ECONOMIC COMMENTARY (10-05-2020)
October 5, 3:21 pm EST. Politics is the big news story this month. You are receiving this commentary less than one month from the November 3rd election, the US President is in a hospital and the US Senate Majority Leader is pressing forward with a vote on a Supreme Court appointment. That covers all three branches of government (and all without mentioning fiscal stimulus talks, particularly for the airline industry). And yet, as I write this market indices are up about 1%. We made it through September without much downward volatility but are bracing for (more) “October surprises” before the November election.
Most of your fellow clients are paying close attention to the outcome of this election: for both US President and the future majority/leadership of the US Senate. It is unfortunately unlikely that the election cycle will end on November 3rd or even the wee hours of the morning as it did 4 years ago. Your financial advisers here at Jason Howell Company have voted early. Though we are fortunate to live in one of the best managed states (Commonwealths) in the United States, there’s no telling whether even our vote count will end by the end of the night. In fact, most states continue to count mail-in ballots well after election day: it’s just that this year the amount of these “extra ballots” may have a material affect on the outcome. Should that happen we expect not only a democracy in chaos but also a stock market. Our securities markets thrive in stability but as exemplified by the pandemic earlier this year, they go wild with uncertainty. Regardless of the final political outcome, our expectation is that markets will recover any temporary losses. The greater concern is continued, growing unemployment. Airlines may yet receive an exclusive stimulus package from the federal government. If so, they will put off furloughing tens of thousands of workers.
Since the beginning of the pandemic paranoia in March of this year, many (amateur) economists have been hypothesizing about how quickly “the economy” would recover. To explain their predictions, they imagined a line graph with letters of the alphabet to exemplify the ups and downs. A “V” shape meant they predicted the economy would rise up as quickly as it went down; a “W” shaped recovery meant it would go up then down again, then up again later; an “L” shaped recovery meant the economy would stay down for a while; and the final and more likely scenario is a “K” shaped recovery. “K” shaped recoveries are essentially what we’ve always had but this time it could be more pronounced. It describes the wealth gap increasing with “the wealthy” recovering faster than “the poor.” Unfortunately, this is a likely scenario. We see this when comparing our clients who are invested in the stock market versus recent college graduates and the long-term unemployed (unemployed for 27 weeks or longer). If you have friends or family in the latter categories, keep an eye out for them this month.
As for your investment accounts, expect a lot of noise but know we will stick to your plan.
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 one of Northern Virginia's few sustainable, responsible investment strategies (SRI) and they hope to pass it on to their children someday.
The firm owners believe that serving families through a process that supports family harmony, preserves family history and nurtures family values is the key to true wealth. It begins with a responsible Investment Strategy and by equipping clients with three (3) tools for creating sustainable wealth. They call this process Family Governance. It goes beyond traditional financial planning by adding the "values management" and family history component.
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