“Street Notes” – April 2021
Quote of the Month
“There are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is not getting what you want; the other is getting it.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Usually, my market commentary reflects on what has happened over the last month. I think, in this month’s newsletter, it is more appropriate to go back a year and recap the incredible journey/rollercoaster we have all been on.
Given the massive recovery we have seen both in SA and global stock markets (see 1-year numbers in the table above), it may be hard for some investors to remember just how bad the markets were one year ago. We were experiencing broad upheaval in global economies, social unrest and political sea change in Washington, mainly caused by the pandemic.
In SA the FTSE/JSE All Share Index (ALSI) fell from 59 105 in early January 2020 to 37 177 on 19 March, having peaked at 61 776 in 2018. This translated into a 48% decline is US$ given Rand weakness. The Rand would eventually collapse to R19.35/$ in April 2020.
The global stock market crashed by 34%. What really unsettled investors was the speed of the market decline. It took just 40 days for global markets to collapse by 30%. Investors were discounting a deep financial crisis on top of a humanitarian one.
I must say I am really proud of my client base for not wanting to push the panic button, despite how people were feeling. My message to clients is always the same one around these kinds of situations; even though the reasons for a crash are usually different each time, we know from history that markets always recover. What only changes is the speed of the recovery. So, while it is perfectly acceptable to feel scared and anxious going through tumultuous market volatility, it is usually not advisable to make portfolio changes at this time, unless your situation has changed.
One of the graphics I was using in my discussions with clients this time last year, was the one below, courtesy of Allan Gray. The graphic shows the major market crashes since 1973 in SA and the reasons behind those crashes. In red numbers, it shows you the extent of the crash and the green numbers just below show you the return for the subsequent 5-year period. We obviously don’t have the 5-year number following our recent crash history but it will most likely show that persevering through the crash would have been the right thing to do. I have no doubt that the Covid-19 market crash will not be the last one but my advice will be exactly the same!
Return on Life
I have taken for the Return ln Life section of this month’s newsletter some excerpts from Bob Buford’s bestselling book called Half Time – Moving from success to significance.
The theme of this book fits nicely in with the EPIC Retirement program that I run for clients helping them navigate this stage of life called Retirement.
In this book, Buford expands on the theme that your midlife doesn’t have to be a crisis. In fact, the second half of your life can be better then the first. Buford helps provide encouragement and insight to propel your life on a new course to true significance – and the best years of your life.
Memorable quotes from the book:
- If the 1st half was a quest for success, the second half is a journey to significance.
- The game is won or lost in the second half, not the 1st. It’s possible to make some mistakes in the first half and still have time to recover, but it’s harder to do that in the second half.
- For the second half to be better than the first, you must make the choice to step outside of the safety of living on auto-pilot. You must wrestle with who you are, why you believe what you profess to believe about your life, and what you do to provide meaning and structure to your daily activities and relationships.
- Millions of people enter their forties feeling not that they are at the pinnacle of their power or at the top of their career, but that they are trapped. Trapped in relationships that are stagnant if not destructive. Trapped in the consequences of choices made a generation earlier.
- Many times a good second half depends on what is done during halftime. As you take stock, ask yourself these questions: What is my passion? Where do I belong? What do I believe? What will I do about what I believe?
- Make peace. Too many people approach the second half of their lives with regrets over the first half. (“I should have spent more time with my family.” “I should have developed better relationships.” “I should have ….”). Regret is a tough emotion to live down: it haunts you in ways that will sap your strength and inspiration to go onto better things. So, one of the first things you need to do in halftime is make peace with your first half set of issues.
- For much of your first half, you had to be someone else. That’s not duplicity, it’s just the reality for all of us as we climb the ladder. Your second half self is your genuine self, so be honest enough to discover it.
- One of the most common characteristics of a person who is nearing the end of the first half is that unquenchable desire to move from success to significance. After a first half of building a career and trying to become financially secure, we’d like to do something in the second half that is more meaningful – something that rises above perks and paychecks into the stratosphere of significance.
More to follow in next month’s newsletter…
If you would personally like to explore the EPIC Retirement program in more detail, please email Adam at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.
Pic of the month –
The climb to the top of the world”
Beautiful Mount Fuji, pictured above, may not be the highest mountain in the world but it was taken at a time just before the Springbok rugby side was about to summit to the highest peak of the rugby world, by annihilating England in the final of the Rugby World Cup in 2019 under the amazing leadership of Rassie & Siya.
The photo was kindly submitted for our newsletter by client Tony Banek, who with his wife Glyn, met up with his son living in Australia and future daughter-in-law at the tournament for a very special family reunion. The photo above was taken early one morning during their stopover in Fuji on route to Kyoto to watch the RWC world champs (to be) in one of the earlier encounters. Tony said they were really fortunate to get this kind of view as often the mountain is clouded over.
Thanks so much Tony!
Tip of the Month – Even Rock Stars need Estate Planning
“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” sang Fleetwood Mac on their 1977 classic “Rumors.” And band member Stevie Nicks is among a handful of rockers who seems to be putting those words into action.
Recently, Nicks, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young, and David Crosby all sold portions of their song catalogues. These multimillion-dollar deals are, in part, a response to changes in the music industry caused by streaming services and the pandemic’s effect on live performances. But the classic rock generation is also part of a bigger group: baby boomers. And once Dylan’s Never Ending Tour slows down, Robert Zimmerman will need an estate plan just like everyone else.
Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t leave your own estate plan “blowin’ in the wind”.
- Estate plans are comprehensive.
Some folks use the phrase “estate plan” interchangeably with “last will and testament.” But ideally, your will should be just one part of a larger plan that protects both you and your assets.
At a minimum, most estate plans include:
- Last Will and Testament, which memorialises your last wishes and describes how you want your estate to be distributed to heirs and other beneficiaries.
- Power of Attorney, which authorises someone of your choosing to act on your behalf while you are still alive if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions.
- Living Will, which designates someone of your choosing to make important medical choices for you if you are unable. In your living will, you can instruct your designee to use your healthcare directive as a guide, or you can describe the thought processes you would go through if you were making various decisions yourself.
Yes, it’s important to decide how you want your assets distributed after your passing. But an estate plan also protects you and your best interests and ensures that you’ll get the kind of care you want even if you’re not able to speak for yourself.
- Estate plans save your heirs time, money, and headaches.
If you set out your last wishes in a legally durable estate plan, your heirs are going to have a lot less to argue about — or worse, sue each other over. But even if your family is relatively drama free, an estate plan makes the process of settling your estate that much easier.
Your estate will also determine the best ways to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries. Planning with your financial advisor, attorneys, and tax professionals can help to minimise tax burdens by utilising appropriate vehicles like gift-giving or establishing family trusts. Without that kind of planning, a generous inheritance could subject your heirs to a hefty tax bill.
- Estate plans preserve your legacy.
Retirement-age rock stars might be making headlines, but estate plans are not just for the very famous and the extraordinarily rich. Yes, the larger and more varied your assets are the more important an estate plan becomes. But in addition to protecting your money, property, and well-being, an estate plan can also help you preserve the things you’ve cultivated over the course of your life and career that your heirs will value more than money.
Many estate plans include letters to family or video testimonials where people pass down the values that have guided them. Some folks include charitable missions that they charge their heirs to continue. Others establish foundations, trusts, and non-profits that can inspire a family to keep doing good for generations.
Set up an appointment with our office today and let’s work together on a plan that will safeguard your life’s greatest hits.