New Digs, A Good Life, and Jobs, Houses and Trucks


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September 4, 2022

A NEW OFFICE:  As many of you know, the practice currently known as Stonecrop Wealth Advisors has been around for decades.  But, our clients and employees moved from our old firm to our newly formed Stonecrop Wealth Advisors on April 1, 2020.  We were nomads at first.  Being forced to work remotely, we did not lease a permanent, traditional office space.  Then we began meeting in our shared office space in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.  We have been experimenting with a space in West Chester, and this past week, we made the move permanent.  We moved into a larger space at 2 West Market Street in West Chester, PA.  It will take a little while to completely outfit it and decorate it, but it is nice to have a space where we can all work together again.

ANOTHER SOLID MONTHLY EMPLOYMENT REPORT:  In August the U.S. economy added another 315,000 jobs.  More people joined the workforce as the Labor Force Participation Rate increased from 62.1% to 62.4%.  The unemployment rate increased to 3.7%.  There are now more people employed than before the pandemic.  However, although the leisure and hospitality segment gained 31,000 jobs last month, there are still over 1 million less workers in that area than before the pandemic.

LATE SUMMER STOCK SELL-OFF:  After a pretty solid summer, the stock market has swooned in the last few weeks, down about 8%.  The solid employment report had investors once again fretting that the Fed will continue its aggressive money tightening stance.  If the labor market isn’t cooling off enough, the Fed will feel more empowered to keep raising rates.  This is what investors seem to believe.  Trading volume tends to be light in the week prior to Labor Day.  That tends to exacerbate any trends in direction of the market, and this week was no different.  As traders come back with normal volume next week, we will see how that plays out.

LONGER-TERM PERFORMANCE:  Below are the annualized three-year and five-year numbers for these same indices.  

HOUSING PRICES:  Interest rates are up, and house prices are way up, and supply is slowly increasing.  This all adds up to a market where it stands to reason that price inflation should slow.  Most prognosticators I am watching believe home price growth will slow to approximately 0% next year, although a 5-10% decline is not out of the question.  2022 is likely to come in at low double digit growth (12-15%).  A precipitous fall in prices is not expected, at least not nationally.  Supply of houses is still historically low, and lending standards are significantly more solid than they were in the 2000s when distressed sales caused home prices to experience a steep fall.

WHAT ARE HEAVY TRUCK SALES TELLING US?:  Generally, sales of heavy trucks collapse just prior to a severe recession.  Heavy truck sales plunged before and during the Great Recession, falling to about 180 thousand per month in early 2009.  Sales reached the all time high of 570 thousand in April 2019.  Early in the pandemic, sales fell sharply to 308 thousand (May 2020) and last month they came in at a solid 441 thousand.  There is no trend at the moment, but the August number was 6% higher than a year ago.

THE FED AND PAST HISTORY:  As you can see in the graph below, the rate of money supply growth has plunged after an unprecedented spike in 2021.  People keep referring to the 1970s because that is the last time we faced an environment like this.  The graph below shows that money supply plunged after spiking in the mid seventies, but inflation lags the supply of money, and inflation spiked.  Under Chairman Volcker, the Fed tightened (inducing a recession in the 1980s) which ushered in decades of tame inflation   Now the rate of money growth has plunged below the rate of inflation once again, but due to the unprecedented nature of the spike last year, it is unclear how long it will take for all that extra money to flush its way through the system.  The Fed has made it clear it will persist in its current stance until inflation is tamed.  

THE GOOD LIFE:  I have never been a fan of the expression, “living my best life.”  My distaste for the term is shared by The Urban Dictionary that says this about the phrase:

“A stupid phrase that is used, commonly on Instagram, to give the false reality that you can wake up and choose which “life” you want to live. Perhaps you want to be a lazy dog, or a human facing the challenge of whether to have avocado on toast or a green smoothie for breakfast. Either way, it’s got to be the best (breakfast) life you could possibly be living.”

That’s pretty blunt.

Instead, I like to use the phrase, “a good life.”  Two weeks ago, I met with a couple in their sixties who are facing imminent retirement, which they can clearly afford to do.  They are nervous, but not about money.  I asked them what they are nervous about, and they said they have no idea what retired life will be like.  They have worked their entire lives.  

I have often encouraged people with this dilemma to get more introspective.  There are all sorts of questions I have used to get the brain thinking, but here is what I used with them.  “You are now 65.  I will be plotting out a projection that assumes you live to be 90 to make sure you never run out of money.  Assume you have good mental and physical health until age 90.  Then, you have an event of some sort, and a doctor tells you that you will die in the next week.  At this point, you are looking back in time, and you think to yourself, ‘I lived a good life.’  What has to happen from now, age 65, until age 90, for you to be able to say that.”

FAITH DRIVEN BUSINESS:  When I was growing up, church was what you did on Sunday, and business was what you did Monday through Friday; they really didn’t mix.  I’ve come to acknowledge that this is untrue, and have attempted to live my life in a manner that contradicts that maxim.  If you have a profound faith in any religion or ideology or world view, it has to affect how you do business.  In fact, I think it does whether you acknowledge it or not.  Recently, a group of people who call themselves “faith driven entrepreneurs” and “faith driven investors” have created communities where they can discuss these issues.  On September 28th and September 29th, Faith Driven Entrepreneur and Faith Driven Investor will be having their annual, consecutive, one-day conferences.  These are virtual, but they utilize “watch parties” in which a local business will invite people to come and watch together, and discuss and react to the various speakers.  Stonecrop will be co-hosting one of these watch parties at our office in West Chester, PA.  Here are some of the interesting speakers:

  • Pat Gelsinger, CEO at Intel
  • Pat Lencioni, author of books such as Death by Meeting, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Getting Naked
  • Strive Masiyiwa, Founder of Cassava Technologies and the multi-billion dollar African telecom company Econet Wireless.
  • Peter Greer, CEO of Hope International
  • Lucy Doggett Kamero, Director of Community Afria/Europe/MENA/Asi-Pacific
  • Bob Doll, Chief Investment Officer at Crossmark Global

If you would like to join us for one or both days, click below.


HOW DID I DO?:  My extended family has been doing a fantasy football league for the past three years.  In year one, I won the regular season, but lost in the playoffs.  Last year I came in last.  This year I’m optimistic for a winning season.  Here is the result of my draft.  How do you think I did?

  • QUARTERBACKS:  Justin Herbert and Matthew Stafford
  • RUNNING BACKS:  Jonathan Taylor, AJ Dillon, and Darrell Henderson
  • WIDE RECEIVERS:  AJ Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Hunter Renfrow and DeVante Parker
  • TIGHT ENDS: Travis Kelce and Hunter Henry
  • KICKER: Nick Folk
  • DEFENSE:  Denver

I’m slightly favored in my week one match up against my brother.

Have a great week!

Our mission is to help you see the objective, find the path, and navigate past the obstacles to a more prosperous future.

Douglas R. MacGray, J.D., C.F.P. ®
Stonecrop Wealth Advisors, LLC

Direct | Cell | Fax
(610) 628 4545

“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”  Homer, The Iliad

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”  I Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)


(c) 2022 A.D., Stonecrop Wealth Advisors, LLC, All Rights Reserved

*S&P 500: This is a measure of the performance of the 500 largest companies in the United States, and it a common index to track the performance of U.S. equity markets, especially the large cap markets. 
*MSCI All Country World Index X US: This is a broad measure of the performance of worldwide equity markets excluding the United States. 
*Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate: This is a measure of the U.S. bond markets. 

Investment advisory services offered through Stonecrop Wealth Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 



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    Doug MacGray

  • DATE

    September 5, 2022


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