ECONOMIC COMMENTARY (08-06-2020)
August 6, 5:31 pm EST. Last month we wrote about the “disconnect” between stock market indices and the “real” economic challenges we face. This month we’ll focus on the reality: we’re within 2% of where the average market indices were before COVID-19 dominated our lives. Commodity prices for gold and silver are “up” because many fear inflation is near and bond interest rates (returns) are near zero. If you’re an investor and healthy, you’re doing alight, for the fourth month in a row.
here are however, millions of Americans that are on or applying for unemployment benefits. Many of our neighbors are hurting financially. There have been trillions of federal government and federal reserve stimulus dollars authorized but not all of it has been spent. Today, our U.S. Congress is debating how much more stimulus to add; a debate around numbers that are too large to imagine. Since they can’t seem to agree, there is talk of an “Executive Order” by the White House should Congress remain at an impasse. It is unclear whether the President of the United States has unilateral power to appropriate funds to the public (a function reserved for the U.S House of Representatives). What is clear is that time is ticking and our neighbors need help.
Growing, Giving and Governing Money
Clients of ours and those of many financial planners are a select group. You are financially smart enough to hire and afford help with your finances. But what can you do to help your neighbors that is proven effective and not just, “reactive?”
Over these past few months, our firm has been exploring the benefits of socially responsible investing. We wanted to understand how this kind of investing has changed over the past few decades. Through conversations with fund providers, fellow advisers and academics, we have learned a lot. We have learned enough at least, to commit more time to examine these opportunities over the next month. It seems there are now many ways to invest your money with companies that provide a return on investment and a concern for the community. We have also been exploring philanthropy and the many options available to prospective donors while they are alive. How can you give in a way that is proactive, planned and aligns with your values? We will share what we have learned about giving while living with you too.
Like many of our clients, we have kids in the school system. Our School Board Member, Rachna Sizemore Heizer, shared a poignant message with us via email last week. Regardless of whether
you have children, we thought it resonated and wanted to share it here:
“I believe COVID is trauma on a global scale. From my own experiences with trauma, I recognize the anger, the fear, the extreme desire to have what we once had, and to control our world. Life under a global pandemic with a novel virus requires flexibility and patience, two things that seem in short supply in the aftermath of trauma.
I found the hardest part of trauma for me was letting go of the anger at having my world ripped apart. But until we can let that go, I don’t know how we find the path to whatever our new world will be. COVID has changed our world forever. It is up to us whether eventually that world will be better or worse than the one we had before. It is tempting to make our path forward a mirror of our past. I’d like to encourage us to instead move forward to realistically find the best future we can.
I believe kindness matters in how we as a community address the issues created by COVID. Kindness matters if we are to come together to prioritize our kids, our schools, and our future as a society. Or divided in anger we will fall.
Let’s prioritize kindness. Let’s find patience. Let’s do this together.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Please stay at home as much as you can.”
And please wear your mask.
School Board Member-at-Large
Jason J. Howell, CFP® is a former U.S. Congressional Candidate and in 2019 was listed as a TOP WEALTH ADVISER by WASHINGTONIAN magazine. Jason Howell Company is an independent, family wealth management firm run by two owners who consider it their family business. Jason J. Howell, CFP® and Douglas W. Tees, MBA, CFP® are both married to patient wives and are dedicated to their kids. They have built a firm with a great reputation located just outside of the nation's capital in Washington, DC. (Northern Virginia). They hope to honorably serve their growing family of clients for decades.
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Rachna Sizemore Heizer is a member of the Fairfax County School Board At-Large., serving starting January 1, 2020. She is also the program coordinator for the human resource development minor at Texas Tech University. She has expertise in constitutional law, employment law, human resources, and disability rights and has presented at conferences and spoken on podcasts, radio, and television shows about ability-focused full inclusion of people with disabilities in education, workforce, society, and politics.