Our podcast today referenced Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities in discussing the difference between the stock market and our personal reality. As I write this, the S&P 500 (an index of 500 large US publicly traded companies that generally is thought to reflect the US economy) is positive on a year-over-year basis. Stocks are worth more now than they were a year ago. How can that be possible?
Stock prices are considered a leading economic indicator, meaning they reflect what the market expects to happen and not what is currently happening. The market seems to think we've hit the bottom, and now we are ready for the rebound. There's some data to back this up.
Jobless claims are coming down, consumer spending is increasing, and there are multiple treatments and vaccines in clinical trials. As testing increases, and states reopen, we expect things to rebound quickly.
But none of that matters if you've lost your job, or had your hours or pay cut, and are wondering how you will pay your bills and put food on the table. If you own a business, you may be facing not just lost revenue, but personal bankruptcy. And even if you're fortunate enough to still be working, you are wondering how older or immuno-compromised friends and family members are doing. You miss human interaction. You miss going out.
If you're worried, concerned, frustrated, or just plain paralyzed by all of this, here are some actions you can take:
- Roth conversions, tax loss harvesting and refinancing debt may still make sense.
- Review and, if needed, update your estate plan. Double check all your beneficiaries are correct.
- Take this time to declutter. We are having a community shredding day on May 23rd. Clients can come an hour early at 1 pm, and we are open to the general public from 2 to 4 pm.
- Attend one of our upcoming virtual events. You'll have to bring your own wine for these, but they will still be informative:
- Taking the Fear Out of Market Volatility, May 14th
- Women, Wine & Wisdom, May 19th
- Social Security Webinar, May 27th
- We are still open and working remotely. If you want an update on your financial plan, just let us know.
We are here for you, your questions, your concerns. Stay safe and well.