All of us at New England Capital Financial Advisors would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and a very healthy safe and prosperous New Year. It is one of our greatest pleasures to exchange season’s greetings and thank those whose friendship and goodwill are so highly valued.
2018 was a milestone year for New England Capital. 30 years ago, I started New England Capital in my parents’ basement after spending five years at a Wall Street firm, including two and a half years managing the branch office in Birmingham, AL. I have been truly blessed during my 35-year career to be able to provide financial planning and advice to wonderful people who have transcended from valued clients to true friends. I thank you for allowing me to become part of your lives.
I want to include my deepest gratitude for the people who have also signed this letter. Thank you for all you do, not only for me, but also for every one of our clients whom you serve so diligently and so thoughtfully throughout the years. It is a pleasure to work with you daily. Your dedication and commitment allows us to continue to strive for excellence in all we do. Your talent and hard work reflect so brightly on me. I am thrilled to formally and publicly thank you in this forum.
Ten years ago, in 2008, we were in the middle of a worldwide financial crisis. I personally will never forget that time and its effects on me and the clients of New England Capital. I have been reliving this time, almost day-by-day, with the help of a book I am currently reading. A friend and client (thank you Don) lent me former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s book called “The Courage to Act: A Memoir of the Crisis and Its Aftermath”.
Like many financial crises before it, excessive debt can be at least partially to blame for this “Subprime Crisis”. Simply put, people, companies and countries get themselves into trouble by borrowing more than they can afford to pay back. As Bernanke said in his book, “The financial crisis of 2007-2009 had several triggers. The most important and best known is the rapid run up and subsequent collapse in housing prices and construction.”
Other triggers include risky lending practices to individuals and real estate developers. Banks and mortgage companies were incentivized to construct and sell complicated financial instruments that magnified the leverage while making these loans appear safe.
Last week, there was finally some evidence that the investment markets were starting to get jittery about the escalating tit-for-tat tariffs and threats of tariffs that some economists are calling “America vs. the World.” Most investors are probably wondering whether new taxes on items flowing into and out of the U.S. really is something to worry about.
It is on several fronts. First, and most specifically, certain economic sectors will be big losers in an escalating tariff battle. When President Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, solar panels and washing machines, China responded with an equal dollar amount of tariffs on certain agricultural products, including soybeans, meat, fish, milk and cream, various fruits and vegetables, alcohol, dog and cat food and cotton—all of which directly impacted the economics of many midwestern farmers (who China obviously presumes to be Republican voters). China and the European Union have imposed tariffs on Kentucky bourbon, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, pork and maple syrup, whose manufacturers and workers probably reside on both sides of the political aisle.
If you’re a soybean farmer, then the fact that Brazilian soybeans are now extremely competitive in the large and growing Chinese market can be extremely discouraging.
The following was adapted from a speech given on June 28, 2018 at New England Capital’s 30th Anniversary Celebration at Holiday Hill Outing and Events Center.
I would like to thank everyone for coming out tonight but really, I thank you for so much more.
I am truly grateful to all of you for allowing me and New England Capital to be part of your family, to be part of your life, to assist you with achieving your hopes and dreams, and to try to put meaning behind your money. Your successes are our successes. Our goal is to successfully guide you to and through a fulfilling career and through retirement.