As the broader equity markets have reached record levels, a question people often ask us is, “When is the market going to crash?” Nobody can predict the future specifically, but there are two things we can tell you:
- If your assets are properly allocated, we believe regular (and expected) pullbacks in the broader markets should not impact your lifestyle or income.
- Market drops are a normal part of long-term growth, and we believe it is not a matter of if the markets will correct but when.
With all the negative news about the current administration, the status of Obamacare, North Korea, Russian collusion in the election and a plethora of other things, it’s easy to miss much of the positive news and economic data. Let’s celebrate some positive trends.
- Jobs ¾ According to CNN Money on May 5, the unemployment rate hit a 10-year low of 4.4 percent in April. Even the so-called underemployment rate, a number some consider the “real” unemployment rate because it includes people working part-time who want full-time jobs, fell to 8.8 percent in April. That is the lowest since November 2007.
Other numbers point to a healthier labor market, too. For example, 522,000 jobs were added in the first three full months after President Trump took office. Wages have risen 2.5 percent in the past 12 months. That’s still below the 3 percent level the president, the Fed and many workers would like to see, but it’s a big improvement from just 2 percent since the 2008 recession ended.
- Housing ¾ For many Americans, the bulk of their wealth is tied up in their homes. There’s good news on that front.
- Sold quickly: An existing home that was sold in the United States in June 2017 was on the market before sale for just 28 days, on average (source: National Association of Realtors).
- Median price increases: According to a May 2017 press release from the National Association of Realtors, the median price for an existing home for the first quarter of 2017 was $232,100 -¾ up 6.9 percent from the first quarter of 2016. This is the fastest growth since the second quarter of 2015. The press release noted that “the strongest quarterly sales pace in exactly a decade put significant downward pressure on inventory levels and caused price growth to further accelerate.”
- The stock market ¾ The stock market has continued to move up, reaching record levels.
- S&P gains through July: The S&P 500 was up 11.6 percent YTD (total return) through July 31, 2017, representing nine consecutive months of gains. The last time the S&P 500 was up in each of the first seven months of a year was 1995 (22 years ago), a full year that produced 11 of 12 “up” months and a +37.6 percent gain for the entire year (source: BTN Research).
- DJIA gains through July: From the November election through July 31st, the Dow Jones Industrial Average market was up more than 18 percent. This increase is being driven by more than perception. As of July 28th, 73 percent of the S&P 500 companies that reported earnings had topped estimates on both the top and bottom lines, according to data from FactSet.
- Consumer confidence ¾ From a psychological standpoint, nearly 6 in 10 people in the United States (58 percent) say the economic situation is very or somewhat good, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted between February 16th and March 15th of this year. Last spring, only 44 percent of the American public described the economy as” good.” This is the most positive assessment of U.S. economic conditions since 2007 and only the second time that half or more of those surveyed have given the economy a thumbs up.
- Expansion of the global middle class ¾ Finally, from a global perspective, we are living through the third greatest expansion of the global middle class since 1800. By 2030, the middle class is expected to expand by another three billion people, with this growth coming almost exclusively from the emerging world (source: brookings.edu, 2/28/17).
Again, we believe it is not a case of if the markets will pull back, but a case of when. We also believe that if you are properly positioned, these events should not impact your ability to take income or maintain your lifestyle.
In fact, these events may present an opportunity to add to your portfolio. The key is a proactive approach to rebalancing your portfolio and taking a holistic approach to planning, which includes managing both expenses and income tax. We do not believe in trying to time markets. There will always be uncertainty, and we are in the middle of a very interesting time in which the negative news appears to be overshadowing the positive. We believe this situation presents an opportunity for those who can rise above the noise and a potential risk for those who can’t.
We will be challenged with rising inflation, longer life spans and increased information. The key is to work with a trusted advisor who can help you navigate a course to achieving your personal goals and vision. Please contact us, without cost or obligation, to discuss your situation. Randy Carver at firstname.lastname@example.org or (440) 974-0808.
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