Economic Outlook 2021: We Are Off to See the Wizard.

Typically this time of year, my family is wrapping up a month’s long journey down the yellow brick road.

Three of my four children have become regulars in the annual Wizard of Oz production through the Community Theater of Greensboro, and the shows and rehearsals (and especially time with the cast and crew) are always highlights of our year.

Covid took away the show this year, but not the spirit.  No doubt next year will be better than ever, and we already can’t wait.

One of my favorite scenes from the play is when Dorothy and Toto meet Professor Marvel after Dorothy has run away.  (Spoiler alert:  Marvel later reappears as the Wizard!)  Eventually the three sit down, and Professor Marvel looks into his crystal ball and “sees” the future.  Dorothy is scared by what he sees (a panicked Auntie Em), and quickly scurries back home.

Of course, Professor Marvel made everything up.  He cannot really see the future.  No one can.

I’ve been reading a lot of Economic Outlooks lately, experts looking into their “crystal balls” and forecasting the economy for 2021.  Some look great, some not so much… but certainly no shortage of predictions.

As a financial services professional, people ask me a lot what I think is going to happen next year.  So I submit to you my Economic Outlook for 2021:

I have no idea.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we have no clue what is around the corner.  Circumstances change.  Surprises happen.  Economies are cyclical.  Markets go up and down.

My family and I will not be altering any of our planning based upon what might happen.  We will continue to protect our risks, stay disciplined and diversified, save as much as we can and remain focused on the long term.

That type of planning is not as fun or exciting as crystal ball readings, but it has proven effective over the years.  I encourage you to do the same.  It is a path that can lead you to wondrous places.

That path looks an awful lot like a Yellow Brick Road.  Follow it…. And leave the future-telling to the Wizards.

| Jay Kenerly, ChFC, AIF