With the whirlwind of interest generated by December’s edition of TGIF 2 Minutes covering “To Crypto Or Not To Crypto”, demand exists for at least a quarterly dedicated to the topic of cryptocurrency. For those who are already crypto experts, this volume of “Crypto Quarterly” may be elementary but a great number of experienced investors admitted limited knowledge and appreciated the information.
One thing is certain: numerous predictions about 2020 and 2021 in categories ranging, from the emergence of a pandemic, to continuance of the pandemic, how best to cure the pandemic, to rates of inflation, supply and demand in the economy, to the ability of technology to make accurate predictions… were wrong.
Possibly the largest factor affecting the US economy today, inflation, was not even on the list of biggest risks at the 2021 World Economic Forum.* This is not to poke fun at the predictors but rather an indication of how misguided predictions about risk can be.
Amidst the continuous stream of news and recent market fluctuations, a dash of certainty was injected into stocks and bonds with this week’s Federal Reserve meeting. If only for a day.
Several factors are at work –
- interest rates, per the US Fed
- future government spending policy
- rates of employment
- market valuations
among other factors.
It is high time to talk about cryptocurrency, otherwise known as “crypto,” but where to start? Cryptocurrency is the broad term for digital currency or digital money. Blockchain is a technology that, among other functions, enables the existence of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is the best-known form of digital currency, although there are now more than 8,000 different cryptocurrencies many of which have no following or do not trade.
If all of this sounds too complicated for a Friday morning, read on anyway. We are all in this together. The diagram below first appeared in a May 2019 edition of TGIF 2 Minutes to illustrate how payment methods have evolved from Cash (far-left) to newer and often more convenient forms such as credit cards (“CC” in the diagram), then PayPal and Venmo (the “P” and “V”) and now digital forms such as Bitcoin (the “B”, far-right on the diagram). The world has rapidly gone digital in hundreds of ways including social and money.
Wow… year-end 2021 is fast approaching. As if 2020 was the year we all wanted to turn the page… it is deja vu all over again in 2021. BUT a positive spin can still be put on year-to-date 2021, especially with respect to market returns.
It may be too early to say that stock market gains, to date, have been better than decent in 2021. From the US small-cap index up 12%, to large-cap S&P 500 up 22%, to Nasdaq up 19%, to the Dow Jones up 13%, these are all solid year-to-date returns.
From the Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes… with an addition on hopefulness.
Bottom line: Being Thankful, Grateful and Hopeful are all positive things.
Simply saying “Thank you” out loud is hard to do without smiling either inwardly or outwardly. Try it! Then say, “I am grateful for X” and it likely brings an even deeper feeling. Perhaps that is why gratitude is central to the science of happiness –yes, there is a whole branch of science around happiness. The newer science around hope is equally, if not more, powerful!
Tax planning is important stuff. Perhaps not as exciting as the markets but saving money on taxes can still be exciting! Mid-November begins the countdown to year-end. The following is a handy Tax Planning Checklist.* Some of these items, if done now, could make a big difference to the 2021 tax year AND add to savings.
1. How close are you to maxing out your 401k? The max is $19,500 for those under age 50 and an extra $6,500 for those age 50 and above. The deadline is December 31st and lots of 401k and 403b plans allow contributions of as much as 25-30% or even 100% of pay. Contribution rates can be lowered again in the new year.
How many people caught the news last week that Facebook officially changed its corporate name to… Meta? And changed its stock ticker symbol to MVRS? Presumably, MVRS is short for “metaverse.” What is the metaverse and is it the next “hot” investment? (In other news, Facebook is looking to distance itself far, far away from discoveries that the company knew full well for over a decade the damage its central social media platform would inflict and has inflicted on people of all ages, especially children. But that is not the topic of today’s TGIF 2 Minutes.)
Regarding Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says succinctly, “the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet.” Gaming and alternate reality seem to be at the forefront of the concept with bitcoin and cryptocurrency central as well. The whole thing sounds huge.
Last week William Shatner – at 90, who knew?! – became the oldest person to achieve space flight. Completion of a 10-minute journey on the reusable New Shephard rocket, including four minutes of weightlessness, was cause for major celebration immediately afterwards.
But notable was that upon disembarking from the space capsule Shatner politely turned down taking part in the champagne shower amongst the crew, Blue Origin promotional people and members of the press.
This note would be even better in a short video…so stay tuned for that version next week! In the meantime, a couple of quick written notes:
This week the “Energy Information Administration,” an actual division of the US government, warned that nearly HALF of US households who heat their homes with natural gas will pay 30% MORE this year, yes 30%, versus last year.* AND that if winter is 10% colder, then bills will go up 50%! If winter is 10% warmer, then bills are still projected to go up 22%. Can’t wait for that cold weather!