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The Sun Also Rises

Raise your hand if you thought 2020 was going to be a “normal” year. Everyone’s hand raised? Mine, too.

In beginning to write this post, 我已经从我的“办公室”(也就是地下室的办公桌)搬到了沙发上(也在地下室), 在过去的四个月里,我一直和妻子一起在家工作, and while also trying to raise our two boys.

And we’re not alone.

We’ve all had a lifetime’s worth of grave, surprising, tragic, confusing events happen over the last five months or so. We’ve had a global pandemic, 一场相当可预见的衰退,由旨在阻止蔓延的封锁带来, the most volatile month in stock market history, UFO sightings, civil unrest, murder hornets (who probably left in fear of 2020), and the continued and painful polarization of America around multiple topics. 即将到来的总统选举肯定是近年来最动荡的选举之一. We’re living in a bit of a powder keg.

最重要的是,24小时不停播报厄运和绝望的新闻, 不需要专家就能看出,以现代标准来看,世界大部分地区正处于史诗般的压力之下. For better or worse, 2020 is proving to be the stuff of meme dreams.

Reflections and Contradictions Between the Stock Market and the Economy

Investors are inevitably affected emotionally by all this, and they can let that emotion carry over into their portfolio decisions. 他们想当然地认为,经济状况将以这样或那样的方式推动股市.

但股市一直是经济衰退的先行指标, not the other way around.

在2月和3月,随着COVID-19的全球影响开始显现,我们看到了这一点. A few months ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. 路易斯总统詹姆斯·布拉德(James Bullard)谈到,鉴于大流行,以不同的方式构建当前的经济环境. 他说:“像‘衰退’和‘刺激’这样的词在大流行中没有意义.他说这是因为封锁的目的是为了立即的公共卫生而有意停止日常活动, knowing full well the economic slowdown they would create. Similarly, using “stimulus” is not wholly accurate, 因为《博天堂注册》的通过是为了给普通美国人提供紧急救济,而不是传统意义上的刺激.

然而,不管发生了什么,我们与S&P 500 up just under 2.4%, the Nasdaq up 20.4%, and Barclays U.S. Aggregate (Bonds) up 7.7% for the year.

From peak to trough, the S&P 500 fell more than 35% from February 19 to March 23, descending dramatically in just 24 trading days. 从3月份的底部开始,股市以更加惊人的速度攀升, gaining 48% through August 3.

考虑到我们目前面临的难以置信的国内和全球挑战,这是非常了不起的.

But how is this performance even possible? It’s hard for us to reconcile.

Balentine CEO Adrian Cronje has a Ph.D. in Economics. He’s a frequent speaker to business leaders and investors. 他最常传达的信息之一是,股市不是经济. Never has that rung truer than right now. He explores this in depth in a recent blog post, “After the ‘Great Lockdown,’ the ‘Great Disconnect’?“这种脱节(以及如何调和这种脱节)的想法,在我们的客户和商界领袖中引起了广泛共鸣. In fact, Adrian was recently invited to present on the topic to members of Vistage, the world’s largest peer mentoring membership organization for CEOs, business owners, and executives. I urge you to take a few minutes to read it.

我们现在肯定处于衰退之中,有超过5000万美国人领取失业救济金, an unemployment rate of 10.2% through the end of July, 以及迫在眉睫的如何让孩子们安全重返学校的问题(这反过来又预示着美国有能力重返工作岗位).

Yet here we stand, just over 4% away from all-time highs in the S&P 500 (the Nasdaq IS at all-time highs).

This offers a textbook example of why the stock market is not the economy.

Why, then, are so many of us so terrified and pessimistic? It’s perfectly natural. It’s anthropology. It’s part of our wiring as humans. We are hard wired to sense and fixate on danger to survive. We’re also highly tribal, and we thrive on storytelling. No wonder when we hear a bad piece of news from a friend, on social media, or in the news, 我们关注于任何可能同时发布的积极消息. Self-awareness is the first step in conquering this primitive nature of ours.

Keep Things in Context

The twentieth century was the most transformative in human history. Innovations in transportation, medicine, technology, space exploration, 互联网使社会以难以置信的数量级突飞猛进. However, much of this progress was almost undone by World War I, the Spanish Flu of 1918 (which killed over 40 million people), the Great Depression, World War II, the Holocaust, Mao Zedong’s tyrannical rule over China, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Vietnam, the Cold War, Desert Storm, and Y2K—just to name a few. (Remember Y2K? Everyone was so scared their computers would go “POOF!” It seems rather inconsequential now in the scheme of things.)

在诺曼底登陆的前一天晚上,罗斯福问埃莉诺,如果不知道接下来会发生什么,她会作何感想. 她的回答是:“年近六旬却仍然对不确定性感到不满,这很可笑,不是吗?” Society had endured so much in preceding decades, it’s fair to say people became tougher, more able to absorb shocks, and to accept a certain degree of uncertainty.

In comparison to that era full of trials, we are living in the most prosperous, healthy, educated, safest, longest-lived, best-fed period in the history of civilization. While many in our society continue to endure various hardships, 与前十年相比,这十年的生活相对容易,也更容易预测.

Naturally, our tolerance for uncertainty and shock has fallen. Understandably, 作为一个社会,我们可能在处理外部冲击和不确定性方面失去了一些力量.

重要的是要记住这一历史背景,并把注意力集中在一个不可动摇的真理上,即人类精神在面对不确定性时的坚韧不拔是一种不可阻挡的力量. It will propel us forward, in spite of what media headlines may tell you. (In fact, my colleague Bradley Martin wrote this blog examining why it may not always pay to watch the news. It was written in 2017 and is just as relevant today.)

Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems. —Kevin Kelly, Author of The Inevitable

Is my outlook a little too Pollyanna? I would argue it’s instead a calculated realism, a pragmatic optimism. I must agree with author and founding editor of Wired magazine Kevin Kelly. He says that “Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.”

Managing Risk by Mastering Fear

I fully respect and appreciate just how fragile and risky life really is. So much so, 我在Balentine花了很多时间与客户一起规划他们投资组合的下行风险.

To help assuage our clients’ fears, we use our Balentine Blueprint,一个专有的财务规划工具,结合了最新的财务规划工具和我们的 Capital Markets Forecast. There is no more dusty binder sitting on that shelf somewhere you can’t find. 你的蓝图就像你手中的手机或你桌上的电脑一样便携. 在“命令中心”视图中,隔夜feed更新您的帐户值,以帮助聚合和简化您的财务状况. 它的迭代蒙特卡罗模拟——用于模拟一个过程中不同结果的概率,这个过程由于随机变量(a.k.a. “life”)—enable us to model risks to your investment portfolio, such as varied spending levels, asset allocation changes, bear markets, sequence of return risk, health longevity risk, or loss of income.

我喜欢把它想象成一个金融“飞行模拟器”,我们在其中模拟不同的经济状况. While there will always be black swan events, 我们可以在无数变化的潜在影响发生之前就做好计划. We do this constantly and not only in times of crisis. 正如约翰•肯尼迪(JFK)曾经说过的那样:“修复屋顶的最佳时机是阳光灿烂的时候。.”

But the most valuable aspect is not the Balentine Blueprint itself. It’s the perpetual act of planning as life comes our way. Circumstances change, life happens. The ability to respond and adapt with a new plan in place is invaluable. It provides our clients peace of mind in navigating unsettling times, while keeping their financial goals in focus on the horizon.

Where and How We Go from Here

我最近完成了太空惊悚片《博天堂注册》在执行就地避难任务期间.

布拉德·皮特扮演了一名宇航员(没有剧透),但他说了一句考虑到当前事件的相当幸运的话:“我不确定未来, but I’m not concerned. 我会依靠我最亲近的人,我会分担他们的负担,就像他们分担我的一样.”

We all know things will be okay in the long run. 现在开车经过任何一个城镇,你一定会看到自制的标牌,上面写着, “Everything will be OK.” But we humans don’t live in the long-run, we live in the short-run. 而长期只是短期的集合,这让它很有压力. Yes, the world is a complex place. But, for the most part, we can choose how to respond in times of crisis.

正如这篇文章和我最喜欢的欧内斯特·海明威的一本书的标题所反映的那样,太阳将升起. Let’s bank on that, remember to filter the news we take in, try to respond to outside events with logic vs. fear, and move forward together…knowing we’re not alone.

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