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Music to my Ears

 

By Morgan Christen
CFA, CFP, CDFA, CEO and CIO

 

May is one of my favorite months. We will start to see the sun more often, “May flowers” and I will be celebrating a birthday at the end of the month. My date of birth coincides with the astrological sign Gemini. In case you are wondering my actual birth date, the band Rush sang about it in Lakeside Park (warning: this newsletter contains a lot of music). Being a Gemini, we are known as the “twins.” My wife may say I can be the twins, however she would agree, mostly the good twin.

 
 
  Spring
   
 

I am going to start with my “left-brained” twin first, as I dive into politics and what elections mean to the markets. This is billed as the biggest election in world history. Seventy-six countries, with about 4.4 billion people will be holding elections in 2024. On the main stage will be the United States, as we elect the President, Vice President, 34 Senate seats and all 435 members of the House.

 
 
 
More than half of the world's population could vote in 2024
Returns During and After US Election Years
Markets have rewarded long-term investors
Hypothetical Growth
   
 

What will markets think? The short answer is that the markets really do not care. They will do what they do regardless of who wins or loses. While there are emotions in the markets, at the end of the day it comes down to earnings. Is the company earning? Will it earn in the future? Good, let’s buy. From 1928-2021 the average return during the election was 11.57%, with the subsequent year being 10.67% as the chart shows. Election years are generally good, and so is the subsequent year.

 
 
 
   
 

Time to switch to my “right brained” twin. Markets seem to not care about elections, but we as humans do. It has never been a good idea to talk about politics at a dinner party, but today it is far worse than I can remember. As Eddie Vedder sings, “once divided…nothing left to subtract…Some words when spoken, can’t be taken back.”

 

Since I was a young kid going to the library to check out the collection of albums there, I have been obsessed with music. There are times in your life when you may not be able to express something, but somehow there is a song that can do it for you. Even though I love music, I am unable to play any instrument, other than Hot Cross Buns on a recorder (thank you, third grade music class). I have half-heartedly tried the guitar (a few lessons) and the piano (one lesson). But it is my goal to get one of those instruments down. One thing I learned from both instruments, if you can master a few chords, you can make music. Another thing I learned, my fingers hurt after both the piano and guitar lessons. Trying something new can hurt.

 
 
 
   
 

What does music have to do with elections? If you sit down with someone, you will realize you may be in different camps, but you still have the same desires and dreams. You are strumming the same chords, just in a different order. You want your family to be healthy, you want prosperity and for the most part you want some sort of peace. Music is a magical language that can bring together people, genres, and classes.

 
 
 
   
 

One thing music does well is invite collaboration; it can bridge the gap. I put together a mixtape of some examples of great collaborations: One of the most beautiful songs was brought to us by ex-spouses working together to produce Songbird. Artists from multiple genres coming together for While my Guitar Gently Weeps. How about Heart singing Stairway to Heaven with a full orchestra and Jason Bonham on drums? Metallica with a symphony singing the line, “open my mind to a different view” from Nothing Else Matters. Rock and opera coming together with Eric Clapton and Pavarotti, singing Holy Mother. And my latest favorite comes from the singer of the first CD I purchased, Tracy Chapman singing with Luke Combs, on Fast Car. “Maybe together we can get somewhere.” All of these songs have different chord progressions, but they have mostly the same chords. Even the most beautiful and unique music is made using the same seven notes.

 
 
 
   
 

Time for us all to sit down and try to strike some common chords. As I said, we all want mostly the same thing. It takes those few chords to make a great song. As I said about my fingers, it hurts to learn something new, but it is worth it. To paraphrase John Adams, “Democracy dies by suicide.” Let’s not let that happen. As a post note, four of the people in my little mixtape are no longer with us. The joy in their songs live on, but we will never get to hear their voices again.

 

Soon we will be deep in political ads, and I would assume a barrage of social media. As far as the markets are concerned, we will hold steady and continue to guide your capital in a positive manner. We will continue to strum your future chords. We look forward to continuing to plan for your future but allowing you to live in the present. Together we will get somewhere. We look forward to speaking with you.

 
 
 
   
 

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DISCLOSURES: Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Index performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio. CPI data are available from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Stock is the capital raised by a corporation through the issue of shares entitling holders to an ownership interest of the corporation. Treasury securities are negotiable debt issued by the United States Department of the Treasury. They are backed by the government's full faith and credit and are exempt from state and local taxes. The indices are not available for direct investment; therefore, their performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio. Past performance is no guarantee of future results, and there is always the risk that an investor may lose money. Diversification neither assures a profit nor guarantees against loss in a declining market. The information contained herein is based on internal research derived from various sources and does not purport to be statements of all material facts relating to the securities mentioned. The information contained herein, while not guaranteed as to the accuracy or completeness, has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.