It is fairly safe to say that the US has entered a recession, even if the backwards looking, narrowly focused, official “National Bureau of Economics Research”, or NBER, has not declared it yet. The NBER is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1920 that somehow came to possess the distinct “responsibility” of declaring recessions in the US. Seriously?
In the case that the US has entered a recession (not yet “declared” by the NBER) then what does that mean for savers and investors? A quick bit of background: typically, economic cool-downs come in two varieties: hard landings and soft landings.
The hard landing ends a period of economic expansion in recession,
The soft landing ends a period of expansion with a smoother period of mere economic slow-down.
Lately it seems that reaching Friday is a goal in itself. In markets like these it is not easy to “keep calm and carry on” as if there is nothing different going on. There are, in fact, multiple very different things going on. The coming weeks and months may bring even more different events and uneasiness – with a bit of good mixed in.
So, then the question becomes, “What is important NOW?” It may be tempting to answer:
Money and Therapy: two things that people may love or hate thinking about. However, among other things in life, money and therapy help.
About five years ago I read a must-read book for young and old, wealthy, or building wealth, married or single. Anyone who wants to have a “life” someday… or even have a life NOW. The book is called The Number* and was written by Lee Eisenberg nearly 15 years ago but reads like he wrote it yesterday.
Here are several of the chapters:
“Welcome To Numberland”
“Alone At Sea”
“Covering Your Assets” (nice play on words)
All of these topics could be covered in conversations with friends, or by reading The Number,explored in a therapy session… or all 3! I recommend all three (and the therapy session could be with your financial adviser – because a real financial adviser makes this conversation mandatory.)
These are crazy times, almost chaotic. Chaos is defined as complete disorder and confusion – and parts of the world and our lives may be nearing that point, or at least feel that way. How does an investor get financial satisfaction in times like these? Carefully and patiently.
“Carefully” can equate to:
having a plan that addresses saving, spending, taxes, & investments
being able to monitor and adjust the plan, perhaps with an adviser
then continually executing the plan.
The “patiently” part can be more difficult and is just as critical.
Inflation has a funny (not “haha” funny) way of changing consumer and market behavior. We are presently seeing these changes play out in the economy and stock and bond markets. Time for the rocket photo again, which equates rapidly increasing prices with a rocket launch.*
In conversations with clients and friends in every segment – younger newly-employed, mid-career folks, parents, single people, workers at the tops of careers, those not in the workplace, heads of families and (mostly) comfortably retired folks – every one of these groups reports noticing inflation in their daily lives. This fact is unlike any time in my 35+ year professional life…and then some.
One of the most critical factors of long-term personal financial success is… guess:
And the answer is… SPENDING. This fact is why a truly competent financial planner will spend the most time on discussing spending, both today and future projected, along with GOALS (Goals are what people spend money on).
The original title of this edition of TGIF 2 Minutes was “Remember Brexit?” The reason that seemed appropriate is because recently and often during client reviews, conversations with potential new clients and from friends I am hearing the question, “Is NOW a good time to invest?” The slew of events that occurred in late 2020 and so far in 2021 have led both new and experienced investors to question the timing of investing new monies today.
Looking at the chart below*, there are events since 1970 and as recent as Brexit in 2016 that posed immense uncertainty and likely the same question. In fact, the chart illustrates the TEN YEARS from 2000-2010 dubbed “the lost decade”.
There are few things as exciting as getting a new car: the “new car smell,” the test drive, the sound system, sunroof, heated seats… the feeling of “everything is new.” And these days, cars are advanced computers on wheels (and that means even the non-self-driving kind).
With that said, yours truly recently bought a new car – the first new car in 15 years! The old 2005 (Certified Pre-Owned) B-mer went 180k miles and could have gone another 100k but with a bit of maintenance here and there. Time for a new vehicle. But what new car to buy? New or used? Sedan or SUV? Buy or lease? And the cost: go expensive or reasonable in cost?