Wars, economic recessions, artificial intelligence, geopolitical conflicts, and some of the craziest market movements in history… 2023 has no shortage of things to write about, and yet, I don’t feel like writing about them.

I have observed a large number of ‘Year in Review’ texts floating around. They seem to be flooding my email inbox and social media feeds. In my quest for originality, and despite the fact that 2023 has been undoubtedly the most successful year in The Virtuous Collective’s history, I have chosen not to share the highlights. Most of you were there after all!

Instead, I would like to encourage you to focus on your own personal growth while I take this opportunity to remain focused on our mission.

The bottom line is, one of the most important jobs I have is to help my clients protect and grow their wealth, in that order.

Wealth protection has been our theme of 2023. Amid all the craziness in both local and global markets, The VCo Defensive 50 a.k.a. Tuna Salad Wrap, the portfolio that most of our valued clients are invested in, boasted a calendar year net performance of 8.69%, whilst having negligible exposure to all the AI hype keeping equity markets buoyant.

Indeed, there are more aggressive returns out there, however we enjoyed the knowledge that if the market corrected we would remain buoyant, and we can continue to enjoy this knowledge in 2024. Most of our peers simply do not have this characteristic, and in my prediction will combust in spectacular fashion in 2024-25.

I have observed that even the most bearish of market commentators are starting to drift towards the ‘new frontier’ mindset. They have gotten tired of waiting for the market to crash and have started believing that 2024 will be the year that we should begin to ignore all economic and financial fundamentals. In other words, more and more investors are losing their conviction and are caving into FOMO.

What we are experiencing is a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ global recession. Irresponsible fiscal policy has done well to reduce the perception of economic disaster, while reality continues to unfold slowly and painfully.

The below ‘G-20 Recession Heatmap’ shows that whilst most national economies get to avoid using the ‘R’ word, albeit with questionable tactics designed to overstate GDP and understate inflation, the health of the global economy is bad, very bad, and only getting worse.

The Eurozone is looking particularly bad.

The S&P500, which is where a great deal of global portfolios are currently invested, is a whopping 46% over it’s long-term valuation, and as you can see with every market cycle in history, the market always corrects itself, in spectacular fashion.

At 36 years old I am still a young financial planner, but as I enter my 17th year in my role, I feel like an industry dinosaur who cares more about long-term fundamentals than short-term fads, and you can rest assured that my conviction is unwavering.

For those of you who resisted the shiny baboon’s arse in 2023, I commend you, and I hope you will stay strong in 2024.