Wallstone “Outlook”2021



A different perspective on the ‘market outlook’ for 2021 from Wallstone……


As I sit here and close off the 2020 diary and open my 2021 version, it’s just struck me that I’m working from the same table at which I dined on Christmas day…………. see snap above! I must say Christmas dinner was somewhat more enjoyable than my current endeavour but it got me thinking about how the world has changed in such a short period of time and how we have all adapted without even second guessing it to some extent. Less than 12 months ago, it would have been unthinkable to start off a New Year ‘outside’ of the office, normal bill of fare was to head to the office, clear the desk, catch up with some colleagues over a coffee and then back to the office to set out our stall for the year ahead. No office or catch up this year but we still have to set out our stall for the year ahead, as difficult as that may seem in the current climate.
An ‘Outlook’ will mean different things to different people depending on where they are at in life and what their short, medium and long term objectives are. However, there is one common feature that binds us all together and that is that we all have some sort of goal, even if we don’t recognise it consciously. It could be to earn more money, lose weight, stop smoking, travel more, mend a broken relationship or friendship, the list is endless. What’s important is that we acknowledge our goals and work towards achieving those goals over a period of time………. personally, I must admit that I failed miserably in 2020 only achieving 4 out of my 10 listed goals but hey, some have moved to 2021 whilst others have been consigned to history! The important thing is that they were listed and over time, I’ve no doubt that listing my short-term goals will help me achieve my longer-term objectives.
So back to Outlooks! I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that publishing a market outlook is about as useful as a friend of mine used to say…………an ashtray on a motorbike! There is not one single guru or analyst out there who can predict what is going to happen in 2021 and beyond and anyone who says they can are lying. If 2020 thought us anything it’s that trying to predict the future is a futile exercise and that events can occur over which we have absolutely no control. However, there is one saying that I had to keep reminding myself of (and indeed clients) when Covid hit markets last March and that is Sir John Templeton’s musing that ‘the four most costly words in investing are………’This Time It’s Different’. Even though we had one of the fastest stockmarket corrections on record, it wasn’t different, and markets recovered as they had done following 9/11 or the collapse of Lehman’s. Closer to home, we’ve witnessed this in the past with residential property assets and are now seeing something similar with commercial property assets…………the lesson in this is to have your plan, ignore the short-term noise and stay invested even at the darkest hour. If this ‘prediction’ fails to materialise, then I’m afraid we won’t need to worry about markets or investments as the world as we know it will have ceased to exist.
I don’t want to end our ‘Outlook’ on a gloomy note……personally, I’m looking forward to 2021, getting my jab, the re-opening of the world, attending sports events and being able to travel again. One thing for certain is that 2021 will bring change for all of us, some good, some bad, so, take some time to set out your stall in pursuit of you longer term objectives. It’s been a strange start to a New Year but as the song goes……………….’things can only get better’. Happy New Year!

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