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  • Brad Clinard

Tailoring Communication - 2019 Mid-Year Outlook

We hope that everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer! Today, we are going to share some key insights from our 2019 Client Communication Feedback. This note will be longer than usual, but it is important to share some keys around communication.


A STORY OF GROWTH


The start of the year 2020 will mark 10 years since I joined my Dad’s practice and began working in the financial industry. Wow, I love that! I recently had an older advisor tell me, “I had no idea what I was doing my first ten years.” While I may have been ahead of the curve on career development, it is exciting to anticipate how a commitment to continual growth will lead to more impact. The best is ahead, and the future is bright.


CALL FOR FREEDOM AND PURSUIT OF ARETE


Starting my career in a bank environment, the message was subtle but clear: stay in your lane, head down, don’t ask too many questions, sell more and encourage lending. The feeling of scarcity was obvious, and I wanted to pursue abundance and grow. No wonder I was anxious to leave. We tried to be as authentic and unique as possible in that structure, but my soul was screaming there had to be more.


Most times, the easy road in life is not the one that will ignite your soul. Growth is a process and our transitions have taken time, but now we have clarity of creating the type of planning firm to empower clients to live an abundant life. It’s with this in mind that we are super inspired to serve you in new ways, grow as people and pursue areté.


Areté is a concept from Greek that translates as “virtue” or “excellence.” It also has a deeper meaning that I think of as “expressing the highest version of yourself moment to moment.”


These are the seeds that spring forward into the next phase of our growth which we will be sharing later this month.


"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR ATTENTION


Some have said we are living in the “attention economy”. Just think about how large and pervasive this has become. Recently, a social media company was fined $ 5 billion. And to be clear, nearly all of their revenue is from selling attention. To put this figure in perspective, because people have difficulty in thinking in billions, the 2017 revenue for the top 468 traditional advertising and marketing companies was just $ 8.3 billion.


History may not reflect well on the way we monetized the Internet as we could have had a “pay for internet model” in which our data was not sold, but we paid for content. Estimates say this would have only cost about $ 20 a year per person, but it’s almost compulsive how consumers can’t pass on a “free” model.


Herbert Simon won the Nobel Prize in Economics for pioneering work in the field of “attention economics.” In 1971, he told us: “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Too much information creates “a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” This was 1971!


Today, one of the leading experts on attention, Cal Newport, says being able to focus your attention and go deep is the superpower of the 21st century. Why? Because when nearly everyone is allowing their attention to get destroyed, those few of us who go in the opposite direction look like superheroes.


We think many people need a “Financial Media Detox.” As we have shared in the past, at the office we say CNBC stands for “Causes Nothing But Confusion.” Just remember, the financial news industry is built on predictions and forecasts.


SURVEY: WHAT DID WE LEARN?


This exercise and feedback were helpful and will shape the way we communicate in the future. The survey indicated our clients are generally in 3 categories when it comes to wanting to meet, review and receive information.


Some clients have little day-to-day worry about their finances. We are happy to know this! It is our great desire to have a significant impact on the lives of those we work with as we try to empower them to pursue abundance.


Some clients are more detail-oriented and likely enjoy reading most everything we send. They want to stay up to date on details and many of these clients know that they can make financial decisions on their own. However, they realize when markets get uncomfortable or they are faced with complicated trade-offs, collaborating leads them to be more confident and potentially realize better outcomes.


Most clients are in the middle. They likely don’t worry about their finances much but feel almost obligated to check in occasionally. They enjoy the content we produce because it is not mass produced. Many of these clients are living busy lives. Most fascinating, many these clients are interested in what our team has going on and want insight into changes the future will bring related to their lifestyles.



WHAT’S NEXT: INSPIRATION - SHARED WISDOM – UPDATES


We want to share highly curated information—Designed to Inform, Educate and Empower.


We will be sharing “Money on the Mind”, bite-sized moments of investment insight to help us all act as better investors.


This will be combined with “Wise Words”. These will be key highlights I have collected over the last decade from my habit of trying to read a book a month. The sharing of this wisdom is intended to help you live a more abundant life in a world which, we believe, will continue to change at an ever-increasing speed.


We will continue to provide simplified updates as the investment market cycle warrants, since people need stories to create understanding about events unfolding in the world. However, we know that the more financial media people consume, in general, the more anxiety they have and the worse their investment experiences become.


For clients wanting more detailed market commentary, always reach out to us if you want more. We have access to numerous resources of industry produced information.


2019 MID-YEAR OUTLOOK


Along this line, we want to provide the current 2019 Midyear Outlook from LPL’s Research Team. This provides an updated view of the market’s fundamentals. We believe that short-term concerns and headlines continue to cycle and fade and, for now, investors should emphasize the four primary pillars for fundamental investing: policy, the economy, fixed income, and equities. Below is our brief overview of each pillar:


POLICY - Progress on trade remains a key theme to watch. We continue to believe economic (and political) self-interest will bring the United States and China back to the table. Clarity on cross-border transactions should lead to increased business confidence, higher rates of investment, and improved productivity, likely extending economic and profit cycles.


ECONOMY – It is important to remember that slowing growth is still growth. The 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) forecast is in the 2.25 – 2.5% range, supported by consumer spending, business investment, and government spending. Unemployment remains low and consumer confidence is high. Housing, a key economic driver remains strong.


BONDS – We still expect higher yields from current levels, but it is going to take time. Considering the Federal Reserve (Fed), inflation, and our expectation for progress on trade, we now look for the 10-year Treasury yield to reach the 2.5 – 2.75% range in the next 12 months. However, citing the yield curve as well as weaker economic reports, we suspect the Fed will be more accommodative in coming quarters; although, fundamentally we disagree rates should be lowered at this time. In contrast to the US, the global bond market continues to present a challenge with a new record of $13 trillion in bonds yielding less than zero percent.


STOCKS - Based on expectations for continued steady economic growth, favorable monetary policy, along with increases in government spending, reduced regulation, and lower taxes, we believe 2019 may still be a good year for equity investors. The corrections off of the 2018 market highs helped reset expectations. Accordingly, we see the potential for 5 – 6% earnings per share (EPS) growth in the S&P 500 Index during 2019, and project the S&P 500 would be fairly valued around 3,000.


At Clinard Financial, we follow and keep a close eye on three primary technical indicators. Currently, all three of these technical indicators are still positive, so we remain positioned with a positive outlook on the market, while knowing that things can change quickly.


HOW CAN YOU DO YOUR PART IN COMMUNICATING WELL?


So, when exactly should you reach out? Well, anytime you want! But more specifically, think of 3 common situations:



Your 411 - Reach out anytime you have a question about your money.


Your 911 - Reach out anytime you have an emergency and want a sounding board to talk through your situation.


Press Release - Reach out anytime you have news. We want to know about life changes … Celebrations—Achievements—Moves—New Family Members … and also the difficult moments of life when you are experiencing transitions. Moments of Transition are where we often provide the greatest value.


Also remember our Open Door – We are committed to always making time to visit, have a call or set up a virtual visit, if you need. We believe in the power of presence, so for clients who are out of town, we are willing to make a trip to visit face to face. Please let our team know how we can be of service.


We wish you blessings and hope you enjoy the rest of the summer!


-Brad




Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through GWM Advisors, a registered investment advisor. GWM Advisors and Clinard Financial, LLC are separate entities from LPL Financial.


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