Obsidian Market Update 7/16/21

Hello friends!

We hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and staying cool. This week, we’ll be looking at how COVID has affected downtown areas and business districts. Then we’ll check in with a couple of our team members on what they’ve been up to!

As we know, many businesses have gone to remote work during COVID, and lots of them are planning to stay remote to spare the business the (often very expensive) overhead cost of office space. This is part of a misalignment we’re seeing in the economy as we are (hopefully!) getting out of the pandemic.

We know that people spend more as the value of their assets increase, and many people are feeling secure because home prices and brokerage accounts are up–thus, they feel wealthy and spend more, creating a “wealth effect” on the economy.

At the same time, many downtown and business district businesses are struggling because they rely on office workers to buy lunch or shop during the day. Places like Boston and San Francisco are hurting because office space makes up 70-80% of downtown real estate. Nearly 75% of Fortune 500 CEOs are planning to cut office space from the budget.

Downtown DC, right in our backyards, saw an 82% drop in daytime population from February 2020 to February 2021.

So what does this mean? It’s important to realize that not all downtown areas are equally under threat. Some business districts that have a much more balanced makeup of retail, office, and residential spaces will likely recover just fine. Cities that rely heavily on office workers to keep their small businesses afloat will need to get creative about repurposing their high rises. We’ll keep an eye on the innovations they’re making–it will certainly be interesting.

Next up, we have updates from Todd Feldman and Cynthia Gil.

Todd:

What was your takeaway from 2020? What are you looking forward to doing now that things have begun to open and return to normal?

My takeaway from 2020 is that people can be very innovative and are very adaptable when forced to be. When something is important enough, like our health, our behavior changes. I also found that, for me, contact with other people is very important, and that is what I am most looking forward to now that things are getting back to normal.

Cynthia:

What was your takeaway from 2020?

My takeaway is to take nothing for granted. I learned to take joy from simple things, and I took time to reach out more often to family and friends. Being new to the area before Covid, we didn’t have a large network of friends or family nearby. Our younger daughter was evacuated from her Peace Corps assignment and came to live with us for several months. Having those extra months with her at home was a blessing that we cherished. She is now in graduate school at Middle Tennessee State University.

Our older daughter lives in North Carolina. She became engaged on Thanksgiving 2019 and scheduled her wedding for June 2021 in Tennessee before Covid canceled many other weddings. The last thing we did in March 2020 before the world shut down was to pick out her wedding dress! Covid probably made the wedding planning easier. She hired a wedding planner, and we spent many Thursday evenings in a Zoom meeting with the planner interviewing various vendors. Her wedding went off without a hitch in June and was one of the first events to occur once mask-wearing restrictions were lifted! It was a blessed event!

What are you looking forward to doing now that things have begun to open and return to normal?

I’m looking forward to traveling, trying new restaurants, going to theaters, and listening to live music. My mother and aunt live in assisted living apartments in Tennessee; having the opportunity to hug them for the first time in over a year was the best feeling!

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Securities offered through Triad Advisors, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC. Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC, and Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, Inc, are not affiliated with Triad Advisors.