Ghosts of Christmas Past

Investors, as you read this, stop, take a breath, unclench your teeth and relax your shoulders.  We can breathe a collective sigh of relief and look forward to leaving 2020 in our dust!  Though during this most festive time of the year, it might do us well to recall the favorite holiday classic A Christmas Carol

Famously, Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by the three notorious ghosts of his past, present and future, in hopes of learning from the error of his ways.  So too, investors can look to their own specters to learn the lessons of successful investment planning and management.

(Recent) Past…
In 2018, a decent year of market performance turned ugly when last minute tensions in Chinese trade talks and rising interest rates spooked markets in the final weeks of December.  As a result, many investors got coal in their stockings in the form of negative portfolio returns.  Fast forward to December 2019 and investors were riding the wave of holiday cheer as stock markets notched historical gains across the board in one of the biggest returning years on record.  Year to year, any number of surprises can have a positive or negative impact on the gains or losses we experience during the “most wonderful time of the year”.  Case in point - Little did we know what 2020 had in store for the world.

Here we are approaching the final stretch of 2020.  Many of us are waiting with bated breath, hoping for positive economic news and continued advancement in the COVID-19 vaccinations that have so pushed markets into positive territory over the last months.  Growth spurred early on with reopening the economy, government stimulus and support, and the glut of pent up consumer demand.  Now that the election is behind us, holiday hiring and spending will be key to continuing the trend towards growth and the continued Santa Claus rally.  Too, Congress is currently negotiating new budget and stimulus bills that could pass before year end (or early next) and give Americans yet another big gift.  Who would have thought, in those dark days of March and April, that we would seeing record highs once again?!   

Yet to Come…
That’s the million dollar question!  While we do currently find ourselves amid increased cases of COVID and a new round of closures and shutdowns, markets are forward looking, and they see positive changes in the new year.  Among those positives are accommodative monetary policies and low interest rates courtesy of the Federal Reserve and possible additional stimulus for individuals and businesses in need.  Furthermore, the potential of a successful COVID-19 vaccine will provide for new growth and productivity as businesses and consumers will be freer to move and spend.  The wild card may still be the run-off election in Georgia Senate races, but with a (seemingly) divided government, tax policy should remain favorable, especially from a corporate standpoint, pushing earnings and keeping stocks high in the new year.        

Like Mr. Scrooge (post ghostly galivants), investors are resilient, thoughtful, and focused on the future with such hope and positivity for what 2021 will bring.  However, I would be remiss if I did not remind myself (and others) to approach the new year with a measure of caution.  Some uncertainty remains, and there will likely be some bumps in the road, but it is permissible to believe that we are headed down the right path…especially when taking the right steps to protecting your wealth.

While we are all hoping for the same positive turnaround in our economy that Mr. Scrooge experienced in his life, we cannot rely solely on the ghosts of our past to carry us all the way.  Take control of your future and work with your Fiduciary Investment Advisor to be sure your plan is in place.  Reach out today to be sure that your portfolio is allocated appropriately, poised to take advantage of investment opportunity in the market and, most importantly, protected against unforeseen downside risk. 

Enjoy the holiday season and ring in the new year thankful that we survived all that 2020 tossed our way.  No matter the date on the calendar, you can rest assured knowing that your team of investment professionals and advisors are on the lookout, working diligently to ensure your assets are working for you.  

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