It appears that nowadays, retirement is being redefined. Many of our clients are “retiring” but continuing to work! More often than not, they are moving to jobs that have less hours and are more enjoyable and perhaps therefore less stressful. Our experience reflects a change in society in general, where retirement and working are not mutually exclusive. There is also evidence to show that by working longer, people remain healthier. A kind of use it or lose it mentality at play for both the mind and body. Alongside this shift in the definition of retirement, there is also a shift in the demographics of who is not retiring. More women are staying in the workforce longer than ever before, and the numbers will continue to grow. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the economy, with a completely new make up of the workforce; one diversified with older, experienced workers enjoying what and how they choose to work.
We can’t ignore, of course, that we work for an income. And as consumers, we must have used all the money we saved at the gas pump recently to purchase goods or fix our homes during the last quarter of 2015. According to a second estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the fourth quarter GDP increased at an annual rate of 1.0%. That unexpected good news helped to give a little jolt to the market toward the end of February.
If you are a Warren Buffet fan, you may have watched his interview on CNBC on the 29th of February. This year’s annual meeting was webcasted since the 2015 annual meeting was maxed out at 45,000 people. One of the takeaways from Buffet’s interview was his prediction on stock prices. Buffet does not feel the markets will be higher in the short run but will be higher years from now; remember that he may be biased. He mentioned that productivity growth is a goal of society. He also had a note on global warming – he predicts insurance rates will rise gradually over time. To learn more, follow the earlier link to his interview. The team of Sonders, Sorensen and Kleintop at Charles Schwab addressed the market correction and the economy in their February 19 Market Perspective. That the correction in stocks did not yet seem to be corroborated by a sharp US economic downturn was one of their key points. And that recent economic readings from around the world also suggest that we are not slipping into a recession was another key point.
Internationally we are hearing and reading quite a bit about negative interest rates. (It is good for borrowers but not very economical for savers.) Russ Koesterich, CFA and Global Chief Investment Strategist, wrote that European bank lending continues to make progress with a “glass is half full” perspective. Koesterich also addressed the European Union membership of the U.K. referendum being one of the geopolitics to add to the list of worry. The worry will span a few months as the U.K. referendum is not scheduled until June 23rd.
Even with all the volatility, February found the major indexes staying close to flat when compared to the January month end. The blue-chip barometer (the DowTR)* edged higher, just shy of a percent, at 0.75%. The S&P 500 Index (SPXTR)* edged lower, just shy of positive, at -0.13%. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* broke the one percent mark at negative 1.03%. The S&P Case-Shiller 20-city composite Home Price Index in December show a 5.7% year-over-year gain – the same as the previous month of November. Month-over-month data remained the same with the month of December unchanged over the month of November for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and Thank you,
The Team at White Raven Financial
*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 and the S&P500 are total returns from Pershing Netx360. Return for the NASDAQ is the NAV total return provided by Morning Star as of 2016February29