Our Topsy Turvy Investment World

• The first quarter saw the S&P 500 drop 34% at the fastest pace ever
• Our way of life and our health is under siege by COVID19
• Our countrymen are suffering the worst bout of unemployment since the Great Depression
• Today’s political environment is among the most divisive in our almost 250 years of history

Reading this litany of disasters, you might feel you have lost control of life as you knew it. It is also understandable why you might avoid looking at your investments. Except the 2nd quarter produced the 2nd best return for the S&P 500 ever at plus 20%! Wow what a turn around! How is that possible?

Well, because there is hope in the air. While the future may be an unknowable blur, there is a new order being built upon the old, and in places you may not expect.
Do you have a pet that you bring to a veterinarian? The vets are very busy treating all the new COVID puppies coming into the world.
Have you visited your local bike shop recently? They are sold out and are working 24/7 fixing bikes that had been gathering dust.
Pool builders worked overtime installing pools into backyards for all the staycations.
Vacation homes continue to rent as families chose to forego flights.
The RV, transportation previously perceived as the chariot of choice for retirees, has become the new family adventure vehicle.
Millennials, whose previous status was built upon moving into the city, are now moving out to the suburbs in droves.
I see Amazon, Target, and Costco breaking sales records. Sites such as Zoom, WebEx, and Teledoc are bringing people together not only with their loved ones and business associates but also with their healthcare professionals.

Although the hospitality industry continues to be in a depression, there is a dizzying amount of growth and change going on elsewhere. Perhaps it is not enough to eliminate the new unemployment, but it may be enough to arrest the downward spiral. We can see the green shoots starting to appear.

What comes next is, of course, uncertain.
What course will the virus take?
Will a vaccine be successfully developed, tested, and administered in the near future?
Will we have to shut down large parts of our economy again or will we be able to change our behaviors enough to slow the virus?
Will another stimulus package pass that will meet the need of our nation to limit human and economic suffering?

As professional wealth managers, we listen to a myriad of experts opine on the economy and the markets. There are thousands of professional economists and market seers “following the market” and freely espousing their wisdom. However, none of them saw any of this coming. Zero, nada, nobody.

At end of the day, the smart thing to do is follow a financial plan and investment strategy that have been personally tailored to fit you and your financial needs. Ignore the media, ignore the gyrations of the market, and ignore politics. Take control and let us help you develop a plan that works you.

Mark F. Swingle, CFP ® and the Westfield Financial Planning team