As we look back at all the craziness that has occurred in 2020, my team and I at Silver Oak want you to know how very grateful we are for the warm and affirming relationships we share with you, our clients, colleagues, and friends. Certainly, this has been a year unlike any we have collectively ever experienced. The health lock-downs coupled with the California fires, social unrest, and politically charged environment have created varying degrees of anxiety and distress in homes, communities, and nationwide. The months ahead are no doubt difficult and can trigger complex emotions, exacerbated by the increasing collective trauma and fatigue from the continued surge of Covid-19. Some people are more anxious or even depressed than others, so this is a time that we can bolster and help those we see in our lives who could use a little extra tender loving care. Many people are experiencing food insecurity and basic income concerns, so this is a time when those of us who have more can share more. In fact, expressing gratitude and giving to others takes us out of the “survival mode” and gives our body and mind a positive boost.
While there have been many challenges for many people this year, we find cause for optimism and hope for the future:
The best scientific and medical minds in the world have collaborated on the creation and testing of vaccines that are effective and being fast-tracked to the public. By mid-year 2021, it is likely that everyone in this country will have access to vaccines. Going forward, the United States and the world will be better informed and hopefully better prepared to deal with a health crisis like this. The election results have settled in now, so people can start adjusting to the 2021 landscape and local/national leadership expectations. At this point, another $900 billion COVID-19 relief package is on the way to send stimulus checks, extend unemployment benefits, ban evictions of renters and provide student loan forbearance, and potentially provide more to help small businesses, and state and local governments. Going forward, we expect more government investments in clean energy and infrastructure, which would create new jobs and business opportunities.
Companies, communities, and families are finding ways to support one another and adapt to new ways of working, learning, and entertaining. The post-pandemic rebound from pent-up demand and restructure from accelerated innovation, supported by monetary and fiscal policies around the globe, should bring robust economic growth in 2021.
2020 has taught us many lessons and reinforced a few timeless principles, one of which is the “time in the market” is far more important than “timing the market.” The difficulty of making accurate forecasts during the pandemic should serve as a reminder of the importance of following an investment plan that aligns with investors’ risk tolerance and is based on discipline and diversification. Silver Oak is committed to this philosophy and the financial plans Silver Oak has developed for our clients are a wonderful roadmap as we work through today’s realities and cast our vision to the future. Perhaps best of all, we have all had the opportunity to reflect on what truly matters to us, as individuals, as families, as a nation, and as global citizens. As we say goodbye to 2020 and embrace a new year, we wish for you and your loved ones to stay healthy and well. Most importantly, take time to do what makes your soul shine and be happy. We look forward to our continued friendship and opportunities to connect in the upcoming year!
With deep gratitude, Linda Cao and the Silver Oak TeamLinda Cao, President of Silver Oak Wealth Advisors
What’s an “ethical will” and why should I create one?
Wills and trusts deal with the transfer of material objects and financial assets. They are a necessary part of responsibly planning to ensure your tangible and monetary wealth goes to the right people and places and at the right time. Wills and trusts are drawn up by attorneys and have legal binding and control.
An ethical will is different in that it captures and conveys your intangible assets such as your ethics, wisdom, dreams, beliefs and values. It can be an intimate letter to those you love, communicating what is most important for them to know and understand. It can be written however you’d like and truly capture your authentic voice and stories.
What better time than the new year to reflect on your life and values? Here are a few tools to help you collect and record your thoughts: The Wealth of Your Life Guidebook provides a 5-step path for creating an Ethical Will. This could be one of the most meaningful gifts you can give to your loved ones – and also, in the process, to yourself. Everplans provides guides, resources, and an online platform to help you create digital storage of important information that your loved ones will need if something happens to you. The Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate? the workbook helps families address common decision-making obstacles when passing on personal possessions. It is filled with hands-on worksheets, practical suggestions, proven strategies, and real-life stories. In January 2021, Silver Oak Wealth Advisors will be hosting a webinar on personal legacy planning. Stay tuned for details and a registration link.
What is ESG investing and why should I consider it in my portfolio now?
There is a way to throw the power of your wealth behind issues you care about. It is called ESG investing, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. It incorporates a dual mandate that allows you to invest your wealth for the purpose of earning a financial return, while simultaneously making a positive environmental and societal impact by investing in companies that are screened by ESG criteria.
- ESG is not new, but the pandemic has accelerated the pace of change and shifted the demand and interests across the global policymakers and capital markets, led to an inflection point for sustainability issues and ESG investing. For example, we expect more supportive policies and regulations from Europe, China, and the U.S. in addressing the systemic risks of climate change, which is significantly under-estimated by the market.
- ESG opts in to companies that are integrating ESG considerations into their business models and financial decisions to drive competitive, long-term value and impact.
- ESG investing can reduce risk in a portfolio while delivering similar or better outcomes. Thanks to all the new rating tools (including those created by Morningstar), we can see an emerging case for ROI (return on investment) on ESG investments. Now investors can do good while doing well.