Nobody Said “IT” Was Gonna Be Easy

With 2024 already on top of us I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on 2023 and what it means to 2024.  For starters….NOTHING!  Just like we went into 2023 with our tails between our legs having been whooped up on from every angle, 2024 is likely to bear no resemblance to 2023 in most if not all ways.  2022 was a year where we found no refuge in places we were used to finding it. Whether it was “conservative stocks” or fixed income instruments otherwise known as “bonds”, no matter where we dropped anchor, our ship ended on some uncharted desert isle with Gilligan and the Professor.  (if you’re under 50…look it up)

Many went into 2023 with that “Where’s the Gatorade and don’t talk to me” feeling you get after a long night of being overserved. (don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about) .   Many I spoke to wanted to give up and cash in their chips, many said (for the 30th time in my career) “ Scott it’s different this time.”  Folks are funny, funny in that they can’t quite seem to shake the lingering effect of “Recency Bias”.  OMG, how good of a name would that be for a drink???  For those of you who have forgotten (irony anyone?), Recency bias is the overwhelming feeling you have that whatever just happened is likely to persist.  Anyway, 2024 is likely to be similar in that it’s not.  It’s not gonna look like 2023 and then again, it might.  Who knows?  I don’t, if I did do you think I’d be sitting here typing you a letter about how I don’t know what’s going to happen.  First of all, I’d be betting the ranch on whatever I “knew” was going to happen and then spend the next ten years writing books about how I “knew” what was going to happen!

2023 was very different than 2022 in that most investment categories did somewhat well, stocks..check, bonds…check. International…check.   As inept as we were in 2022 our genius came roaring back to us in 2023.

I know, what’s the point, Einstein?  Heard! (as the kids say) The point is that many people want to know what “we” are going to do when something happens? Newsflash, SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN! What, I have no idea.  Into every life and into every year a little rain must fall as the saying goes.  What we are going to do is nothing, we have already done it.  Each day our team with your guidance builds, designs, and tests portfolios to be ready for “it”.  What that specific “it” is I don’t know. Many of you have theories and creatures living under your beds that you spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about.  I can tell you the list of things that have the most impact on portfolios and markets are never the ones we all fret about.  They are impactful because we didn’t know to fret about them in the first place.  You know the list at this point but 9/11, Madoff, Ukraine, and now Yemen are things never voiced as concerns prior to their emergence.  I assure you no one mentioned the word Houthi in my office or any other office up until a week or two ago.  We’ve been over this many times but “it ain’t what you know that’ll get you, it’s what you know that ain’t so.” To quote Mark Twain for the millionth and still correct time.

As we enter 2024 know that the many conversations we’ve had over not only the last year, but the many years before are “what” “we” are “doing” about “it”.  We are always thinking about “it” even though “It” is that thing we can’t think about because we don’t know what “it” is.  I’ll wait till you collect your brains from the floor😊. Despite that, we think about “it” all day every day. We think about how to get people from A, where they are financially today, to B, where they want to be next year and the years after that.  We think about how to do that based on all the available data on previous “its”.  Unfortunately, the new ”it’s” will be different from all the other “its” we’ve ever encountered.  The bad news is human beings crave “certainty”. They crave the comfort real or imagined that they know what is about to happen…..sure you do 😉?  The good news is that so far in our brief time together all the things that we did not see coming did not keep us from our mission.  The planning and thoughtful conversation we have done to this point helped protect us and I dare say moved us forward despite the monsters under our beds doing their darndest to keep us off balance.

My good friends 2024 is upon us and what it brings is anybody’s guess (many will try), no matter the challenges ahead we are in this thing together, and as always, our team is ready to assist you with all the new and unforeseen monsters the world can throw at us.

“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell”, (Matchbox 20)


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