Crypto Quarterly – Vol. 1, Jan 2022

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.

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Markets Prefer Certainty

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.

A dash of certainty was injected into stocks and bonds with this week’s Federal Reserve meeting. If only for a day.

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To Crypto Or Not To Crypto

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.

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2021 What A Year So Far

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.

Take the time before year-end to evaluate portfolio gains and asset allocation.

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Is NOW a Good Time to Invest?

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”.

*Please ask for a copy of the PDF to view or zoom in.

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Try This If Markets Get Rocky

A timeless set of advice originally appearing in August 2014, again in January and October 2016, again in February and October 2018, August 2019 and as recently as May 2021… it can be wise to do a “gut check” on how extensively a rocky or down stock market could affect your emotions – and more important, your actions. There may be reason to establish a pattern of performing this exercise one to two times per year.

Adapted and shortened, “Gut Check in Rocky Markets,” can be applied to the times we are experiencing today in late August 2021, amidst US and global uncertainties of the geopolitical and pandemic variety. The central message stands:

It can be wise to do a “gut check” on how extensively a rocky or down stock market could affect your emotions – and more important, your actions.

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Risk Off & Risk On

NERD ALERT: This edition of TGIF 2 Minutes will get a big “wonky” but still worth the read. A good number of people reading are familiar with the terms, “risk off” and “risk on,” terms that are used frequently in financial media and by financial industry traders and risk managers.

Even for a business owner or anyone familiar with risk, the term “risk on” or “risk off” may make sense. But for those still wanting clarification on how these terms relate to personal savings and investments – specifically the stock and bond markets – here are a few details.

First, the reason it made sense to highlight this topic is that just this week the US Fed said,“[The US] economy has made progress toward its goals, teeing up bond taper.” *

Think of “risk ON” as increasing risk and being comfortable with taking on more risk; whereas “risk OFF” would be decreasing risk due to factors that make risk uncomfortable.

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Gut Check in Rocky Markets… 2021 Version

From the 2014 & 2016 Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes comes a timely message – updated for 2021, as markets could get fairly rocky (read: volatile) with inflation fears, unprecedented US government debt issuance and money printing. Caution is warranted. However, timeframe and a PLAN are key.

Have you asked yourself lately…

  • “Is this the ‘Big Dip’ in the markets they have warned about?”
  • “Should I be selling my stocks?”
  • “Should I be selling my bonds?”
I stress to my clients and friends: Do NOT allow short-term market moves to instill fear and lead to poor decisions.

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Zero Interest Rate World

Low and near-zero interest rates have become a fact of life. Rates could likely remain low for the foreseeable future based on the economic and US Federal Reserve environment. This statement is not meant to be a predictor of where interest rates are going. Still, the fact of near-zero interest rates needs to be on investors’ radar screens, as boring as the topic may sound!

The bond market and interest rates involve far, far more complicated math than stocks. Trying to predict bond prices and interest rates is mostly not worthwhile.

Near-zero interest rates needs to be on investors’ radar screens.

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All Cash?

“Do I go to all cash?”

“Do I go to all cash at least until after the election?”

More than a few people have asked me this question over the past several months. Even more people have probably asked themselves this question. The answer, if historical data of the S&P 500 index is a guide, is a firm NO.

This chart illustrates the impact of missing just the 25 best days in the market, the 15 best, 5 best and 1 best day.

The chart above illustrates the impact of missing just the 25 best days in the market, the 15 best, 5 best and 1 best day. The days are NOT CONSECUTIVE, they are random best days. If missed, the majority of stock market gains are missed.

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