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Financial
Oct 3, 2018

Lessons Learned from Hurricane Florence

Sponsored Content provided by Susan Willett - Director of Trust Services, Old North State Trust, LLC


Be Prepared

Yes, you’ve heard me say this a thousand times.  Well, guess what – you’ll hear me say it a thousand more. It’s the Boy Scout motto for a reason. 

One of the things I have been most impressed with during this storm is the speed with which our power was restored. Even though we were without power for several days (along with everyone else), our power was restored much sooner than I anticipated. With the amount of damage from downed power lines, trees and general mayhem, I thought that it would be weeks before power was restored, but the utility companies were prepared. They had utility trucks and workers from several states here to assist before the storm ever hit. There were companies present from multiple states. Due to that foresight, our power was back on much sooner than I ever expected. 

It’s the same with planning for financial purposes. Whether it’s your investments, retirement, income or estate planning, being prepared is critical for “weathering” whatever storm life throws at you. We can’t anticipate what life will bring, just like not being able to anticipate whether a hurricane will hit dead center in Wilmington or somewhere else.
Whether it will hit as a category 4 or a 1, we can’t know for sure, but being prepared can certainly help us to restore life to as normal as possible when the storm has passed. 


Stock Up

We all know that, when a storm is coming, you have to go buy bread, milk and water. It’s an unwritten rule! 

It’s also an unwritten rule that your portfolio should be “stocked up.” What I mean is that you should have an appropriate mix of stocks, bonds and alternative investments in your portfolio.

I like to compare a well-diversified portfolio to a well-rounded dinner plate. We all know that you should have a diverse diet of heathy meat, vegetables, whole grains and good fat. In the same way, you should have a healthy diet of income producing assets, inflation hedging assets, assets that capture foreign markets, exposure to small and mid-cap markets, commodities and the real estate market. 

Just as you wouldn’t want to have a diet of nothing but meat, with no exposure to the vitamins found in vegetables, you wouldn’t want a portfolio based only on stocks with no exposure to the safety provided by bonds. You also need an advisor that can oversee all aspects of this portfolio to ensure the proper mixture of these asset classes and adjust them as needed, which brings me to my next lesson.


Listen To Those Who Know What’s Going On

As I’m sure most of you did, my family kept a close eye on the news and weather stations. We listened to what was happening with the storm from those who knew what was going on, especially since this one lasted so long. I have lived here my entire life and have never experienced a hurricane that lasted for days!  It rained harder on day four than it did on day two! 

When we were stuck inside for so long, it really helped to be able to hear what was going on in the outside world from the professionals. It’s the same concept from a financial prospective. Financial professionals exist for a reason. We are here to help you prepare for the storms of life and to wade through them together. 

For fiduciaries, like those of us at Old North State Trust, we are bound by law to put the needs of our clients first. There are actually 18 duties in the N.C. General Statutes that we must adhere to. The first one of these is the duty of loyalty to our clients, so you can rest assured that we care about you and are here for you. That’s not just lip service and not a line because we’ve been caught doing something we’re not supposed to be doing.  It’s why we’re here.


Stay Calm

Just like in a meteorological storm, financial storms will pass. When you have followed the steps above, then the clean-up after the storm will be easier and you’ll have a partner alongside you to help. 

Storms come. It’s a fact of life, but when you are prepared, and you have someone to help, it certainly makes life easier. If you don’t have that someone now, call ONST today and see how we can help.

Old North State Trust, LLC (ONST) periodically produces publications as a service to clients and friends.  The information contained in these publications is intended to provide general information about issues related to trust, investment and estate related topics.  Readers should be aware that the facts may vary depending upon individual circumstances.  The information contained in these publications is intended solely for informational purposes, is proprietary to ONST and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete or timely. 

Susan Willett is the director of trust services and oversees all aspects of trust administration for Old North State Trust, LLC. Old North State Trust, a North Carolina chartered trust company, provides: asset management services; income, estate and trust tax consulting; retirement planning and administration; and trustee and estate services to both individuals and businesses. Old North State Trust professionals have many years of experience and for over a decade have assisted clients in identifying and reaching their financial goals. For more information, visit www.oldnorthstatetrust.com or call 910-399-5470. 

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