As difficult as it has been to find a silver lining to the pandemic, there have been one or two recurring themes that could be classified as positive, or at least opportunistic. One theme is that a fair number of people with whom I have spoken have reported far lower overall (or at least discretionary) spending in the past couple of months compared to “normal” times. Think:
The past several weeks has seen the first pandemic in the era of social media. The last H1N1 Influenza pandemic was in 2009. In 2009, Facebook was young (founded 2004) and Twitter was in its infancy (founded 2006).
In addition to a handful of other major factors, the Covid-19 coronavirus is descending on the planet during: a US Presidential election year, a high-level fight over oil between the Saudis and Russia AND immediately following an almost 11-year UP stock market in the US.
Originally titled, “Gut Check in Rocky Markets” but with a new twist the following excerpted edition from the archives of TGIF 2 Minutes is timely on (Not So) Fat Tuesday. Please keep in mind three new factors:
The political divide currently in the US is adding to market tensions and even politicizing the Coronavirus,
Primary Elections and Debates and the policy issues being brought forth are next-to-center stage in the media,
A still very recent UP 29% equity market in 2019,
and there exist the makings of a potential market correction. A market correction is defined as a decline of 10% from a recent high; the US equity markets are down over 6% in two days and are nearing an official “market correction” in 2020.
At February 21st, while the year is still young… the time is perfect for reviewing or setting goals for this year and the years and months to come. No pressure. The holidays are in the past and the deadline for filing 2019 taxes is still a bit in the distance – for now!
At this somewhat perfect time of the year, goal setting can pay off in a big way toward achieving those goals. Often goal setting is difficult to start with a blank sheet of paper so here are a few tidbits to create momentum:
Exogenous Threats. These types of threats or risk factors come from an external place and affect markets – unexpectedly. Already in 2020, only 38 days into the year, the US and global markets have been presented with at least three major exogenous threats:
Brexit becoming abruptly final
A US Impeachment trial
A viral epidemic, the unnamed Coronavirus in China (and now spreading to other countries too)
(Bonus 4th threat) US-China and US-World trade policy
It is still early in the year – there is still plenty of time to evaluate how to start or tweak a savings and investing plan. In fact, it is ALWAYS a good time (January, February, March, July, October, December…) to evaluate savings and investing. But after the amazing past year and decade in US and global stock and bond markets, it may cross your mind to say,
“Should I wait to invest?”
“How can markets keep going up, up, up?”
“I need to jump on the bandwagon here!”
“Growth stocks are the way to go! I have stock ideas!”
Excerpts from the February 2018 Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes…
“Let the good times roll.” I am partial to this expression because my Dad used to say it a lot either as a toast or statement when things were going well. Looking overall at the last few years’ markets, current economy and lives and businesses of clients, the expression definitely applies.
But of course, there will always be something to worry about. Always.
How long will these positive markets last?
Will my portfolio continue to gain in value? How can I best preserve all this wealth I have created?
How long will these economic and business conditions continue to contribute to my personal and business success?
Will the risks I have taken in the past few years (that have paid off) continue to yield positive results?