Let’s start off with some good news, shall we?

SAS Financial Advisors LLC |

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year. What a start to the new year in markets. Gains from last year be damned. If the first two days are any indication of the performance for the year, 5% US treasuries will look good.  Gains in markets and interest rate declines surprised almost everyone except those that do not follow or engage in prognostication and just accept whatever returns markets offer based on long term historic returns above inflation. As we begin the new year new job numbers declined from the previous month and the Fed minutes summary indicated that interest rate increases are done but set no timetable for declines in interest rates. Good news for minimum wages workers as minimum wages have increased in many states. Whether those wage increases keep up with inflation from 2023 is a challenge for sure. Also, many of the low wage workers already received wage increases during covid when wages had to increase to attract workers.  

Many challenges both political and economic lay immediately ahead including passing government funding bills over a gridlocked Congress.  According to data, the 118th Congress passed the fewest bills in history. This can be viewed as a problem or as a good thing.  Generally, gridlock is good for markets, but we shall see how Congress does in January.  Also, of course, this is an election year. Any decline in interest rates by the Fed will meet with political motivations-democrats cheering and republicans claiming the Fed is political. 

Other obvious challenges are wars in the Middle East and in Ukraine.  Markets have not paid too much attention to those world events yet, unless the first two days of market behavior mean markets are paying attention and are concerned and war spreading.  The US economy is still the strongest in the world based on data although the mood of America is not reflecting the data. Maybe if gas prices continue to decline, Americans will reflect the actual performance of the economy based on GDP growth and historically low unemployment rates. Additionally, with the consensus of the Fed being done with interest rate increases and the expectation of declining rates will this make Americans feel better.  Of course, markets can be anticipatory, and the outsized gains of 2023 could be reflecting all this news confirming buy the rumor and sell the news.  

In 2023 we applied for a reduction in our condo appraised property tax value based on comparable values. We were able to save $3,500 in property taxes as the City of San Francisco appraiser office agreed. This was agreed to during the voluntary appeal ending March 31 of the current year for the next year property taxes. Our recommendation is to look up your property on Zillow and check the comparable/square foot price for recently sold properties. Check your appraised property tax value. If the current year comps show a reduced value per square foot, then check out this website.  

Filing a Formal Appeal | Assessment Appeals Board

I recommend filing by paper if there are problems with applying online.  


For a good analysis of the economy in 2024 click on this link:

4th Quarter 2023 Economic And Market Outlook: Labor Market, Inflation, And Geopolitic


Good luck! And Happy New Year.


Let’s start off with some good news, shall we?


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