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What are you grateful for?


“The toilet paper had armed guards.”

“We celebrated my birthday with a dinner party over Zoom.”

“My officemate jumped on my desk and drooled on my keyboard during a meeting.”

One day, we’ll look back on these strange days and tell stories about the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

But right now, we’re getting through it. One day at a time.

How are you doing? What stories can you share with me about your life right now? 

In difficult times, it’s easy to think we are alone. Especially when our loved ones and support system are far away or reduced to virtual connections.

We are all learning how to adjust to a new world and stay grounded when headlines are blaring and our very health and well-being are under threat.

I'm working on being grateful for my blessings in this life.

I’m grateful for my FAITH

I’m grateful for my wife, Barbara

I’m grateful for our children & grandchildren

I’m grateful for work that allows me to help people in my community get through times like these.

I’m grateful for you.

What are you grateful for?

Like WWII and 9/11, we’re living through days that will define future generations and change the very fabric of our society.

I don’t envy the policymakers making grim trade-offs between life, death, and the economy. How long do we socially distance? What about the 10 million+ who have lost jobs?1 Or the businesses that have been forced to close?

I hope with all my heart that each one of them has a financial plan and someone they can go to for advice. But my head knows better. I know that most Americans can’t survive a $1,000 emergency and only 17% have a financial adviser to help them.2

What trade-offs are we willing to make to protect those at greatest risk from the disease? We can’t put a dollar figure on human life. But we can put a dollar figure on the human cost of jobs lost and businesses closed.

The next few weeks are going to be tough for all of us. And I want you to know that I'm here for you.

Layoffs and furloughs are happening and I'm helping affected clients create a game plan to get through the next few months. If this happens to you or someone you love, please let me know immediately so I can help you determine if you're eligible for special assistance.

My team and I are also working on action plans for multiple economic scenarios. I'll reach out to you if I think updates to your current strategies should be made.

How do we make good decisions with so much uncertainty and mixed information?

We make a choice:

We can choose to crumble under the weight of fear and uncertainty…

We can choose to simply hunker down and endure…

We can choose to grow, flourish, and come out stronger on the other side. We can be grateful for our blessings and focus on what’s within our control: our mindset, our behavior, and the actions we take.

I am fundamentally optimistic about humankind’s ability to weather this crisis and use it to grow.

I'm optimistic about how our society will adapt and change due to this crisis. Some of the greatest changes and innovations in history grew out of frightening, pessimistic times.

I’m optimistic about the heroes fighting the disease on the front lines.

I’m optimistic about the people helping friends, neighbors, and strangers stay safe and comfortable.

I’m optimistic that those with jobs will continue working to keep this country going while we wait and heal.

I’m optimistic about the innovators staying up late in labs, workshops, factories, and offices around the world to create vaccines, treatments, and tools to beat the virus.

I’m optimistic about the new inventions and technologies that will grow out of necessity.

I don’t know what challenges the world will throw at us in the coming days and weeks. I do know that I am grateful to be surrounded by smart, motivated people who push me to do better.

How can you show up for the people around you? How can you be your best self in these times? 

Jim Barlow, OakTree Premium Finance