After >15% returns in the stock market in 2019 and 2020, the pundits were on the defensive going into 2021. The year began badly – Jan 6th Capitol riots and impeachment of the President on Jan 13. February witnessed Bezos, the mastermind behind Amazon stepping away from the CEO role and the deep freeze in Texas. But, things began to improve in March with Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus offset by the beginnings of supply chain disruption. April, May and June were largely muted except for the initial signs of inflation rearing its ugly head. Covid delivered its second punch with the Delta variant in July sending people back to masking even as jobs recovery accelerated. By August, vaccination rates started to become more meaningful as kids headed back to school in September. Shortages began to have a real impact in October as the Fed dialed back its stimulus and the Delta wave began to subside in November. But it was clear by December that the Fed waited too long as inflation rates hit levels not seen in years.
But, through it all, except for a few weeks here and there that brought panic of a stock market correction, 2021 has rewarded investors with another great of returns. To put in perspective, historical returns in the stock market have been between 7-10%. Given that backdrop, it is hard to believe that we have had three years of returns that defy any sort of precedent.
But one cannot ignore that the past three years have been anything but normal – working from home instead of the office, zoom calls rather than in person meetings, covering our faces with masks at all social gatherings, avoiding handshakes and instead using headshakes or fist pumps and we won’t even talk about the horror stories of traveling or the lack thereof. But, after a few years of living differently, we have all developed a pattern of coexisting with the new normal and many would concur that it ain’t so bad after all.
Of course, there are a few who still long for the pre-Covid life. We ask “Isn’t 15%+ returns in the stock market pay back enough for the struggles of the last few years? Wouldn’t you gladly take another five years of life in the current state, if stock market returns were to be as good as they have been in the last few years? We should all think about that for a minute or two.”
Happy Holidays from Future Wealth LLC