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A Brief Look at 2021

This year has been quite a ride. There were numerous stories that captured attention. In this episode, we stroll down memory lane and chat about some of the stories that stuck out to us. What events had the most impact on you in 2021?

Unedited Transcript:

Michael Baker  00:21

My name is Michael Baker, and I'm here with Ross Marynell. We're here to wrap up 2021 Ross, how are you doing this morning buddy?

Ross Marynell  01:00

doing wonderful. It just feels crazy to say wrapping up. 2021 doesn't it's just I'm getting my years mixed up. But we've had an incredible year in the market news, financial matters, retirement planning. Today, we're gonna try and just put a little bow on it. A little year-end recap. We're gonna touch on a lot of areas and move quickly through some of these topics. But we would be remiss if we didn't start with the Time Person of the Year. So, did you see who time named his Person of the Year this year?

Michael Baker  01:35

I saw who it wasn't. It wasn't Elizabeth Warren. It was her I think her online sparring partner Elon Musk was that right? Her?

Ross Marynell  01:44

Her Twitter nemesis. So, Elon Musk named Time Person of the Year, of course, they want to grab somebody who can get attention and eyeballs to their magazine. No one seems to be more popular on the internet these days. Then Mr. Elon Musk, of course, leader of Tesla, SpaceX, and the cult following on Twitter,

Michael Baker  02:05

and Dogecoin. Apparently,

Ross Marynell  02:07

in Yes. and occasional sales rep for Dogecoin to the Doge Father, so we secretly love Twitter, trolls, right? Just internet trolls in general.

Michael Baker  02:20

I think it's hilarious. And I think that, you know, well, I think some people get on there just to say mean things. I'm not really those type of trolls. But like the people that don't take themselves too seriously and can take a joke and crack a joke. Those people are fun.

Ross Marynell  02:37

It is wild to have the richest person in the United States engage on this level. Yeah. And obviously, he's made some pretty extreme and wild and silly, goofy points. But he's also made some really good ones. And, you know, he took not too kindly to Senator Warren's comments about him paying more taxes. Because in fact, he has sold billions of dollars of stock last year, which when you want to tax ultra-wealthy people, you want them to sell stock, because they're not getting compensated through ordinary earned income, like most of this, they are building their massive wealth through equity ownership of their businesses. And the one way that we can get tax revenue from them is for them to sell stock. So, she picked a wrong time, the wrong year. I would say to put him to task on that, because he actually has sold a lot of stock this year.

Michael Baker  03:35

Yeah, I think I saw a blurb where he is, he's likely going to pay more tax this year than any American in history, like any individual American in history. Right. And, of course, you know, she's out there saying, you know, we need to make sure that they pay their fair share. And it's, it's just obscene. But, you know, we were talking about this previously, and, and this is why I stand on it now. I mean, you could take it as a political statement. You could, you could not, but I'm done with listening to anyone in Congress talk about wealthy people and their stocks, especially since just this past week. It was brought up about our congressional leadership, Senators and Representatives, being able to trade and own individual stocks. And Nancy Pelosi basically like rebuffed that and said, No, it's you know, we're for free markets. When, if you look at her husband in some of the trades that he has made and the timing of some of the trades he's made, but I won't single her out, because this is on both sides of the aisle. The Republicans do it and the Democrats do it. They do essentially what is tantamount to insider trading up in Congress and the fact that they want to come out and have like this holier than thou opinion about people in the private sector making money. I'm just done with it all. I'm like, you know, you don't have any legs to stand on. It's all it's all political doublespeak, and you know trying to whip up your base, again against somebody else, because Congress is doing some ridiculous stuff that, quite frankly Ross, if you and I did it, we'd be in jail. So there's that well,

Ross Marynell  05:18

on the heels of Federal Bank, board members trading ahead of me via significantly important policy decisions. Can't wait a day or two for news to become public. It's It just is. It's hard to even fathom. Oh, yes, yeah, of course, the Wall Street Journal had a really deep investigative report on the trading of federal judges, when they're overseeing cases and actively buying stocks, in businesses that they are involved in this the decision making of what happens in that just seems ridiculous. And so All right, moving on. Elon wins Twitter, he is Time Person of the Year, they probably picked the right person to get my eyeballs to their page. So let's move on. We had some big wheat, some announcements from the Fed, they had their recent statement, this is your favorite time of the year, when all eyeballs are on the Federal Reserve, and their policy commentary. But we have had a lot of macro shifts this year, in particular 2021, we have had a rise in inflation is become the latest report now puts us since you the highest inflation we've had in 40 years. So this is this is news to me, this is affecting people's lives. It's affecting our costs at the pump food. If you run a business, it's affecting your ability to get the materials you need to do your job at the same price. We're seeing cost of capital cost of product go up. And so the Fed this week, made it clear they were going to inbound buying, most likely by q1 2022. And then they foresee three rate hikes next year. What are your thoughts on the Feds latest commentary and their hopefully tactics to slow this inflation?

Michael Baker  07:06

Well, I mean, I think they're doing what they feel like they have to right one of the one of the mandates of the Fed is trying to control inflation. And clearly inflation is not under control. And if you look at what's going on, for the most part, yes, there's some there's some economic data that is not super strong. But for the most part, you can see that there is a recovery, even if it's a little soft. In some areas, there is recovery, and we had just such a significant event that has impacted our economy in so many different ways. So it's going to take a little while for things to kind of shake out. But I think the biggest thing is, for one, inflation is definitely within their mandate. So they've got to do something. And secondly, inflation is a serious tax on a lot of people. You know, a lot of times when we talk about the economy, and we talk about the stock market, we're not really talking about everybody, because as we discussed before, on the show, not everybody own stocks, there's a significant amount of people in our country, that don't own investable assets, but they go to the grocery store, they're trying to put food on the table for their kids, they go to the gas station, they feel like, you know, they need to be able to earn a wage that can keep up with their cost of living. And so inflation really hits those families and those households a lot harder. And so there is there is some political, you know, color to that. But there's also just the fact that, you know, if we can't, they can't get this genie back in the bottle or under control, we're gonna have real problems. So I think they're doing what they've gotten, they feel like they need to do his comments were a little, you know, he did leave the door open that if they needed to go back to providing more accommodation, because of, you know, the omicron variant or something else that they were willing to do that, but I think, you know,

Ross Marynell  09:02

this is will that door ever be closed? I mean, realistically,

Michael Baker  09:06

I don't I don't know. I think that it'll, it'll eventually have to close because I think at some point, we're going to have to reconcile that that virus is not going away. We're just going to have to continue to work on therapeutics and treatment protocols. Where, you know, it just becomes part of life. And you know, we have the rapid tests and you know, just like the flu, you figure out how to how to live with it.

Ross Marynell  09:32

Going back to a good point you made for folks out there that don't own stocks. They don't own real assets, like a home where they're renting. Maybe they don't have the cash flow to invest in stocks. They haven't seen a price appreciation that others have. If you own stocks over the last 1618 months, then you've probably done well. If you've owned a home you might see that your home value is approaching its all time high, depending on the area that you live in, certainly here in the Carolinas It's been wonderful for folks that own stocks and own homes. If you don't, and you found yourself missing on that, then all you get is the other end of the stick, which is higher gas prices, higher food prices. Well, I will make this point. So this came this came out, Lizzy and Saunders tweeted this, she said last time, CPI, inflation was this high, the 10 year Treasury yield was above 14%. and personal savings rate was just above 12. So now the 10 year, as we know, is still hovering like under 1.4. So we're having this really significant increase in inflation, but rates are low, right. And this is different than what we would never say it's different this time, right. But this is a diversion from the last time we've seen inflation at this rate. So just to keep that in mind. Um, alright, so the Fed made their announcement and hopefully that can kind of cool that they've laid they laid out their roadmap. We'll see if they follow it. But hopefully we can put the Fed in the rearview mirror for a little while. That would be nice. That would be nice. So So moving on to and getting back to some of the stock activity, specifically some of the new SPAC an IPO issue, issues this year. And some of the meme stack we are starting to see as in kind of related to the Federal Reserve policy. We're seeing some hyper growth sales companies with let's say, distant profits, where they're not profitable now, but they may be profitable in five years, seven years.

Michael Baker  11:31

How distant? Are we saying here,

Ross Marynell  11:34

Mr. Song, some are pretty distant. But we have seen those bubbles burst. I think one of the stories we'll look back on this year is the IPO face plants, just absolute face plans that we've seen this year in some of the fintech. So the financial technology sector, that's just been very popular. Businesses like Coinbase, Robin Hood, coming out of the gates in just the stocks going nowhere. People are now for the first maybe for the first time absorbing what it's like to be in a market that goes both ways. A lot of people started investing, you know, after the COVID market decline, and in you see your stocks just roll up for a year. And then guess what didn't happen this year? Did it?

Michael Baker  12:20

Yeah. I mean, you know, there are a lot of people that got involved in and I don't want to say, I guess we could be technically correct by saying investing. But I think what a lot of what we seen is gambling, people basically taking their, you know, taking stimulus money taking extra, you know, money that they have, maybe they were working, but they still received, you know, stimulus payments, and, you know, rolling the dice with it in and, you know, anytime you see gains being you know, outsized versus, like the risk that's being taken, you know, that those types of scenarios tend to revert. And, you know, especially when the new when the capital dries up, I mean, because, you know, if the government was still sending out stimulus checks, we'd probably still see some of that, but, you know, the stimulus payments, dried up, the enhanced unemployment stopped unemployment, starting to get more normalized, I wouldn't say it's normalized yet, but it's getting more back to the normalized trend. So you know, some of this extra money that people have had to throw at these ideas, be it a Gamestop, or an AMC meme stock, you know, type of thing to your crypto token of choice, to a spec, I mean, anything where you could get just exponential upside, and your risk is minimal, because you don't really have the mindset that it was your money anyway, you know, this is what we see. And it's still it's still playing out. And it's moving all through the through the universe. You know, we still have NF T's and people buying, you know, JPEGs of art, quote, in air quotes, art for ridiculous sums of money. But yeah, it's it. This was a this was a wild year. And, you know, I think, I think we're going to see more of it in the future.

Ross Marynell  14:03

He made an interesting comment on the unemployment numbers and people getting back to work. So in the in Jerome Powell, his last statement, he actually specified that prime age employment was kind of returning back to normal. I thought that that's an interesting distinction, prime age employment. So I guess if you look at the extremes, like the people just coming into the workforce, those leaving, we know that there's been a big transition this year of advancing people advancing into retirement, so maybe they aren't at their full retirement age, but they were in that retirement window, maybe one or two years left. This was a wonderful, you know, this was a good opportunity to make that decision to retire. Going back to what we just talked about with portfolios and home values and all of it combined it and then you're looking at the younger side. Well, if you were getting that stimulus money last year, you didn't have to pay student loans, some people weren't in a position where they had to pay rent, and the government's mailing you and you're getting more money, you know, to sit at home than you would going back to work and paying your bills normally, that yeah, you have a little extra capital to put into the market ideas that are attractive to a younger investor like that. And some of the most popular stocks, the mean stocks have had a different experience this year than the previous year. I'm just thinking about companies like, peloton which pins. You talked about AMC, we saw, again, Robin Hood, coin base, these are businesses that are getting penetration in their market. You know, Coinbase is a very popular exchange is huge, right? I mean, it has a lot of users, Robin Hood is attracting the investor accounts in a rapid pace. But it doesn't mean just because it's a popular company, that the stock is priced correctly. So we're seeing pretty big divergence. And I think this is the year Michael. We’re gonna learn about the dangers of leverage on a retail basis,

Michael Baker  16:08

you think we're finally going to learn the dangers of leverage? You know, I think it's like, I remember the story, when we were we were kids growing up my family, we all went out to a Japanese steakhouse. And my sister, I can't remember so excited for

Ross Marynell  16:25

the story. I don't know

Michael Baker  16:25

what you're gonna save, ready, she were all there, you know, we're getting ready, the chef comes out, and he starts like doing his thing. And I remember my sister for whatever reason, she just decided to put her hand on the table. And so if you, if you're in the EU, you know, people who have never been to a Japanese steakhouse, the table is actually where they cook the food. So it was like, you know, she put her hand on, on the on the stovetop, if you will, or the grill. And so she burned her hand. Thankfully, it wasn't a severe burn. But I mean, she burned her hand. So she learned about that. But how many other you know, kids out there have not yet done that, that are going to still do it. And so that's how I feel about leverage, like there's going to be people that are going to learn their lesson. But then, you know, part of our arrogance as humans sometimes is think you know, what, oh, well, that won't happen to me, or I am going to do it differently than these other people. So it's not going to happen to me and, and I just feel like it's like a drug that's out there for the taking, there's going to always be people are ready to, you know, ready to dip their toe in and think that they've got a better system than others that come before them.

Ross Marynell  17:32

And also think to it when it comes to some of these newer businesses that are getting a lot of discussion on stock boards in their in their very popular, they also start to garner regulatory scrutiny as well. And so we know that Robin Hood is trying to debate how do we create business do we sell? Do we get payment for order flow do we go to are we going to see a return of trading fees again, just to have a more transparent cost? I do think there are some challenges they're going to face just from how they're growing their business. This came across CNBC today that was talking about Buy now pay later stocks. And so some of those popular ones is referenced in this article, a firm afterpay Klarna. Pay Pal zip. This is the CNBC lead, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking information from those companies on the risks and benefits of their products. Buy now pay later quote unquote services, let shoppers defer payment for items typically over a period of monthly installments, and with no interest attached. So that's the headline from CNBC. So the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is concerned that people are going to borrow more than they can eventually repay. Because, you know, that initial purchase is spread out over monthly payments. But in some cases, and I don't know that this is true in all cases, but in some cases, there's zero interest.

Michael Baker  18:53

Well, I'll be curious to see, I don't know a ton about this business model. But obviously, you know, if you've if you've got credit card companies out there charging 20%. And then you have these tech platforms, that can figure out a way to come in and undercut that margin. There's a market for that, of course, the other thing I was curious about is if they're not charging, if they're not going to charge interest, would there be a markup and the price of the items that people are purchasing? Because if there isn't then you know, the question is, well, how are they making money? You know, that like what are they doing? You know, that they're not telling us so that would be interesting to kind of figure out like how they're making that sausage right.

Ross Marynell  19:39

But in what kind of I circle back to is a lot of these new issue. The new issued businesses, they come up with a new wording for something that's been around forever. Buy now pay later, so it's got this cool oh, BNPL let's get this little acronym. It's great. It's a credit card. I mean, it's layaway. New idea right?

Michael Baker  20:01

decade we're not gonna call it layaway anymore. We're gonna buy it now pay late oh, it's

Ross Marynell  20:05

like, you know, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is gonna investigate people buying more than they can afford to pay off. Well, it's a novel idea. It's been going on for centuries. But okay, I guess we'll look at it funny stat. So looking at Berkshire Hathaway this year, compared to arc, so ARKK. That's Cathie Wood’s famous fund, that she's had a great run in, but run into a little turbulence this year, versus Berkshire Hathaway, of course, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger. Uncle Warren has reclaimed the return lead this year, pretty dramatically. Now not over a longer short, like think if you look back three years with Kathy, her funds still doing really well. But it's definitely having a little trouble this year?

Michael Baker  20:51

Well, I think, you know, the underlying lesson here is that I would hope anyone listening takeaway is, you know, if you are going to go after, if you're going to go after outsized returns, you want to try to beat the market. And when I made the market, I mean, whatever your whatever your benchmark is. So if you want to be like large cap stocks, or if you want to beat, you know, the tech stocks, you're going to have to invest differently than what the market is doing, you're going to have to take risks, where you are skewing your portfolio or your holdings differently. And with that, you have the option or the potential to, you know, have years where you do outperform, but then you also are going to have years where you underperform because that that's part of it, you know, I mean, and you know, because different sectors have that run on different business cycles, different, you know, outside factors that can influence I mean, just think about last year, what the impact of last year 2020 had on the tech sector, where everybody was forced into using technology in ways that they likely use, you know, in a limited fashion or not ever before. I mean, how many people had to figure out zoom last year, or, you know, Google meetings, you know, or to figure out, you know, how to run their company, you know, you know, in from a virtual manner, where before, they weren't doing that, so that had tremendous implications for people that were heavily invested in technology. And then, of course, this year, at least in the first part of the year, were a little like, we were going to be, you know, just reopening and life getting back to normal, then you have the reopen trade, where everyone's thinking like, oh, you know, hotels, cruise lines, airlines, you know, things that, you know, people need to, you know, use tangible durable goods, all these things people were getting back into, and you know, so it's, there's cycles to everything. And so that's the thing you have to be mindful of when you're trying to allocate capital, is if you if you're trying to be active into your in your choices, then you're going to have years where you underperform. And so it'll be interesting to see if Kathy would make some changes to her fund, or, you know, everyone's waiting on to figure out what the next big move for Warren is. But I think I think Berkshires, you know, I think he's kind of run his course over at Berkshire,

Ross Marynell  23:09

we'll see I think this is a, this is almost, you know, the tortoise and the hare. And it, you know, Berkshire is calculated, they're shrewd, and world class sharp, intelligent investors. And they may not make splashy buys in newfound technology, but they search out tried and true businesses that return capital. And on a long enough time horizon, they're tough to be in, I just think from the mindset of how to build wealth, and accumulate and prepare for retirement. I feel like our younger generation is in a hurry. It's today it's leverage, it's get in and trade and move and fast. And it's got to be now, and sometimes the wisdom of knowing that it may take a decade 234, but you have the time, and to be patient, and to be but have a determined mindset, you know, that doesn't mean just because Berkshire isn't going out and buying TelaDoc stock and in some of these high flying companies doesn't mean they're not trying to return the maximum level of capital that they can to their investors based on their investment policy. And so they just had a different time horizon. They didn't need six months, they're looking at a longer time horizon.

Michael Baker  24:30

I agree with that. When you're looking at an investor you have to understand what they're doing. And if you want just a fun homework assignment, Google how much dividends and interest that Berkshire gets from their Apple holding. It's insane. So, you know, again, let's not pretend that we're Warren Buffett, you the listener are not Warren Buffett, you know, maybe we'll be but you won't know for 80 years. Okay, so, lesson pretend that we're Warren Buffett, let's focus on what your goals are and what you should be doing for your own investment path moving forward, not focusing on what Warren Buffett's doing because your portfolios are not the same.

Ross Marynell  25:12

Alright, so next topic. So this is looking back over the last year, our employment, landscape, work life balance, is it forever changed? Will we ever see a match to return to full time in the office? Again,

Michael Baker  25:32

I can't imagine that we would stuck

Ross Marynell  25:33

in traffic, right, listening to Radio drinking coffee on the way whether

Michael Baker  25:39

it's listening to our podcast on the way to work, or you

Ross Marynell  25:43

listen to it at home now, right? It's over. In my prediction, there will never be a return to in office work in the environment that we were pretty COVID. Yeah,

Michael Baker  25:55

I think I think it's forever changed. And there's some good things to that. And I think there's going to be some really interesting challenges that arise. Number one is, is when you are, you know, when you're an employer, where you have a footprint in a certain geographic area, and you source all your talent from that area. And you no longer have to do that. How do you structure your compensation to reflect, you know, something, let's say, for example, someone had to be in San Francisco to work at a specific company. But now they can hire somebody to do that job in Nebraska, do you pay the person who's living in Nebraska, the same wages that you would pay somebody that has to live in San Francisco, because the cost of living in Nebraska is probably less than the cost of living in San Francisco, that that's going to be interesting thing to see how these companies sort out. The other thing is, I think we're probably going to have a hybrid type of environment where you're going to have some positions where the people can completely work remotely. Some positions where it's a hybrid type of environment, or even or choice of a hybrid environment where people, they're in the office a couple of days a week, and then they're at home a couple of days a week and allowing some flexibility. And then the other thing I would say is this is if technology arises to the point where you can basically hire almost anywhere, how do we not move into a globally competitive environment where some people that used to not have to worry about competing with workers overseas, or in other countries for their jobs now have to do that, because it's going to be completely remote, it's going to be interesting to watch.

Ross Marynell  27:38

So this year, we saw what was dubbed the great resignation, more people changing jobs this year, than I think in any period and record to the same reason, right? Changing work environments, finding a better work, life fit, walking away from in office jobs to find other career paths where they didn't have to travel, changing jobs, because companies were offering more money. You know, even on the service sector side, if you could make $50 an hour at, you know, a fast food chain, and someone else offers you a team you leave. Because what's your you know, why not? Why not go make the most amount of money. We know employers were offering bonuses to attract new talent into keep people. So could you flip your job, make a little more money and get a bonus, you're doing that. So people moved in mass this year, big job change, still job openings that may take yours to Phil? Sure. Now we have the Fed, as we mentioned earlier, talking about prime age employment, because they may be looking at the other end of the spectrum and going well, we can't fix it. So there's minimizing the problem to the age gap where you would expect people to still be working.

Michael Baker  28:54

While you think about this, I mean, this is not to get overly granular on what may have happened. But you also have to think like the last year when people got forced out of the office. And there's a lot of people that were working, that we've talked about this that decided to go ahead and retire, they, you know, they felt like they had accumulated enough in their retirement accounts to be able to do that they relaxed some of the rules last year where people could get access to 401k Money IRA money and spread the tax burden over a three year period. There were a lot of interesting planning opportunities that could have arose out of last year alone. And then this year, you know, people going into, you know, like that hybrid work from home environment. Then they were told everyone go back to the office and they say, You know what, no, I'm willing to, you know, shrink my budget a little bit and go ahead and retire a little early. There's a lot of things that happened. And so it's going to be interesting to watch how these employers deal with and the changing environment. And I think a lot of people left, you know, the service sector completely, like, got put on pause for a significant portion of last year. And so some of those people, they may have decided, You know what I'm out of the service sector, I'm going to go get another job and something a little bit more stable. So it's going to be interesting to watch it, I think we're going to see the effects of this year going for a while, it'd be

Ross Marynell  30:23

curious to see the if the new job creation of just people going out there and forming their own businesses. So new businesses starting up during the lockdown people are at home, they maybe have a passion, they want to follow a little bit. Be curious to see how those continue throughout the next year or two. Are they sustainable? Are they able to make enough income from that to live in support themselves? Or do they have to return back to a more traditional job? Also think about all of the financial decisions that have to be made during a job transition? Oh, yeah. So what do I do with my old 401k? What do I do with my new 401k? What are my contribution levels? What are my insurance benefits? What life insurance policies are portable? Versus do I need to go get a new group life insurance, there's a whole host of financial decisions that have to be made related to those job changes. And when you see the level that we've seen this year, you've got I think there's opportunity there for people to really fine tune what they're doing financially. So I always love this time of the year to just do a sit down and do a recap of what policies do we own what work worker benefits do we have? What contribution levels are we making to retirement plans? Right? Is that working for your cash flow? Can we do can you do more? Where do you go from there? I just think this time of the year is always the best to just sit down and reflect on some of that. Absolutely. The next topic I had was, so this year we saw Facebook change their company name. They're now Meta. We are on the fast track to the metaverse. Are we excited about the digital economy. What do we call this? We were just living in the cloud.

Michael Baker  32:00

See, like you almost faked me out there because you asked me if I was excited about the digital economy. And I thought you're about to ask me if I was excited about the metaverse. And so the digital economy does excite me to some extent. Okay, there's opportunities the metaverse I'm not excited about it all

Ross Marynell  32:20

I've documented on this podcast about all the star loves to play Roblox. Yeah, Roblox is one of these sort of Metaverse type environments where you have your little avatar, you go around you build property, it's almost like a Sims to those Gen-X  out there, they would understand. But there are certain things that you have to buy with roebucks which is really Mom and Dad. Don't get a little money. And for you to build out your Metaverse lifestyle. It's not just your creative brain. It's also the dollars behind it. And do we see the metaverse shaping up to be just one big advertising filled virtual world where we're literally like you seen these videos to Zuckerberg is posted, right? Where he's running around his little metaverse.

Michael Baker  33:11

I try not to is it really happening? Yeah, it's gonna happen. I mean, I think that there's, there's, there's clearly an appetite for it. And there's gonna be some people I think that completely want to live their life virtually in this virtual world that they can create. I'm just not there, man, I

Ross Marynell  33:31

still are gonna be buying Nikes in Starbucks in the metaverse that's slightly, so put, like shoes on your character that you're going to refer us to

Michael Baker  33:39

you? Yeah, maybe that's just maybe it's just the dad in me where I've got like real kids that, like want to eat real food and need real clothes. So you know, I mean, I don't know, I think that there's like anything else, there's going to be some really interesting opportunities that that are created by the technologies. And then there's just going to be stuff that doesn't make sense. Like, I'm not a huge video game person. But now we have Esports teams and like younger kids are like signal, they're hugely into it. And, okay, that's great. But we also have to live in the real world. Like there's, there's life that has to happen out here in the real world. So I'm going to be I'm going to be cautiously optimistic about some of the potential and I'm going to be highly skeptical about this being just some kind of virtual reality where people go to escape. You know, they're

Ross Marynell  34:32

real almost like going to the movies when we were growing up without your thing,

Michael Baker  34:37

but you don't but you know, when you go to the movies, you understand that like you're going there just to be entertained and be part of a story you're not going there to like be in the movie and like unzip yourself out of your real world life and go live a virtual life you know, someplace that doesn't really exist. I'm just like I said I'm it's new And I feel like you know, an old dad over here, but at the same time, I mean, there's going to be some people that love it. And there's going to be, you know, opportunities that arise out of it. And we'll see what happens. I was

Ross Marynell  35:11

sitting in a conference room, the senator, Congressman the other day have had a little chat and assign it to somebody I don't like to text. Like, I like to just forget it. Like, um, you know, he's like, look, I'm good with email. That's where I'm stopping. Like, look, he drew a line in the sand. He's like, That's it. You will talk to me you email me login and all the other technology, talking about product ad placed to me because I can just imagine the metaverse being filled with corporate advertisements with Mr. Big dying on a peloton in the Sex in the City.

Michael Baker  35:49

I thought that was I thought that was hilarious. I would wager that that's probably not the product placement that peloton thought they were signing up for. on that show. But man if you want to talk about turning lemons to lemonade, the peloton commercial that they ran with big in his instructor like kind of you know, they really took full advantage a little of the of the publicity that that was generating.

Ross Marynell  36:17

So cam is a terrible pastor the football can we say just put it out there for one last time. We love him. He's a great guy, a great leader. Alpha. Right. He's got Moxie, it's can't throw the ball.

Michael Baker  36:29

He just be there's something there. I you know, it's always been there with you know, I mean, he was never He was never a phenomenal passer. He was a dual threat quarterback. You know, I've watched him like overthrow receivers for years. But it hurts a little more this year, especially when we really needed him to come in and, and provide us a little lift. It was short lives. But you know, again, he's had a great career. I don't know that he's a franchise quarterback anymore for the NFL. So we'll see starting quarterback. Yeah. And he was such a huge superstar. That I don't know how a player like that goes into play and back up. I mean, I think he just hangs it up and says, you know, my career is done. And, you know, maybe he goes into coaching. I don't know what his interests are outside of. I mean, I know. He's, he's got foundations, and he runs camps and stuff. And he's got a huge heart for kids. So maybe he gets involved. Yeah, maybe he gets involved in that. Okay, this

Ross Marynell  37:27

is our annual reminder. You don't have to pay attention to any economic forecast for 2022 because they have no idea period, period senators don't even waste time. It's they don't know when we're sitting here talking about looking back you can you can make heads or tails and looking in the rearview mirror going forward. We don't know

Michael Baker  37:46

everyone's gonna put make their projection, though. That is not gonna stop people from writing those forecasts but crazy.

Ross Marynell  37:52

It's like, an s&p 500 prediction why it's just worthless. Yeah, just don't even read it.

Michael Baker  37:58

Just stop writing it. Absolutely. I'm with that.

Ross Marynell  38:01

All right, my man. Well, the last thing I'll say is this, the rise of the independent media is gonna continue. Oh, that's prediction I'll make 100% can't stop it now.

Michael Baker  38:12

Well, I mean, if you look at how corporate you know, how corporate controlled our mainstream media is, where, you know, basically, they're all trying to package the same talking points and content in in such ways that reflect whatever the bias or the viewpoint that they're trying to show. I think more and more people are going to seek out I don't want to use the word influencer but sure influencers, their own, you know, trusted sources or trusted folks to talk about, you know, different things. And to be more objective, I think there's a huge appetite for that right now.

Ross Marynell  38:54

A big void in that,

Michael Baker  38:56

who would have thought that Joe Rogan would become the gargantuan voice on platforms? Just because he's curious. He has interesting guests. He's curious he's not afraid to ask questions. He's not afraid of canceled culture. And this guy is I think the number one podcast in the world. Oh, so yes, it's yeah, it shows you that people are people are wanting to hear various different viewpoints and they're and they gravitate towards somebody who's actually not afraid to ask real question you can use fake dog money buy a Tesla, according to times Person of the Year I think you can. I'll say one, I'll say one thing and we can we can wrap because this is fun. I know a lot of people are probably making plans if they're not already on their way to you know, their Christmas destination. So we hope you have that wonderful holiday. But let's not forget there was a horrible, horrible tragedy in Kentucky. Recently we had tornadoes come through. And I saw this article on Wall Street Journal. And It made me think because it was talking about the scope of the devastation of the tornadoes. And it says that the insurance payouts for that are on track to hit $5 billion right below that. In the in the article started out, it talked about the devastation and how the insurance companies were kind of offsetting, you know, their payouts with, you know, higher deductibles, which that's, that's kind of how insurance works. And I think a lot of people missed that. And I wanted to correlate it to the people who listened to our podcast, because one of the most important things that folks think about when they are getting ready to retire is market risk, and how like a bad market shock can really injure their portfolio. So think about it like this tornado, I mean, tornado, if you live in Tornado Alley, or place, tornadoes are always a possibility. But they're not commonplace, or else you wouldn't build your house there. But something catastrophic couldn't be tremendous. And having insurance or protection is one of those ways you hedge against that. And so for folks that you know, were running out of money in retirement could be catastrophic, or running out of assets, or not having enough income or assets so that you can retire, it could be catastrophic. And one of those things you can think about is how do you protect yourself from that? How, what are some things you can do from a financial planning standpoint, to hedge against those big tail risk events? And so you know, our hearts go out to the people in Kentucky, I hope that our federal government can help them get resources and disaster resources in place to help those people horrible thing to have to deal with, especially right before Christmas. But yeah, it's this year has been a wild ride. 100% And here's a forecast for 2022 it's gonna have it's gonna have its moments to man, this is the way the world works.

Ross Marynell  42:01

Hi, appreciate it. Everybody come along the ride with us and listening to our podcast throughout the year. We've had the most incredible two years with our clients in getting to know them better. And see so many people through to retirement. It's just, it's unbelievable. That the way this has worked out, you would have told me in March of 2020, I would have never believed.

Michael Baker  42:24

Yeah, this was fun. Well, for everyone listening we hope you have a Merry Christmas and we will be back with podcasts in first part of 2022. So have a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. We'll see you next year.