investment opportunities around you.

Investing principles were intended for moments such as these – you don't establish the principles during a crisis, this is done before.

Secondly, as President Obama would say, these crises are “teachable moments”.

Personally, each market upheaval has taught me something new.

The sub-prime crisis was huge and it taught me that correlations were a joke in a huge event, meaning every asset class took a beating. However, it also taught me that although the world looked as if it was coming to an end, the injection of government stimulus funds had a powerful effect on the market, and by 2009 the stock market had made quite a remarkable recovery.

As we continue to assess the situation, no doubt, each investor will have different takeaways when this is all resolved. These experiences will shape the rest of our lives.

My grandparents lived through the Second World War and even though we had long passed that time, I remember how frugal they were and how simply they lived. The experience had forever scarred them.

Finally, let us not forget that in this fast-pace world so many of us have lamented not ever having enough time, and frankly, never expecting that an “opportunity” like this would ever present itself.

It is useful to dust off all the initiatives that you had planned but never had the time to do. It is also useful to retool, if you must. Many people have been resistant to using the technology available but now we are all being forced to embrace it, and no doubt there will be lasting changes after everything is gone.

Innovation, too, is usually born out of great challenges. Don't feel guilty if you don't know the latest numbers on the death toll or which country has surpassed which.

Focus on your objectives and when you look back, hopefully you would have felt satisfied that you made the best use of the most challenging times.

Yanique Leiba-Ebanks, CFA, FRM is the AVP, pensions & portfolio investments at Sterling Asset Management. Sterling provides financial advice and instruments in US dollars and other hard currencies to the corporate, individual and institutional investor. Visit our website at Feedback: if you wish to have Sterling address your investment questions in upcoming articles, e-mail us at

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