As I write this message in mid-April, our nation continues to feel the vice-like grip of the coronavirus in so many aspects of our daily lives. Like many of you, I had hoped that the initial 15-day period of nationwide social distancing to limit exposure to this virus and help slow its spread would have been enough time to win the battle against this deadly pandemic. However, this unprecedented and challenging situation continues to have far-reaching consequences.
Over the past three weeks, nearly 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Unemployment may already be approaching 13%, exceeding its peak following the financial crisis of 2008–09, and will likely go higher in the weeks ahead. Furthermore, despite the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other COVID-19-related relief and economic stimulus initiatives of more than $3 trillion to date, many organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, are likely to experience significant financial challenges into the foreseeable future.
In addition to this financial stress, the new “normal” – whereby the vast majority of those still employed are working remotely, especially in an environment where many local communities across the country have closed schools and enacted “shelter-in-place” and “stay-at-home” orders – has created significant daily challenges for virtually all Americans. Such challenges include, among others, having multiple adults working remotely under one roof, while, at the same time, assisting children with homeschooling and/or taking care of other family members.
Here at Mutual of America, we continue to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees, their immediate families, and the communities where they live and work across the country through the prudent social distancing practices we implemented in March. Such practices primarily entail a significant number of our employees working remotely through the use of a recently implemented state-of-the-art, cloud-based Virtual Private Network (VPN) software solution, and a very limited number of employees, who perform tasks that can’t be done remotely, working on a rotating basis in certain office locations throughout the country.
Like me, I am sure that all this social distancing has many of you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, lonely and even just plain bored. Such feelings are certainly normal in an environment that is anything but normal. Really, in many ways, it is surreal. That’s why, in times like these, health professionals strongly emphasize the importance of maintaining sound physical and mental health by exercising daily; eating healthy; getting enough rest/sleep; and, most importantly, staying connected with friends, work colleagues, family members and loved ones. In the weeks ahead, please be vigilant in doing each of these things.
No question, this is an unprecedented, stressful time. Yet, we continue to witness and be inspired by the selfless and caring acts displayed by tens of thousands of individuals who are on the front lines battling the coronavirus and helping those affected to recover. On behalf of everyone at Mutual of America, I want to thank our thousands of clients, colleagues and friends, especially those from the nonprofit social welfare and health and human services sectors, who are making such a meaningful impact in the communities where we all live and work.
During uncertain and stressful times like these, it is even more important that our clients stay connected with us. Know that our employees are well prepared and readily available to address your retirement and investment needs, questions and concerns. After all, helping our clients stay focused on achieving their retirement and investment goals, especially through challenging times, is the hallmark of who we are as a Company and what we have been doing successfully for 75 years.
I am confident that our nation’s united strength, resilience and boundless positive spirit will enable us to withstand and overcome the challenges we’re currently facing and emerge stronger than ever.
Stay healthy, be safe and keep in touch!