Every month about this time I sit down to write something pithy and topical in the hope that it will strike a chord with you, the readers of our newsletter. I do it because it is important to me to reach out regularly and let you know I am thinking of you. I assure you I am. I could get someone else to do it, and now I have found out I could get a bot to do it. There was an article in the Wall St Journal this morning that a columnist went back to high school to see if she could pass AP English by having a bot write her exams (Stern, 2022). I choose to write the newsletter because it’s my way of connecting with you, even though we may have talked by phone or Zoom. This newsletter gives me a chance to talk about things on my mind and maybe, yours.
This year has been challenging not just because the markets are in turmoil and inflation continues to indicate that interest rates will continue to rise. One of the challenges this year is that stocks and bonds have not performed well, and it is rare for both to hit historic lows simultaneously. So far this year, the S&P is down more than 17%, and the US Aggregate Bond ETF is down nearly 12% (Y Charts, 2022). What did work this past year? Well, commodities, for one. With inflation going up, the raw materials needed to produce cell phones and automobiles were harder to come by, and prices rose. (Investopedia, 2022).
Interest rates rose, and the cost of a mortgage went from roughly 3% to over 6%. (Ycharts, 2022) This means that buying a house just got more expensive and refinancing to make improvements got more challenging. Look for this to impact the housing market, which it already has, and trickle out to contractors and suppliers.
Autos or buying a new car got really challenging last year. With minimal inventory, ads on car dealer websites said, “coming soon,” yet when you drove by their lots, there was nothing to sell. If you wanted a hot new car, you were likely going to pay over sticker price. Way over sticker! I am hearing from clients that specific models have dealer markups of $25,000 and even $50,000. And not for Ferraris or Bentleys but for Audis and Hondas. Oh my!
My clients are getting older, and their parents are getting older. Accessing health care got more challenging last year and finding care at any price for older clients that need assistance with daily activities is very difficult. As we near the later stages of life, we will need a lot of care, and it will be expensive. Sure, you will need to save for college tuition, and you’ll also want to budget plenty for care later in life.
It’s not all doom and gloom. This year I read a lot of books that talk about the intersection of money and our psychology.
Want to make more money? Change your thoughts. Discard old beliefs that no longer work and try on new ones. We think we are in the driver’s seat of our money decisions, but often we aren’t. Our outdated mode of thought inherited from family, friends, school, church, and community keeps us where we are. If you feel stuck in money, look at your beliefs about money. I still have a few copies of Love Money, Money Loves You. Let me know if you’d like a copy, and we will send it to you.
I hope you and your family enjoyed the holiday season and the new year’s holiday. I appreciate you all and am grateful to have you.
Have a great month 🏳🌈