The year ahead
Most of us approach a new year with hopes of better times to come. This past year, the pandemic wreaked havoc on our health and economies around the world, making 2020 difficult for many. The new year brings a Covid-19 vaccine and a new U.S. president into our lives; What can we expect moving forward? As a financial advisor, I’m asked this question often. Here are my thoughts.
We are not all in the same boat
Though the pandemic touched us all in some way, it’s important to remember we were not all affected equally. Many of us, myself included, came through it relatively unscathed. A poem titled, We Are Not in the Same Boat: A Poem About Covid-19“, written by an unknown source, that went viral this year explained the situation well:
I heard that we are in the same boat.
But it’s not like that.
We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.
Your ship can be shipwrecked and mine might not be.
(read the full poem)
The poem goes on to talk about how, for some, the quarantine allowed for rest and reflection. At the same time, others faced financial ruin or loneliness. As an introvert, I’m embarrassed to admit I enjoyed the quiet life forced upon us by the virus. Admittedly, some of the inconveniences are getting old, but I can live with that. Others were far less fortunate, and if nothing else, I hope this experience taught us as a nation the importance of compassion and kindness toward others.
Moving forward toward recovery from the virus
Clearly, the development of effective vaccines in record time is a major scientific accomplishment. Now that we are in actual distribution of the vaccine, it’s critical that its efficacy remains at the high level indicated in the trials. And even if this is the case, will the general public get inoculated so we can achieve the herd immunity critical to stop the virus? As a practical matter, it’s unlikely a significant portion of the population can receive the vaccine much before mid 2021.
In the meantime, we must contend with the ravages of Covid-19. Doctors have greater knowledge now about how to treat the disease. Early on, medical professionals had to make decisions without sufficient information about how the virus actually works. Happily, we see better results for hospitalized patients in general now, but the deaths, lockdowns and the accompanying economic dysfunction continues. At least we can look to a successful vaccine as a path out of this problem. In my opinion, the second half of the year looks promising.
How the election results might impact us
The inauguration of the new administration takes place January 20th and the Democrats plan to make changes. A lot of people have anxiety, understandably, as no one can be certain how those changes will play out. Keep in mind that though we have a Democratic president, the House of Representatives consists of a great many Republicans; this means that while changes are a given with a new administration, the more drastic recommendations are not likely to pass.
Obviously, some industries will be bigger winners than others during the next four years, but ultimately the markets reflect the size and diversity of the U.S. economy; they tend to do well regardless of which party is in office. It’s comforting to look back on past history as a reminder that the American economy is amazingly resilient.
The bottom line
We have to wait and see. We came through difficult times before and we will again. In my view, there is certainly no reason to panic and perhaps good reason for optimism. The pent-up demand of the last nine months in quarantine may effect consumer demand and the economy in a very positive way. It won’t be anything magical, but there is hope.
I will end with my best wishes for a safe and happy new year for all. The year ahead is bound to be better than the one that we just left!
About the author
Bob Hampton is the owner of Impart Financial LLC ,a Registered Investment Advisor based in Fort Worth. He is a certified public accountant, a chartered life underwriter, and a chartered financial consultant. He’s a published author with contributions in business books on a variety of topics. In addition, Bob is a good listener who enjoys the humorous side of life, and is a softie for dogs. Some say he is a rare breed, an accountant with a personality! Reach out to Bob on his website or contact him at 817-921-5656.
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