“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…” a song composed in 1933-34 by George Gershwin for the opera “Porgy & Bess.” A song covered more than 25,000 times & sung by artists as diverse as Janis Joplin & Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong & Willie Nelson.
But in 1933-34 the livin’ wasn’t so easy in the opera, or in the world. In Act 1 of the opera, Clara sang it as a lullaby to her baby & in Act 3 Bess sang it to Clara’s orphaned baby after both parents died in a storm. Outside the opera, Hitler was elected, Roosevelt closed banks for a few days to stop “speculative activity”, severe dust storms blew 350 million tons of topsoil from the US West to the East Coast & Hitler visited Italy to create closer relations with Mussolini. The Dow Jones average experienced its largest-ever one-day % gain +15% from 53.84 to 62.10.
Fast forward to summertime 2018 and the livin’ is certainly easier than 1933-34.
For many years it has been my pleasant summertime tradition to attend the Aspen Ideas Festival & report some highlights to you in my 2Q letters. Here’s a few of my favorite Aspen Ideas this summer that can make our livin’ easier:
• Seeing a performance of scenes from Broadway plays illustrating how music & theater can bring us together, diverse groups of people, laughing & clapping at the same thing.
• Hearing Yale professor Laurie Santos give a mini-course version of “Psychology & the Good Life”, the most popular course ever in Yale’s 316-year history, which happily now can be accessed for free at https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being.
• Listening to Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors & entrepreneurs, personally review his recent best-seller Principles: Life and Work, which emphasizes surrounding yourself with the smartest people that disagree with you; balance “knowing” with “humility”; and pursue “idea meritocracy” & “thoughtful disagreement.”
In the world of economics & investing we find “the fish are jumpin’” due to tax cuts & the “cotton is high” with the same Dow average that was 62.10 in 1933 in the 25,000 range today. Recently however the livin’ has not been as easy globally due to threats of trade wars & tariffs.
Worries about slowing global growth & rising U.S. interest rates were reflected in the W&A Global Equity model +0.11% and the W&A Global Fixed Income model (-0.52%) for the quarter ended 6/30/18, bringing YTD thru 6/30/18 to (-2.01%) and (-0.38%) respectively.*
Enjoy your summertime knowing that you can call on W&A to make your livin’ easier with our expertise in financial planning & wealth management.
~ Second Quarter, 2018
*The performance information provided is for informational purposes only. The results are audited & represent composite returns, net of fees. Additional information on composite returns presented can be obtained by contacting W&A. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results, and investments carry the risk of loss, including the risk of loss of invested capital.
Sources include Wikipedia, The New York Times, Morningstar, Aspen Ideas festival program/ Phyllis’ notes & other publicly available web sites.