Financial Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ in the sun,
Talkin’ bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did.

A poem by Shel Silverstein

As I write this newsletter to share with our partners, friends and loyal clients, the worldwide number of confirmed Coronavirus cases has just passed 1,000,000. The financial impact of the virus  on the financial health of many Americans has been troubling. As the “curve” of the virus stubbornly inches upward, the average investor can’t help but think back to hearing the first news out of China and wonder if he “shoulda” liquidated his entire investment portfolio that day, then “shoulda” run to Costco to buy out the entire inventory of Charmin jumbo packs. We know one thing, he “woulda” been better off if he’d ignored the ugly coronavirus bear market.

Investors young and old are facing two challenges: 

  1. Don’t panic. It’s scary to watch your financial future disappear and it’s tempting to bail out. Don’t.
  2. Be sure you have a balanced portfolio that can tolerate future wild stock market rides.

The U.S. and worldwide economic situation was healthy before the coronavirus outbreak. Recovery should eventually be swift. Expecting a full restoration to pre-COVID-19 markets is only a Shoulda, be we can pray for one little “did.”

In the Midst of the Border Crisis

We believe… that it is our responsibility to care for the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, and to use our talents for the betterment of mankind through education, opportunity and freedom.

Stewardship Foundation Credo #6

The Stewardship Foundation was founded on six defining principles that remain today our guiding tenets. There are currently 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants residing in the United States (Pew Research Center, 12 June 2019), and the number grows by hundreds of thousands as those who feel compelled to come with the promise of employment stream over the border. Our reaction is a mix of compassion, confusion, and too often political rhetoric. But if we believe in our Principle #6 (above), can we deny these people the education, opportunity and freedom that we hope for all mankind?

On one hand, we are alarmed at the risks that they take from dangerous smugglers looking to exploit these mostly low-skilled workers and their families during their trek north. On the other hand, our immigration policy exists to maintain an orderly and rational means for people to immigrate here, for the betterment of all (the common good).

The Church teaches that good government has two duties: welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person, and to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. 

The U.S. Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter of 2003 “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope” notes that all people have the right to economic freedom—the right to work for a living and support their families. In 2003, they could not have foreseen the murder, crime, violence and corruption that would befall Honduras, or that schools would grow so expensive there that families would flee to the U.S. simply to educate their children so they can have a better life. 

Even on the heels of 9/11 and the real threats of terrorism, the Bishops perhaps could not foretell the depth of the drug crisis and its ever-greater impact on both Mexicans and Americans as more and more drugs are illegally funneled across the border.

While we struggle to reconcile these things, our hope lies in more targeted, humane, and proportional enforcement measures; cooperation of the countries of Latin America; and the courage to stand by our treasured U.S. Constitution, our laws and leaders while we collectively figure this out.

What The Notre-Dame Fire Taught Us

We were all touched in some way watching the holy cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris in flames. Early news reports were catastrophic. “The entire cathedral has burned to the ground. Everything is gone!” The world was stunned. Not just the French, not just the Catholics. Everyone.

When the smoke cleared, the world also collectively breathed a sigh of relief. A news reporter said that in our lifetime, we may still have the chance to visit Notre-Dame Cathedral. 

We had seen on the media what appeared to be flames tearing through the roof as if coming from the interior of the church. The source of the flames was, in fact, from the timber and lead roof installed in the 13th century. The interior of the church, for the most part, was not involved.

The most dramatic moment captured on film had to be the collapsing spire. For Americans, it was an emotional scene recalling painful memories of our own Twin Towers. The spire was not the original spire. That the spire had been previously destroyed by weather in the 1700s and rebuilt in the mid-1800s as a larger more ornate version of the original made it no less sad. 

We rejoiced when we learned that most of the cathedral and its statues and architecture and windows were still intact and, because of the outpouring of generosity from around the world, it will be rebuilt to its original splendor, if not better. 

Like 9/11, the Notre Dame fire shook many to their core. How could God allow this to happen? How are we to react?

We have witnessed a worldwide outpouring of compassion. God and His Church were headline news during Holy Week. We became family with the French people and with those of all faiths who lamented Paris’s loss, for whatever reason. For that one day, we were touched and united by tragedy.

In Louisiana, there was a $1.3 million surge in donations to rebuild the three historically black churches burned down by arsonists. Comfort, hope, life. 

“For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.” Isaiah 49:13