Zoom-ing into post-pandemic world, what stays, what goes...

The butterfly emerging from the caterpillar cocoon. The butterfly spreads its wings and flies off-no transition. After over 1 year of quarantine, lockdown, and social distancing we are not as easily finding the transition to what comes next.

As we meet with clients, each person is finding their own way forward. One trend in the news is looking back on the challenging year that introduced a whole new vocabulary of behaviors into daily practice. What can we learn from the past year? What necessary adjustments and behaviors are worth continuing and what is worth discarding? Eating at home was a necessity and many parents and families introduced more diversity into their cooking and eating. Alcohol consumption increased and maybe that behavior needs moderation? Baking sometimes requires more time and patience, especially bread, and with the slower pace of life and more home time, the time for baking became available. The slower pace of life became a necessity and maybe would be desirable to keep. 

Zoom meetings are the norm and the virtual nature allowed us to see family and friends that were not local. I have monthly zoom calls with my best friends from high school, college, and first cousins all of whom live in faraway places. This is a ritual I would like to continue. Discerning what and who is important is normally a challenge when we lead our busy lives but the slow down helps up clarify who is important and what those connections mean. Food for thought! The nature of work and work from home is on Zoom, what role will Zoom play in a post-vaccination future? Here is a joyful snapshot from the end of one of our weekly SAS Team Zoom meetings to share, can you relate?


 

Markets:

In the meantime, the S&P 500 crossed 4000 for the first time. The goods and services sectors are growing at rates not seen in many years. Could this be the best US economy ever? March readings came in at 63.7 for services and 64.7 for manufacturing. Any reading over 50 means growth. This growth is reflected in both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 setting records. Higher interest rates in 2021 are still affecting the NASDAQ which had a correction earlier this year briefly declining by 10% from its high. The growth in March does not include the stimulus checks and other fiscal relief included in the recently passed American Rescue Plan. 

Infrastructure legislation has now been introduced by the Biden Administration in the aggregate of $2T. The economic growth of March might be left in the dirt by growth going forward. Inflation is a fear manifested by the steepening yield curve with long-term rates rising while short-term rates stay low. The Federal Reserve has stated that short-term interest rates will remain until the economy/employment recover.

 

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