Obsidian Market Update 7/30/21

Hello friends!

This week, we’ll take a look at what’s going on with Gen X and the unemployment crisis. Then, we’ll share a cool experience we had with helping a client make decisions about cars. Finally, it’s wedding season! If you or a loved one is involved in wedding planning, we’ve got a few useful websites for you to check out.

We like to keep things positive around here, but we also have to be real when the situation calls for it — especially if we think we might be able to offer some help. The truth is, Gen X workers, especially those over 45, are facing the biggest unemployment crisis in the world right now — and not just in this country. Ageism is a big problem for these mid-career workers, especially those from underrepresented communities, even though the 45+ group is also shown to out-perform younger workers in the same positions.

That said, there are solutions. Among them is training in new skills, adapting to new technology, and keeping resumes updated. These are crucial to getting a new job in this environment. One often overlooked area is the need to always have emergency funds available. We commonly suggest an emergency fund of at least 3 months and sometimes 6-9 months of fixed household expenses. Historically this could be used for things such as sudden medical expenses and/or things like having to replace your home furnace. Now, even more, emergency funds are being used by Gen Xers to sustain themselves during a job search which may take some time in this environment.

We’re happy to have so many clients we’ve been able to help manage their money so that they are in the position to make big purchases when they need to. In one case, we had some clients come in to ask if they should buy a used car or lease a new one.

These clients have always had cars and used them as long as possible. Their current car has been in the family for many years and had over 200k miles on it. The car is on its last leg and the time has come to get something new. When it comes time to decide whether to lease, buy, or finance a new or used car, the advice is always “it depends.” For this particular family, who holds onto cars for as long as the car can be used, and who have the cash (above their emergency fund) to pay for the car, we recommended they pay cash for a used car.

Even though interest rates are low right now, vehicles are a depreciating asset — they lose value the second you drive them off the lot. You’ll likely pay a higher interest rate on a used car, as well. Because they had saved for this goal, and they have the money, buying the car outright was the suggestion in this specific case.

Finally, the bells are ringing and wedding season is in full swing. In the USA, the wedding season peaks in June through September. And this year, many couples who married last year are planning after-parties to make up for receptions they had to cancel because of the pandemic. Planning or attending a COVID-era wedding remains challenging, so here are some fun websites to help us all remember that this is supposed to be fun:

Offbeat Bride has been around for quite some time and is the internet’s home for weddings that buck tradition in any number of ways. Even if you’re not wedding-involved this year, it’s fun to look through the site to appreciate the endless creativity of humans around this cultural touchstone.

For more typical but on-trend wedding ideas, Wedding Forward has endless drool-worthy photos and informative blog pieces useful for people planning weddings. They also have a terrific advice column.

If you’re looking for a wedding budget tool that breaks things down in detail, lets you add new fields, and updates totals as we go (as finance nerds, we love this), you can sign up for a free account on The Knot and play around with budget breakdowns for as long as your heart desires. What could be better?

Speaking of budgets, The Budget Savvy Bride is an excellent resource for couples looking to have a great party on a smaller budget. We love this — starting out married life free of wedding debt is always a good idea.

Not planning a wedding but heading to some? Check out this advice for wedding guests. And remember, even if COVID has changed the wedding game, it’s always a great time to celebrate the happiness of your loved ones.

We hope everyone enjoys this last full week of July! We’ll be back with you all next week.

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.