Trying to put coronavirus into perspective is a formidable task.

It seems like the trickiest curve ball that the 21st century has thrown us. That’s saying something. While the century may be only two decades old, it has already included a tech-stock bubble, the staggering terrorist attack on 9/11, two tsunamis and a financial crisis that dislocated millions of Americans’ lives.

In what many have called the era of disruption, the virus is a disruptive event like none other. Ordinary life is being replaced by something we couldn’t have imagined.

Life can’t fully stop because of COVID-19, but it certainly has changed everything. In the Northeast, many see St. Patrick’s Day as the first day of spring. This year there will be no parade. No March Madness. For now, no NBA and no NHL. Opening Day has been postponed at least two weeks, though it probably will be delayed longer. Even the Masters, one non-contact sport the athletes could play if the fans were banned, has been postponed. Asking many Americans to stay home and self-quarantine without these events to occupy themselves will prove challenging.

What is striking to many is that policy makers appear to be reverting to the same tools and instruments they relied upon in the financial crisis to fight what is obviously a medical and public health problem. The severity of the economic setback actually may warrant this response. Still, it’s almost like treating a broken limb with antibiotics.

For financial advisors and anyone contemplating retirement, the ramifications of a reflexive return to a near-zero-interest-rate policy are far-reaching. Discussing investment issues almost seems beside the point, but for anyone living on their assets, it’s very real.

Here at Financial Advisor, we are rescheduling our Invest In Women conference, which was planned for April 27-29. We will keep you updated on the event.

Life will go on and eventually this will recede into the rearview mirror. Stay safe.

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