My commute to the office, if you can call it a commute, is about one and a half miles. Total drive time is about 7 to 8 minutes. Often, I will listen to some smooth jazz or something similar, or just have the windows down and feel a warm breeze. This morning’s ride in was a little different.
I cannot explain how, but when I turned on my truck, my satellite radio came on to CNBC and the morning “talking heads.” For some reason, I didn’t instantly change the channel but rather I was lulled into the siren’s song and found myself paying attention to the conversation already in progress. The gist of the story was rising prices and inflation and what the Federal Reserve has been saying regarding this subject. The debate was going something like this: “Is this recent rise in prices and increase in inflation going to continue or is it transitory?” That is when I heard the guest say likely one of the most insightful comments I have ever heard on the 24/7 financial “news” when asked about the subject of inflation and its trajectory: “That’s hard to say.”
It could be easy to miss and overlook a short but simple phrase such as “That’s hard to say” but my well-tuned ears and training immediately kicked in. I thought to myself, “That was a brilliant comment and the guest speaker should have concluded their comment and ended their sentence with a bit of silence.” For those of you who may not know, “That’s hard to say” is talking head code for “I have no idea – and nobody really knows.” Of course, that answer would have gotten the guest forever removed from a return trip to the CNBC studios.
Here at Doyle Wealth Management, we will gladly tell you we have no idea about what is going to happen with interest rates, inflation, the price of gold or copper, or just about anything else “in the future” not only because of the obvious answer that it has not happened yet and we cannot predict the future, but also because the answer is irrelevant. It is irrelevant to your plan, your strategy, your goals and dreams. If we (and you) spend time trying to predict what may or may not occur at some point in the future and we try and figure out how to “play” that yet to occur event, we have taken our eye off the one thing that matters the most: your plan.
John Galbraith, a renowned and respected economist from the 20th century, was quoted as saying, “There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know and those who don’t know they don’t know.” One more gem of a comment from Galbraith, “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”
We believe our attention is best spent focusing on our clients, their goals and dreams, their objectives, their family, their needs – we focus on those matters that matter most to our clients. We then devote all our energy and professional skills to guide our clients to a very successful realization of those cherished outcomes.
By the way, with comments such as above, I doubt I will be invited to be a guest on CNBC.