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Sunday Drive - 05/15/2022 Edition

Sunday Drive - 05/15/2022 Edition
A Sunday Drive Around the Intern

👋🏻 Hello friends,

Greetings from Saratoga Springs!

Take it easy and enjoy this week's leisurely Sunday Drive around the internet.

Vibin'

The vibe of the week is John Mayer's Waiting on the World to Change. One line struck me as I was listening to the song for the first time in quite a while. "When they own the information, they can bend it all they want." 🤷🏼‍♂️   In a trust starved world, we should all treasure and protect it as best we can.

Interesting Drive-By's

👀  Fidelity got into the bitcoin mining business back in 2014. One whole building on their Westlake, TX campus is dedicated to the mining operation. I've heard speculation (unconfirmed) that they are one of the biggest miners in the world. Now, they are going to offer bitcoin to clients in their retirement accounts - offering custody of the digital assets that they already own themselves.

🤔  Here's one answer to why there's an increasing labor shortage in many professions and areas of the country. The gig economy was quite a topic of conversation a few years back but I haven't seen as much written about it lately. It hasn't gone away. It's accelerated.

💸  In the investment management world, we have a saying - "That's what makes a market." As investors search for some semblance of understanding as to what opportunities the recent market turmoil might offer, here are a couple of  historical viewpoints:

One the one hand 📈...

On the other hand 📉...

The eternal optimist in me is inclined to lean in the direction, albeit a bit more tempered, of the Jon Erlichman tweet.

Chart of the Week

Wages can go a lot higher...‌

Wages Can Go a Lot Higher

Inflation hawks sometimes say the economy is experiencing a “wage/price spiral.” This BlackRock chart says otherwise.

The upper line is the government’s “Employment Cost Index” which includes both cash pay and non-cash benefits. It shows a steady gain over the last three years. But what really counts to employers is how much they are paying for a given amount of output, i.e., productivity. Adjusting for that cuts the labor cost growth by more than half.

The lower line is productivity-adjusted labor costs again adjusted for inflation. This shows labor costs are falling in real terms. This means wages can rise further without adding to inflation. The BlackRock analysts think this means the Fed will stop tightening sooner than many expect.

What I'm Working On

I'm in the early stages of planning a webinar for fellow advisors and prospective clients which will delve into the workings of our Built to be Boring™ portfolio which I am hoping to begin licensing to others outside of New Lantern Advisors some time before the end of 2022. Lots of work to do, but I do believe it meets a need for retirement income in a highly cost-efficient and transparent manner.

I'm also in the process of taking a course on optimizing Social Security benefits for couples. I already have a good working knowledge about the ins and outs of Social Security, but this course is very in-depth and will allow me to do an even better job for my retiree and soon-to-be-retiree clients.

I'll admit that the recent market volatility has been a bit distracting with more portfolio activity than normal, and has taken me away from my writing. I am still at work on a longer article which I've previously mentioned which I plan to call The Best Inflation Hedge is YOU. I hope to have it published by the end of the month.


If you have any cool articles or ideas that might be interesting for future Sunday Drive-by's, please send them along or tweet 'em at me.

‌I hope you have a relaxing Sunday and a great week ahead. See you next week...

-Mike


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