July 8, 2024 Weekly Update

We do love it when someone refers a family member or friend to us.  Sometimes the question is, “How can we introduce them to you?”   Well, there are multiple ways but a very easy way is to simply forward them a link to this webpage.

Here are this week’s items:

Portfolio Update:  Murs and I have recorded our portfolio update for July 8, 2024

Andrew Opdyke – 2nd Quarter Economic Update for Retirement

Radon and Murs speak with Andrew Opdyke as he provides his expert analysis on the current economic landscape and what to expect moving forward. They discusses the divergence within the economy, the issues with the banks, the recession and market volatility, and much more.


2nd Quarter Economic Update for Retirement

As we navigate through 2024, the economic landscape is evolving in intriguing ways, shaped by the Federal Reserve’s strategic moves, the unique dynamics of an election year, and the ripple effects of global events. Join us as we discuss the latest trends, market performances, and economic forecasts, providing you with essential insights to stay ahead in these transformative times.  

Economic Update: 2nd Quarter 2024

Welcome to the Secure Your Retirement Blog’s 2nd Quarter Economic Update! As we navigate through 2024, the economic landscape is evolving in intriguing ways, shaped by the Federal Reserve’s strategic moves, the unique dynamics of an election year, and the ripple effects of global events. Join us as we discuss the latest trends, market performances, and economic forecasts, providing you with essential insights to stay ahead in these transformative times.  

By covering topics like the Fed’s surprising rate cut predictions and the enduring strength of key market sectors, our goal for this update is to equip you with the knowledge to make informed financial decisions and secure your retirement future. 

 The Fed’s Mid-Year Checkup 

 One of the most notable events as we reached the halfway point of 2024 was the Federal Reserve’s mid-year meeting in June. Entering the year, the Fed had signaled plans for three rate cuts, and the market anticipated as many as six. However, the Fed’s June meeting painted a different picture. Despite earlier expectations, inflation had not moved as anticipated, and economic growth continued. Consequently, the Fed adjusted its forecast, now planning just one rate cut for the year.  

Interestingly, the Fed projected that key economic indicators like the unemployment rate and core inflation would remain stable. They anticipated an unemployment rate of about 4%, exactly where it was during their meeting, and core inflation to end the year at 2.8%, again mirroring the current rate. This status quo forecast suggests a delay in the rate cut cycle, with higher rates persisting a bit longer. This development is a critical aspect of our 2nd Quarter Economic Update, as it shapes expectations for the remainder of the year. 

 The Election Year Factor 

 With 2024 being an election year, there’s speculation about how political factors might influence the Fed’s decisions. The Fed aims to maintain political independence and typically avoids making significant moves around election time. Therefore, September is the first potential date for a rate cut, provided there are notable changes in economic fundamentals. However, the most likely scenario for a rate cut this year appears to be December. 

 It’s essential to recognize that election years often bring heightened emotions and volatility. Despite the debates and political maneuvering, the long-term impact on markets tends to be minimal. Historical data shows that markets move forward regardless of the party in power. Therefore, while elections dominate headlines, their short-term impact on economic fundamentals is often overstated. 

 Market Performance and Future Outlook 

 Despite the ongoing challenges with inflation and geopolitical issues, the stock market performed well in the first half of the year. If the second half mirrors the first, we could see a notably strong year for the markets.  

However, the question remains: will this trend continue? Market movements are often driven by a mix of earnings expectations, company fundamentals, and investor emotions. 

 For instance, there’s considerable excitement around artificial intelligence (AI) investments, with significant projects like the Intel plant in Ohio and the TSMC plant in Arizona. While these developments are promising, they also introduce a degree of caution, as market optimism sometimes outpaces actual progress. 

Historically, market movements have been influenced by interest rates and borrowing costs. Currently, we see higher-than-average market valuations, which suggests that future market performance will need strong fundamental support. Investors should be mindful of potential volatility and focus on long-term growth areas. 

  Recession Concerns 

 Entering 2024, there was considerable talk of an impending recession. Now, halfway through the year, the question remains: is a recession still a possibility? 

 According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a recession is determined by multiple indicators, such as: 

  • employment 
  • consumer spending 
  • industrial production 

 While some areas have seen declines, consumer spending and employment indicators remain relatively stable. 

 The data shows that while we are not currently in a recession, there are signs of economic slowing. For instance, manufacturing orders have decreased, and sectors like auto sales and home sales are down. However, the strength of the economy, particularly driven by retirees and baby boomers, continues to support overall growth. 

 While a recession is not off the table, the likelihood of a severe downturn seems moderated by ongoing consumer activity and targeted investments in growth areas. 

 Geopolitical Issues 

 Geopolitical tensions, particularly involving Ukraine, Russia, and Israel, continue to impact the global economy. The disruption in the Red Sea area and the Suez Canal has led to increased shipping costs, affecting inflation and import prices. While Europe bears the brunt of these costs, the ripple effects are felt globally, including in the U.S. 

 The geopolitical landscape adds complexity to the Fed’s efforts to manage inflation. External factors like shipping disruptions and geopolitical unrest can drive inflation higher, complicating domestic policy decisions. Resolution of these conflicts could also ease inflationary pressures. 

 Social Security and Retirement 

 As a retirement planning-focused blog, we must address concerns about Social Security. Current projections indicate that without intervention, the Social Security fund could face significant shortfalls by 2033, potentially reducing benefits to 70-80% of their current levels. 

 However, there is hope. The next administration will likely prioritize addressing fiscal issues, including Social Security. Possible solutions include adjustments to retirement ages and tax policies. While changes are inevitable, those nearing or in retirement are likely to see their promised benefits, with more significant adjustments targeting future beneficiaries. 

 The U.S. remains in a strong demographic position compared to many other countries, with continued growth expected. While addressing Social Security requires difficult decisions, the nation’s substantial net worth provides a solid foundation for tackling these challenges. 

 Employment and Economic Strength 

 As we look forward to the remainder of the year, employment trends are a key concern. Early signs indicate potential rises in unemployment, particularly among younger demographics. If this trend continues, it could signal broader economic weakening. 

 However, the resilience of the economy, particularly driven by older demographics less impacted by borrowing costs, provides a buffer. The ability for people to find jobs and support their families remains a critical indicator of economic health. 

 Looking Ahead 

 In conclusion, our 2nd Quarter Economic Update highlights several key themes: the Fed’s cautious approach to rate cuts, the minimal long-term market impact of election-year politics, and ongoing geopolitical and social security concerns. While uncertainties remain, focusing on predictable elements and long-term growth areas can provide stability. 

 As we move through the year, the balance between economic caution and optimism will continue to shape our outlook. The resilience of the U.S. economy, supported by targeted investments and demographic strengths, offers a foundation for navigating these challenges. By staying informed and focusing on long-term strategies, we can better secure our financial futures. 

If you want to understand all this a little better, we offer a complimentary phone call that you can schedule with us on our website. If we can’t answer all your questions in just 15 minutes, we’ll guide you to the next steps to find the answers you need.  

Schedule your complimentary call with us and to learn more about holistic wealth management.