I wasn’t around the Spanish Flu epidemic. My grandfather was and his older sister died of it at age 18 in 1918. This coronavirus isn’t as deadly as the Spanish Flu and we have the technology to limit the suffering and the deaths. That is of little solace for us with kids who are not in schools, for us who know have to work from home, and for the events that are going to have to be canceled.
What we need to do is to keep things in perspective. We will fare far better than those who went through the Spanish Flu and the bubonic plague. We live in a country with the resources to combat a pandemic, we just have to be careful and vigilant. The 401(k) industry will probably suffer short term in terms of stock market losses and potential plan sponsors not having the biggest or the stomach in starting a retirement plan. We’ve been through similar challenges in the past with 9/11 and the housing mess. We’re dealing with a lot on our plate, but I think we will navigate this challenge and we will end up being stronger for it.