The summer doldrums seem to be officially upon us. I happen to enjoy the summer months. Trading slows down. Each morning the stock market “futures” are usually a very small percentage, and volatility for the most part remains muted throughout the day. Even the Wall Street kids go on vacation in the summer.
These slower days also give us a little extra time to reflect on one crisis before the next one is introduced to us. That extra allowance is usually enough to let our common sense get a turn at thinking about worst case scenarios, instead of emotions having full and absolute control. When we are hit with one possible world ending scenario after another, we are kept in flight or fight mode, and common sense is pushed way down into the basements of our minds.
Probably the real reason we are given this reprieve to think has nothing to do with the lack of “possible crises,” but because all the reporters and analysts are also going about their lazier summer lives. We were dwelling on the “debt ceiling crises” for such a long time. The Friday before an agreement was finalized, when it was almost certain that a deal would be made, I was thinking to myself, “Oh dear, what will the news do without this hand fed impending global disaster?”
Sure enough, within an hour of that thought I watched a Yahoo Finance news story proclaiming, “Not so fast everyone… even if disaster is diverted this weekend, we are not safe yet! The Fed meets in two weeks… what will they do with interest rates? The recent artificial intelligence tech rally is a bubble, and high interest rates will burst it along with the rest of the market! The Student Loan crisis, regardless of Biden’s decision, will drag the country down the tubes. Corporate bond default rates will rise, and when the Treasury refills their coffers to pay their bills… NEW CALAMITIES WILL ARISE!” It was not that dramatic, but not too far from it either.
On one of my recent radio shows at WRHI I talked about this subject of threats and crises, and how it relates to investing. If you are investing correctly, it is for the long term, with funds set aside for that purpose. If you are waiting for a time that is peaceful, when there are no threats to the future, and when common sense are the whispers heard on the street… if that is what you are waiting for to start your long-term investment plan, you will be waiting forever. That perfect time never exists, and the illusion of it keeps people from earning the beneficial rate of return that the capital markets offer.
This message is especially important to younger people today. The Baby Boomer generation still has all the saved, investible money. They didn’t have the collective knowledge of the internet to guide their financial planning like younger folks do today, but it was different times. Ideas about careers and saving created behaviors that benefited them in the long run, and the speed of information flow, especially on the negative side, decreased behavior that could have been more detrimental to a long-term investment success.
Today, finding the best investment practices, time-tested and fiduciary approved, is as easy as sitting at a keyboard or unlocking a cell phone. However, fear is amplified and sped up. It is always front and center. Not to mention the speed at which “saviors” armed with secret technological wonder products that eliminate risk and triple your rate of returns show up in your media feed. There are pros and cons of growing up today, but there is much more uncertainty created by this age of data.
I’m saying all of this because I want to force home the fact that our offer to help your family members is still in place. As long as I’ve been here, I’ve taken up the pledge that Kendall first started: we work for your family, it is a family package. Your children, regardless of age, have access to our knowledge of investing and financial planning. There is no cost for any level of consultation, and you can assure them our privacy works between family groups as well. We will not go spilling any beans to Mom and Dad if that is what is wanted, so our advice will be built upon confidentiality.
Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1980 that me and Libby are both members of, are woefully unprepared for retirement. There are many reasons for this, and the least of which is due to our “slacker generation” moniker. Because of the demographics involved, many are also part of the “sandwich generation,” having to offer care and aid to both parents and children. Generation X is also the first major generation getting close to retirement without classic defined benefit plans, specifically pensions. However, it is not too late. Most people just need to state their goals, create a simple process, and then stick to it. Starting today is best! So, if your family members would be interested, impress upon them that you are already paying for the family plan, which includes advice to kids, regardless of their age. We offer confidential help without any kind of pressure involved.
By the time you receive this letter and monthly report, I will be on a cruise with Robyn, Carter, and Gma and Gpa. We are doing a 4-day Disney cruise to The Bahamas. I am looking forward to the time away, and the extra time to spend with my wife and son, but also with my mom and dad. Even though we all live here in Rock Hill, quality time together is still so rare. Don’t worry, the rest of the team gets time away as well. We make sure we stagger our vacations. Libby will be heading off to England with her husband the week after I return, and Craig gets his vacation turn in August.
I hope you are all getting those family vacations in too! Many of you have still not been able to fit a good one in since the pandemic. I hope you find the time and freedom to do so soon. And remember, we are always delighted to hear from you. You never need to hesitate in calling or stopping in.
Happy Summer Doldrums to you all!
Kendall J. Anderson, CFA, Founder
Justin T. Anderson, President