“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” – Lou Holtz, Hall of Fame football coach. As the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic continues, how we respond to it will determine how we beat it. Continued sacrifices range from everyone in the medical community working on the front lines to the thousands of truck drivers across our country keeping goods flowing, parents who have become homeschoolers, and folks missing their family events to help stop the spread of this terrible outbreak. As Lou Holtz said, we can’t control what happens, but how we respond to it is what matters. Our response to this crisis has shown the resolve and strength of the human spirit, which is why we will overcome.
The response from the economy and stock market, however, has shown a disconnect between the two. Tragically, COVID-19 has caused 22 million people to file for unemployment in the past four weeks, nearly wiping out all the jobs created during the record 10-year economic expansion. Historic drops in consumer confidence, retail sales, industrial production, oil prices, and housing starts have shown how quickly our economy has gone from solid growth to virtually stopping in its tracks. Yet, stocks have been soaring the past few weeks. Remember, stocks tend to weaken before the economy, and they tend to lead before the economy turns around. Stocks see light at the end of the tunnel before the economy feels it, and the big move recently may be a sign the economy could turn around later this year.
Small businesses have been impacted the most by the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis, and the government and Federal Reserve actions to bridge the gap to better times are unprecedented. The combined stimulus from fiscal and monetary policy is more than 20% of the value of the entire US economy, as measured by gross domestic product, greatly mitigating the economic hardships. The hurried roll out of the small business loan program wasn’t perfect, but it is helping those businesses.
This recession—though not officially declared yet—is unlike any other. It wasn’t caused by the virus itself, but by the government telling people to stay home in an effort to flatten the curve. The government can’t simply turn on a switch to get things back to normal, but with all of the stimulus making its way through the system, it’s possible this could be one of the shortest recessions ever. First quarter earnings season has begun, and it will be interesting to learn how quickly corporate America anticipates the slowdown ending. Estimates for earnings in 2020 have reduced drastically, but there is still hope that a strong second-half economic rebound could help support a recovery in corporate profits.
More than 2 million people worldwide have been infected by the virus, and we all have been impacted in some way. There are drug companies all around the world working nonstop to find an effective treatment, while Boeing, one of the hardest hit companies during this crisis, said it might start building planes again soon. We aren’t out of the woods yet, and the economic data and headlines may get worse before they get better, but our response to this crisis reinforces our confidence that the future remains bright.
Please stay healthy, and don’t hesitate to contact your trusted team at Epic Capital if you have any questions or concerns.
Financially speaking, retirement might differ from your expectations. Just as few weathercasters can accurately predict a month’s worth of temperatures and storms, few retirees find their financial futures playing out as precisely as they assumed. Because of this, some common financial assumptions (and anxieties) about retirement are worth examining.
Information vs. instinct. When it comes to investment choices, many people believe they have a “knack” for choosing good investments. But what exactly is that “knack” based on? The fact is, the choices we make with our assets can be strongly influenced by factors, many of them emotional, that we may not even be aware … Continue reading “Making Investment Choices”
In corporate America, pension plans are fading away. Only 16% of Fortune 500 companies offered them to full-time employees in 2018, according to Willis Towers Watson research. In contrast, legal, medical, accounting, and engineering firms are keeping the spirit of the traditional pension plan alive by adopting cash balance plans.1
I’d like for you to meet my friend, Hugh. He’s a retired film stuntman who, after a long career, is enjoying his retirement. Some of what he’s enjoying about his retirement is sharing part of his accumulated wealth with his family, specifically his wife and two sons. Like many Americans, Hugh likes to make sure … Continue reading “The Gift Tax”
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald The economic struggles in our country are among the worst we’ve ever seen. In April, a record 20 million people lost their jobs, and 36 million people have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March. Record drops in consumer … Continue reading “Better Times Are Coming”
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