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Looking for Normalcy? Maybe We’re Looking for the Wrong Thing

With the Presidential election all but concluded one of the big uncertainties of 2020 will soon be behind us. (Click here to read our Post-Election Brief from the Investment Research team.)

For good or bad, markets like certainty. Juxtapose that with the record number of COVID-19 cases spreading throughout the country—and world—as well as the U.S. Senate control that hangs in the balance until Georgia's runoff elections in January and you realize that normalcy may still be a way off.

I can't help but wonder if normalcy is really what we should be looking for? As Winston Churchill famously said, "never let a good crisis go to waste." Maybe we are looking for the wrong thing after all. Returning to normalcy means returning to the past and not innovating and improving from what we've learned.

Businesses are changing; consumers are changing; and we shouldn't sit on the sidelines while it occurs. The future will pass us by while we wait for a return to normalcy. Some of the change today may be temporary, a necessary evil of our current situation. But much amounts to a quick acceleration of the trends that were already occurring. The need for innovation is strong. The time is now.

The new normal will be something we are not used to - or frankly 100% comfortable with. The pandemic-led work-from-home movement is real and it will continue. Reverberations from this are widespread. Online shopping is here to stay and may be the way we purchase most of our "necessities" going forward. Trends that would have taken years to develop were quickly forced upon us, but faced with the challenge our minds opened up to the possibility of reimagining our reality. This is a powerful force for change. The spigot of imagination is wide open and I'm excited to see what can happen.

As businesses revamp operations, slow and methodical long-term trends are accelerating. Not only has the fourth industrial revolution accelerated (read Allegiant's white papers The Fourth Industrial Revolution and The Devolution of Globalization by Paul Cantor, CFA, CFP®, AIF®) but the service sector will forever change as well. We learned this year that global supply chains create risks. New technology makes local production more economically viable and diversifies the risk that a kink in the chain wreaks havoc. This also means smaller companies can take on large corporations that previously dominated with sophisticated global supply chains. No longer is that a definitive advantage. A great innovation movement could be on the horizon!

While we move forward, we must remain focused on the need to control COVID and the need to put people back to work. Over 10 million jobs have disappeared from earlier this year and COVID cases are growing in the U.S. by over 100,000 per day. Fighting COVID and getting people back to work may seem like conflicting objectives, but we can do both if we think forward and not attempt to return to how things were in the past. Change is difficult, but it is the path forward through such adversity.

The struggles are real, and they are not over. In many cases things may become even more challenging. But that's when American innovation has always succeeded. Out of struggle comes greatness and we may be on the precipice of building the future for decades to come. 

The Allegiant team is well aware of the changes occurring in our economy and markets. These changes require a new look and possibly a fresh approach. The new normal will be something different than the past and it's our job to adjust to the current—and future—reality. But make no mistake, change is coming at a rate we haven't seen in a while. As this new path develops, expect to hear more from the Allegiant team on the implications of these changes and how we are positioning your investments and financial plan to benefit.

If you would like to see more articles about the economy, financial markets, and wealth management topics, please click here to read Features from the Allegiant team.

Benjamin W. Jones, CFP®, AIF®
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
President, Chief Investment Officer, Principal

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Sarasota, Florida 34236
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