Financial Insights- January 14, 2022
JANUARY TRIFECTA? NOT THIS YEAR
Where does the market go after having a stellar year in 2021? No one knows for sure, but early indications are encouraging for another positive year – assuming that January is positive. When it is positive for the month, the market is up 84.5% of the time for the year since 1950. We will know more in about two weeks. Add to the January Effect a positive Santa Claus rally, which we had, the odds for a positive year go up. Unfortunately, the first five trading days were not positive, which would have been another positive sign. Now if we can just get the NFC team or a former NFL team to win the Super Bowl next month, it might be three out of four. Of course, it is always the surprise that can upset the apple cart. We know you will get sick of us saying it, but you will need patience this year more than ever.
POWELL BEFORE CONGRESS
Jerome Powell went before Congress this week in hopes of winning a second four-year term as Chair of the Federal Reserve. While there are those in Congress who are critical of the Fed under Powell, especially allowing inflation to rise so much, they seem ready to confirm him in a bipartisan vote – a rarity these days in Congress. The Fed has two mandates: full employment and control inflation. Powell indicated that the Fed would be fully prepared to deal with inflation, but at the same time seemed to indicate that the mandate for full employment was slightly more important at the moment. He is banking on inflation coming down as the supply chain issues continue to ease. Inflation will still be with us, but perhaps not at the same high levels of 2021. Let’s hope he is correct.
JANUARY FINANCIAL WELLNESS CHECKLIST
Along with New Year’s resolutions for 2022, we want to consider this brief checklist for financial wellness:
- If you are in accumulation mode, increase your savings by at least 10% more than last year. Your ultimate goal should be to save at least 10% of your total income. The amount you can put into your 401(k) plan increased this year.
- If you are in distribution mode, make sure you are not drawing down on your investments at a greater than 4% rate.
- In both previous situations, be sure to review your expenses. It is easy to justify certain variable expenses, especially with COVID limiting our daily life, as “I owe it to myself.” Rationalizing spending money is a huge enemy of financial wellness.
- Make sure that the beneficiary designations on life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, etc. are all up to date. Even if you are “sure” they are, please get a copy of them to “make sure” for “sure.”
- Verify that the asset allocation of your portfolio is in line with your risk tolerance. Given how well equities did last year, you may have more risk than you realize and you may need to rebalance.
- Consolidate and simplify. Why do you have more than one banking relationship, more than two retirement plans, more than two investment accounts, etc.? Make life easier by simplifying.
- Do you need to update your estate planning documents? More children or grandchildren to consider? Do you still want the same estate plan as you had five or ten years ago? Have you considered a living trust? Should you update your power of attorney or healthcare directives?
- Review all your insurance plans: life; disability; long-term care; homeowners; auto and other vehicles; and personal umbrella policy. Do you have the right amount and correct type? Ask your insurance agent for a complete review.
- Update your net worth statement as of December 31st, and compare it to the previous year.
- Set up folders to collect all your tax information which will start to arrive over the next couple of months.
4Q CORPORATE EARNINGS PREVIEW
Since bottoming out in the first quarter of 2021, corporate earnings have recovered faster than many expected, as margins have been resilient and companies have successfully adapted to a post-pandemic operating environment. The continuation of strong corporate earnings growth is paramount for the bull thesis to remain intact. With that said, Wall Street expectations are high at 22% year-over-year growth for the fourth quarter of 2021. That’s down from 40% in the third quarter as we return to a more normalized level of growth going forward. The question is, what is normal? Is there a new normal, or do we expect the historical average of mid-single digits?
As earnings results have begun to trickle in, we are paying particular attention to management commentary on what they’re seeing right now concerning inflation, supply chains and other margin pressures, demand, and consumer shopping behavior. Expectations are level-setting in the face of rising interest rates as investors look to adjust market (and company) valuations and that will likely result in a continuation of the recent market volatility. Bottom line, the economy is strong and monetary policy is still accommodative. However, the question remains whether the market is ahead or behind those dynamics.
LET’S TALK ABOUT MONEY IN 2022
Ellevest’s 2021 Financial Wellness Survey confirmed some interesting findings regarding women and money. They found that one in three women were taught from a young age that talking about finances is” taboo” and “off limits.”
Why should we start talking? Because when we start talking about money with friends, family, colleagues, and professionals, we can become more confident, secure, and knowledgeable about our financial futures.
Let’s start 2022 by reversing the trend where Ellevest found that 56% of women don’t talk regularly with others about their finances. Let’s reverse the finding where one in three women want to talk about money, but don’t for fear of being judged. Remember your trusted financial professional team at ProVise can help you start or resume the conversation about money including the basics of investing.
THE NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW RESOLUTIONS
We wish a very happy and prosperous New Year to our wonderful ProVise client family. We are so fortunate to serve clients like you and look forward to many future years of continued partnership and friendship. The New Year often brings new resolutions, and often these resolutions involve achieving a financial goal. Since ProVise is dedicated to serving our community, including the family and friends of our clients, we are offering a complimentary consultation to your friends and family who may benefit from our assistance. If you know of someone who needs some guidance on issues such as saving for a child’s college education, planning for retirement, or managing a portfolio to achieve other long-term goals, please feel free to forward this email to them. They are welcome to contact us at their convenience.