Letter to Stakeholders, May 2021
Wednesday, May 12, 09:24am EST. “These are days to remember,” sang Natalie Merchant in the 10,000 Maniacs’ chart-topping hit in 1992. Days in May in 2021 seem oddly calm in anticipation of what might be this Summer and Fall. Will vaccines stifle our tiresome foe (COVID-19) in this country and importantly, in India? Will children be safe on vacation and summer camp and starting school in September? Will unemployment tick down and how long will inflation tick up? If 2020 taught us anything, it was to appreciate the moments and the days we have together. It’s nearing the middle of May, let the Summer and Fall fend for itself.
Seize the Day
Law and money and by default policy, go together. It is part of what makes living a short drive from the US Capitol building so exciting. It is also what makes it a little annoying. Last week the Economic Situation Summary or the “jobs report” was released and every politician, economist and talking head has an opinion of what it means. The economy was expected to add 1,000,000 new jobs last month, but the report showed an increase of only 266,000. These numbers get revised regularly but some politicians are already asking for policy changes.. With unemployment hovering over 6%, there are some who argue that people don’t want to work because of seemingly excessive unemployment benefits. Others believe that factors associated with child-care, COVID-19 vaccinations and particularly, restaurant career transitions are to blame. Much like trying to guess the direction of the stock market – perhaps more so – trying to pinpoint the factors affecting macroeconomics in the world’s largest economy are not as simple as our politicians would have us think. So far data has pointed to positive results for the billions spent on our low income, food insecure neighbors (down 40%) during the pandemic.
Thankfully we have 18 months until the next national elections. We have elections in Virginia every November but national economic policy is out of most of our hands, for now. The prices of softwood (lumber) and steel in Australia or the availability/prices of microchips from Japan will not be affected by your stress level or partisan views of non-partisan inflation risk. The stock market is unpredictable but the infamous real economy is expected to produce positive numbers over the next three years. Federal Reserve Bank Chair Jerome “Jay” Powell has made a commitment to adding balance to the economy and he shared remarks to that effect at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s, 2021 Just Economy Conference.
Supporting wealth building efforts of lower income neighbors on a national and global scale provides long-term safety for those of us who have benefited more broadly from financial and housing markets. So for now, we see positive momentum on these fronts and invite you to ignore the fears of long-term inflation and stock market volatility. It’s Spring. Carpe Diem.
About once a month our firm has the distinct honor of hosting a community stakeholder on what we have been calling our “Speaker Series Zoominars.” Last month we hosted Anne Vor der Bruegge and Christy Cole of the Arlington Community Foundation. They helped lead a discussion about what they call the “economic cliff effect;” how federal, state and local government benefits are disproportionately reduced as our lower income neighbors begin to earn higher income. Their foundation came up with a program to fill that gap.
To watch a few minutes of the video replay, just click here.
Sharing Financial “Tips”
Here are the financial tips you can share with friends and family for this month:
- Get your vaccine. Even my alma mater George Mason University is offering free pokes!
- Spring Cleaning. After filing your taxes, save the pdf in a folder you can find next year.
- Family Talk. Initiate a follow up conversation about your saving/spending goals in 2021.
You are doing well. May is an easy month to overlook but “these are days to remember.” Feel free to focus on the positive as there is a lot of progress (read: policy) being made for the sake of those less fortunate. And that is good for everybody.
Jason J. Howell, CFP®, CPWA®, CSRIC®
Jason Howell Company (JHCo.) is an independent, family wealth management firm run by two owners who consider it their family business. Jason J. Howell, CFP®, CPWA®, CSRIC® and Douglas W. Tees, MBA, CFP® are both married to patient wives and are dedicated to their kids.
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 sustainable Investment Strategy and continues by equipping client families with three (3) tools for creating sustainable wealth. Most JHCo. clients invest their time, talent and treasure in the community. Jason Howell Company enjoys serving clients who go beyond being stockholders to becoming true "stakeholders." JHCo. calls this work total family governance and it's their specialty. Doug and Jason empower communities, one family at a time.
For more information about our strategies, just book an introductory call: Introductory Call