Now that 2020 is receding in the rear view mirror, it’s time to assess where we are and to refresh our goals for where we are headed. 2020 gave us many lessons to learn from and move forward.
First, we all have much to be grateful for and one thing we have observed over the years is that when we remember to feel grateful, it is difficult to simultaneously be sad or upset. Despite all the unprecedented events of 2020, some of the same old themes held true.
Next, when the market fell in value by about a third in only 5 weeks (the fastest decline of that fashion we have experienced), some of you called us, understandably, and expressed concern.
Encouragingly in our minds, very few of you wanted to pull your money out of your well-constructed portfolios. As we all know now, the recovery nearly matched the decline in its speed and breadth and continued past the previous high to reach all-time highs.
Sometimes clients will tell us they know “our advice never changes”. They wonder what type of headline it will take for us to acquiesce to the same level of panic they are feeling as they watch the headlines. The answer will always be that one cannot react their way to wealth. You cannot create a productive financial plan or strategy based on reacting to news headlines. It has never worked, and it will never work because it cannot work.
Each of you has a financial plan focused on achieving your long-term goals. Your investment portion of your financial plan has been designed to be very well diversified. Shares of upward of 800-1000 of the world’s best companies make up the growth and value portions of your portfolio. These hundreds of companies employ millions of employees in hundreds of countries across the world, generating more in revenue than the entire US GDP! The management teams running these companies don’t sit around wringing their hands over who will win an election in any of the countries in which they do business. They simply try to plan for the anticipated new rules resulting from those elections and adjust their business models accordingly.
As your financial planners, we don’t just sit back and let things coast. We are busy trying to anticipate longer macro trends that could affect your allocation and are ready to make adjustments as needed. We monitor the managers we have selected to measure their consistency versus the alternatives. As many of you know, occasionally we adjust your mix to replace, or add, a manager that we believe improves your portfolio. But these changes will not, and should not, lead to drastic changes in performance. They are there to support the consistency of the portfolio. Over time, the plan works for you.
So, as we look forward into 2021, let us take time to review what’s most important in our lives. The unprecedented events of 2020 led many of us to re-examine our goals and to revisit our plans. We are especially grateful and humbled that this led you to refer us a record number of your friends and family. If you are interested, this is a great time to set up a review. As always, we will reach out to each of you on the anniversary of our relationship and ask for a review. But you certainly don’t have to wait for that. You are always welcome to request a review by phone, video conference or our favorite way, in person!
We believe that 2021 will be a prosperous year with continued economic recovery and growth as economies open back up. We look forward to continuing to guide you along a path of financial success for years to come.
We wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Calm New Year!