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The Mid-Year Review

This year has had a bit of it all. 

Tiger king. 
Impeachment.
Global pandemic.
Bear market.
Impeachment acquittal.
Economic shutdown.
Stay-at-home orders.
Global recession.
Bull market. 
Confirmation of UFO’s. 

It’s been a roller coaster - and an exhausting one at that. One that even after the ride is over leaves your neck a little sore, maybe your stomach a little queasy, and your head a little dizzy. 

This week we’re officially half way through the year. 

But perhaps of more importance: how are YOU doing? Chances are your 2020 personal goals didn’t factor in the above snippet timeline of events. 

I am currently looking at my 2020 FINISH Calendar on my office wall. It maps out my annual goals and strategies for fulfilling them. Neatly organized into color coordinations mapping out the year, it didn’t go quite according to plan. Some one-on-one dates were skipped with my kids. A Florida family vacation got canceled. Some date nights didn’t happen. My CalibratingCapital writing fell way behind. Some non-planned extra bickering with friends and family took place. 

It’s easy to be discouraged at first glance. 

But perhaps not all is lost. Below are two questions I’m asking myself right now: 

First, what went right? My time as a whole with the family increased. We saved a bunch of extra money from not doing as many things. We refinanced our mortgage. We were able to tackle some projects around the house. Fident is in a healthy position. I formed some new fantastic relationships both professionally and personally. I've learned how much common ground between opposing parties exists once we move conversations off-line. While some goals got blown up, other goals (realized and unrealized) were fulfilled or are tracking to be fulfilled. 

Second, what can be corrected? I can reschedule the one-on-one dates with my kids for the next 6 months, along with the date nights. A fully fledged family vacation still might not happen, but perhaps a weekend or two can. I can pick back up on the CalibratingCapital writing and just be content with not publishing as much material as I’d have liked to. And I can continue to encourage myself and others to have hard conversations with those you disagree with face to face - not online. 

I’m going to guess that for most of us, 2020 hasn’t gone according to plan so far. That’s ok, and it’s a reminder that things more often do NOT go according to plan than they do. There’s nothing magical about a halfway mark - as it’s always good to take stock and measure - but at least psychologically, it can be a good time to do your own review. 

Interesting Resources

Quote
James Clear
What is the real goal?

The real goal is not to “beat the market.” The goal is to build wealth.

The real goal is not to read more books. The goal is to understand what you read.

Don’t let a proxy become the target. Don’t optimize for the wrong outcome."


What I'm Reading
Quantitative Momentum
Dr. Wes Gray 
Academic yet understanding read on using Momentum as a factor within investing and portfolio design. 

Confessions
St. Augustine of Hippo 
One of those books that people like to pretend that they've read but haven't really - I fell into this camp. I bought this book probably ten years ago and am now just reading it. Much more accessible than I thought it would be, and a refreshing insight into the struggles of man. The struggles and questions and answers that Augustine wrote about in 397 AD are just as relative today. 


Why is Gold Valuable? 
10 min read | Of Dollars and Data
For the gold-bugs and the gold-haters out there, I thought this piece was really fascinating and enlightening on just WHY gold had historically been viewed as such a valuable commodity. It's just a mineral! However, Gold has held and retained its high status because of a number of things - including the physical components of scarcity, durability, and malleability. It's also a sort of "proof of work" which is interesting to think about. Gold as an investment is a bit of an outlier - it charts as a high risk, low reward investment. However, it does have a low correlation to other investments. So what makes gold valuable? The chemical properties, the proof of work, or a diversifier? Maybe all of them, maybe none of them - but as the author points out, value is in the eye of the beholder. 

Asset Allocation Beyond the Zero Bound
6 min read | Verdad Capital
Something that seems impossible to happen is now within the realm of possibility: the United States in a Zero Interest Rate world. However, this isn't an abstract thought exercise for Japan - in fact, it's been their reality since 1999. Verdad breaks down how different asset classes (small, large, value, and growth stocks along with bonds, commodities, and real estate) have held up in this 20 year period. Spoiler: small value equities outperformed everything else, as they have worldwide for almost a century. 

The Flip Side Daily Newsletter
A few mins | Itself 
I've always tried to be somewhat mindful of my daily information intake, and in the past few months have effectively stripped it down to a morning session with the physical edition of the Wall Street Journal. However, a few weeks ago a friend recommended the Flip Side to me, which I've enjoyed. It takes a daily topic trending in the news, and shows the Conservative, Liberal, and Libertarian perspective by finding quotes and sources from various outlets on that subject. It's helped me think more holistically, and although not every topic spurs my attention, those that do I've definitely learned more from a multi-faceted interpretation. 
Two closing thoughts this week:

1- I'm taking off today (July 3rd) so won't be replying to emails, but I always love your thoughts and will reply next week.

2- When outlining the events this year so far, I intentionally avoided society-wide issues. This is because as I process all that is going on, as I listen and learn and build perspective, the one true Thing that comes to my mind is proximity. I won't pretend to know how to solve a lot of the issues. I won't pretend to have a large platform to preach from. And I won't pretend to actually be able to effect legitimate change nationwide. However, I do know that I can start with loving those in closest proximity to me. My wife, my kids. My extended family. My neighbors. My community. And maybe it extends beyond that, but maybe it doesn't. I've found in myself that when I try to think larger than that, I end up loving those closer to me less. I'm irritable, distracted, overwhelmed, confused. So as I'm processing my own mid-year review, those within my closest proximity are those that I'll be focused most on. 

Gratefully,
Jeremy

PS - Happy 4th of July. Let's think hard about what that day means to us. 
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Fident Financial, LLC (FFL) is a registered investment advisor offering services in the state of PA and in other jurisdictions where exempted.  Opinions expressed in this email are solely those of FFL, unless otherwise specifically cited.  Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources but no representations are made by FFL as to another parties' information accuracy or completeness.






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