Broker Check

2023 Annual Letter

January 15, 2024

Personal Reflections
In my journey through life, I've come to realize that the essence of true success lies not solely in
the amount of wealth someone has, but rather in constant growth in any given field. These
areas can be in things such as sparking political change, spreading the gospel or excelling as a
parent and spouse. Successful individuals all share a common trait: an unwavering commitment
to personal and professional development.

As I reflect on my own life, I'm proud of the milestones I've achieved: a degree in finance with a
concentration in personal financial planning, a career I love, and professional certifications like
becoming a CFP ® professional. Yet, I recognize that growth is an ongoing journey, not a
destination. At this point in my career, it would be easy for me to set it in cruise control and
begin to coast. I am aware that this is a pivotal moment in my career where many people
become content and consequently become average. But it’s also the moment that separates the
great from the good and that is the path I know I will go down not only for myself, but for my
family and clients.

Each phase of life brings its own set of challenges, whether in career, relationships, or personal
wellbeing. How we respond when initial excitement fades tends to be what defines our path.
Growth is not just beneficial but essential. It is the antidote to mediocrity, a beacon that guides
us through the ordinary to achieve the extraordinary.

Market & Economy
"In bear markets, stocks return to their rightful owners." - J.P. Morgan

Despite ongoing challenges, the stock market had remarkable growth in 2023, especially
compared to 2022. This year serves as a testament to the often illogical behavior of the
economy and the financial markets. One of my favorite phrases is that the stock market is not
the economy and the economy is not the stock market. What do I mean by that? Many people
ended 2022 looking very bearish and had a negative outlook for what 2023 would have in store
for investors. And for good reason;

-Inflation: At the beginning of 2023, CPI was still quite high. While the CPI has decreased over
the year, we're still navigating above the Fed's target of 2%.

-Interest Rates: The Federal Reserve's aggressive rate hikes have had widespread effects,
notably in the mortgage sector. It’s caused the real estate market to essentially freeze up.

-Bond Market: Facing its worst performance in recent history, the bond market had a terrible
2022 and was expected to suffer a tough 2023.

-Banking Failures: In the spring we witnessed 3 large banks fail, the biggest failures since 2008
and there was fear that it would begin to spread to other institutions.

-Global Conflicts: The war in Russia & Ukraine was still very much prominent in people’s minds.

I’m sure I could think of more, I bet you could as well. This is what I mean by the stock market is
not the economy and the economy is not the stock market. Almost all of these can be tied into
some sort of negative economic impact, and I think many people would agree that 2023 wasn’t
the best economy we’ve experienced. Yet, despite all these challenges, the stock market had an
exceptional 2023!

Client Insights & Closing Thoughts
For my clients, these past two years have been a demonstration of what our financial planning
process is built for. Many of you are aware of our buckets of money strategy, in which we have a
short term, medium term and long term bucket, each designed to handle volatility and expected
returns differently and by design. By balancing short-term needs with long-term goals, we've
navigated these turbulent times with confidence. As we continue to move forward, let's embrace
growth in every aspect of our lives, from our personal pursuits to our financial plans!