January 2024 Newsletter – Attitude is Everything!
Uniquely Waterstone for our unique Waterstone clients
In this Issue:
Perception vs reality – who is most anxious?
Inflation, income, expectations
More rolling recession?
Warren Buffet’s strategy for the future
Four Focus Questions for 2024
Happy New Year! Financial thinking, last year turned out fine. This year is ahead. That’s our most profound commentary.
We hope you view your investment strategy with calm and confidence that our investment partners will navigate on our behalf. Take comfort that there is an ongoing competent due diligence/monitoring process of our chosen diversified, tested methods. The methods respond in different ways and at different times with expected high probability of success over time. Patience is a virtue when you desire a blend of participation and protection.
With market news all over the map, it can be hard for investors to stick with a strategy. Discipline has always been important, but now, more than ever, it is essential.
Our 2024 WFS commitment is a close review of our current strategists and an openness to new ideas that might better fit a changing world or your changing life. Second, we will expand our focus on financial literacy for you and yours as we build out our website blog section with resources. Third, we encourage more communication about your strategy so you better understand the methods.
Credit: Bill Watterson 1962
Strong jobs, record holiday spending on travel, meals and apparel!
Economic angst! The 2023 economy did surprisingly well despite predictions, projections and forecasts about inflation, rising rates and fears of recession. Consumer sentiment in 2022 was worse than in the 1970s (oil embargo) and the Great Recession (2007, 2008). Really!
The grouse: Public opinion dwelled on details of GDP, unemployment and fed funds rate that normally are not in their focus.
Consumers lament higher prices but studies indicate that doesn’t explain why voters are this upset about the economy. Theories identify bad vibes distributed by news spin as media groups and personalities duke it out for audience and influence, mental health crisis, a pandemic hangover. Other vibes are the linger effects of excesses on economic activities: harder to hire, harder to get a loan, buy or sell a house. Add climate change impact on food supplies. Wars impact energy.
Eventually this will all be tested against economic realities.
It’s interesting to see who is the most stressed. View this chart then reflect on your thinking then consider the futures of the varied generations in your circle. Can you help mentor the younger generations? Just giving bouts of money doesn’t solve the problem of making a living and creating security. It’s skill, attitude and opportunity.
A Waterstone axiom: Money isn’t everything but money touches everything. Attitude is everything and attitude touches everything. Reach out for more discussion if you find you are drifting with media confusion.
Don’t bet on predictions:
At the start of 2023, economists largely predicted a global recession, and Wall Street was bearish on stocks with a small gain in the S&P. Fast-forward 12 months: No recession (yet) and the S&P 500 is close to a record high still driven by the Magnificent Seven tech stocks.
Recession, a period of economic decline, may have been rolling out the excesses at different times. There may be more to come but it is likely to be gentler with less disruption.
Warren Buffet plans ahead:
“I don’t predict rain but I build financial arks.
We’re looking to invest in arks. We don’t know when the rain will come. It sure would be nice to be able to predict the rain and maybe for some people, expending their time and resources in an effort to predict the rain fits their personalities. But for us, we know that ark building is our calling, not rain predicting.”
Buffett uses the analogy of a moat to describe what he looks for in stocks. Arks might work as analogy for other people. “Sometimes I’ve imagined investing as being like a wild, off-road race, in which our strategy is not to try to guess which route will be fastest, but instead to pick the vehicle that offers the best mix of speed and ruggedness, along with a great driver. Meanwhile most investors are look for shortcuts or flashy cars that offer turbo-charged engines, but always seem to spin out when the going gets rough.
Moats, off-road super cars, arks. They all have one thing in common. Rather than guess what is around the corner, they prepare themselves for the challenges ahead.”
There’s enough good news to encourage. There’s enough trauma and stress to breed caution. Short term, it’s emotion and the flow of money. Long term, it’s earnings. Connect in the first quarter to review your strategic life balance of participation and protection....And we’ll want to know the answers to the four questions below!
Four Focus Questions for 2024:
How’s your health? (We know this valuable commodity can spin on a dime.)
How’s your family? (Changes here can change your focus.)
How’s income? (Are you feeling stable and secure? Do you have enough?)
Are you having enough fun? (It’s part of the reason for living!)
Note: Kathy will next be in the office February 1st to February 11, 2024. Cheers to Josh who is local, available and always appreciated.
Thanks if you've read to the end. You're our kind of people.Reach out to us with your questions, comments, needs.
Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc.(APFS) Member FINRA /SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through American Portfolios Advisors, Inc. (APA), an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Waterstone Financial Services is not affiliated with APFS and APA.
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