“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
-Herbert Simon, Artificial Intelligence (AI) pioneer
This quote was buried in an article I read last month related to the launch of ChatGPT, an AI-driven chatbot that has received its fair share of media attention. For those of you curious about what it means for the future of humanity and technology, <spoiler alert!> we won’t be covering that here. Sorry to disappoint.
I grabbed onto it because I think it points to the value we can provide as advisors. There is indeed more information at our fingertips (by a long shot) than ever before. But that also begs a critically important question: “what information is actually worthy of our attention?” If we’re not purposefully attentive to the things that matter, I’m afraid there isn’t much value to that “wealth” of information.
Here’s what I think is worth our attention as we reflect on 2022 and look ahead with optimism to 2023:
- Rising interest rates made for a stiff headwind for investments in 2022; thankfully our strategies held up relatively well.
- We’re confident our disciplined long-term approach is as poised as ever to shine.
- We continue to strengthen your team—down markets are great times to invest for the future.
- We can’t wait to discover what matters most to you.
Happy to share with you here briefly on each of these fronts and I’d encourage you to dig in even more in your meetings and conversations with the team throughout the year.
We’ve discussed in recent market letters and a webinar last October that we believe rising interest rates are the main event for investment markets. It created a headwind across nearly all investment assets in 2022 and will likely persist into the first part of 2023, though as you might expect the damage was worse for some areas of the market than for others. Thankfully, we took proactive steps that helped us fare relatively well.
Specifically, we weren’t overexposed to the high growth companies whose lofty valuations were most punished by the valuation adjustment that came with higher rates. We also positioned client bond portfolios better for rising rates and added real estate, where appropriate, for income and inflation protection. In a rare year where both stocks and bonds were down meaningfully, we believe this combination made a real and positive difference.
Our Unwavering & Disciplined Approach
We build client portfolios one investment at a time, never losing sight of the reality that each investment we make, whether in a company (stocks), loan (bonds), or real estate, should be adeptly managed, financially strong, and well positioned for the future. They should collectively deliver the right combination of income and growing value while maintaining an appropriate level of risk.
Some market environments make investing seem easy—when it feels like everything “just goes up”. The decades-long fall in interest rates to near zero prior to their recent turn higher provided a nice tailwind for the broad market. As we look ahead, our sense is that finding the right pockets of the market will be increasingly important to deliver the attractive returns that will deliver on your goals. This is our specialty.
Our team is always surveying the landscape to find the attractive long-term growth areas in which to invest and the long-term risks to avoid. If you’re curious, ask us why you own what you own and we’ll tell you. We hope, like it does for us, that a firm grasp of the “why” brings the confidence to maintain the course, especially in challenging times.
We’ve built a uniquely dedicated and talented group of professionals to do this work, which leads me to…
Your Strengthening Team
We doubled down on team in 2022 to get better and better for you, welcoming new faces across our investment, advisory, and service teams. We’re confident you’ll feel the positive impact of each this year. Peter Jacobs added his 30 years of research and portfolio management experience to the investment team in August, bringing a fresh wind of new ideas to the table. Similarly, Travis Bomgardner joined as senior advisor at the end of the summer, adding breadth and depth to our expertise in planning and advice. Alden Gwinn joined Amy on our client service team, no doubt many of you have had the opportunity to meet or talk with him over the phone as he approaches his one-year mark.
What Matters Most
Of course, we’ll continue to proactively bring things to your attention that we think you should know. Our planning team just last week posted an update on SECURE Act 2.0 with some key takeaways and what it might mean for you.
But ultimately what matters most to us is learning what matters most to you. For some that may be clear, for most it’s a journey. We’re here and happy to help explore the possibilities.
Where do you want to go in life and money? Let us bring our optimism to the conversation this year and help get you there.
Cheers to a healthy and prosperous 2023,