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A note from HoyleCohen’s CEO, Mark Delfino…

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”  Rainer Maria Rilke

Welcome to the 20s! I’m not sure how that sounds to you but it feels both exciting and a bit strange to me. On one hand, its just the start of a new year. On the other, there’s something about a new decade that provides an opportunity to step back a little further than normal to reflect and take a broader perspective before jumping back into our daily routines. So, let’s turn back the clock 10 years.

January 2010. It’s only 10 months after the stock market lost over half of its value and hit its nadir in the Great Recession. Europe was still in the middle of a debt crisis. The Arab Spring had not yet started. Osama Bin Laden was still alive. Siri (of iPhone fame) was not yet born. While technology was prevalent, nearly 4 out of 5 Americans did not have a smartphone, and eCommerce represented only 7% of total retail sales with the United States being the largest market. You could not hail an Uber or buy a Tesla Model S.

January 2020.  Over 70% of Americans have smartphones, and virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa are daily companions.  Electric cars are commonplace and over one-third of us hail rides from our phones. Global eCommerce has more than quintupled to become a $3.5 trillion business with China, not the U.S., being the largest market.

The 2010s. In general, the 2010s had a more tumultuous start than end, delivering steady slow growth, low interest rates and low inflation across much of the globe for most of the decade. This turned out to be a very positive backdrop for business, financial markets and investors. It wasn’t as great of a decade for workers as wages stagnated despite solid employment numbers. While many fears did not materialize, many challenges – rising debt, income inequality, political discord, climate change among them – remain. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t always pretty but it was certainly less eventful than the 2000s and exceeded expectations on many dimensions.

What about the 2020s?

Should we be worried about Britain’s exit from the European Union? About government debt, student debt, climate change? What will technology bring? If we’re unfazed talking to Alexa today, will we be equally unfazed when drones invade our neighborhoods to deliver goods or the cars we summon for a ride don’t have drivers? Will all this be a positive or negative impact on the global economy and for our own well-being?

I don’t have a crystal ball but I tend toward the positive. Humans are creative and adaptive. Sure, we create problems, but we’re pretty good at solving them too.  While there are a lot of challenges, I am cautiously optimistic that we won’t allow things to get out of hand and that we’ll begin to tackle some big issues in the coming decade.

This doesn’t mean that HoyleCohen is taking a position of complacency. Rather, we prefer to start the 2020s true to our motto “Plan Well. Live Fully.” We’re busily thinking about the future and what we need to do to bring our best to our clients so they can continue to achieve their financial and life goals throughout the coming decade. This is more of the ‘Plan Well’ part.  For the ‘Live Fully’ portion, we’ve begun the work at home by launching a firm-wide health initiative with the help of FitBits and group fitness goals, because taking better care of ourselves will let us both enjoy life and take better care of others. This will include some activities that we’ll announce and make available to clients and friends who would like to join us.

What are your hopes and dreams for the 2020s?

We may not know what the future holds, but we can be better prepared. We can also enter this decade with a resolve to enjoy it and live as fully as we are able regardless of its unexpected twists and turns.

Mark Delfino

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