Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!
The beginning of an event or occasion brings high levels of anticipation and possibly anxiety. This might include sporting events, movies, leaving on a trip, or starting a new job. Beginning a new year is no different as there is much optimism for what lies ahead and perhaps some trepidation on how it may be different than the past. Given the recent challenges faced, there should be more hope and less worry since everyone has been forced to face, overcome, and grow from adversity. From these experiences we should all feel stronger and more confident in facing what lies ahead. There are lessons learned from 2021 which we can carry into 2022; below are three we would like to share as the new year kicks off.
Never take anything for granted. Being safe in place taught us to cherish time together and to appreciate ability to freely leave our homes, visit stores, and dine out. Access to supplies and cheap gasoline are no longer assumed as readily available. Our shortages draw no comparison to earlier generations’ food and energy demands. However, we will remember to bring gratitude for what we do have, even the basics often taken for granted.
History has a way of repeating itself. Oftentimes, we hear the phrase, “things are different now,” followed by why the world has changed (which it has) and closed with why the past will never happen again. Hearing this is especially true to talk on the stock market and economy. Proceed with caution when speaking of inflation. We’ve grown accustomed to low levels that leads to complacency toward spending and investing. This year brace for elevated inflation with experts drawing historic parallels to post-World War II and the 1970s. History repeats itself so apply lessons from the past.
Be prepared but be adaptable. To work from home shows the marvels of modern technology and ability to pivot and adjust. The “Great Resignation” describes the multitudes leaving jobs to pursue other interests. Unfortunately, many involuntarily lost jobs as a result of shifts in the workforce. Regardless of why, if there is a career transition, have a plan in place should your circumstances change. Be adaptable. You never know where opportunities lie.
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
With the focus on the year ahead, it would not be difficult to overlook what has occurred in the stock market over the past couple of weeks. But since this is likely to set the tone as we embark on the new year, it is worth mentioning. The fourth quarter of 2021 was the best quarter of the year for the major stock market indices. The year-end “Santa Claus” rally we all wished for came to fruition with the S&P 500 climbing about 5% from its short-term low point on December 20th. This may not be over yet, as this type of rally tends to extend into the first two trading sessions of the new year and bodes well for entire month of January since historically the markets have enjoyed strong performance when coming off solid year-end momentum.
When the calendar flips over, the stock market does not start again at zero; it continues where it left off the previous year. The same also goes for the economy and society in general. We begin the year with the same concerns we had when 2021 came to an end, such as inflationary pressures, supply chain issues, and stretched stock price valuations. These will certainly change throughout the upcoming year, either better or worse. But we also need to remember the positive factors in the market, including robust earnings outlooks, stable consumer spending, and still-accommodative monetary policy. Our projection is that the positives will again outweigh the negatives in the market and we will see positive returns, albeit probably not to the same levels as we were able to enjoy the last two years.
The new year is going to bring new challenges and the markets will act differently than they have in the past couple of years. We don’t know for certain what will happen over the next 365 days, but there are bound to be some surprises. We can plan ahead with what we do know and expect, learning from past experiences. For example, we expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. We also expect inflation to continue at higher levels than what we’ve faced in recent decades. The challenge will be to position portfolios accordingly and take advantage of these opportunities.
As the new year begins, we hope that you view it with anticipation and optimism. Maybe you personally want to set a resolution to try something new or different. Here at Secured Retirement, we look forward to providing you peace of mind for all life’s lessons. If any of these lessons spur a need for plan adjustments, let’s connect and chart a smooth course for the year ahead.
Wishing you all a happy, healthful, and prosperous 2022!
Nathan Zeller, CFA, CFP®
Chief Investment Strategist
Please contact us if you would like to review your individual financial plan or learn how the TaxSmart™ Retirement Program can help you.
Office phone # (952) 460-3260