Happy 2024 from the team at Keen Wealth Advisors!
The Dow sent us into the New Year on a high note -- literally -- by hitting a new all-time high in December on the back of some very positive economic news. Employment and job creation are still strong. It looks like we're going to avoid the recession that some analysts have been predicting for the better part of two years. And the Federal Reserve is hinting that it might be done with interest rate hikes as well.
That's a pretty good jumping-off point for a year that, I can confidently predict, sure won't be boring. Elections, Olympics, big changes to how and where we work, advances in AI and other tech, ongoing conflicts across the globe, Leap Day -- there's a lot to look forward to in 2024, but also a lot of very serious matters to keep tabs on, and a lot of potential distractions to filter out of your financial planning.
On today's show, we dispel one such distraction from financial writer Harry Dent and share some economic data that should ground your thinking about your money in the year ahead. My co-hosts and I also share our New Year's goals with the hope that we'll get a little extra accountability from each other and our Keen on Retirement audience.
Big “bubble” or hot air?
As if 2024 won't be eventful enough, Harry Dent is warning us to put one more item on our agendas: "the crash of a lifetime."
Dent is making the rounds promoting a new book arguing that our economy is a giant bubble ready to burst. Dent has been predicting certain doom for a couple years now, but he's confident that 2024 will be "the year." So, he's advising folks to pull their money from the markets while they still can and avoid catastrophic losses. Then, after our economy has cratered, we can all just jump back in and reap the benefits of the rebound.
We've been receiving some questions about Dent's media tour, so I'm going to highlight something that I say twice on this episode: This is the worst advice a financial professional could possibly give, and it's the worst advice that an investor could possibly act on.
Dent's hypothesis is predicated on the idea that there's some magic bell that rings when the economy hits a peak or trough. That's just not how the markets work. Normal volatility creates an ongoing series of ups and downs. If you're working with an advisor and following a comprehensive financial plan, you'll have tools at your disposal to weather -- and even take advantage of -- that volatility. And while past performance is no guarantee of future returns, long-term market history continues to trend in a positive direction for folks who don't try to "time" their investments like Dent is suggesting.
In addition to all that data I shared at the top, it's also worth noting that 2023 was the 11th straight year that the Dow hit an all-time high. And since the markets bottomed out during the pandemic in March of 2020, the economy has steadily added jobs and continued to expand, despite inflation and higher interest rates creating some volatility in 2023.
None of that guarantees 2024 is going to be easy. But the fundamentals of the economy as we start the year are strong. And in my experience, the folks who are on TV or social media predicting the worst are almost always trying to grab your attention so they can sell you something -- like, for instance, a scary book or costly newsletter.
New Year's Goals for 2024
Resolutions tend to fail because they aren't specific and actionable enough. For example, if you resolve to save more money in 2024, you probably won't. But if you set a goal of adding an additional 10% to your automatic monthly contributions, you have a good chance of racking up those savings.
Another great way to achieve more in 2024 is to share your goals and intentions with other people. We practice what we preach, so here's what the hosts of Keen on Retirement are aiming for in the year ahead. Maybe we'll check in over the summer to see how we’re all progressing!
Steve Sanduski, CFP®
"One goal is to exercise at least 80% percent of the days of the year. I've had this goal for years and I always track my workouts with a spreadsheet. I finished 2023 at 87%, and I would have hit 97% if I hadn't suffered an injury in October. That injury also kept me from completing my fourth American Sailing Association class of 2023, so finishing that class is another goal for 2024."
Matt Wilson, CFP®, Chief Investment Officer and President, Keen Wealth Advisors
"Instead of a goal or objective, I came up with a phrase to guide me throughout the year: 'Expect more in 2024.'"
Bill Keen, Founder and CEO, Keen Wealth Advisors
In 2024, I want to commit to getting more sleep, exercising five days every week, and sticking to my morning routine of practicing daily gratitude. I truly believe that these three things give me clarity and confidence that have a positive impact on every aspect of my life.
So, what are your goals for 2024? Are you anticipating any major life transitions? Do you have any concerns about how your financial plan is set up to adjust throughout the year?
Start off 2024 with a visit to Keen Wealth Advisors and we can start planning together for a successful year.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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