Letters to Our Clients
At about 7:12 in the morning on August 16, 1960, Colonel Joseph W. Kittenger II stepped forward out of his open-aired gondola that was connected to a weather balloon, 102,800 feet above the surface of the Earth. A camera attached to the gondola snapped a picture of him falling towards the clouds in his experimental pressurized suit, and this became the cover of the August 1960 issue of Life magazine. You can find the photo online, along with video footage of the jump and all of the preparation leading up to it.
With regard to investing, you will often hear much discussion of risk and risk tolerance. Often you’ll hear that the more risk you take, the higher your potential return. However, that also, of course, means the higher your potential loss. In investing, there are several defined types of risk. Here are a few examples:
Have you ever suddenly become aware of some part of your identity or personality that makes you cringe once you notice it? Something about yourself that was revealed in a moment of insight that makes you grit your teeth or blurt out “ew!” A great and funny example that comes to mind for me is when you realize you’ve become your parents, like in the Progressive insurance commercials. Well, I’ve come to realize that a risk manager is probably not always the most fun person to be around. Don’t ask what I think about traffic, wait-times, chances of winning, survival rates, or the weather, unless of course you are looking for worst-case scenarios. I don’t usually start with what could go right.
We’ve all heard it before… “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.” Currently everyone has their eye on both, as we’re watching the tax proposals, including estate tax changes, from the Biden administration, and wondering what’s coming and how we will all be affected. I’m going to give a brief update on where things are with that, but I think it’s important to remember that currently the tax proposals are just that… proposals. There is much negotiation to come. So while we can pay attention and do our best to be prepared for what’s to come, we must also realize that we cannot plan for everything. Yes, changes will come. And we will continue to re-evaluate as they do.
Things are better and the future is brighter, but everything is still a little chaotic. Chaos is found in each of our different, partitioned pieces of life, be that our country, state, city, workplace, or individual homes. Even though we’ve had the pandemic to blame a big portion of the chaos on over the past year and a half, I believe we would all agree that when we get down to it, life in general is pretty chaotic. With or without a global pandemic, or warring political parties, administrations, and countries… life is messy, and a big portion of our time and energy is futilely spent trying to tame it.
Perception of time is a strange thing. Time moves so slowly when we’re young. My son can’t believe his luck when he’s rewarded an extra fifteen minutes of screen time, but that all changes as we age. I feel panicked if I have less than an hour to get anything done, and feel hopeless trying to find the 45 minutes required to watch an episode on Netflix.
And here I am, looking back at the letters we’ve sent out over this past year. We sent three separate pieces in March of 2020, right in the midst of the pandemonium. It has only been a year, and although I would normally remark on how quickly a year goes by, it has been a loooong year.
Kendall J. Anderson, CFA, Founder
Justin T. Anderson, President