July 22, 2020

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

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Second Quarter 2020


“It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.” 

– Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, 1859



At least from the perspective of the investment markets in January & early February 2020, it did seem like the “best of times”.  According to Investopedia, the longest running bull market in history that began in March of 2009 was still running strong into February 2020.


But as documented in my 1Q 2020 client letter in early April, the U.S. had plunged into recession and the world was experiencing heart breaking and record-breaking health and economic crises triggered by the COVID 19 virus.  It felt like the worst of times” for sure.


Now, do we believe it’s the best of times again for investments?  In about 3 and a half months CNBC reported that the SP500 broke two records – the fastest drop of (30%) in history for the 22 trading days beginning February 20, 2020 and the largest rally in a 50-day trading period through June 4, 2020.


As I quoted Soren Kierkegaard in my 4Q 2019 client letter “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.”  Looking backward we know the financial results of this roller coaster ride, but how did we do living forward in our personal lives?


Congratulations!  We get A+ for making planning decisions during these “best of times, worst of times.” Here are some examples of our accomplishments together so far this year:


– Consoled, commiserated & collaborated more than ever before.

– Zoom’d, talked, phoned, emailed virtually, effectively & safely.

– Mourned loss of loved ones and made decisions regarding inheritances and our own legacies.

– Reviewed beneficiary forms and revised estate planning documents.

– Made sure our charitable gifts were being made in this time of need.

– Bought and sold real estate, homes and changed residences.

– Made difficult family decisions about caregiving and health issues.

– Refinanced mortgages and increased savings where and when we could.

– Navigated changes in complex IRS regulations, tax rules and government stimulus plans.

– Prioritized what is most important in our lives.


Collectively, I have been working with you as clients for almost 27 years.  Together we have continued to survive and thrive through “the best of times” and “the worst of times.”


– Phyllis



 Sources:  CNBC.com
Author: Senior Vice President Senior Wealth StrategistPhyllis had been associated with W&A for a number of years before joining the firm, acting as a consultant to the company in its formative stage and subsequently as a client. Prior to joining W&A, Phyllis served as Vice President, Corporate Finance at Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. She was involved in all aspects of its investment banking activities, including mergers and acquisitions, valuation studies, and initial public offerings. She earned registrations in NASD Series 7 (Registered Representative) and Series 63 (Blue Sky). Phyllis holds an MBA in Finance as well as M.Ed and BBA degrees from the University of Memphis. She is a Chartered Financial AnalystTM(CFA®) and a Certified Financial PlannerTM(CFP®) Licensee. She is past-Chairman and past-President of the Mid-South Society of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and served on their Board of Directors from 1995 to 2000. During her term as President in 1998, the Mid- South Society of FPA was chosen the Outstanding Society of the Year by the national FPA organization. Her community volunteer activities include MIFA and the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, where she served as Treasurer, Chair of the Finance Committee and currently chairs the Investment Committee. She also serves on the Board of Governors of The Seaside Institute in Seaside, FL.


Phyllis R. Scruggs

Senior Vice President

Senior Wealth Strategist

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