June 18, 2018

Summertime, And The Livin’ Is Easy…

Waddell & Associates

Summertime, And The Livin’ Is Easy…”


“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.

Author: Senior Vice President Senior Wealth StrategistPhyllis had been associated with W&A for a number of years before joining the firm, acting as a consultant to the company in its formative stage and subsequently as a client. Prior to joining W&A, Phyllis served as Vice President, Corporate Finance at Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. She was involved in all aspects of its investment banking activities, including mergers and acquisitions, valuation studies, and initial public offerings. She earned registrations in NASD Series 7 (Registered Representative) and Series 63 (Blue Sky). Phyllis holds an MBA in Finance as well as M.Ed and BBA degrees from the University of Memphis. She is a Chartered Financial AnalystTM(CFA®) and a Certified Financial PlannerTM(CFP®) Licensee. She is past-Chairman and past-President of the Mid-South Society of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and served on their Board of Directors from 1995 to 2000. During her term as President in 1998, the Mid- South Society of FPA was chosen the Outstanding Society of the Year by the national FPA organization. Her community volunteer activities include MIFA and the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, where she served as Treasurer, Chair of the Finance Committee and currently chairs the Investment Committee. She also serves on the Board of Governors of The Seaside Institute in Seaside, FL.


Phyllis R. Scruggs

Senior Vice President

Senior Wealth Strategist

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