June 3, 2020

Some Good News

By Joel Malick, Steadfast Wealth Co.

Technology is so cool! Apple has been tracking the number of direction requests on their app across the globe every week (the peaks are the busiest day of the week and the valleys are usually Sundays). They took the data back to before the crisis, so we have a baseline. This baseline represents a thriving economy, which is where we thankfully were before this occurred. You can go to their website and search for almost any country in the world. In the United States, it is interesting to note that driving has broached the baseline; the trend is promising!

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan had some useful observations during both his interview with CNBC recently as well as a talk he gave at the Bernstein Strategic Decision Conference:

  • Bank of America had 1.6 million requests for either forbearance or payment deferrals. One million of those occurred in the first four weeks of the program. This week’s inquiries numbered around 1,000. Of those that were granted the deferral, 40% paid the bill anyways when it came due.
  • Moynihan cited consumer spending figures from the millions of households using his lender’s credit and debit cards: While transactions collapsed in April by about 30%, it was down by only 5% to 10% in May.
  • Balances of checking accounts below $5,000 had 30% to 40% more money in them compared to 12 weeks ago, he said.

A few other interesting data points:

  • New home sales surprised to the upside in April, easily beating consensus expectations and surpassing even the most optimistic forecast by any economic group. New single-family home sales increased in April to a 623,000-annual rate versus expectations of 480,000.
  • Gas purchases are up 27.8% from a month ago.
  • The number of passengers going through TSA checkpoints rose to 267,451 this past Sunday versus a Sunday low of 90,510 on April 12th. This number is a near tripling of activity.

Our favorite family summer event is our big camping trip. We love getting unplugged and spending time together, seeing this beautiful country. Along with the warming weather (Praise the Lord!) comes getting the camper ready. This process involves a visit to our local dealer. On this particular day, I noticed an unusual amount of people, unlike other years, when it has been rather sparse. So, as I do with almost any business I visit, I inquire how things are going. The person helping me out said, “This is the biggest single month in our history. It has more than made up for April”.

I had my landscaping redone last year by a reputable business in town. A few days ago, the business owner was at my house, trimming the plants and inspecting them as he does every year for his clients. He replaces any of them that did not survive the winter (pretty cool service touch). Again, I inquired, and he said, “the business has never been as strong, and we are having a hard time keeping up”.

I had numerous conversations with clients over the last few months as you might imagine. We have agreed mostly with this item; we are spending less money on things right now. I figured that my household discretionary spending is down about 40% and therefore my savings is up. I call this the “My Wife Can’t Go to Target Budget Savings Item”. 

Green shoots of economic life appear.

Certainly, there are people hurting. The above isn’t meant to downplay the pain and hardships that many have experienced over the last few months. I’ve spoken with people who have taken meaningful pay reductions or have been hit in some way. However, we believe it’s essential to have some real data that help gauge where things stand. If we believe what the media tells us, we are bound to feel hopeless. We hope this that sheds some light in a relatively dark situation. Stay strong. We’re beginning to climb out of the dungeon.


Joel D. Malick AIF® AWMA®
Strategic Financial Partners
Registered Representative/Investment Advisory Representative, Securian Financial Services, Inc., Securities Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC, A Registered Investment Advisor. Strategic Financial Partners is independently owned and operated. CA insurance license number: 0E42461

This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any funds or stocks in particular, nor should it be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a security. Neither Strategic Financial Partners nor Securian Financial is affiliated with Apple, Bank of America, CNBC or Target. These companies are mentioned solely for the purpose of substantiating the point of this article. 3105914 DOFU 062020

Sources for Statistics–UtQkwCQ


Joel Malick currently maintains the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) and Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA®) designations. Joel and his team at Strategic Financial Partners recognize that running this race for the long term is one of the greatest challenges you’ll face in your lifetime. Thus, they combine critical planning and investment strategies with real-life perspectives. Their consultation is provided at no additional cost to 403(b) Alliance Retirement Plan participants.

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