I pick up the phone and as I am starting my usual “Hello, this is” -. My greeting is interrupted; the person on the other end of the phone has started to speak and they have a catch in their voice as they haltingly tell their story. I listen with my head and my heart. I have been told that I am too caring, too sensitive, that my feelings show on my face. I never heard it said that I am superficial. I consider that a good thing, because I’d rather be given the title of being empathic, even if I sometimes stumble for the correct words when giving a reply. I have no problem moving from empathy to putting on my financial planning hat1 in order to provide the financial advice a person requires for their unique situation. It would be great, if in this world we only had joy to share, but that is not the way it works in life.
Here at White Raven Financial, we care about our clients. The relationship is more than financial to us – it is about who the person is and what is going on in their lives. That is why, if we feel a client is not a good fit, we recommend them to someone in our peer network who we feel may be a better fit. We want to be there for you, our client, in more ways than one. In turn, we always like to share the joy of working in a place where one can enjoy nature and take a walk around the Stump Farm2 if one so wishes.
For those that take social security, bells were ringing with joy when the administration announced a 5.9% benefit increase3 beginning in January 2022. This will help most beneficiaries of the system as inflation appears to be continuing with no end in sight. Goldman Sachs recently reported4 that they foresee 4.3% as the 2021Q4 inflation rate before trailing off to 2.15% in 2022. The Bureau of Economic5 announced on October 28th that real gross domestic product (GDP) clocked in at the annual rate of 2.0% for the third quarter of 2021. The rate was down noticeably from the 6.7% in the second quarter. We noticed some comments or speculation that the lower rate came about due to deceleration in personal spending. Alternatively, we wonder if our spending dollars just did not go as far. Charles Schwab Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders in her recent market commentary6 noted how the disappointment in the GDP was pushed by ongoing global supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages. Our take from multiple readings: There appears to be definite stickiness in inflation pressures which seem to persist due to raw material shortages/inflation, ongoing supply chain disruption and uncertainty surrounding the debt ceiling and infrastructure.
Overseas, there is also a sharing of good news. The Thornburg Investment Team7 noted in early October that the global economy largely remained on a path of recovery which they thought was brought about by above trend growth and labor market improvement. Russell Investments, in their 2021 Global Market Outlook – Q4 update8, opinioned that they expect the pandemic-recovery trade to resume if inflation starts to subside, infection rates continue to decline, and government fiscal and monetary easing go according to their plan.
Globally we have all heard about the climate change summit that occurred this past week. How the world economies adapt and change will have different social and economic impacts based on the way different countries operate. We are pleased that here at White Raven Financial9 we have always been in the ESG investing space for investors.
Now on to the markets: October was a bounce! Part of the bounce was brought about by stellar earnings10 reported by various companies. The last trading of October had the major indices hitting new record closes for the year11. For October, the blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* showed a 5.84% gain. The S&P 500 (SPY)* and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* double bounced by notching their best months since November 202011 and posted gains of 6.91% of 7.27% respectively. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab). On Tuesday, October 26th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller13 report. The report showed that for the reporting month, you guessed it – home prices again posted with rises. Although a slight deviation from the last three months – Seattle was no longer noted as one of the top 3 areas. The August 20-city composite Home Price Index14 reported a 19.7% annual gain; down 0.3% from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of August showing a 0.9% increase over the prior month of July for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and thank you (as always) for reading,
The Team at White Raven Financial
Advisory services offered through White Raven Financial Services, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Washington.
*Indexes are unmanaged and do not reflect service fees, commissions, or taxes. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Returns for the DOW, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are the total return (price only) provided by Morningstar as October 31 2021. Diversification and asset allocation do not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
*The Standard and Poor’s 500 is an unmanaged, capitalization weighted benchmark that tracks broad-based changes in the U.S. stock market. This index of 500 common stocks is comprised of 400 industrial, 20 transportation, 40 utility, and 40 financial companies representing major U.S. industry sectors. The index is calculated on a total return basis with dividends reinvested and is not available for direct investment.
*The Dow Jones Industrial Average covers 30 blue chip U.S. companies selected by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The Dow represents about 25% of the NYSE market capitalization and less than 2% of NYSE issues.
*The NASDAQ is a market-value weighted index that measures all NASDAQ domestic and foreign common stocks.
- * https://Morningstar.com (index)