Good Afternoon Legacy Wealth Alliance Family,
I find myself wondering where the last six months have gone. While I thought 2020 was a whirlwind, it seems that 2021 is going by even faster. I have often thought if I ran into the magic lamp with a genie granting 3 wishes, my first wish would be to slow down time. Of course, my final wish would be for another $28 trillion wishes. While there have been some challenges that I did not see coming this year, there also has been a lot of positives.
The current financial and social environment is different than it was 12 months ago. It is estimated that 42.8% of the US population is fully vaccinated. My gym stopped mandating masks months ago and I went to a restaurant this past weekend, where none of the diners or staff had on a mask. Even though all my kids are currently on summer break, the school system announced, masks would not be required when the kids returned in July and the college campus where my middle daughter attends stated they would open the campus for in person learning for the Fall semester. While normal will never be “normal” again, I am thankful to see some of these improvements.
The financial markets have continued their positive pace into 2021 with the S&P 500 up 12.34% year to date (through June 8th). The steep swings in both negative and positive volatility we experienced in 2020 have flattened out more and continue to be positive. Washington continues to pump out stimulus at both the personal and corporate levels. Many Americans couped up for the last year due to COVID, are starting to reactivate and spend money in areas such as travel, home improvements, and home purchases. The real estate markets almost across the country continues to set price increase records. In Arizona, home inventories are so low multiple buyers are up bidding over asking prices to purchase homes. If you are remotely considering selling your property, now is a very good time to consider your options. The bad news, it is a horrible time to be purchasing real estate. While 30-year mortgage rates have popped back up over 3%, low interest rates continue to help consumerism and fed the frenzy in the real estate markets.
All is not a “bed of roses” however. Experian, one of the national credit reporting agencies released a report in April 2021, stated that consumer debt increased by $800 billion in 2020 to an all-time high of $14.88 trillion. While people are out buying and consuming, these numbers indicate some if not most are using debt to finance their purchases. This will be something to watch as the economy continues to recover. There are economists and analysts that are beginning to use “The Big I” of inflation. Beyond real estate, consumer durable goods (think gas and milk) have increased. The national average for a gallon of gas in January 2021 was $2.42. In May 2021, the average was $3.08. An increase of over 27% in 5 months. Building materials such as aluminum, steel, and wood have skyrocketed. I purchased a 2 x 4 piece of wood that cost me just under $10.00 recently. Last year prior to COVID, I was able to purchase the same 2 x 4 for under $2.00. Some of the conference calls we participate in, the moderators have used “The High I”, hyper-inflation. The main lever in the US the Fed has for controlling inflation is increasing interest rates. Which inevitably is not good for the bond market. However, during their last meeting in April 2021, the Fed announced they were concerned about inflation, but stated they were not anticipating raising interest rates until December 2022 at the earliest. We will have to wait and see if that holds true.
Skilled and qualified labor for small businesses are also a challenge. Now that states and businesses are opening back up and getting back to capacity, the unemployment rate continues to decline. Heard on one call last week, that 2.5 million women have elected not to return to work since COVID. In our attempt to hire Pattie’s replacement for our team, we had challenges finding qualified and experienced labor. Since I have been in business now for 28 years, my network of reliable contacts has been unsuccessful in producing the caliber of experienced and licensed staff we were looking for. The reality is, with unemployment benefits at both the state and federal levels increased during COVID and those standards continuing through Labor Day 2021, more people are being paid more in benefits than to actively pursue employment. It is an employee market and with the pent-up demand and continued earnings growth expected to continue through the end of the year, hiring qualified people from the labor force could become an issue. When demand for goods and services are higher than what a company can produce for lack of skilled workers, you guessed it, prices for those goods increase thus pushing inflation. Anybody see the cycle here? What does this all mean? I have no idea. But we will continue to keep our eyes on these developments and let you know as best we can when they may or could impact your investments.
Thanks to all of you, we continue to see growth in our business as well. The enhancements we made though COVID, such as video conferencing, have paid dividends as we now are able to work personally with clients in other states. Many of our clients are now introducing us to their families, friends, business associates located outside the boundaries of our county. That has helped our growth expectations. As stated, we too have been diligent this year adding members to our team. While we have not discovered Pattie’s replacement, I am happy to introduce you to our newest members.
Marcy Perzanowski – Administrative Assistant (Marcy@legacywealthalliance.com)
Marcy will be the warm and friendly voice you hear on the phone and the smiling face that will greet you upon arrival. She loves to engage with people and desires to help solve challenges. She is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and has lived in Arizona since 1982. She has a daughter (Jennifer) and a son (DJ) and four beautiful grandchildren that she enjoys spending time with. Her sweetheart, Bob, and Marcy recently celebrated their 3-year anniversary. Marcy also has two dogs, Cinnamon and Sophie. When she is not working, she enjoys a good two-mile run, long bike rides, camping, and riding her jet skis at Roosevelt Lake. Marcy has had a desire to be in the financial industry, and once we get her trained would like to acquire some licenses. She looks forward to meeting you.
Henry Nelson – Summer Intern (Henry@legacywealthalliance.com)
Henry is a native and grew up in Phoenix. He graduated from Brophy College Prep in 2020 and recently finished his freshman year as a finance major at Georgetown University. While at Brophy, Henry was a leader on his hockey team and an active member of student council. At Georgetown, he is engaged in the Student Investment Fund’s healthcare portfolio managing part of the endowment. While Henry is thinking he wants to go into Investment Banking, Jon will convince him that Financial Planning and Investment Management are way cooler.
Please join us in making both Marcy and Henry feel welcome to the Legacy Wealth Alliance Family. We are hopeful this is only the beginning. We will need more talented individuals as we are currently understaffed. We hope to share more new names and faces with you soon.
I want to apologize. Both due to the pandemic and Pattie’s departure, we have gotten behind on our review schedule. Not an excuse, only our reality. We are hopeful with having more “hands on deck”, we will be able to get caught up in the near future. Thank you all for your patience as we work through some of our growth opportunities. Until we get caught up, please reach out to us to schedule a review it there is anything pressing that you would like to achieve, accomplish, or discuss.
We are so appreciative of your business. During the COVID crisis, a friend recommended a book called “The 6 Minute Diary”. It has helped change my perspective on life. I learned to be thankful and grateful for what we have. I want to thank you for your business and patronage. Without clients that believe in our work, our business and service models, we are truly nothing. Having the opportunity to serve you, your families, your businesses, and staff, is a true honor. We recognize our success, only happens when we are successful for you. Please let any member of our team know, if there is ever anything more we can do to increase the value we bring or the service we deliver, to make your experience with us the very best.
Pursuing Wealth, Wisdom, and Well Being Together,
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- Yahoo Financial News
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