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02.24.2023 by David M. Smith

RSWA Won an Award! (Oh, and Economic News This Week Too)

It’s a funny story. Early in January, I received an email stating “the votes have been tallied and I am excited to share that Robinson Smith Wealth Advisors is a finalist! In order to talk with you about this…” and the email went on that I had to click on a link to get more information and sign a non-disclosure. Classic spam or phishing email, right? Well, I thought so, until I researched the source, website, etc., AND it turned out to be legitimate that RSWA won in the inaugural Best of 207 contest! The Portland Radio Group held a contest looking for the best businesses in Maine across many different categories. Over 69,000 votes were cast and of the dozens of firms and hundreds of individuals that provide financial planning in Maine, RSWA took the bronze! It was such a fantastic surprise and quite unexpected as no one even mentioned the contest or that they had voted for us. We try our best to consistently improve and add value to help our clients, so they can live their best lives. We feel very privileged to do the work we do and are proud, and humbled, to be recognized and receive this award. For those of you who voted for us and have confidence in us - THANK YOU!   Best of 207

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Conversations of the Fed: The minutes were released from the last Federal Reserve rate-setting committee meeting. The meeting concluded with a .25% rate hike, much smaller than previous increases, though the committee stressed their concerns inflation remains high. The quarter-point increase had unanimous approval by the committee members, though some advocated for a half-point increase. Rate hikes have a lagging effect on the economy, so the Fed is being careful to not raise rates too quickly and cause a recession. Most investors expect the Fed to continue raising rates a quarter of a point at their next few meetings. The next rate-setting policy meeting for the Fed is March 22nd. CNBC

Current Inflation Reading: The Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank is forecasting annualized current inflation between approximately 4.00% – 6.25%, depending on the index (chart below). This is using month-over-month data and those numbers, while only estimates which can be hard to predict, still point to inflation that may be way too high which the Fed will have to act to curb. Inflation Nowcasting – Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

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A Grim Anniversary: One year ago today, Russia invaded Ukraine. The first thing that comes to mind is the tragic death of civilians, horrific crimes against humanity, and the senseless destruction of a country. And the world has profoundly changed due to the biggest European war since WWII. Geopolitical alliances have been recalibrated as a new political cold war has emerged between the West and Russia, China, and Iran. Economic ties are also recalibrating as companies pulled out of and quit trading with Russia and Europe is quickly pivoting away from Russian energy. Russian leadership shows no signs of stopping due to setbacks, and historically, that is the norm. Bloomberg – Getting Pummeled in War is a 200-Year Russian Tradition We’ll continue to monitor the economic and market impact of events, but hold hope that the conflict comes to an end as soon as possible. Axios AP News

Financial Planning/Investment Strategy Corner:              

The Lure of Portugal and Why Retirees and Expats Are Moving There: I have heard more than a few clients or friends rave about Portugal. Some are even considering moving or retiring there. There are many reasons for the allure. The cost of living is a bargain and is estimated to be 46% lower than in the U.S. Global Citizens Solutions Many new arrivals are getting more than twice the housing space for less than half the cost of east coast metro areas. Eating out is also much cheaper. A friend regaled me with the story of a fabulous seafood meal for four complete with wine and the cost came to around $32. Portugal also has good healthcare, fantastic weather, a beautiful coastline, great history, English is widely spoken, and plenty of direct flights to the U.S. for anyone needing to return. Dreaming of living in a foreign country may just be for fun. But if it is a true desire, there are many things to consider and plan for such as healthcare coverage, prescriptions, medication, access to banking, visas, etc. If you are considering a move or extended stay in a foreign country, work with your financial advisor on how they can help. Global Citizens Solutions – Expats in Portugal – The Ultimate Guide to Life in Europe’s Sunniest Nation Conde Nast – How to Retire in Portugal  

Quick Hits:

  • S. lawmakers are considering issuing $1000 to newborns to close the wealth gap: CNBC
  • French onion pasta dish? Sign me up! Wash Post  Feedfeed
  • Some electric vehicles are now cheaper than their gas counterparts (even without government rebates), and Tesla is leading the way due to its large profit margins allowing it to cut prices: Bloomberg Visual Capitalist – Tesla’s Unrivaled Profit Margins
  • Starbucks is rolling out a new coffee drink that contains olive oil. What? CNBC
  • The national spring weather forecast is showing the northeast to be mostly average temperatures with April being cooler than normal:
  • If you’re overwhelmed by a mess, use the 5 Things Method to tidy it up: LifeHacker

2023 International Travel Changes & Destinations: In keeping with the foreign travel theme from above, let’s all dream a little bit about travel this year. But there are some changes in store for travelers this year. A big change is that U.S. passports can now be renewed online. No more onerous paperwork or coordinating photos as you’ll be able to upload a photo from your phone and pay electronically. Wow, what a huge improvement. Also, for those traveling to Europe, there is an additional small entry fee and visitors will be fingerprinted. Lonely Planet   Now click on the following links for some of the best places to visit this year! Where do you plan to go? ✈️ Travel + Leisure – 50 Best Places to Travel in 2023   Travel Awaits – 17 Destinations for 2023

Useful Tool – The One Page Calendar: I’m going to give this new calendar layout a try, it looks very useful. Click on the link to learn how to use it. Big Think – This One Page Calendar Will Change How You View the Year

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Quote: Russia treacherously attacked our state in the morning, as Nazi Germany did in WW2. As of today, our countries are on different sides of world history. Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself & won’t give up its freedom no matter what Moscow thinks.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, February 24th, 2022.

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