by John Mauldin
For thousands of years, people who lived through what we call “history” didn’t realize it.
- The Vietnam War was certainly historic, but the coronavirus killed more Americans in the last few months than died in that long conflict.
- The Great Depression was historic but, by some indicators, we are well on the way to matching it.
- The Manhattan Project and the Apollo missions were historic. And now, for the first time ever, a private company (SpaceX) has launched a reusable space capsule into orbit with humans on board.
Most of us know that history is taking place all around us right now.
But what will future generations say of 2020? What clever term will they devise for this period? And what dramatic events will they recall that we, in our time, still haven’t seen?
At the grand finale of my 2020 Strategic Investment Conference, Karen Harris, the managing director of Bain & Co.’s Macro Trends Group, asked our panel of investing and economic experts to imagine, one year from now, what one thing will we look back on and wish we had understood.
- Louis Gave, founding partner and CEO of GaveKal Research: We have seen the low in oil and a high for the U.S. dollar.
- Mark Yusko, founder, CEO and CIO of Morgan Creek Capital: Every interest rate on the planet will go negative.
- David Bahnsen founder, managing director and CIO of The Bahnsen Group: The Fed will avoid negative rates and less-leveraged companies will have been good buys.
Next year, we will see who was right.
Personally, I see us looking back on what I call the “Rocky Mountain Recovery,” with peaks of different sizes rising above the plains. Some sectors will boom; others will struggle in the valleys before rising. There will be no Vs or Us or swooshes or other simplistic metaphors. It will have exhilarating moments but also hard work and struggles.
I’m optimistic we will get a coronavirus vaccine fairly soon, speeding along recovery, but then we will be back to the same problems we had before. So, we will need to aim carefully, and will probably do better buying the best entrepreneurs instead of looking at companies.
Fellow boomers and entrepreneurs: If you can, find a few people to personally invest your money, time, and resources in. Help them get back on their feet. Take some time and mentor a few people to help get the country going again. Do it in your own backyard in whatever ways you can.