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I’ve found it unusually difficult to get thoughts down on paper for this week’s blog. The nation’s response to long standing inequity due to race and other factors following the death of George Floyd while in police custody on top of society’s current battle with the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming. Attempting to add perspective through the lens of a financial planning and investment management blog seems to risk trivializing the weight of the moment.

With that said, I’m going to attempt to write a version of the blog I’d planned to write about TAAG’s reopening plans.

While deemed essential by the rules set forth by Ohio’s stay at home order, we moved quickly the weeks of March 9th and 16th to a scenario where any member of our team could work from home during the order. We’re fortunate to work in a space that is our own and lends itself well to social distancing, but also wanted to make sure anyone that wanted or needed to be home had the tools and technology required to do so.

I want to take a moment to publicly thank everyone on our team for their professionalism and hard work in a time of a lot of added stress and uncertainty. Working through the beginning of the first bear market and recession we’ve seen in more than a decade while juggling kids, schooling at home, foster dogs, toilet paper shortages, Zoom meetings and all the rest was a tall order. They handled it all with grace and were able to deliver business as usual throughout. Thank you, all!

What does moving forward look like? We’re certainly not through the pandemic just yet, and we want to make sure we continue to take actions that follow science, experts and state and local guidelines. With freshly stocked supplies of hand sanitizer, masks and all the other components to which we’re all growing accustomed, I’m happy to say we’ll be back to full staff in the office this coming Monday.

The way we’ll be most effective is to set expectations in advance and then do our best to deliver. A few clients have scheduled in office meetings over the next few weeks, and we’ll start to offer that more broadly as an option as we schedule meetings into July and through the rest of the year.

It’s important to note that if clients want to continue meeting online whether because they’re not ready to meet in person or just enjoy the convenience, that will continue to be an option going forward.

When visiting the office, hand sanitizer, disposable face masks and disinfectant wipes will be available for your use. We’ll practice social distancing to the best of our ability and have several meeting spaces that allow us to meet those guidelines. Meeting rooms and common areas will be wiped down between each meeting.

Much like our inability to control the markets, interest rates or the like, we can’t control the speed of the development of vaccines or viable treatments options. We can control how we follow health and safety guidelines and how we communicate with clients, prospective clients and other visitors. Please feel free to communicate your expectations and comfort level with us, and we’ll promise to do the same.

The success of society returning to any kind of normalcy will rely heavily on people refraining from judging others for what they are or aren’t comfortable doing, so long as it doesn’t infringe on the health and safety of others. You never know what another person’s health, risk tolerance or other circumstance may drive their current behavior or perspective. Having a clear idea of what steps your local restaurant, favorite store or even your financial planner’s office is taking is just a small part of safely beginning to reopen.

Stay healthy and have a great week!