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The evolution of how things have progressed with the pandemic over the last few months has been nothing short of a whirlwind. As 2021 began, I thought it might be in the realm of possibility that my wife and I could start the vaccination process by late summer, maybe early fall. It seemed conceivable that mask mandates might start to lift from there, maybe even by the holidays or the end of the year.

By late March, my wife and I were sitting in line early on a Sunday morning driving through a wonderfully coordinated vaccination station at UC Health’s Neuroscience unit for the first of two shots over four weeks. Just weeks after that, our oldest daughter was doing the same. During that same week in mid-May, the CDC announced significant reductions to mask mandate guidance and Governor Mike DeWine announced the elimination of all Covid-related state health orders effective June 2.

Since then, we’ve seen the Cincinnati Reds announce they’ll return to full capacity at Great American Ballpark in June and FC Cincinnati announced that the third match in their brand-new stadium will be at full capacity. Several other event venues, companies and the like have made similar announcements. Of course, there are exceptions. Nursing homes and other health-related facilities still have restrictions. Other companies are opting to continue with certain rules either to maintain consistency across locations in areas still under government mandates or because of circumstances unique to their work.

We’re also working towards our new normal here at TAAG. We’ve seen increased in-person meetings and have been delighted to see clients and others drop by for a variety of reasons. We have always strived to convey a welcoming atmosphere in the office and encourage folks to stop in for a cup of coffee, ask a quick question or just say hi. Obviously, for the last 14 months, that has been extremely limited, and it feels great to start to see everyone again.

There will be growing pains for lack of a better term as we continue to evolve into our post-pandemic society. Some will have anxiety around shedding their masks. Others will have similar feelings about still seeing masks in many places out in public. There will be confusion around what the rules are in one place or another. Just the adjustment of getting back to busier schedules, heavier traffic and socializing with others, even if welcome, will take time to normalize.

Part of the advantage our size gives us as a firm is our ability to customize. Whether investment strategy, planning techniques or other approaches to a client’s finances, we understand rules of thumb have their place, but every client ultimately has different needs and goals which require tailor-made plans. The same is true for how we approach this pandemic. As we re-open, we will meet clients, prospective clients and others where they are most comfortable, whether unmasked or masked in-person or via Zoom.

To that point, we have had several clients mention they may prefer Zoom meetings going forward or a mix of remote and in-person meetings to save travel time. We’ve been using these tools with our out-of-town clients for several years and the pandemic has expedited our gaining additional competency. We plan to continue offering remote meetings as an option and will invest in tools to make those experiences as rich as possible.

Our primary message today is to encourage open communication of your needs to us in terms of what makes you most comfortable going forward. Our mission has always been to help enhance the well-being of the individuals and families that we work with through financial planning and guidance. Talking about personal finance can be stressful and uncomfortable enough. If there is something we can do in meetings or otherwise to increase your comfort level, whether Covid related or not, just ask. We’ll do our best to continue to serve you in the most comforting way we can accommodate.