“Off the Wall” Podcast

2023 Market Recap + 2024 Outlook: Our Thoughts on The Election, Crypto, Inflation, Interest Rates & More

Jan 16, 2024 Investing & Portfolio Strategies

The annual episode we’ve all been waiting for… What happened in the US market in 2023? How can we expect the market to perform in 2024? Tune in to find out!

In this Off the Wall Market Update, hosts David Armstrong, CFA and Jessica Gibbs, CFP® are joined by Monument’s portfolio management team Erin Hay, CFA and Nate Tonsager, CIPM®.

Listen in to hear their market recap for 2023 and outlook for 2024 – reviewing the US market’s best and worst performing sectors of last year, the stock rally of Q4 2023, and how experts’ 2023 market outlooks compared to actual market performance.

Then, the team shares their thoughts on what might be ahead for the markets and the economy in 2024, including inflation, Fed rate cuts, affordability of housing, equity markets, the presidential election, and more.

Plus, the essential things you need to be a great investor in 2024 and beyond. Finally, you’ll get to hear who won the great Jimmy John’s sandwich bet of 2023.

“Investors shouldn’t be adjusting their portfolios based on what the market outlook says. You should only focus on your needs for long-term growth and short-term liquidity.” – David B. Armstrong, CFA® 

Stay tuned for more amazing content coming your way in 2024!

Are you looking for clarity, conviction and unfiltered advice about your wealth?

You’ve come to the right place.

Episode Timeline/Key Highlights

[01:42] 2023 Market Summary – What happened in 2023?

[12:16] What experts’ 2023 market outlooks said vs. how the market actually performed in 2023.

[21:46] Is the economy out of the woods?

[23:32] What we’re most pessimistic about for the 2024 market and economy.

[29:26] What we’re most optimistic about for the 2024 market and economy.

[36:50] Predictions on inflation in 2024: Will inflation go up or down or stay the same this year?

[40:08] Predictions on Interest rates in 2024: Will interest rates go up or down this year?

[42:05] Our most important advice to investors as we enter 2024.

[48:32] Were our 2023 predictions correct? + Our predictions for 2024.

Resources Mentioned:

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Subscribe to our blog: https://bit.ly/MonumentWealthBlog

Matt Levine on Bloomberg: https://bloom.bg/3TUGEii

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre: https://amzn.to/3vwG8gm

Follow our Asset Management team on LinkedIn:

Transcript:

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:00:17] Okay. Happy New Year, everyone. We’re back with Off the Wall.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:00:21] Yes, I need to be back. 2024 Nate and Erin. We are… everyone is dying to hear what we have to say.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:00:27] I know the markets. It’s really something people want to talk about.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:00:31] I mean, people want to know.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:00:33] Yeah. Exactly. And so whereas, uh, you know, as Dave said, we have Erin Hay and Nate Tonsager from the Monument Asset Management team here with us. And we will be talking about what happened in the markets in 2023, as well as the stock rally in Q4 of 2023. But I think what everyone is kind of itching to hear more about is, is what’s the look ahead to 2024? So we’ll be talking about both those things today in the spirit of the New Year. So thank you to all of our listeners for joining us for yet another year of Off the Wall. We have some really amazing content planned coming up. I’m really excited about what we have planned for this year. And if you haven’t seen it, we shared a survey on LinkedIn. You can find it on Monument’s page or any of our personal pages, a link where you can take a survey and you can give us feedback on what you like about Off the Wall, what you’d like to hear us talk about in 2024. Um, and any other sort of feedback. You have to make this project better and we’d love to hear it. So take a few minutes if you can, and fill that out. It’s a really fast survey.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:01:39] Yeah. Please help us with that. We just, you know, this is all kind of one way. We don’t really know what’s resonating with everybody. So even if you’re constructively critical of the podcast, it’s very helpful. So but, okay, Jessica, should we start with sort of a 2023 broad market discussion, like what happened the rally in Q4? I mean, everybody kind of knows what happened. So we won’t spend a ton of time on it. But, you know, end of year, the S&P 500 return about 26% total return, which was and ended the the index ended just shy of an all time high of 4796. The price return of the S&P 500 plus the dividends, the dividends gave it an extra 206 basis points of returns. That’s how you come up with the 26%. Um, and look, the index was led by, not shockingly, information technology, which as a sector had a 58% return for 2023. And it also carries a 26% weighting within the S&P 500. So if you look at conversely, utilities, which fared the worst of all the sectors with a -7% return, that sector only has a 3% weighting. So didn’t really pull it down as much as tech in a 26% weighting ulled it up, obviously. So interestingly, only 32% of large cap mutual funds beat their benchmark index. And really, that’s probably mostly because they were underweight to those mega tech stocks, less than a 26% weighting rich, which is sort of prudent for with, with mutual fund managers. But that’s probably going to make up a lot of the reason why 32, only 32% beat their benchmark. Interestingly, the ETF RSP, which tracks the equal weight of the S&P 500. So every stock is given roughly 1/500 of a weight was up 13.7%. So you can kind of see where tech really pulled the the index up relative to everything else. So and one final interesting point before I turn over to Nate for his thoughts was, I mean, everybody probably knows Nvidia, right? It was the best performing stock in 2023. It was up 239%. But really it was Microsoft with you know my air quotes here, only a 58% return for the calendar year that actually had the biggest contribution to the total return of the S&P 500 because of its individual weighting in that sector, is 5.6% versus Nvidia’s individual weighting of only 1.1%. So even though Nvidia was up 239%, really, the congratulations go to Microsoft for 2023. As the award winner of the S&P 500 index.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:04:21] We can give it the MVP award. Right. Football season’s ending. We’re handing out awards. I think it definitely qualifies as the MVP. Microsoft.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:04:28] Exactly.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:04:29] Kind of my take on 2023 is it was just kind of a rebound of 2022. You know, Dave, I think you laid it out really well. Is tech was the strongest performer in 2023 after being one of the worst performers in 2022. And the narratives really match up kind of with what happened in the market. You know, 2022, the narrative was, oh my goodness, the fed is going to hike us into recession. Companies can’t handle this level of interest rates. It was really doom and gloom. But really in 2023, as the data actually came in, we were no longer speculating about what could happen. We were looking at, you know, what did happen. It really showed that the world wasn’t ending and that really the markets could recover or get back to their level before. And I think the big thing there is, if you look at calendar year 2022 and calendar year 2023 combined S&P 500 total return over that period, the two years is 3.4%. It’s a very modest return, but it’s essentially let’s call it flat. I know it’s a little positive, but really what you saw was a big decline. And the volatility then to the upside just ripped on the other hand. And just looking at the data why did it do that? Well inflation is now sitting as of November reading 2.6%. We’ll get a reading about December year end here soon. Last year it was 5.4. Not only did inflation come down, we didn’t see deterioration or significant deterioration in the labor markets. Basically, since the end of 2022 to the end of 2023. Unemployment has remained about the same. It’s crept up a little bit to 3.7% at the end of this year. And average hourly earnings, which we all know is a key factor of inflation. If people are getting raises, there’s more money in the economy. The goods prices can be pushed higher. Average hourly earnings came down year over year to about 4%. They were 4.6% at the end of 2022. So while you saw you saw exactly what you were going to expect a slowing economy by design, the fed created, but not a collapse. And I think that’s what really allowed the markets to kind of rebound in 2023.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:06:26] Yeah, you guys gave some really good data across the board on returns. And now you’re talking about the fed and inflation and and how the the world didn’t come to an end, which was sort of, I guess what many people were thinking. Especially the 2022 return, I think for 2023, for me at least, sort of the seminal event, uh, goes back to the first quarter of last year when a lot of people did think the world was ending, sort of a here we go again moment. I know it seems probably now seems years ago, but this was a 2023 event. In the first quarter, we had some pretty significant bank failures, which people, I’m sure now they remember. But it seems like a long time ago. So for me, that’s really the event 2023 that stood out. We had five bank failures- really only three. There were the three big ones, of course, with Silicon Valley, with First Republic, and then later on with Signature Bank, which is more or less a cryptocurrency adjacent bank. And that really ties into another theme, which was what really started in in 2022 but bled into 2023, which was the uncovering of some pretty massive fraud in the cryptocurrency landscape with, you know, FTX. So I think that, you know, looking back now that the, the height of the crypto market was probably the Super Bowl of 2022. We had the Tom Brady, Larry David commercials, I believe it actually was for FTX or Crypto.com or or one of those providers. Matt Damon’s thrown in there somewhere as well. So, so for me, that’s really sort of the seminal event from 2023. And, Dave, going back to your points about the S&P equal weighted versus S&P cap weighted, the divergence of those returns in 2023. If you look at a price chart of those two ETFs that you called out or those two those two types of S&P 500, um, vehicles, if you look at a price chart of that for 2023, up until about the first quarter, they were tracking lockstep with each other. And it’s really when we hit those first rumors of bank failures, when it was Silicon Valley came out with a secondary offering overnight which sent that stock down, I want to say like 40% after hours. That’s when we really started to see the divergence between S&P equal weight and S&P cap weight. So those are the major things for me. And then we’ll talk about this a little bit later I know in our conversation. But one thing that I also can’t help but, bring out for 2023 that’s not really been talked about too much was despite the bank failures and despite all of the the fraud that’s been uncovered in the crypto market and a lot of the headlines there around litigation and people going to jail and, and trials and testimony, you know, Bitcoin was up 150% in 2023, which I think was an interesting tidbit.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:09:26] So, I mean, what’s the message there about Bitcoin then?

Erin Hay, CFA [00:09:30] I mean, well, I guess we’ll kind of fast forward on this. The message on Bitcoin and I’m going to preface this was saying we don’t really have a dog in the fight here. I think for our clients this is pretty you know evident. But for anyone who’s not a client that happens to be listening to this, you know, we don’t engage in, you know, cryptocurrency markets either in actually owning the underlying crypto or really even in crypto equities. So kind of take this with a grain of salt. I do think that the underlying message here is I think that crypto is going to end up being in the headlines a lot more in 2024 for potentially good reasons and a lot of those reasons have been written about extensively by, you know, one of my favorite authors. I will shout out here, not that he’s listening or anything, but if you’re looking for, uh, someone who’s very knowledgeable in the crypto space, Matt Levine at Bloomberg is really good about this, and he’s written some fantastic stuff throughout 2023. And here more recently in the early parts of January, about potentially having a Bitcoin spot ETF, which is debatably as what’s responsible for having driven up the price of Bitcoin in 2023 and into 2024. So I think the main takeaway there, Jessica, for, for me on this, is not necessarily making any predictions or saying we’re going to be invested in crypto or not invested. It’s mainly I would expect cryptocurrencies to have a bit more press as we go into 2024.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:10:59] And I think to me, kind of what the takeaway is, it’s really similar to what happened with tech stocks is I think we all agree Bitcoin is a very, at this point, speculative asset that has high volatility. So 2022 Bitcoin obviously was down significantly. So in 2023 what did you see? Just a rally in risk assets. It wasn’t just limited to stocks I think risk assets across the board recovered from a rough year. And that’s why you see some of these big big swings in these kind of volatile assets. But it’s really interesting here and especially with that ETF. So it’s something to watch as we kind of move into 2024.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:11:32] Well I want to pull us away from Bitcoin. And I want to circle back to something that Erin highlighted is you know Erin you mentioned Q1 2023 with those bank failures. Right. That feels so far away. So I actually want to I’m kind of curious to do a look back. Those of you who have listened to these market episodes before, you know, we’re kind of fond of trying to look ahead, even make some fun predictions, make some sandwich bets, which I do want an update on. Who won the sandwich bet. We’ll talk about that at the end. But I think if we rewind to 2023, you know what maybe people who don’t work in the industry may not know is that a lot of people put out their their outlook for the year, what they think is going to happen in the markets. And I’m just kind of curious for fun, because I know you guys read these, the three of you, you read them and you’re getting, I’m sure, all the 2024 market outlooks right now as well. You know, I’m curious to look back at the 2023 outlooks kind of in general, what were they saying? And, you know, how did that line up to what you guys just summarized for us of what actually happened in the market in 2023?

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:12:40] Yeah, those outlooks are are really interesting to read, and they’re written by really, really smart people. And it’s always a great tool to create conversation about something, look at historical data. But one of the things we say every single year, and I’ll say it again this year, which is even even though they’re interesting and great content to set up discussions or look at historical trends, no one is in possession about facts about the future because they clearly don’t exist. I mean, the bottom line is you never know what you don’t know. So let’s go back and look at some of those 2023 outlooks. Because what I think it really reinforces that. And the important thing for a listener, an investor and specifically our clients take away from this is while they’re interesting, I don’t think that they’re ever a good tool, nor should they ever be used for, you know, creating your playbook for 2024. That’s trader talk, right? I saw on CNBC yesterday there was almost a half hour long segment about, how to set up your playbook for 2024, and I’m probably going to write on that in my next blog. But the the upfront advice here is you don’t use this information to create a playbook, right? So jumping into it, I mean, I really like tracking the returns of ten big size and style asset class ETFs, right? I track large cap, small cap, mid-cap. I like to track the equal weight that we talked about before. So equal weight, large cap, the IFA index, emerging markets index, real estate aggregate bonds cash tips and commodities. Right. And so if you want a list of those ETFs that I use to track those, just reach out to me on an email or social media channel or something, and I’ll shoot you a list of the tickers that I use. You can follow along at home for fun, but in 2023, it just here’s one really interesting tie into their outlooks, right. At the beginning of 2023, people really made a compelling case for commodities and that compelling case for commodities, it made complete sense on paper when you read it in, in a report, inflation was on fire. There was a war in Europe, in the Middle East that were shaping expectations of oil and food prices, climbing our own US spending and debt out of control. And all of those things made a really compelling case for saying, Hey, maybe you should be overweight commodities relative to where you are historically invested in commodities call it a tilt. And remember, back in 2021. Commodities came out in second place of those stock rank of all the ETFs that I just read, with the return of 31.1% in 2021. So top performing, everybody’s seen those quilts with the colors and everything. That’s what I’m talking about. And, I’m sorry it came in second place, not top. It trailed REIT’s, which had a 40.5% return. So then in 2022, commodities came out actually in first place of all of those with a 17.5% return. So now in 2023, you’ve got a really compelling case and some historical tailwind. Be like, well, you know, they’ve done really well the past two years, maybe it is time for me to get in there. So with all the reasons in the world to expect that to happen again in 2023, they finished out in the bottom of all of those sectors that I read off with a -9.9% return. So something just because something makes compelling sense academically or theoretically doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to happen. So another quick example is you remember in 2022, I mean, every everybody should remember this. The large cap stocks got hit really, really hard. And in, and then in 2023 for the first time in decades. And we’ll have a blog coming out this week that shows the chart on this. But for the first time in decades, Wall Street strategists, their consensus was for a negative annual return on the S&P 500. So I have the chart in the blog. And you see, it’s all, you know, stock columns in the positive and then one at the end with a negative and then boom, we get a 26% return in the S&P 500 and a 13.7% return for the S&P 500 equal eight. So again, well, while it’s academically interesting to read those things, it’s it’s really not a smart idea to be creating your quote unquote playbook for 2024 revolve around that. So, you know, our philosophy, just real high level, is that investors shouldn’t be adjusting their portfolios based on the market outlook says, right. You should only focus on your needs for long term growth and short term liquidity. And your portfolio should be constructed to track and incorporate unemotional data into the securities selection process like we do here. And then in certain instances, incorporate index tracking, tax loss harvesting strategies on top of that as well, where it’s appropriate. In a lot of cases it is. And look, if you don’t want to do it yourself, I mean, call us. I know somebody I know group of people who are pretty smart who do all of this. And, um, you know, we can introduce ourselves to you. So anyway, Erin, let me pitch it over to you, Nancy, and see what, uh, what what your thoughts back on a rewind to 2023..

Erin Hay, CFA [00:17:53] Well we’ll focus on the U.S large cap stocks because I think that’s what most people are familiar with and most people are interested with. No one really goes into the vagaries of really for the most part, even though you talked about it a bit, Dave. But, you know, no one really talks about, you know, commodities or small micro-cap stocks or any other asset classes. You know, large U.S. large cap stocks tend to be the name of the game for better or for worse. So with that, I do think it’s interesting calling back to Bloomberg again. They do a pretty good job of compiling all of these forecasts. And Dave, you were talking about these strategists expectations for 2023. So I went back and found a piece by Bloomberg, and they did a little S&P 500 scorecard towards the end of the year. So just for reference, as a reminder, the S&P closed just shy of 4800. And they went and looked at all of the various strategists and where their where their expectations ended up with reality. And they call out a few of these. So I’m just going to list off a few here. So Tom Lee actually formerly JPMorgan, I believe, but he’s at Fundstrat now. He called for 4750 on the S&P. And so he actually got close closest among all the strategists that they tracked during this little study. Um, I’m going to also butcher a few of these names. So uh, apologies for that. But John Stoltzfus from Oppenheimer called for 4400. Reminder. We closed just shy of 4840 800. Um, Brian Belski at BMO, call for 4300. And then this last one I actually think is the most interesting. And I am definitely going to butcher her name, but Savita Subramanian, I think I got that right. She’s from Bank of America. She was actually pretty bearish on the S&P going into 2023. In fact, she had a a price target, a year end price target as all these strategists do a 4000 on the S&P. But she actually made a midyear call, a bullish call and adjusted that outlook upwards to 4600. So I actually think that’s the most impressive of the bunch. Even though she didn’t get closest at the end of the year. I just think the fact that she obviously assessed some data, assess trend and made made a change and changed. Her mind and pretty publicly. I think that’s actually the most impressive, uh, most impressive forecast out of the entire group. The fact that you were wrong or willing to admit a I’m going again, quote a mistake and change your mind very publicly. I actually think that was, uh, that was pretty savvy.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:20:24] Yeah, I agree, I mean, it’s kind of like us, right? When we see something changing, we adjust things. I hats off to her, too.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:20:31] Yeah. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. We’re we’re certainly not afraid to admit we got something wrong and change our mind. We change our minds all the time.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:20:39] And I think that’s what’s really so tough for me about making predictions is so much can change so quickly in the market. So I, aAnd it’s not the norm for analysts to change their predictions. Normally they die on the hill, go down with the ship. Whatever euphemism you want to use. There seems to be when people make these predictions that they become so anchored in them and make portfolio decisions based on these beliefs that they had, and don’t adequately adapt to the changing environment. That’s why I really think being nimble with the trend following strategy, kind of what we really want to focus, I think here at Monument trend kind of component of our investment strategies, being able to be nimble and being able to change when the situation does great.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:21:16] Well, I want to switch gears because that you tuned up perfectly. Nate, um, I want to look ahead to 2024. And I want to start with the economy. So, in 2023, you know, the economy remained resilient. Stocks rallied much more than we thought. You know, as we’ve been talking about, I think many investors think that the fed achieved its soft landing, quote unquote, that it was working towards, last year. But I’m curious on your guys take if you think the economy is out of the woods yet.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:21:47] Personally, I’m going to say it’s not out of the woods yet. I kind of look at the case in what the review of 2023 of. We saw a lot of the positive data, but inflation has shown to be difficult at times and unpredictable. So let’s continue the plane analogy of a soft landing. So we’ve all been on a plane and you hear that first announcement. We’ve begun our initial descent butcher tray tables off. We’re going to come through start collecting the trash. We’re getting ready to actually land. But that means you still probably have 35 minutes, maybe an hour in the air still. There’s a some portion of the flight where you’re going around to circle, descend and land, and that’s usually the most dangerous parts of the flight. So that’s kind of where I see we’re at now, is we’re in that initial descent phase. We’ve gotten a lot of the wood chopped in this inflation battle, but the last mile is still there in my opinion. And I think the fed really wants to see it. They’ve said multiple times that this is going to be a prolonged or higher for longer cycle, because they do have that scars of the 70s and 80s of that double bout of inflation. So I think there’s some desire on the Fed’s side to really stamp it out and make sure it is a true soft landing. So that’s why I don’t want to say anythin, call it yet.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:23:01] Okay. So what are you then setting up here and what are you most pessimistic about the economy or the markets in 2024?

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:23:11] Yeah. Nate, what are you most pessimistic about in 2024? It’s like like we’re going to start at the bottom and then, you know.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:23:18] We’re going to go and then we’re going to go up. Right? Yeah.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:23:20] I think for me it’s we’ve done a lot of good and it’s that inflation doesn’t continue to cooperate. I think now I’m going to make a prediction of if inflation will do or won’t do necessarily. But I do see the potential for inflation to not come down that final mile. To kind of flatline there’s a lot of factors out there that could go into inflation. I think the market wants rate cuts, expecting inflation to continue to move lower. I think the biggest one that you can see spikes or volatility and inflation are the most volatile aspects of inflation in food and energy. And we’ve seen those prices being driven by geopolitical events which recently seem to only be increasing. And I don’t want to get into predicting those. Those feel like a coin flip. Let’s use an example. The trade routes of the Red Sea. Those being disrupted are adding real costs back to the economy. So there’s just kind of an example of how we’ve had so much positive goods disinflation after the pandemic as supply and demand readjusted. But geopolitical events could really cause disruptions to those input prices in my mind. So that’s kind of what I’m maybe pessimistic about. I’m not going to say it’s going to happen. I’m hopeful for a peaceful resolution, but I think that inflation boogeyman standing over my shoulder is kind of there as well.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:24:35] Okay, Dave, what about you?

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:24:36] Yeah. So I’m pessimistic about the market asterisk because I’m also optimistic about it, which we’ll talk about later. So okay. Well, one of us, but you know okay. Uh, okay. So statistically and, and I write about this a lot and people hear me say it a lot because I like looking at the probability of something happening, not the possibility of something happening. So statistically, this is what we are likely to experience as pullbacks throughout a calender year. And investors, people are just going to have to deal with it. Okay. So declines of 3% in the market happen on average three times a year. I’m sorry 3% seven times a year. That’s over half the year. Okay. We will see on average three pullbacks a calendar year that are 5% or more. And then on average we have one 10% decline a year. So think back last year right? We had a decline coming off the summer. We had the decline going into October. You know we see 10% declines a lot more than you think. We see 5% declines and 3% declines. It’s just that you’ve got to be able to come out on the other side of those declines. So my pessimism comes from the statistics of how often we see pullbacks in the market.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:26:06] Okay, Erin what do you think?

Erin Hay, CFA [00:26:09] So I I’ve got a little, it’s kind of a two part answer here. I want to call back to Nate, you talking about some of the implications from, you know, what we’ve seen in the Middle East about, um, container ship traffic and what kind of knock on effects that would have to the economy. I saw a stat this weekend that something like 90% of the container traffic that usually goes through the Red Sea and goes through the Suez Canal is now going around the southern tip of Africa. I think that is huge. I don’t know what percent of global trade or global container traffic that accounts for, but that is that’s not insignificant. And I do think that that is going to have some sort of an economic overhang. So, Nate, I’m with you on that. What I’m most pessimistic about, however, and this is, um, this is more kind of anecdotal and emotionally driven. I don’t have a ton of, of data on this. And sorry, Nate, that this is going to conflict with what I know is your optimistic view here, but I am not I won’t only put this way, I’m not incredibly pessimistic on this, but like, I’m more pessimistic than than most, including Nate here on housing and rates. And it’s not necessarily that I’ve got a view on where interest rates are going to go, but I’m sort of thinking here we’re in kind of a bizarre standoff right now with housing and rates in that if interest rates do come down and perhaps kind of, you know, on or on for the the housing market, I, I honestly don’t think there’s, there’s much good that can really come of that. I know that we think that rates going down is a would be a benefit for people looking to get back into the housing market or get into, you know, first time home buyers, things of that nature. But I think that’s just going to have a feed into home prices. So, you know, what good does interest rates do for someone if supply stays constant and the price of a home goes up? So I’m just sort of thinking here until we get some really meaningful supply of single family housing, which I know we are getting that, but in the form of multifamily and apartments. And just look in any, you know, major metro right now, um, I’m not, you know, go to Austin. There are apartment buildings going up everywhere. But when people are talking about housing and talking about housing affordability, I don’t think many people are talking about apartments, really. They’re talking about single family homes. So that’s my little my little take on where I’m a bit more pessimistic than most.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:28:42] Okay, well, let’s talk optimistic. And Nate, you’re optimistic about housing. Explain why.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:28:50] Maybe this would be the sandwich bet. I don’t know. I have to, you know, take my odds and then I’ll see. But, you now, it’s, the reason I’m optimistic about housing is I think Erin hit on the key point. It’s not necessarily about housing prices or interest rates independently. It’s the mixture of the two which applies to housing affordability. And that’s really what the problem is, is right now it’s just so expensive. And the house is not affordable for people for high prices and high interest rates that it seems like there needs to be some relief before, as erin said, unlocking of the market. But I think it’s more of a time function. And as you’re kind of seeing your building, maybe not in the metropolitan areas, but you’re building out and with an increase of remote work, I think that allows for people to relocate. And it’s really just out of a desire to become a homeowner. I think you’re seeing the millennial generation, which was always said to be behind other generations, is really true. Is is now they’re moving into the stage of looking for homes. And I think the biggest thing that we saw is a change in the data that is now going to give people kind of raises or more funds to help with affordability going forward. Because I think the down payment in the savings has always been the difficult thing. Last year, when you had inflation above average hourly earnings, even though workers were getting raises, they weren’t actually getting raises. They were just pegged. The inflation was eating all of it. This year’s the reverse. So now you’re actually seeing where the real wage growth based on inflation that can hopefully be put into savings accounts, which now are in interest allows people to save, to build for homes. And I think it’s only going to take one lever. I don’t think affordability needs to come down significantly. I do agree it needs to come down some. And I think just naturally with interest rates moving a little bit lower, a little bit more time, there’s just that desire to be a homeowner. It’s an American principle and I think it will always be that. So again, I’ll have to take my slides because I want to hear everyone’s predictions before I make any of that. So, you know, you have to do all your homework. But it’s I think it makes a lot of great points on how, you know, it’s a difficult housing market currently.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:30:51] All right, Dave, what are you optimistic about for the economy in the markets?

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:30:55] Well, right. So I went over my pessimism. So here’s my optimism about the market. So again you know the probabilities election year returns are in our favor. Um, for a positive market. And okay, so, for example, did you know that since 1950, every time there was a negative presidential midterm, like okay, 2020. Right. Okay. So was our midterm. So every time there was a negative presidential midterm year. And there have been eight of them in the past going back to 1950, both the pre election year like 2023 and then the actual election year like this year have been positive. So that’s kind of interesting to me. So over those eight periods, the average return for the pre-election year or 2023 was 24.6 and the median is 26.3. So right basically in line, by the way, do those return numbers sound at all familiar? The S&P 500 was up 26%. So there you go. That was the pre-election. Now that here here are just the year, the data for election year, the average is a positive 13.2%. In the median is a positive 14.4%. So again pretty close to the the outliers really aren’t dragging that thing around that much. So I like the odds right? So says 17 out of 18, but okay here’s the math: Like eight times two plus the 2023 right. So there’s only 17. There will be 18 by the end of this year. 17 out of 17. So I look I like the probability there that we will have a positive year. So there’s my optimism.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:32:38] You’re data person. Right. And data supporting this story.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:32:42] Exactly. So, that’s my optimism. Without going out on a limb there too much okay.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:32:48] All right. Now, Erin, what about you?

Erin Hay, CFA [00:32:50] I would say I am most optimistic on certain subsets of the the equity markets, and that’s mainly on small and mid-cap stocks. And this is, uh, this is a big caveat here. This is assuming that inflation. And then of course, along with inflation comes interest rates. But assuming inflation rates more or less stay in check and the Federal Reserve isn’t jacking interest rates up again. So I say that, I’m not bringing this up on a whim. By the way, this is this is more or less kind of already based on data that Nate and I see every day with our, our individual stock models. And this is one of those areas where is actually kind of aligned with how we’re positioned in these models, and namely our individual dividend and growth models. Um, we’re already pretty well positioned for small and mid-cap stocks to participate. And this is because we’ve already seen a pretty decent run up in these stocks in the latter stages of 2023. And I just want to throw out some stats here. These are on our individual stock models. The dividend model has a median market cap of $12 billion. And our growth model has a median market cap of $17 billion. So we’re not talking about incredibly small companies here or microcap companies. I mean, we’re talking about still somewhat significantly large companies, but, for, for, uh, for context here, you get the larger constituents of the S&P 500 that are over a trillion in market cap. And then you can see kind of what I’m talking about here. So definitely smaller in market cap in nature. So I am definitely more, you know optimistic on on small and mid-cap. We’re already position they’re small Mid-caps had a really good fourth quarter run. And even though the last few weeks haven’t been kind to, you know, small cap stocks overall, um, they’ve actually held up remarkably well from a relative strength standpoint. Um, for, for clients and and readers of our blog, I’ve written a few things on relative return graphs, so RGS and I’ll actually probably put something out on this in the near term. But looking at the relative returns of some of these various asset classes and sub asset classes within stocks, small caps have held up remarkably well.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:35:10] I’m having a little bit of a reflection on my comment that I made before about the presidential election cycle. I think I mistakenly said that the midterm election year was 2020. So if you got this far and you’re still listening and you’re like, Dave has no idea what he’s talking about, I may have said 2020. I meant 2022 because that was the negative year, and then 23 and 24 the pre-election. So if I did in fact make that mistake, there’s my correction for it. I’m not going to go back and edit the podcast. Okay. So there you go.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:35:39] I think we got the gist. It’s the election, right? Right. And the year before the election going back to 1950.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:35:45] That’s right. The is when there is a midterm year that is negative which was 2022. So anyway okay. Quick clarification.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:35:53] Okay. Well I want to circle back to inflation. I know you guys kind of brought that up, but I just feel like I want to underscore your thoughts on inflation just because it’s on a lot of people’s minds from it, you know, day to day living standpoint. It’s also in the news a lot. And so I, I just want to ask again what you guys think will happen to inflation in 2024.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:36:17] I don’t think much will happen, personally. I don’t think we’ll see a re acceleration. I don’t think we’ll see a significant deceleration. I think we’re kind of in a holding pattern for a little bit. I mean, you’re still seeing wage growth. And I think that’s the thing though, which is I’m not holding on to I don’t think deflation is very likely, is when I talked about the average hourly earnings year over year growing at 4% historically, that doesn’t really support the Fed’s 2% inflation target. Now, I’m not saying that it’s exactly you know, history is always going to repeat itself. But my fear is, is that with higher wage growth, you’re not going to see, you know, natural drop in inflation that you did last year.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:36:58] Okay, what do the rest of you think?

Erin Hay, CFA [00:37:00] So, my only prediction on inflation is that we will not get deflation. And this is going to be a real it’s gonna be a little soapbox moment for me because this really grinds my gears when I see this reported out on on popular media or I inevitably see, um, you know, posts from extended family members on this subject. And I hate to be the one to come in and correct them. So sorry if I’m coming off of this as, uh, from a holier than thou standpoint, but this is really something that grinds my gears when you hear people talk about inflation and inflation is coming down. And I’m just going to arbitrarily use these numbers. Oh, inflation came down from 8% to 5%. That does not mean that prices are going down, by the way. It just means prices are going up at a slower rate. And I we take we kind of take that for granted. But I do think there are a lot of people out there that when they see this reported, um, you know, in the media, like they, they will make the connection. That one is coming down. Prices should be coming down. When I go to the grocery store, I was spending $200. I should be spending $180. Now, I know that’s not the way it works. It’s just that prices are coming. I’m sorry, are going up at a slower rate.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:38:14] And that’s disinflation, not deflation. That’s what we’re talking about, two terms.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:38:19] Correct, Dave. And what that is is so you’ve got inflation, you’ve got disinflation. So inflation going from 10% to 5%. And then you’ve got deflation. So that is actually prices coming down not going up at a slower rate. And that’s my only prediction for 2024 is that we will not get deflation. And to me just from a longer term perspective, we know that prices go up over time. You will get periods of deflation, but more often than not you’re going to get periods of inflation and disinflation. And that just speaks to to having pretty healthy, um, allocations to stocks over the long term.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:38:55] And well, I don’t want to grind Erin’s gear. So I’m going to wait for my inflation prediction to be in my sandwich bet.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:39:02] Yeah, I was going to say, now we know this, but yeah.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:39:05] No, it’s, uh. Yeah. You know, I’m a stickler for proper terminology, too, and and people do need to make sure that they’re getting attention to the right words there.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:39:12] Yeah. Yeah. So okay, so I mean tied to inflation is interest rates. So, um, what do you think will happen to interest rates in 2024?

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:39:21] I mean, if I don’t think interest or sorry inflation is going really anywhere, I can’t see interest rates really going anywhere. You may get marginal cuts around the corner, but really if there’s no recession, we get the continued soft landing. I think interest rates are going to really find a new home. What would really and I think the markets right now have a lot of rate cuts priced in. And when I a lot I think it’s about six. I think the risk is actually that like again inflation is stickier. The fed cannot cut that much. And interest rates will then therefore be kind of where they are now. The market will have to reprice. But I think it gets into Dave’s broader point of that doesn’t mean the stock market can’t be healthy. I think the market, the economy, is strong enough to withstand where we are. I think we showed that in 2023. So interest rates not much changed, inflation not much changed. It’s another year of hopefully chopping a lot of wood in my mind.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:40:13] Yeah I actually don’t have a I don’t have really a rate call, outside of relating it back to my prior prior prediction on inflation. I don’t think we’ll see deflation, but I at this point, I think personally predicting interest rates is a fool’s game. So I’m just going to steer completely clear of it.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:40:28] My gut tells me to concur with Nate. I think if there is a risk of being wrong here on on that it’s probably skewed to more than 1 or 2 cuts. Um, and I’ll, I’ll jump into some more of that in my 2024 sandwich bet.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:40:45] Okay. Well, I think, uh, those of you who know Monument know, like a core tenant of ours and we’ve kind of already alluded to this is don’t keep your head down focused on the day to day minutia of what’s happening on the market. Keep your eyes up on the horizon. Long term view. Focus on, you know, your personal goals and what you need to get there. So I think, you know, you guys did a lot of good information about 2024, but I want to hear the one message that each of you want listeners and investors to hear as we go into 2024.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:41:18] Right. So I have one answer in five different parts. So, because it’s really it’s the same thing as always. So don’t fast forward here if you’re listening. Because this is what I’m about to say, I think is probably one of the most important things that just keep saying over and over and over again, which is this: We manage equity portfolios, but we need clients to participate in this because we need to we need for our clients and every other person who’s listening to this, that does this as well and they’re just getting information here. It’s imperative to determine how much cash you need to spend over the next 12 to 18 months and park it in a money market fund, which are yielding in the, you know, five ish range right now. I want to make this a little bit evergreen, but, you know, so just just park it in a money market fund regardless of what the interest rate is, because you need to position your investment portfolio for growth and then have that cash there to be mentally capable of riding out any probability of a short term or mid-term pullback, which I talked about before in my pessimism section of the pullbacks.Because they’re going to happen and you just do not want to have to fund any of your spending out of your portfolio during a correction. So if you rewind back to 2022, when the market was down over 20% at one point and you were living out of a cash bucket that you had created that covers your 12 to 18 months. You’re not selling your assets when they’re 20% down. You want to be able to ride through that with some sort of degree of probability of getting out on the other side of a correction before you have to raise money again. And I just think that you should always have the portfolio you need versus the one you wish you had back when the market went down. You know, probably more applicable save move during a correction. But this means, you know, invest unemotionally. Use data versus hunches to make, buy and sell decisions. I mean, you know, I also think it’s important that I’m not saying buy and hold, right. Staying invested is not the same thing as buy and hold. And and I’ll conclude this part of my diatribe by soapbox here and if you will, right. My, my mantra for 2024 is this: and I’m going to use a mild four letter word here. So if you got little kids in the car, like turn the stereo down for a second, but, you know, simplify shit, understand shit and make good decisions that will make you a good investor, right? Just like the guy with the face tattoo that says no regrets, right? So, and in fact, a great book written back in the 30s, which, by the way, if you come to our office, I actually have one of the very early original editions of this book. It was given to me as a gift by my through my grandfather. But it’s reminiscence, Reminiscence of a Stock Operator, and it was written by, I’m going to slaughter this French a little bit, but I will try Edwin Lefèvre, and he writes, it’s so it’s written as a book dedicated to another famous trader called Jesse Livermore. And the quote is this: “After spending many years in Wall Street and after making and losing millions of dollars, I want to tell you this: it never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It was always my sitting got that? My sitting tight.” And I think that just filters back in to simplify things, understand things, make good decisions. Sometimes the best thing to do is just to sit tight. So I will turn it over to Nate for there.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:44:47] I feel like, yeah, you kind of subverted my one message thing there. But I’ll give you a little leave, I think, as co-host.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:44:53] Yes, and I own the firm.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:44:56] All right, all right, Nate, what’s your what’s your one message for everyone?

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:45:00] I think I just want to rephrase, Dave, because it’s a really exactly what I would have said. And I instead of saying it in five parts, you know, you sometimes make

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:45:10] You sometimes make more money sitting on your hands and tap dancing on your feet. And that’s the exact same mantra I like that, simplify. And then I just I’ll repeat. So I’m not going to do five. I’ll do two on it. But cash is an asset. It’s not just your spending to, but it’s an asset that provides a volatility buffering. Dave, you laid it out so perfectly and we talk about it all the time. So really uh ditto to Dave is really my kind of what I wanted people to take away from us. You nice.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:45:35] Nice recover there.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:45:38] Yeah. There you go, Erin. What do you think?

Erin Hay, CFA [00:45:41] Mine’s going to be pretty evergreen, which I think all of these messages are. And I’m going to borrow from, from a movie, since we’re all movie fans here. Um, Forrest Gump, which I, I’m assuming everyone here has seen. And, my favorite character in that movie is definitely Gary Sinise, Lieutenant Dan. And very famously, when Forrest and Bubba, um, get to Vietnam and they’re, they’re getting their gear dressed out and everything, he basically says right before he pops into, uh, into a porta potty, he goes, don’t do anything stupid, like getting yourself killed. And they say, oh, I sure hope we don’t let him down. But I think that’s evergreen advice. Don’t do anything stupid. Live to fight another day. Don’t, you know, do anything stupid to the effect of, you know, putting 100% of your portfolio? Not that anyone would, but, you know, going all in on a handful of stocks or buying a hot new crypto. I mean, this is stuff that should be, well-worn territory at this point. But, um, as we know, sometimes people forget this. It’s it’s definitely okay as this Dave and and they have said to write things out in cash, having sufficient cash buffer in place. Um, that’s definitely not going to get you killed. And that’s going to help you live to fight another day. And then something that is different from that, that prior message. I do want to say this. Don’t be contrarian just for being a contrarian, for the sake of being contrarian. Um, and this is just another way of saying, hey, the trend is your friend and we’re not, I don’t say that just haphazardly and calling it out randomly. I mean, this is something that we definitely take to heart here at Monument. We try to incorporate into our own portfolio. So that’s my two messages. Don’t do anything stupid, like getting yourself killed. And, let he trend be your friend.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:47:20] Great messages. I like them. So. All right.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:47:24] Prediction time though, right, Jessica?

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:47:26] Yes, I know this is Dave’s favorite thing, which, you know, yes. The irony of us kind of, crapping on the 2023 market outlooks and us now saying, well, here’s our prediction. So, but I. I think it’s. Yes, it’s fine and I do, if you guys have it top of mind, I want to I want you to remind me- What was the 2023 sandwich bet? Which for those of you who have no idea what referring to you all through our 2023 Market Recap episodes, we were kind of tracking predictions, and whoever at the end was kind of one was kind of, oh, the other’s a sandwich. Um, our classic Monument bet. So what was the 2023 prediction?

Erin Hay, CFA [00:48:11] Correct me on this. I think it was. We bet if the Federal Reserve would cut rates in 2023. And of course, that was no. And I think Nate won that. So next time I see Nate, I owe him a Jimmy John sandwich.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:48:24] You know, that is it. So I don’t know if I need to double down that. We’ll have to say I don’t know who we’ll get through this. Predictions one at a time.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:48:33] All right, all right.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:48:34] So yeah, I, I but I did throw a few predictions out there. And like Jessica I appreciate your setup on this because it it one of the things or get it right we kind of rail on the predictions and then we make them. But this is uh, you know, just because we have a strategy and conviction on how to manage money, and we look at the data and things like that, we don’t take our emotional thoughts or loves or whatever and, you know, put a stake in the ground and say, this is what you should do. This is sort of a snapshot of what it’s like when we talk every single day. And so, I mean, we’re always talking about these things. We’re always giving each other our opinions because that’s our value proposition, right? It’s unfiltered opinions and straightforward advice. And you can’t get that unless you have some sort of discourse or debate or discussion and people saying, I think this and I think that otherwise you’re hiring a bunch of robots and that’s not us. So we do this all the time. We’re just recording this version of it. Right. So, um, but, you know, we should we should reconcile some of our predictions. I mean, not because I want to review my prediction, but because we really owe it to the people to circle back on those. I mean, as professionals, I think we owe this to our listeners. Okay. So I threw out as a prediction in the first quarter of 2023 that I thought the S&P 500 was going to be up 15% for 2023. So I was totally wrong there. Okay. But I’ll take it. Especially when everyone else was saying that the market was down. I’m going to put that into the, I’m going to take that as a as a mild victory there. and some other predictions I had was that the, the fed target of 2%? I said we may have seen the last of any rate hikes. that was more towards the end of 2023 prediction. And my fun prediction for 2024 is I think we’ll have an election. So seriously.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:50:19] Okay.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:50:20] I do have some thoughts there. And again, these are not these are I know these are not actionable, but, um, I this is just like, this is just what I think’s going to happen, right? I’ll bet you up until mid-year, we see inflation reports come in lower than expected, and we will hear the true term of deflation way more than we will start hearing the term disinflation. And by summer ish, I’ll bet you that we see actual deflation show up in the CPI on a year over year basis. So compare.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:50:52] I’m going to take that bet.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:50:52] Summer of 2024 to 2023. I’ll bet you. Yeah okay. All right, all right. That’s just what we need. It’s no fun taking the safe bets. Right? So okay.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:51:00] So we need to officially hash this out. So you’re set. So let’s let’s let’s formalize this a bit and I’m writing this down I’m going to put this in my calendar too Dave because a lot of this gets lost in translation.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:51:13] You pick I’m going to say July, the July the July CPI report year over year will show a deflationary number.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:51:18] Oh, I thought I heard June, okay. So by July.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:51:22] I said summer ish okay.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:51:23] So by July, by July we will get actual deflation. Price declines by July.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:51:29] So I’m going to pick that middle right year over year right.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:51:32] Year over year price declines by July. Okay, I’m going to take that bet.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:51:37] And now that’s just not a silly, wild guess, right? I mean, yeah, but it’s important for some context. My basis for this is grounded in my suspicion that inflation had way more. And I’ve written I wrote about this all last year and said it in social media post to as I think the inflation had way more to do with the record increase of 27% year over year in the money supply that we saw back in February of 2021 that got pushed in because of Covid. I just think that that’s got a lot more to do with inflation than people are giving it, you know, credit for, and that’s slowing of the money growth combined with these higher interest rates which are lagged, is going to be what causes actual deflationary report, just like the growth of money and the lowering of and the low interest rates caused inflation. So we’re just going to see the opposite of it. And that lag I think is what’s going to cause that. And I’m not saying we’re going to see deflation for years and years and years. I’m just saying I’ll bet you that that and we’ve put a stake in the ground July. That report will be now, if that report comes in June or August, I’m still going to take credit for it. But still, we can put a stake in the ground on that. But that leads me to to interest rates. Right. So here’s another one. I think we’re going to see a lag between disinflation to disinflation and the rate cuts materialize. And and I just think I think it seems like the fed is behind. And this will be a news item. So I’ll bet you we see our first cut in March. And I’ll bet you that we see the fed funds rate in the mid threes by the end of 2024. That’s my other one. Okay. And we have to have a little bit of an election prediction here. Um and again in the words of Bob Stein from First Ross, what I think will happen and what I want to have happen are not the same thing. But here’s what my gut tells me is that if I’m right about inflation, disinflation and or and inflation, and I’m right about the rate cuts, that is going to improve voter feelings, that the economy’s in good shape. And I think that boosts Biden to an election win the end of this year in November. But I also think that the Republicans are going to easily take the Senate, and we will have guaranteed gridlock, which will halt any sort of policies that we saw put in place in 2021 and 2022 that were generally seen as anti-growth. There’s my election prediction. I’m out on a limb on that one, but that’s just I mean, that’s just what my gut tells me could happen if I’m right about the inflation. So and the market, I think we see the S&P 500 up by 12% by the end of the year. And the equal weight S&P 500. This is this is actually more of a better prediction here. I’ll bet you we see the equal weight S&P 500 much closer that to the market weight S&P 500 or the the index cap weighted index returns of the S&P 500. I just think they’ll be much closer than they were this year. That’s just a hunch.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:54:29] Anyone else want to chime in?

Erin Hay, CFA [00:54:31] Yeah, I’ve I’ve really only got one. And I can’t remember which podcast that this alludes to in 2023. But Dave, with you talking about cap weighted S&P and equal weighted S&P, I’m going to weigh in there. I do think that equal weight S&P. I’m gonna do you one better. I think you said that they’re going to be roughly equal in their returns. I think that cap weighted S&P

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:54:58] They’ll be close right. Like they’ll be very close.

Erin Hay, CFA [00:55:01] I think equal weight S&P is going to outperform cap weighted S&P. And notice how I just simply said outperform I don’t know if the markets are going to end in the positive or it’s going to be negative. I just think from a relative perspective, I do think that equal weighted S&P is going to outperform cap weighted. And this goes back to 2023 when there there was an ETF launch. So by the way. ETF providers, if there’s some sort of an idea or something that’s got the world in its grip, so to speak, like they are going to capitalize on that, they’re going to launch some sort of an ETF that plays on a theme, a group of companies, a group, some part of the economy, like you name it. Um, for better and for this, this is good and bad. Um, and last year when we saw cap weighted S&P just absolutely start ripping. There were a few groups that came out with like Magnificent Seven fan mag, whatever, the top seven constituents of the S&P 500. And they’ve created ETFs where that’s all of these funds own. And I think I said something at the time that that might have been a high watermark for cap weighted S&P at the time. And I was obviously very wrong because cap weighted S&P went on to outperform equal weight. But no one gets to the top in these things. You know correct. But I I’m going to use that as sort of my little stake in the ground in saying that I actually do think equal weight is going to be better than, than cap weight this year.

Nate Tonsager, CIPM [00:56:32] I agree with a lot of what the predictions are, especially around the Equal-weight versus the S&P 500. I think you just don’t usually see the divergence that you saw in 2023. So I think there’s always a potential for reversion to mean and while I’m not willing, I think, to join the sandwich bet, I think I’m going to take my sandwich for the year and go home and I’ll watch you.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:56:50] Take your winnings

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:56:50] Take my winnings from the sideline. I do, I do think I tend to lean more on Erin’s side currently. Again, I want to be the fed and be data dependent and reserve my right to change. But I do think there is a potential for just stickier inflation.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [00:57:05] So I’m not those who listen. No, I’m not really one for predictions. And I’m not going to make a market prediction. That’s not my forte, but I do. I’ll throw out something that maybe I’m keeping my eye on and kind of remind people of. And that was the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. So these, uh, this was legislation passed during the Trump administration, Republican Congress, that changed the tax law pretty significantly. Lower tax rates changed deductions dramatically doubled the federal estate and gift tax exemption amounts. The way that they were able to get the legislation passed was to not make it a permanent change. It was temporary. And as the law is right now, those those tax changes are set to expire December 31st, 2025. So my sort of circling back to Dave, I agree with you. Political deadlock is just going to continue. I don’t think I don’t hear anything right now about a willingness to push to make the changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent. I think again, it really depends on on who’s in control of power in Congress, but it’s just something that I am keeping my eye on. So I guess maybe from a prediction standpoint, I agree probably nothing is going to happen with this in 2024. But I do think that it’s something that’s going to be resurfacing on people’s radar in 2025. Um, and this is my plug that if you are someone who thinks that you have such a large estate, that it does matter to you that what the estate tax exemption amount is, which for most Americans, the fact that it is now, I think 17 million per person in 2024, you know, like that’s way beyond their net worth. But for some Americans, that can really be a powerful estate planning tool. This is my plug to tell you. Please go see your trust in a state attorney. Nowo not go see them at the end of the year or even the into the beginning of 2025, because you want to have that runway to be able to make your trust of state documents the way you want them to be thoughtful in their creation and to take advantage of any, um, elevated exemption amount right now that makes sense for your particular plan. I will say, like, we saw this, I’m forgetting the exact year, but we saw where Congress thought, okay, I’m we may we may change that before the end of the year. And then there was a huge scurry at the end of the year of people trying to do this. So take advantage of the runway, take advantage of the fact that this isn’t top of mind for our legislators right now to revisit this exemption amountin 2024. But that’s that’s my thought. So it’s not really a prediction, but it’s something that I’m I’m keeping my eye on the horizon for.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [00:59:55] One last gas prediction is right here, little Lyla in the background. For those of you that heard her chiming in with her snoring in the background, uh, if it doesn’t get edited out, uh, she it she is in total agreement with you, Jessica. She says that people are sleeping on this issue and they need to, uh, okay, to get involved.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [01:00:15] I get it for those who are listening on audio, she’s sleeping in the background. So that was a good joke. So. Okay. Snoring. Yes. Yes. Uh, I want to thank you guys as always. Uh, these are fantastic conversation. nd I want to remind everone listening that that you can keep up with new episodes of Off the Wall, um, as well as our weekly market updatesby signing up for our blog, Dave kind of mentioned that, uh, a couple blog posts that are coming out soon. Monumentealthmanagement.com.

David B. Armstrong, CFA [01:00:45] Say that five times fast.

Jessica Gibbs, CFP® [01:00:47] Yeah. Back splash. Park. Back splash. Um, and I also just remind everyone, please subscribe to the podcast, um, so that you can catch up on new episodes as they’re coming out. Um, our, our episode next month is actually going to be about something that is really important to protecting your wealth. nd that is cyber security, both for individuals and for small businesses. I think it’s an episode that people are not going to want to miss. So subscribe and you’ll be notified as soon as it’s out. So thank you, rin, Nate and Dave for this great absurd. And we’ll have to see who wins the sandwich .

David B. Armstrong, CFA [01:01:20] Yes. Great. All right. We’ll be back after the first quarter. So thanks.

About "Off The Wall"

OFF THE WALL is a podcast for business professionals and high-net-worth investors who want to build wealth with purpose. A little bit Wall Street, a little bit off-the-wall; it’s your go-to for straightforward, unfiltered wealth advice on topics that founders, business owners, and executives care about.

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