People keep asking me, “What is it like working as a wealth advisor during a severe recession and pandemic while also parenting two kids in remote school?” Usually, I start the answer by listing what I am grateful for – a house with enough room, kids who can handle remote learning (most days), effective technology, our health… but then I drop the honest truth on them: It feels like completing a marathon every day, but without the actual benefit of physical exercise!
As an advisor, the most significant impact of COVID–19 on my work is that I miss being able to meet with clients in person, especially when addressing their concerns about the markets, economy, and the pandemic. But I have been grateful for connections through Zoom and the view into homes that allows me to meet other family members and pets, and learn more about their lives. It’s also given clients a window into my life, where my kids may walk into the room as if nothing important is going on or drop into view for an introduction and a wave. In that way, 2020 has also given me more time with my family (even if we are all on screens!) as we find ways to work together, stay healthy and active, and connect with friends.
All the while, volatility has been everywhere – in the economy, financial markets, our communities – and it has affected all of us in varying ways. I feel fortunate to be in a role where I can help guide clients through planning scenarios and decisions that create positive impact, and I know that wouldn’t have been possible without the steady work of the entire team at Litman Gregory: Our research analysts have been true professionals, remaining objective and levelheaded in the face of extreme uncertainty; our advisors demonstrate care and confidence as they lead clients to address current needs while keeping an eye on the future; our client service and operations teams have been hard at work covering all the bases, making sure we deliver services uninterrupted; and our leadership and business continuity teams stay focused on supporting our people, recognizing they are the essential link in serving our clients.
When I look at the sea of faces in our all-company Zoom meetings, I know many are also handling the challenges of “parenting in a pandemic”. But there is a collective commitment within our firm to support each other, and keep everything moving forward safely for our work and families.
With this perspective as my backdrop, it was an honor to learn that Working Mother and SHOOK Research recognized me again in their “Top Wealth Advisor Moms” list for 2020. The acknowledgment is a direct reflection of the full team at Litman Gregory and the support we have of great families at home. In a year so full of difficulties, I actually feel lucky: It’s a time to celebrate my two favorite jobs – advisor and mom.
– Gretchen Hollstein, CFP®, Senior Wealth Advisor, Principal, Proud Mom
Commentary from Our CIO—Second Quarter 2021
Global stock markets continued to surge in the second quarter. In our assessment of the macroeconomic backdrop and outlook, we continue to expect a strong global economic recovery over at least the next 12 months. In this quarterly commentary, our Chief Investment Officer, Jeremy DeGroot, reviews the current reasoning for our portfolio positioning, outlook on inflation, and forward-looking scenario analysis on the broader economy and markets.
Research Update: Increased Return Expectations for U.S. Stocks
As the economy and financial markets continue their recovery from the pandemic’s impact, our recent analysis resulted in improved expected returns for U.S. stocks. In this post we summarize our analysis and why we think an increased allocation to U.S. equities could benefit the risk-adjusted return profile of our portfolios.
Advisor Q&A: Tax Planning and the American Families Plan with Senior Advisor Chris Wheaton
The American Families Plan was recently released by President Joe Biden and includes many of the provisions outlined during his campaign. We asked Litman Gregory Senior Advisor, Chris Wheaton, to answer some questions about key proposed tax law changes, and related tax planning ideas for our clients to consider in 2021 and beyond.