What does our future hold in a post-Covid-19 world? This is a question that many well-connected and intelligent people have also been pondering. You will hear lots of thoughts, predictions and forecasts (you know what I think about forecasts!) about the economy, stock markets, bond yields and when we can get back to cheering for the Toronto Raptors. I want you to ignore all of that for a few minutes and read this fantastic piece by Morgan Housel of the Collaborative Fund.
Having expectations rather than using forecasts is small mindset shift that has a massive impact for your planning. Rather than trying to guess how things will work out, let’s build plans to be flexible for almost any condition. A plan that isn’t robust enough to deal with the uncertainty of life (and this is one of those BIG times of uncertainty) is a failed plan.
What does that mean for you? I think this is a time where it’s absolutely imperative that you have the cash flow you need for the rest of 2020. That goes for people as well as businesses. If you have any doubt about your ability to pay a bill or pay an employee in May, you are likely going to have just as much trouble paying in November. Just surviving this time and avoiding a financial calamity should be your foremost goal. We won’t just throw open the doors and return to how things were in January right away and if you think that’s the case…..again, expectations are better than forecasts. As Housel wrote, “Expectations are healthier than forecasts because they provide a vision of the future stripped of all false precision.”
I’ve tried to avoid falling into the forecast trap but it’s difficult in times like this because we all crave some sort of certainty to our future. I’m not immune to the draw of seers offering predictions of the future. But our future is decidedly uncertain and if you take the time to look back at your own life, you quickly realize there was no clear path that got you to where you are right now. You had to cut your own trail.
If we can accept that we have no true knowledge of what lies ahead, we will better prepare ourselves for anything that could happen. Your level of preparedness is going to be a key factor in how you manage through this uncertain time and how quickly you will emerge on the other side. The question now is, how prepared are you?