None of us really know exactly what the world will look like when the coronavirus pandemic ends, but the outlines already are starting to take shape. Some observers are calling it the new abnormal.

Powerful crosscurrents inevitably will produce major changes. Nations and individuals will want to become more self-reliant in ways that extend far beyond ventilator production.

At the same time, there is the unescapable reality that the world is a smaller and smaller place, one that will require increased cooperation in all sorts of new areas. The question of how we reconcile these two divergent realities will dominate much of the global macro conversation for the next five years.

Finding previous parallels in history isn’t easy. The 1981-1982 recession, which happened after Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker raised interest rates to absurd levels to expunge inflation, was the only other government-mandated downturn in modern history. Government policies also produced dramatic changes in the 1930-1945 era.

Both those eras were accompanied by a dramatic spike in Americans’ savings rates. How that plays out this time remains to be seen. People aren’t spending on numerous goods and services; it is also estimated they could take a $5 trillion cut in income this year.

Events of this magnitude are going to unleash major changes in society while accelerating those that were already underway. The desire for financial independence, as underscored by the FIRE movement, is only destined to increase.

It shouldn’t take a pandemic to reinforce the notion that high-quality financial advice is the way to reach independence, yet that’s what it will take for many Americans.

On another note, I’d like to welcome our new CEO, Gary Holland, to CFPN, Financial Advisor’s parent company. Gary joins us after spending years at Barron’s, most recently as publisher and global head of sales and marketing. In two short, strange weeks, strange for reasons beyond anyone’s control, he has already impressed many of us here.