Dear Investors,

A wise old friend, and cancer survivor, once told me, “It’s wasted energy to worry about today’s problems because tomorrow you will have new problems.” Those words certainly ring true today. In the past three weeks we have all been faced with new concerns and problems daily. It’s unsettling and surreal how quickly our daily lives have changed. Suddenly, “pandemic,” “social distancing” and “shelter-in-place” have become part of every American’s vocabulary.

All of us at Marks Group are here to help ease the concerns about your financial future and help guide you through these difficult times.

First of all, it’s important that you know we have had a business continuity plan in place for years. Every member of the Marks Group team has the ability to work remotely. When you call our main phone number, one of us will answer. Your advisor remains accessible when you feel it’s important to connect.

It is difficult to remain objective during periods of high uncertainty. Age has few advantages, but my 38 years of experience makes it easier to keep things in perspective. In my opinion, now is not the time to liquidate your investments, unless you absolutely must. Financial markets are short on liquidity and filled with panicked investors motivated to sell at any cost. Experience has taught me that succumbing to emotional selling may provide some immediate relief but is rarely a profitable long-term decision.

I wrote in a recent letter that the stock market goes up 73% of the time. We are now living through the other 27%. It’s safe to say stock prices may decline more in the short-term, but markets move fast and as soon as we glimpse a glimmer of light at the end of this dark economic tunnel, there will likely be a historic rally. The only way to ensure you participate is to stay invested.

You often hear “this time it’s different” and it’s true that every financial crisis is unique. The one commonality is that each has been followed by a recovery. Every single one. I have confidence in the resiliency of the capital markets and the American people. We are fortunate to live in a country with the resources to endure and ultimately recover from this crisis.

It is a healthy and valuable mental exercise to imagine how the world will change in the aftermath of this pandemic. Certain companies, especially those with large amounts of debt, will not survive. Government bailouts will help some, but not all. Given our strict discipline of owning companies with strong balance sheets, we are confident the stocks we own will not only survive but bounce back stronger.

Distance learning, working remotely, and connecting online will become even more commonplace. Billions of dollars will be spent to better prepare us for the next virus. Also, once the all-clear siren rings, there will be pent up demand for everything we sacrificed while our lives were put on hold.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns.

Be safe and stay strong,

Ben Marks, Chief Investment Officer

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.

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