Holy Cow! It seems that it was only 52 weeks ago that I was jotting down a few words to you about the coming of a new year and the passing of another old one. Looking at all that’s come down the pike and ended up down the river, I almost feel apologetic for having said ‘Happy New Year’. Should I even consider trying THAT again?
I really don’t like defeat and don’t know anybody who does. And although I know that it’s not really my fault that 2021 did it’s best to equal 2020 in weirdness, I do feel that it is my role to bring good financial decisions that will increase, wherever and whenever possible, the comfort and peace of mind of each of our wonderful clients.
Fortunately, defeat was not the victor. I like to think that he never really had much of a chance but, on the other hand, being an optimist, this past year has been more difficult than usual.
You will recall that even before the first week of the year was up, we had a rather large-scale disturbance in Washington D.C. We had flare-ups in Kenosha, Wisconsin and other places exacerbating the increasing American political divide. Next up, we had investors and traders scratching their heads over the Grand Short-Squeeze that debuted with the frenetic rally in GameStop and then spread to other stocks. Then, almost as a preview of things to come, Ever Given, a massive cargo ship carrying more than 18,000 containers of consumer goods, ran aground in the Suez Canal on March 23. For six days, the vessel blocked the passage of more than 400 other ships, stalling an already-tenuous global supply chain. A bit deeper into the year, the War in Afghanistan, finally was declared over. But, as history shows, getting out is always harder than getting in. The administration took a lot of heat for the inelegant exit with much of the unhappiness coming from the president’s own party.
Throughout the year, poll after poll has shown that public’s faith and trust in institutions is falling, rapidly. Believability is no longer an expectation when it comes to politicians, or media: social or otherwise. The Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, and the president all have approval ratings that are underwater.
The Wall Street Journal published a series of investigative reports in September called “The Facebook Files” thanks to documents released by a whistleblower at the company. The files confirm some of the most heinous allegations made against Facebook and its subsidiaries, including the negative impact on teenage girls, the pervasive spread of hate speech and misinformation, and ad hoc decisions around censorship. Perhaps most concerning is that these dangers—and other systemic problems—are well-known and well-documented internally.
And through it all, the pandemic rolls on.
And now, here we are. I am tempted to say “Well, out with the old and in with the new.” However, saying that sort of thing this year seems a bit ‘slogan-ish’. While we quite sincerely do wish everyone warm thoughts, along with visions of prosperity, we approach the new year pragmatically and with a straight face.
I’m not big on sports metaphors but what I see ahead of us is a ’rebuilding year’. I even think that as the year gets underway it will return to us the confidence to be with friends, family, and co-workers as Covid fears rightfully subside. Nearly everyone is just plain tired of the ‘put life on the back burner’ lifestyle. I think that a return to normal may actually bring more than the regular normal. As normal returns we will have a newfound appreciation of what it means to be healthy and alive.
It will be critical to see what happens with Covid’s delta and omicron variants over the next few weeks. On the investment front, there is a lot still suggesting healthy movements – note some new records set just his week on The Street…Unless Covid’s gains are enough to stem that momentum, the market’s ‘January effect’ may come along – just as it’s supposed to.
Ronald P. Denk, CFP®
Denk Strategic Wealth Partners
10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite C-262
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Phone (602) 252-8700
Fax (602) 252-8701
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