Many social commentators, probably rightly, assert that Western culture is in the post-phase: Post-modern, post-religion, post-civility, post-bipartisan, post-patriotic, post-prudence, post-hope, post-tolerance and, perhaps, most inarguably, post-truth. But the “post” that is the topic of this month’s installment of “Bubble 3.0” is based on the thesis that the relatively recent phenomenon of a comfortable retirement is now also increasingly a thing of the past.
In just six months, the Fed went from hiking interest rates to, as of last week, opening the doors for future interest rate cuts. This makes the hike last December look a bit silly given the stock market was in freefall, economic data was deteriorating, and trade tensions were escalating. To make matters worse, President Trump tweeted it is “incredible” that the Fed “is even considering another interest rate hike” before the Fed raised last December. Since then, the Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump has been exceedingly critical with regards to Fed policy and tightening too aggressively. It’s worth noting that almost every other president in history has steered clear of publicly criticizing the Fed, which makes this situation even more precarious and unprecedented.
Being old—like north of 60—doesn’t come with many advantages. However, in the investment game it does have at least one: being “mature” enough to remember past financial and business cycles.
Invincible. Infallible. Unshakeable. When the tech heavyweights stepped up to fight nearly ten years ago, they were substantially leaner in almost every measurable category. Market caps were deflated following a bloody bear bath; earnings were paltry and, in many cases, non-existent; and influence on Main Street, Wall Street and Capitol Hill were meaningful but not, by any means, overwhelming.
About once a decade here in the Pacific Northwest, we encounter what’s been dubbed Snowmaggedon, where, as we witnessed in February, locals load up on groceries; city officials prep and treat roads, bridges and walkways; and families cozy up and stay close to home.