Dear Friends,

On July 4th, the new season of the Netflix TV hit “Stranger Things” came out, and if you are like my (Mitch’s) family and 40 million others, you couldn’t wait to tune in and watch what chaos would ensue. One of the things I love most about the show is that it is set in the 80’s in small town Indiana. As a kid growing up in the 80s with the clothes and the hairstyles (Hair Bands anyone?), I feel like I have been taken back in time. And the soundtrack – one of my favorites is the REO Speedwagon classic “Can’t Fight This Feeling”:

I can’t fight this feeling any longer, yet I am still afraid to let it flow…I tell myself I can’t hold out forever,
I said there is no reason for my fear… and I can’t fight this feeling anymore. I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for, it’s time to bring this ship into the shore and throw away the oars, forever.

Feelings can be deceiving. In the show, the characters experience life in the “Upside Down” – a world just like their real world but nothing is really quite like it seems. I think many people feel that way as it relates to their financial and investing lives. Even though most markets are up significantly year to date, it may not feel like it because of all the volatility over the last year. In fact, over $250 billion flowed out of stock funds into bond funds even while the market was rising. This is contrary to Q4 2018 when stocks fell sharply, but was then followed by a great start to 2019. History holds that often when markets feel most risky, it is actually a great time to invest. By comparison, when markets are exuberant, we should be more cautious, which often is exactly opposite of our feelings.

So far this year, there were a lot of uneasy feelings where we have seen trade battles continuing with China and Mexico, and there were military close calls with Iran and North Korea. There were also fears that the US economy was slowing down and so to many it felt really uncomfortable. Despite that the markets were…up? Yes UP! Over 10% in global stocks in 2019. Markets are deceiving and many would be investors wait until the conditions feel good with positive headlines to put money to work and pull it back when it “feels bad”. However, short-term market responses can be deceiving, so executing your plan and letting it work with continuous recurring investments if you are still working, or a consistent, patient strategy in retirement allows us to enjoy a prosperous life, which is one of the goals of the financial planning process.

Many of our Financial Planning clients are statistically in the top 90% of Americans in terms of either income ($118K per yr for households/$75K individuals) or net worth ($1.1M) or both. They are by most definitions “Wealthy”. Upon becoming aware of this knowledge, the most common response is an incredulous “But I don’t FEEL wealthy”. A June survey by the Associated Press revealed that just 2 in 10 Americans were confident they would have enough savings for retirement. Whatever the stage of life, it can be hard to feel at peace financially, unless you take some specific actions and mindsets. So, if you have a solid financial plan, have faith and resist the urge to “bring the ship into the shore and throw away the oars”. If you have a Plan, keep rowing and enjoy the show. History shows that you will be rewarded.

As always, we appreciate the opportunity to serve your families and businesses together.

Mitch and Destin