Oh, What a Year!

Tara

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Tara Ennevor

Financial Advisor and Associate Portfolio Manager

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As we look back at 2020, many would like to erase it from the books and start over! This is occasionally the sentiment at the start of a new year, but even more so now. It was a tough time for so many who faced personal and financial loss, and we can never forget that.

With 2021 underway, we expect the COVID-19 vaccines to be widely rolled out in the com­ing months, which leads me to reflect and realize that there have been some positive outcomes of the pandemic, both temporary and permanent.

Travel

An increase in local travel gave us the opportunity to explore “Beautiful BC.” Many had to cancel summer vacations to the US, Europe, and other interna­tional destinations; although we could fly to other parts of the country, it was not the popular choice. It was a time to explore our own cities or some other areas of the province – how blessed we are to live in such an amazing part of the world.

Family Life

With the halt to school, sports, and ac­tivities, we were forced to slow down. Working from home removed the com­mute and allowed us to spend more quality time with our family members. My husband and I enjoyed more time with our teenagers – I’m not joking! The years have gone by in a blur, and before we know it they will be young adults out on their own – this is a time I will cherish.

Social Interactions

Though we could not meet in person and celebrate many life events together, self-isolation had many reach out to re­connect virtually. Zoom has become a household word, and there have been many coffee dates, happy hours, and birthday parties celebrated virtually in 2020 with friends and family we would rarely, if ever, see.

Pets

Many finally were able to welcome a new puppy, kitten, or other pet into the family. There was sudden surge in de­mand for pets in mid-March and it be­came a boom by mid-July. With the realization that the pandemic was not going away quickly, people took the op­portunity to foster, adopt, or buy a pet while they would be working from home and having staycations or driving vacations that are much more amenable to pets. Off the top of my head, I can quickly count five family friends with puppies, and my daughter tells me weekly of another school friend who now has a new dog and asks when we will get ours. I have not given in to the constant requests yet!

Environment

There have been some positive ef­fects on the environment. Carbon emissions are down globally, and there’s been an estimated 8% drop in carbon emissions in Canada. We are seeing improved air and water quality due to less commuting, air travel, and boats in the water. While this is unlikely to continue when we all have access to a vaccine and lives get back to “normal,” it has given our planet a small chance to rejuvenate. It is hoped that the COVID-19 shutdown has given us pause to think about things that were absolutely necessary, and maybe are not anymore.

Business Innovations

Many businesses have reinvented themselves overnight in order to survive. Shops moved online quickly, or offered telephone or­ders, and had curbside pickup or local delivery. Some restaurants were selling fresh produce, dairy, and meats. Fitness classes went live on Facebook or YouTube. A gift and jewelry shop in my neighbourhood immediately stocked masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, and was one of the few places in our city to get these items in the spring.

Remote Working

This was forced upon us, but it has helped companies trust the integrity of their employees, see­ing that they work hard even when there is no one to watch over them. There now will be many employers that allow more flexibility in remote work, even when we can all return safely to work at the office. Employers may now be open to hiring or keeping employees who would have to leave the workforce due to health or family constraints that do not give them the time to commute to and from the office.

Technology

There has been a greater use of technology to carry out our busi­ness, and forced adoption of vir­tual meetings and digital document use that many of us were hesitant to try in the past. It has spurred on a digital transfor­mation in months that in the past would have taken many busi­nesses years to complete. At RGF Integrated Wealth Management, we shuffled our projects to focus our resources on technology – one large item was moving many of our paper-based forms to the elec­tronic DocuSign platform for our securities business.

Local Business Support

“Support Local” has been a grow­ing trend over the years, and it has become a very important cause over the last year. We saw a great focus on shopping at our local businesses as they reopened. Yes, Amazon was very convenient when many businesses had to shut down, and during the first couple of months of the pandemic I would see a minimum of five deliveries a day in my cul-de-sac, but this has shifted back to the five deliveries a week now. Local businesses are essential for our economy, and bring employment and growth to our communities. We can all do our part by buying gift cards from our favourite restaurants and spas, ordering flowers from our local florist, or joining local online fitness classes.

I have a new sense of apprecia­tion and gratefulness, as 2020 of­fered me a fresh perspective on so much that I take for granted – most of all my freedom, family, friends, work, and social gather­ings. We have a lot to look for­ward to in 2021 – hugging family and friends, going to a live sport­ing event, travelling to a warm destination, gathering to worship, celebrating milestones, and many, many more. Wishing you all a Happy New Year! ■





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