I have been somewhat reluctant to jump on the bandwagon and comment publicly about the economic impacts of Coronavirus, outside of providing crucial support to our clients. However, I’m starting to see mixed messages for people in the market and quite a bit of confusion, so I wanted to boil it back to basics.
Let’s start with the facts…
- Globally - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Coronavirus to be a pandemic. This term is reflective of the now, world-wide spread of the virus.
- Nationally - our own Ministry of Health is stating that ‘with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low’ in New Zealand. Of course this may change but at the time of writing we have five confirmed cases of COVID-19 with no reported fatalities.
My take: this is very serious but for now NZ’s state of ‘be alert and careful, but carry on as best you can for now’ (my words) is probably about right.
- Globally – Markets are based on trade and confidence. Naturally we’ve seen a downturn in both which has resulted in share-market declines.
- Nationally – The NZX has not been exempt.
- Regionally – forestry, manufacturing and tourism are struggling with the lack of demand and foot traffic.
- Locally – Kiwi’s are starting to feel it particularly in places like Queenstown and Rotorua but also generally.
My take: this is a natural reaction to a pandemic situation, and it’s very difficult to predict the medium-long term implications.
What we are starting to see from our clients is pockets of hardship, but also a broader sense of discomfort and uncertainty about the future. Many of us remember the GFC and don’t want to go back there.
To that I would say that now is the time to focus on what you can control. And what does concern me is the plethora of rather mixed advice I’ve seen on this in the market. From ‘don’t panic’ to ‘panic’ and ‘get that Kiwi Saver out’ to ‘don’t touch it’.
I’m not going to make blanket assertions on what people should and shouldn’t do with their finances in situations such as this. That’s because everyone and every situation is different. And that’s why we have a network of 80 regional business owners who exist to offer personalised coaching and support in this capacity.
So my single piece of advice is – think about what you can control and make a plan. If you need help with that. Talk to NZHL.