John Dough’s Investment Strategy

John Dough’s Investment Strategy

John Dough’s Investment Strategy

Buy and Hold

Back in the late 1990s, John Dough had it all figured out.

He had worked for the same government agency for more than 30 years, he made a nice salary, he would get a solid pension upon retirement, he was careful with his money, and he followed the tried-and-true investment strategy of none other than Warren Buffet:

“Buy a few good stocks and hold them forever.”

John Dough stayed away from the Dot Com stocks of the late 1990s. Instead, he had invested his portfolio in the ETF called SPY. This Exchange Traded Fund basically owns the stocks in the S&P 500 Index. And John knew that the S&P had yielded about an 8% annual return since 1957.[1]

His buy-and-hold strategy would enable him to sell 6% of his portfolio each year. With the historical record of the S&P, the amount of his estate would at least stay the same and perhaps even grow a few percent.

John hoped to sell his house in Arlington, VA, move to a smaller house in the country, and then buy a condo at the beach.

Oops … The Dot Com Crash of 2000

In the spring of 2000, everything fell apart.

Over the next two years, the NASDAQ tumbled 76.81%.[2] But John felt safe: his tried-and-true, buy-and-hold position in the S&P would surely protect him over time.

The S&P stood at 1494.50 on September 8, 2000.[3] But it then dropped to the 800s in February 2003.[4] John’s SPY investment got back to even briefly in 2007. Then it crashed again.

Finally, in the year 2013, John’s SPY buy-and-hold strategy got back to even.[5]

John had to work another 10 years. His wife had to get a job as well.

Beach condo? Not.

Buy and Hold If You Plan to Live Another 100 Years

John—and millions like him—fail to realize a key truth: yes, buy and hold if you plan to live to be 100 and you’re now 25. If you’re a pension fund that’ll be around forever, then perhaps a buy-and-hold strategy is right for you, too.

And if you’re Warren Buffet? Well, if you’ve got 50 billion stashed away for retirement, a 50% haircut won’t hurt. You’ve got 25 billion left over. You can afford to wait for the market to recover and for Mr. Bull to continue his journey.

But if you’ve got $400,000 stashed away, a 50% haircut can destroy your life.

Instead, Manage Risk Through Active Portfolio Management

If John had followed a different route in 2000, his life would be different. And a whole lot better. Instead of buying and holding the S&P, John should have sought to manage risk. He should have been in a position where he could get out in the spring of 2000 and take on some defensive positions.

What Is Risk Management?

Risk management analyzes the ebb and flow of the market. Using a variety of skills known as “technical analysis,” our financial advisors at Research Financial Advisors carefully monitor various moving averages to spot upcoming trouble in the market. If we get certain signals, we might decrease the holdings in a portfolio. If a serious signal waves the red flag, we might very well take on a “leveraged” position that goes up as the market goes down.

A COVID Example

When the virus struck in the spring of 2020, we started to play defense. We knew that a buy-and-hold strategy could wreck the retirement accounts of many of our clients. Instead, in February we started to exit our long positions, at one point going to 100% cash. We then began to purchase some leveraged “market short” positions—these are ETFs that go up in price when the market goes down. As the crash accelerated, these defensive positions prevented catastrophic losses.

As we watched our technical indicators (we watch a host of them every single day … all day), we began to see a slight shift in market temperament. Perhaps a bottom was approaching. So we began to take on some long positions that we thought might even thrive in this new, COVID economy. We bought some ETFs in the aerospace and defense sectors, in the home-gaming sector, and in the robotics sector, and we bought a significant position in SPY when we thought the bottom was either in or very close.

Using technical analysis to manage our clients’ accounts, our 100% equity model ended 2020 with a 32% gain (net of fees). Meanwhile, the S&P advanced 15.76% in 2020. Even our 100% fixed income model clocked a gain of 8.5% (net of fees).

2020 Was Strange

Think about it. Millions of people out of work. Small businesses destroyed. Streets and sidewalks empty. No airplanes in the sky.

And the stock market goes up.

It could have crashed and turned into a 1930s nightmare.

Here Comes the Fed

In 2020, the Federal Reserve went on a bond-buying binge. Here’s what ordinarily happens when a bond is bought and sold. Suppose you have a $1,000 bond and you sell it to Susan. You give the bond to Susan, and she writes you a check for $1,000. Your account goes up $1,000. Susan’s goes down $1,000. The net effect on the money supply? Zero.

Now suppose the Federal Reserve buys your $1,000 bond. What happens then? Your account goes up $1,000. But nobody’s account goes down $1,000. The net effect on the money supply?

The money supply goes up $1,000 (with that increase in your account and no decrease in anyone else’s account).

Multiply that one thousand by one million and you get one billion. Multiply that one billion  by one thousand and you get one trillion.

The Fed has increased the supply of dollars circulating throughout the globe by trillions. In fact, … are you sitting down …. as of last September nearly 25% of all dollars in existence were created in the past year.[6]

That Money Has to Do Something

That extra money needs a home. So it goes into housing. It goes into art work (a piece of crypto art recently sold for $69 million[7]). It goes into the stock market. That injection of cash saved us from a 1930s depression.

But what will the ultimate effect be? Inflation. Not just in homes and stocks and art. But also in bacon and eggs.

Risk Management Is the Best Approach

Buy and hold? Sure, if you’ve got a very long time horizon. But the buy-and-hold strategy of John Dough spelled trouble. Big trouble. The S&P began a long decline in the fall of 2000. John’s SPY holdings began to decline. Ultimately, his account took a 50% haircut. John had to wait 13 years before he was back to even.

Risk management would have saved his retirement.

Risk management. That’s what we do here with your account.

Give Us a Call

I invite you to call me 301-294-7500. I’m always happy to answer your questions about our approach.

We hope you’ll forward this email to your family, friends, and colleagues.

Sincerely,

Jack

Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day Thoughts

When I was young, I remember asking my parents why we observe Memorial Day. While some people use it mainly as a chance to throw a backyard BBQ, others take the time to visit cemeteries, pour over old photographs, or read the stories of those who died serving our country. 

“But why?” I wanted to know. It seemed like such a sad holiday. Why do we do it? 

That’s when my parents showed me something I’ll never forget. It’s a speech given by President Dwight Eisenhower – and if there’s any president who understood the “why” of Memorial Day, it was surely Ike. It’s an extremely short speech, just 250 words. But those words made me realize why Memorial Day is so important. 

In honor of this Memorial Day, I’d like to share those words with you right now. 

Whereas the bodies of our war dead lie buried in hallowed plots throughout the land, and it has long been our custom to decorate their graves on Memorial Day in token of our respect for them as beloved friends and kinsmen and of our aspiration that war may be removed from the earth forever; and Whereas it is fitting that, while remembering the sacrifices of our countrymen, we join in united prayers to Almighty God for peace on earth; and Whereas the Congress, in a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, provided that Memorial Day should thenceforth be set aside nationally as a day of prayer for permanent peace and requested that the President issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day in that manner: Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, Saturday, May 30, 1953, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning at eleven o’clock in the morning of that day, Eastern Daylight Saving Time, as a period in which all the people of the Nation, each according to his religious faith, may unite in solemn prayer. Let us make that day one of twofold dedication. Let us reverently honor those who have fallen in war, and rededicate ourselves to the cause of peace, to the end that the day may come when we shall never have another war—never another Unknown Soldier.

Read that last paragraph again. 

Let us make that day one of twofold dedication. Let us reverently honor those who have fallen in war, and rededicate ourselves to the cause of peace, to the end that the day may come when we shall never have another war—never another Unknown Soldier. 

That’s why. That’s why Memorial Day is so important. 

You see, it’s not just a holiday. It’s an opportunity. By remembering what we have lost, we give thanks for what we have. By honoring the sacrifice of war, we place an even greater value on the promise of peace. 

Like President Eisenhower said, Memorial Day is a day of twofold dedication. Dedication for those who died. Dedication for those who, as a result, may yet live. A day for remembering what was, and a day for looking forward to what may yet be. 

Ever since I read those words, Memorial Day has held a special place in my heart. I’m so grateful for the freedoms we enjoy – and for those who fought to uphold them. I’m so grateful for this nation we live in – and for those who laid down their lives to protect it. I’m grateful for everything they did, and everything we can do because of them. 

We are grateful for Memorial Day. On behalf of everyone at Research Financial Strategies, we wish you a safe and peaceful Memorial Day. 

Sincerely,

Jack, Val, Chris, Jim, J, Dinah, David, Michael and the entire Research Financial Strategies team.

 

 

 

1 Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Proclamation 3016 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1953”. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-3016-prayer-for-peace-memorial-day-1953

Weekly Market Commentary 5/24/2021

Weekly Market Commentary 5/24/2021

How Are Your Investments Doing Lately?  Receive A Free, No-Obligation 2nd Opinion On Your Investment Portfolio >

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

May 24, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

What do markets hate?

They hate uncertainty, and recently there has been plenty of it. Some of the questions plaguing economists and pundits include:

Why aren’t people returning to work? Americans, like people in other parts of the world, have not been rejoining the workforce at the pace many had anticipated. One of the most frequently cited theories was explained by The Economist:

“In America businesspeople, almost to a pinstripe, are convinced that the $300-a-week boost to unemployment insurance explains the shortages. However, pundits do not agree on whether stimulus handouts really lead people to shirk. The evidence is hazy elsewhere, too…Australia ditched its job-protection scheme in March, and shortages have worsened.”

The unemployment data has inspired many theories about why jobs aren’t filling more quickly. These include fear of contracting COVID-19, low hourly pay, and lack of dependent care, to name a few. Some states recently modified unemployment programs, so there soon may be new data to help clarify the situation.

Is the Federal Reserve thinking about raising rates or slowing bond purchases? In June 2020, Fed Chair Jerome Powell famously said, “We’re not even thinking about thinking about raising rates.” Some are wondering whether that has changed. The minutes from April’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which were released last Tuesday afternoon, included a statement that raise questions. It said:

“A number of participants suggested that if the economy continued to make rapid progress toward the Committee’s goals, it might be appropriate at some point in upcoming meetings to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases.”

Of course, the economic picture isn’t as robust as it was in April. Since then, we’ve seen a weaker-than-expected employment report and higher-than-expected inflation data. While one month does not establish a trend, investors, economists, and pundits will be watching economic data releases closely for clues about economic recovery.

Will inflation prove to be transitory or will it persist? Investors also are worried the Federal Reserve will keep rates low for too long. James Politi of Financial Times reported:

“The Fed has argued that strong monetary support for the economy is still needed because of the risk of a slowdown in the recovery and the shortfall in employment compared to pre-pandemic levels. Nor does it expect the current spike in consumer prices to last, arguing that it is being fueled by supply chain bottlenecks and the economic reopening.”

Others aren’t so sure the Fed is right. Last Tuesday, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said the Fed’s latest forecasts suggest it is misreading the economy and encouraging complacency, reported Greg Robb of MarketWatch.

Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Indices moved slightly lower while the Nasdaq Composite moved slightly higher.

Ahhh, the joys of parenting. With Mother’s Day behind us and Father’s Day ahead, it seemed an appropriate time to share some tweets about the parenting experience. Here are a few entertaining examples shared online by parents and rounded up by Buzzfeed:

“Does anyone have directions to that village everyone says will raise my children? It sounds wonderful.”
–Not Your Trending Mom

“Hi, I’m a parent. You may remember me from such greats as ‘Repeating Myself’ and ‘Arguing over Shoes’ and ‘Stepping on Cereal.’”
–Rodney LaCroix

“Thoughts and prayers for my son who thought it would be funny to tell me ‘I’ll get to it when I get to it, woman.’”
–Mom On The Rocks

“Why aren’t there any horror movies called ‘My 4 year old fell asleep in the car at 5pm.’”
–threetimedaddy

“7 [year old] son: May I have some water?

Me: What are the magic words?

7 [year old] son: I can get it myself.

Me: There you go.”
–Laura Marie

“Blew my nose in front of my daughter and her friends today. Please respect her privacy during this difficult time.”
–Simon Holland

Parenting is never an easy job, and the pandemic made it a lot trickier. Parents have to make important financial planning decisions involving children, too. Often these are related to legacy planning, and sometimes they involve special needs. If you would like to talk about the needs of your family and identify potential solutions, give us a call.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Most Popular Financial Stories

Father’s Day Tribute

Father’s Day Tribute

Father's Day Tribute June is the month for Father’s Day — but it’s also the month for family vacations and road trips!  Whenever I plan a vacation with my...

read more
Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage Buffeted by Inflation Is it time to double check your household budget? Chances are the budgeted expenditures of the vast majority of...

read more
Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day Thoughts When I was young, I remember asking my parents why we observe Memorial Day. While some people use it mainly as a chance to throw a backyard...

read more
Stimulus Bill Analysis

Stimulus Bill Analysis

The New Stimulus Bill President Biden just signed another stimulus bill, aimed to help those affected by the virus (and to deal with a few other matters found in...

read more
Trending Now-2021-S&P Hits 4000

Trending Now-2021-S&P Hits 4000

milestone (noun)1 a stone functioning as a milepost 2. a significant event or stage in the life, progress, development, or the like of a person, nation, etc. The...

read more

 

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

Weekly Market Commentary 5/24/2021

Market Commentary 5/17/2021

How Are Your Investments Doing Lately?  Receive A Free, No-Obligation 2nd Opinion On Your Investment Portfolio >

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

May 17, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Uncle Inflation is here. Will he overstay his welcome?

Ever since the financial crisis, central banks have pursued expansionary monetary policies to encourage reflation and avoid deflation. Well, it’s taken some time, but inflation is finally here.

Last week, major stock indices in the United States moved lower after inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), was four times higher than anticipated, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s.

Higher inflation is the result of a supply and demand imbalance. As the pandemic has calmed in the United States, consumers have emerged eager to spend money – so eager that consumer spending is about 5.5 standard deviations above average. That’s a lot.

The problem is finding stuff to buy. The Economist explained, “…red-hot demand is increasingly met slowly or not at all…Nowhere are shortages more acute than in America, where a boom is under way. Consumer spending is growing by over 10 percent at an annual rate, as people put to work the $2trn-plus of extra savings accumulated in the past year.”

Shortages are the result of two kinks in the supply hose.

The first is the supply chain. There is a shortage “of everything from timber to semiconductors,” which are essential to building other products. In addition, shipping containers have become a scarce resource, causing the cost of shipping goods from China to the United States to triple, reported The Economist.

The second is labor. This week’s higher-than-expected inflation data mirrored last week’s lower-than-expected employment data. No one is certain why the employment numbers were lackluster, although theories abound. Regardless, there are limits on what companies can produce when they have too few employees.

The question is whether supply chains can be straightened so demand for goods and services can be met. If so, higher inflation may prove transitory as the Federal Reserve and some economists anticipate. If not, inflation may stick around. Time will tell.

Confidence is returning. The big news last week was the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that fully vaccinated Americans can resume normal activities without wearing masks or social distancing, except where required by law. Suffice it to say, people are ready to return to normal.

Results from the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus survey, conducted in early May, found Americans were feeling more optimistic. Among those surveyed:

·         59 percent had visited friends or relatives during the previous week.

·         54 percent had gone out to eat during the previous week.

·         31 percent had made plans for the summer.

·         18 percent had a stronger sense of emotional well-being, a six-point jump from the prior survey.

·         60 percent indicated trips to salons, barber shops, and spas were low- or no-risk activities, up six points from the last survey.

If your exuberance about resuming “normal” life has been tempered by a reluctance to change the routines you’ve adopted during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Medical experts at Northwestern University explained:

“The emotional impact of this past year may linger with us for longer than we might expect. The key is not to feel forced to snap back into a routine overnight. Give yourself time and understand that your emotional journey back to freely socializing in vaccinated cohorts may look very different from those around you.”

As some people say, “You do you.”

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“We must have ideals and try to live up to them, even if we never quite succeed. Life would be a sorry business without them. With them it’s grand and great.”
–Lucy Maude Montgomery, Author

Most Popular Financial Stories

Father’s Day Tribute

Father’s Day Tribute

Father's Day Tribute June is the month for Father’s Day — but it’s also the month for family vacations and road trips!  Whenever I plan a vacation with my...

read more
Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage Buffeted by Inflation Is it time to double check your household budget? Chances are the budgeted expenditures of the vast majority of...

read more
Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day Thoughts When I was young, I remember asking my parents why we observe Memorial Day. While some people use it mainly as a chance to throw a backyard...

read more
Stimulus Bill Analysis

Stimulus Bill Analysis

The New Stimulus Bill President Biden just signed another stimulus bill, aimed to help those affected by the virus (and to deal with a few other matters found in...

read more
Trending Now-2021-S&P Hits 4000

Trending Now-2021-S&P Hits 4000

milestone (noun)1 a stone functioning as a milepost 2. a significant event or stage in the life, progress, development, or the like of a person, nation, etc. The...

read more

 

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

Weekly Market Commentary 5/24/2021

Market Commentary 5/10/2021

How Are Your Investments Doing Lately?  Receive A Free, No-Obligation 2nd Opinion On Your Investment Portfolio >

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

May 10, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Like a gender reveal gone wrong, last week’s employment report delivered an unexpected surprise.

Economists estimated 975,000 new jobs would be created in April. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported there were just 266,000. That’s a big miss.

Economists, analysts, and the media offered a wealth of theories to explain the shortfall. These included:

·         Pandemic fear. A March U.S. Census survey found 4.2 million people aren’t working because they fear getting or spreading the coronavirus, reported Gwynn Guilford of The Wall Street Journal. That’s more than half of the 8.2 million non-farm jobs that need to be recovered to reach pre-pandemic employment levels.

·         Too-generous unemployment benefits. Another theory is federal unemployment benefits ($300 a week) have created a labor shortage. The theory is being tested. Last week, Montana announced it will no longer participate in federal unemployment programs. Instead, it will offer a $1,200 return-to-work bonus, reported Greg Iacurci of CNBC.

 ·         Low pay. Some say Americans are less willing to work for low pay than they were before the pandemic. Christopher Rugaber of the AP interviewed a Texas staffing office manager who reported job seekers are turning down jobs that pay less than unemployment benefits. 

A former retail worker told Heather Long of The Washington Post, “The problem is we are not making enough money to make it worth it to go back to these jobs that are difficult and dirty and usually thankless. You’re getting yelled at and disrespected all day.”

·         Lack of childcare. Many women who want to work left jobs during the pandemic to care for children. The April employment report showed a slight decrease in the rate of unemployment for adult women; however, it resulted from women giving up on job searches rather than finding work. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported, “…more women continued to exit rather than enter the workforce: 165,000 fewer women had jobs or were actively looking for work in April than in March.”

·         Quirky data. Statistical distortions or seasonal factors could be responsible. “The more time the market has to digest [the] report, the more the report seems a bit of an anomaly relative to other data,” said a deputy chief investment officer cited by Mamta Badkar and Naomi Rovnick of Financial Times.

 Other data include the ADP® National Employment Report which showed 742,000 new jobs in April. The report reflects real-time data on one-fifth of U.S. private payroll employment. 

·         Rethinking work. “There is also growing evidence – both anecdotal and in surveys – that a lot of people want to do something different with their lives than they did before the pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak has had a dramatic psychological effect on workers, and people are reassessing what they want to do and how they want to work, whether in an office, at home, or some hybrid combination,” reported The Washington Post.

U.S. financial markets shrugged off the news. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished the week at a record high, and 10-year Treasury rates finished Friday where they started.

Check out the big brain on Brett! There is a long-standing scientific theory about the size of a mammal’s body relative to its brain offers an indication of intelligence. The findings of a recent study seem to debunk that idea, reported Science Daily.

 An international team of scientists investigated how the brain and body sizes of 1,400 living and extinct mammals evolved over time. They made several discoveries. One was significant changes in brain size happened after two cataclysmic events in Earth’s history: a mass extinction and a climatic transition.

Not every mammal changed in the same ways. Elephants increased body and brain size. Dolphins and humans decreased body size and increased brain size. California sea lions increased body size without comparable increases in brain size. All have high intelligence.

“We’ve overturned a long-standing dogma that relative brain size can be equivocated with intelligence…Sometimes, relatively big brains can be the end result of a gradual decrease in body size to suit a new habitat or way of moving – in other words, nothing to do with intelligence at all. Using relative brain size as a proxy for cognitive capacity must be set against an animal’s evolutionary history,” stated Kamran Safi, a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and one of the study’s authors.

Of course, intelligence doesn’t always translate into wise behavior.

Studies of behavioral finance have found the human brain is more interested in survival than saving. “It turns out that, when it comes to money matters, we are wired to do it all wrong. Our brains have evolved over thousands of years to focus on short-term survival in a dangerous world with limited resources. They were not designed for today’s optimal financial behaviors,” wrote financial psychologist Dr. Brad Klontz, a CNBC contributor.

No one knows how the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered over time, but it appears to have influenced the way people think about money in some significant ways. An April 2021 Bank of America survey reported:

·         81 percent of participants saved money, that would normally be spent on entertainment, dining, and travel, and set it aside in emergency, savings, and other types of accounts.

·         46 percent used pandemic downtime to put their finances in order.

·         44 percent said their risk tolerance changed: 23 percent became more aggressive and 21 percent more cautious.

If the pandemic has changed your thinking, let’s review your financial plan and align it with your current circumstances and thinking.

Weekly Focus – Think About It 
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”
–Richard P. Feynman, Theoretical physicist

Most Popular Financial Stories

Father’s Day Tribute

Father’s Day Tribute

Father's Day Tribute June is the month for Father’s Day — but it’s also the month for family vacations and road trips!  Whenever I plan a vacation with my...

read more
Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage Buffeted by Inflation Is it time to double check your household budget? Chances are the budgeted expenditures of the vast majority of...

read more
Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day Thoughts When I was young, I remember asking my parents why we observe Memorial Day. While some people use it mainly as a chance to throw a backyard...

read more
Stimulus Bill Analysis

Stimulus Bill Analysis

The New Stimulus Bill President Biden just signed another stimulus bill, aimed to help those affected by the virus (and to deal with a few other matters found in...

read more
Trending Now-2021-S&P Hits 4000

Trending Now-2021-S&P Hits 4000

milestone (noun)1 a stone functioning as a milepost 2. a significant event or stage in the life, progress, development, or the like of a person, nation, etc. The...

read more

 

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

 

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

 

Sources:
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-other-reason-the-labor-force-is-shrunken-fear-of-covid-19-11618163017 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/05-10-21_WSJ-The_Other_Reason_the_Labor_Force_is_Shrunken-Fear_of_COVID-19-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/05/montana-opts-to-end-300-unemployment-boost-other-states-may-too.html
https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-coronavirus-pandemic-health-business-82aa4f9fddcea22918d010c55b5e55b3
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/05/07/jobs-report-labor-shortage-analysis/ (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/05-10-21_TheWashingPost-Its_Not_a_Labor_Shortage-Its_a_Great_Reassessment_of_Work_in_America-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://iwpr.org/media/press-releases/mothers-day-surprise-women-lose-jobs-and-continue-to-leave-the-labor-force-while-unemployment-among-black-and-latina-women-remains-high/
https://www.ft.com/content/9ef97745-c4d7-4273-b1f1-07d5d55efbc8 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/05-10-21_FinancialTimes-S_and_P_500_Ends_at_Record_Despite_Disappointing_Jobs_Report-Footnote_7.pdf)
https://adpemploymentreport.com/2021/April/NER/NER-April-2021.aspx
https://www.barrons.com/articles/why-the-stock-market-rose-this-past-week-what-to-know-51620430506?mod=hp_LEAD_3 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/05-10-21_Barrons-The_Dow_Surged_to_a_Record_High_Because_the_Bad_News_Wasnt_So_Bad-Footnote_9.pdf)
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210429090227.htm
https://www.mpg.de/16785076/disaster-brain-size?c=2249
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/09/when-it-comes-to-money-our-brains-are-wired-to-do-it-all-wrong.html
https://newsroom.bankofamerica.com/content/newsroom/press-releases/2021/04/bank-of-america-study-finds-nearly-half-of-affluent-americans-ge.html
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/richard_p_feynman_160383

LinkedIn
LinkedIn
Share
RSS
6Lc_psgUAAAAAA9c7MediJBuq3wAxIyxDSt73c9j