You are a financial advisor. If you’ve been in the business awhile, the last few years have been pretty kind to you. As we pass Thanksgiving on the way to Christmas, we enter the season of good cheer. You would think people should reflect, look on the bright side and count their blessings. Many do. But some party guests see their portfolios as a glass half empty. They learn you are a financial advisor and decide to share their negativity. What can you do to get them to see the brighter side of things, show them the glass is half full?
Countering Ten Complaining Comments
Yes, there are two sides to every story. Can you find a way to talk about a positive aspect?
1. The stock market. Thinking back to election day in 2016, the DJIA was about 17,888. On September 21st this year, it was 26,743. (1) Even if it was 24,285 just after Thanksgiving (11/23/18), we’ve still come a long way. What do you think it will do if well managed companies still continue to report good earnings and a trade deal with China is eventually reached?
2. Oil prices. Currently they are at about $ 51.00/barrel. (11/23/18) Anyone remember back in July 2008 when it hit a high of $ 147.00/barrel? (2) Oh, that’s when we didn’t like high oil prices. Then along came fracking and shale oil. Goldman Sachs estimates shale oil companies can “balance their books” when prices are around $ 56.00/barrel. (3) The more oil we produce domestically, the less we need to import from overseas.
3. Interest rates are slowly rising. Many people complained you can’t generate a retirement income on your savings if bonds only pay 1-2%. A slow rise in interest rates will be good for people who prefer earning interest.
4. Brexit isn’t our problem. Divorce can be difficult, as the Britain and the European Union have learned. How can they pull apart when the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland share a common boarder? If you live in the 50 states, this isn’t our problem.
5. US dollar is strong. If you travel overseas on vacation, you know what a weak dollar does to hotel and restaurant prices. In November 2017, the GBP cost 2.05 USD. (4) As of 11/23/18, the GBP costs about $ 1.28. To see it as low as $ 1.08, you need to go back to 1985, over 30 years ago. As of 11/23/18, the Euro is about $ 1.14. In February it was about $ 1.22. (5) If you travel, you appreciate a strong dollar.
6. Inflation is low. Today it’s about 2.58%. Back in 1979, it was over 13%. (6) It hasn’t been above 5% since 1990. High inflation is can destroy retirement savings because it erodes purchasing power.
7. House prices have been going up. It’s the biggest asset for most homeowners. According to March 2018 data from Kiplinger’s, house prices rose about 5.4% in the previous year. Prices in about half of the 100 cities they follow have returned to peak levels. (7) Most people like high home prices.
8. Health insurance premiums are stabilizing. We’ve gotten used to health insurance rising faster than inflation. In Sept 2018, National Public Radio reported plans purchased through ACA exchanges will probably only rise by 4% on average. (8) Could it be that healthcare costs are finally under control?
9. Unemployment is low. It’s currently about 3.7%. According to the Federal Reserve, back in October 2010, it was 10%. (9) Although everyone still can’t find a job, if you have a college student at home, the outlook is improving.
10. The midterms are behind us. Hopefully the robocalls will stop. NBC News cites a YouMail Index showing the average American received 13 robocalls in September 2018. But if you lived in the 404 area code in Georgia, you averaged 68.9 calls! (10)
Yes, there’s a lot to complain about. There’s always something. But there’s a lot to be thankful for too. Hopefully, with a little preparation, you can change the narrative.
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