September Client Letter
An old Folktale written over 200 years ago, featuring Henny Penny, foretells the end of times. Later, the story was Americanized, and “Chicken Little” was born. A little chicken is bonked on the head by an acorn and is convinced the sky is falling. We laugh at how ridiculously hysterical this little chicken is, as he runs through the forest yelling,
“The Sky is Falling!”
But, as famous radio-man Paul Harvey said, “Here’s the rest of the story.” The rest of the original Chicken Little story was pretty grim. And, as much of ancient folklore, taught lessons. But sadly, a bunch of other animals follow Chicken Little, running around like crazy. The part of the story that gets left out is about the fox. The fox follows all the other animals into the forest and eats them one by one. There is a reason we don’t tell our children and grandchildren these disturbing stories before going to bed anymore!
You might be saying, “John, why start off one of your incredible letters with a horrible story about chicken murder?” Simply put, there are acorns falling right now, people are reporting on those acorns 24 hours a day, and people are getting scared. The problem of distinguishing between the acorns and foxes is tough.
Recent Market Volatility has people nervous. The stock market has dropped about 20% from the beginning of this year until the day I am writing this.* Let’s look at it another way. What you may need for your future-self has dropped in value. Try not to worry about that items value that your present-self already own. Thinking of our future-self is a powerful way to deal with many of life’s current curveballs. Americans do love a good sale and there does not seem to be much going on sale, besides the stock market right now. The Fox is selling when the markets are sagging. By the way, one of the few asset classes that ultimately kept up with inflation over time is equities.**
Interest rates rising affects many areas of our life. The Fox is the cost of borrowing, to buy goods, is rising. It makes it more expensive to buy a house, car, or anything else on credit. The good news is if you lock in a rate, you are off the roller coaster of rising rates. A fixed rate loan in a rising inflation environment can make the pain of the loan less. Owing someone $10 in 1950 is a lot worse than owing someone $10 today. This is one of the few bright spots with inflation!
Inflation! The cost, of most items, is rising at rates not seen in 40 years. As I wrote you before, the government (this and the last 4 administrations) first thought they could stimulate the economy by keeping interest rates low (printing money they don’t have). Now they are trying to “unstimulate” the economy by raising interest rates. The Acorn is the Fox in this part of the story. The bad news is businesses have yet to pass on all the costs yet. Wholesale inflation is worse than at the consumer level.*** The nastiest part of inflation is that it is almost always permanent. It can level off, but rarely drops.**** Prices have dropped about 13 time since 1914. But, only once in the last 66 years! On a bright note, we may see some nice sales at retailers as stock flows back into stores. Some of the supply chain problem is easing and those retailers may have overstock.
For the past 20 years of client letters, I have been consistent. The market does not worry me. A little bit of me feels like a kid in a candy shop, as clients are able to purchase at lower prices as accounts are rebalanced and people add money. Inflation does worry me. We’ll see how all this monetary tinkering works out. We’ll pray for peace in Ukraine. And, probably cut back on Sunday joyrides. I would recommend protecting your peace of mind at all costs. We live in an attention-based economy, which knows how to lure you in!
As always, we are confident in the long run, fearless in the short run, and only want the best for you and your money! Take a breath…you got this!
With Warmest Regards,
John P. Clark and the Whole Clark Associates Financial Planning Team
Post Scriptum: Reach out if you would like to purchase more Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, or Long-Term Care Insurance. Many times, these are more crucial to get into place, because when you truly need them, you may not qualify.
* SP500 as reported at https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/%5EGSPC/
** Ibbotson SBBI 1926-2021 chart
All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.