Three Things is back.
I took some time off from the weekly "Three Things" format because, frankly, the market was so crazy earlier this year that a weekly newsletter on a variety of topics just didn't cut it. Instead, I tried to frequently spam you with data about market corrections/rebounds, contextualizing the decline we experienced, what we should do, etc...
I had to reach pretty deep into my bag of tricks to find compelling reasons why you shouldn't panic in the face of an unprecedented decline, but we made it through that period and we'll be even more resilient when the next thing hits. I hope you found those emails valuable in the midst of chaos.
Here we are today, June 9th, in a different situation that is perhaps not as scary to our portfolios, but is certainly an inflection point in each of our lives. I hope you find this newsletter similarly valuable.
--Adam Harding, CFP
(if you're new to this newsletter, "Three Things" is my regular thoughts and comments about three relevant topics I encounter throughout the week)
Thing #1: State of the Country
Sometimes the best thing to do is stop, listen, digest, think about your next move, then act. This applies to investing, it applies to relationships, and it applies to the change going on in our country right now. Here are some thoughts:
The murder of George Floyd is the most recent in a long line of injustices against the black community in our country. Nearly 30 years ago on the Senate floor (1991), in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, which acquitted four police officers who were caught on videotape beating King, Bill Bradley offered the following:
In the 1960s, James Baldwin, in the midst of great racial advances in civil rights, said, "beware the fire next time.’’
In the last twenty-four hours, another warning bell has rung and other fires have burned. If we as a nation continue to ignore the racial reality of our times, tip-toe around it, demagogue it, or flee from it, we’re going to pay an enormous price. What we need now, at this exact time, is hope and accountability. Accountability for the conduct of the police officers, and hope that the system of justice can work. (link)
While the reality of history repeating itself may make you cynical, I'd encourage you to be optimistic. Conversations are taking place across the country in parks, streets, (virtual) classrooms and chatrooms, and at the dinner table. These conversations could inspire great change.
We clearly need a more just criminal justice system, real economic opportunity for more people, and everyone fulfilling their citizenship responsibility by making informed voting decisions. We also need reliable access to information and facts --which the current media environment is not committed to. I don't recommend you get your investment advice from CNBC and I think it's worth being similarly cautious about the current events you absorb from the mainstream media.
Regardless of where you stand on the issues, I think we can all agree that society, as a whole, benefits from equal opportunities in employment and education... But it also benefits from maintaining relationships with people who are different than ourselves. Different perspectives means a broader rage of perception (your Johari Window)...
But more important than any of this is something I'll call "A Future Story"...
Perhaps this is just a different way to say hope, but the point is that people need to believe that their efforts today won't be for naught. We need to fight for and preserve the ability for everyone to craft their own future story, regardless of how society categorizes them based on race, ideology, gender, political party, etc.
Thirty years from now I hope we are able to look back on this time as a real turning point. To get there, we can’t lose hope and we have to hold ourselves accountable.
I always try to use volatile market conditions to help investors build resilience and become better and more disciplined --I don't see any reason why societal turbulence and social unrest can't also allow us to emerge as better human beings.