Investing in Volatile Times
by Richard Lerch
As I sit down to write this month’s Partner Talk, I am struck by how different things are compared to the last time I wrote in November of 2019 under the title of “Goldilocks Economy”. It really is hard to believe how different things are a mere six months later. 2020 seems so different than 2019. In many ways, it is.
Six months ago, we were enjoying, for the most part, a “Goldilocks Economy” of moderate growth, low unemployment and stable inflation that had continued for several years. While the economy appeared to be slowing relative to 2018, it was still continuing to expand with employers hiring, consumers spending and growth stabilizing.
Six months ago, I was planning for two big life events: my 20th wedding anniversary this June and my 50th birthday this August. We all know what has happened since. Thanks to COVID-19, much of the world’s economies were put on hold. The U.S.’s financial markets suffered huge spikes in volatility. Unemployment went from historic lows to historic highs in a matter of months. Our anniversary trip has been canceled (hopefully postponed) and plans for my 50th are on hold. Like so many people, we’ve been working from home, virtually home-schooling our three kids since March and their spring sports seasons, school events, summer camps and jobs have been canceled as well. This has all been very disappointing, especially given how well things seemed to be going a mere six months ago.