Summer is the off-season in New Orleans. The heat and humidity pack a one-two punch that makes walking outside feel like walking into a steam room, day or night. It’s best to do chores like mowing the lawn or grocery shopping before 8 am when the sun makes its unwelcome return above the roof. We draw the curtains, crank up to air-conditioning, and avoid any outdoor activities that do not involve submersion in water. Don’t even think about using the oven!
Four years ago, I began a summer tradition of leaving town for the entire month of July. We head north in search of slightly cooler temps and a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Mashed together with a combination of Airbnb rentals and crashing with family and friends, we usually return home refreshed and ready to run the gauntlet of fall activities while ignoring the fact that the heat won’t leave us until Halloween. I condense all of my client’s calls into time blocks when the kids can be distracted with fun outings and answer emails from the road. It’s a working vacation with true elements of both working and vacation.
And so, we set out with high hopes in late June to Alabama. This year would be another road trip (we hope for something abroad when the kids are a little older) with stops planned in Chattanooga, TN, Athens, GA, Wilmington, NC, Lake Hartwell, SC, Atlanta, and our summer “home base’, Lake Martin, AL. My husband and I managed to sneak away for two nights to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary on Lookout Mountain.
Shortly after the 4th of July, we got Covid. After two years of hiding, closing schools, working from home, masking, and vaccinating, our time had come. While the symptoms were mild for us, they have lingered longer than I imagined. This canceled any opportunity to see family members who are elderly or fighting cancer, of which I have too many at this moment. Our summer of fun has turned into an isolated summer of Blah. We contemplated returning home early but decided to make an attempt to salvage the end of our trip.
All of this comes against the backdrop of the worst start to the calendar year for a 60/40 portfolio. Inflation remains at a 40-year high, coming in at over 9% in June. The war in Ukraine seems to drag on with no end in sight. The Biden administration has the worst talking points on inflation and the economy and inspires no confidence. And the Supreme Court, don’t even get me started on the funk that Roe Reversal still has over me. Taking away a Constitutional Right is a dangerous step backward, and I don’t have the words to describe how I feel about it.
If it feels bad right now, that’s because it is bad.
But there is hope. When stocks are down 20% from their highs, long-term expected returns are higher. Now is a great time to be putting new cash to work in a diversified portfolio. You don’t need to time it perfectly if you have a long-term lens.
The good times don’t FEEL as good without the experience of the bad times. I am ready to emerge from the Blah Blah summer and get back to living life to the fullest. Because while we all have different levels of wealth, it won’t buy any of us more time.