Good Afternoon Legacy Wealth Alliance Family,
As we are now “officially” into the swing of summer, I hope that you have planned some vacation time away to divest and decompress from what the first six months of 2020 had in store. Building our 2020 Business Plan in January, a global pandemic nor riots and protests were anywhere in our line of sight. One of the benefits of having a small company is we can change course and adapt quickly. While change that is planned for is much easier to implement than changes that are imposed, we learned some things throughout this period that will only enhance our offerings and services to you. For a short period of time we did not have in office meetings. We adapted by implementing video conferencing to be able to continue our business and stay connected with you. We also, as you know, have increased our communication sending out these commentaries almost weekly since March. While certainly an investment of time to get up to speed on this new technology, many of our clients particularly living in other states appreciate the “live and in person” experience that conference calls lacked. As those infected from COVID continues to surpass the peaks in April in Arizona, Florida, Texas, and California, having this tool has been very beneficial.
At the same time, COVID has caused adaptations that given a vote, I would have chosen not to deal with. The biggest being all the milestones, such as Tori’s high school graduation, that were CANCELLED. Had a big trip to Hawaii with my family the beginning of June, CANCELLED. Another trip with my wife to Napa Valley in July to celebrate our anniversary, CANCELLED. Pattie’s oldest daughter is getting married in the fall in Ohio as she shared last week. With New York reporting last week that all “visitors” will be quarantined as some states are experiencing higher levels of cases, she is concerned by the time the wedding date arrives, she either may not be able to attend or will need to leave two weeks earlier than expected to pass the quarantine period. In the last two weeks, I have noticed that my own mental focus and overall energy has been slowing. Having lunch with a good friend whom I can be completely transparent with, he said, “Todd, you know what your problem is?” He did not let me answer (I would have told him I did not want to know.) “You need a RECHARGE!” “The first six months of this year have been rough touching almost every dynamic of life. If you do not stop trudging through the waters and give yourself the freedom to RECHARGE and mentally decompress, your condition is only going to get worse.” In all honestly, I was defensive and aggravated, and told him, “No, I am fine.” “I’ll do what I always do and WORK through this.” (Head down, heart pounding, legs driving forward.) And then he said, “Change of PLACE, Change of PACE, Changes your PERSPECTIVE and PRIORITIES.”
Have you ever had that experience with someone close to you, where in the moment, your brain immediately negates another point of view and your response is to defend your position without any consideration? Of course, this could be unique to me. However, upon driving back to our office from lunch, like a piece of gum that was all wadded up in my hair, those words kept coming to the forefront. This time, I was willing to let it sink in without making such rapid judgement. During this same time, my wife has been wanting to take a road trip. “Let’s go somewhere.” We both despise the Arizona temperatures in the summer. Again, I negated her idea. “Too much work, too much market volatility, too much responsibility.” In these interactions, it dawned on me I was not being authentic to advice I have given to many of you. “Put yourself at the front of the line.” As I age, and hopefully get wiser, these were not random events. These were the closest people in my inner circle telling me, Dude, you need a break. My choices are to listen and heed advice from people that have my best interests at heart, or be stubborn, make them wrong, and burn out. To prevent myself from being a hypocrite and not following my own advice, I am going on vacation in July, out of state, and reconnect with my family. Our office will be open during my absence with both Pattie and Jon on duty and taking over the commentaries for the next few weeks. I am hopeful that when I return, I will have all kinds of new PERSPECTIVE to share with you. (Disclosure: I do not want our commentaries to be about me. I want them to be about you, your families, and your businesses. However, with a firm full of business owners and hard-working, financially successful individuals, I hope me sharing my story reminds all of you not to lose sight of your greatest investment of all: you, your relationship with your spouse, and your family. We all need to be reminded, like I was, to occasionally change our priorities and keep the important people, in first place. Almost always, these VIPS do not spell LOVE, M-O-N-E-Y. They spell it, T-I-M-E. Thank you for allowing me to share a little of me, with you.)
While the markets continue their recovery attempts and uphill climbs, last week was a little rocky. With more states opening commerce, a few states; Arizona, California, Texas, and Florida, are setting new peaks to those we saw in April. On Friday, June 26th, both Texas and Florida announced the re-closing of bars in those two states specifically. Arizona followed yesterday, adding gyms and movie theatres for 30 days. The Dow Jones was down -3.30% last week, and the S&P 500 was down -2.90%. The Dow fell back into double digit loss territory for the year at -11.30%.1 I also heard Dr. Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, state that they are optimistic that trials have begun on a COVID vaccine. Depending on the outcome of the human trials, they were expecting vaccines to be available sometime in the first quarter of 2021. He noted, there is still a lot of tests to be conducted between now and then and he would not commit to that period for certainty. He also stated, 43% of the American population would need to be vaccinated for the pandemic to turn the other direction. As I had shared in my previous commentary, we do not believe these waves of volatility are over. As the election gets closer in November, and with all the uncertainty that America has faced thus far in 2020, it could be a bumpy ride. While sectors like tourism and travel continue to have challenges, other sectors like technology, real estate, and construction continue to perform reasonably well at the moment.
For those of you, like me, that have been spending less money during the Stay at Home Orders, it is still a good time to invest some of that cash. Our opinion at the moment is we may see the negative volatility increase versus what we have seen over the last 3 months since March, as the election approaches. We also expect the valleys and possibly the peaks to be higher on both sides. If you do have cash you have been contemplating investing, our suggestion is to establish a dollar cost averaging strategy over the next 6 months. We are thinking that bigger volatility may occur prior to the election, than after meaning you can buy more shares when the prices goes down. I do not want this advice to be a blanket assumption for all our clients, so please call us prior to execution so we can re-examine your goals and timeframes before implementing. Also, please keep in mind while our education, licenses, and tenure may allow us to see more of the iceberg under the water than you may be able to, we do not profess to be in the business of forecasting the direction of the markets. I assure you the moment we can do that, I will go on a permanent vacation. As a reminder, regardless of what happens in the future, and through our process of financial and investment planning, we build portfolios and recommendations in expectation of downside volatility and not reactions to it.
Another important lesson I have been reminded of during COVID, is to be grateful and more aware of all my blessings. This week, a client shared with us that his niece, was recently diagnosed with the virus. While none of our clients have been infected that we are aware of, we are talking to more people that are dealing with the disease in their families. In addition, as time goes on, more of our clients are experiencing changes in their businesses and work. Some have been furloughed, others laid off and fired, and some have had their hours reduced. If any of these events are happening, please let us know. We may need to adjust some of the risk in your portfolios to provide protections and liquidity to see you through these events. Again, we are so appreciative in you allowing us to help you achieve your financial goals and protect your families and legacies. We recognize that you have choices in the world of financial planning and investment advice and are thankful you have chosen us at Legacy Wealth Alliance. If you ever have questions, want to review alternatives, or have friends or family that are unhappy with their current team of financial professionals, we welcome the opportunity to help. Hope you all have a safe, and enjoyable 4th of July.
Pursuing Wealth, Wisdom, Well Being and RECHARGE Together,
Todd C Martin
1 Amundi Pioneer Market Monitor (6/26/20)