This year, like many recent years here in the Northeast where I live, the majority of spring was relatively cool — sometimes downright cold. Then it suddenly heated up as we edged closer to July, in some cases jumping from the 50s one day to 90 degrees the next. We often say that we really don’t have much of a spring here: We go right from early spring directly to the start of summer. We’ve begun to grow accustomed to this quick change, but the extremes are tending to get, well, a bit more extreme.
As I start my tenure as editor-in-chief, the financial markets also are undergoing rapid — and sometimes extreme — shifts. Where we were once used to a smaller, more familiar set of financial products and instruments, we find ourselves in a new, rapidly changing reality.
Inflation is creating havoc throughout the economy and is having an impact on everything from consumer goods to the cost of auto insurance. Inflation is also creating concerns among advisors and those planning for their retirement — whether it’s near term or a still distant prospect. The Federal Reserve will do battle with inflation with rate hikes as their main weapon. How they deploy rate hikes — slow vs. rapid, incremental vs. larger — will likely have its own set of consequences.
Pandemic has its own series of impacts
Of course, the pandemic has had its own series of financial consequences, including a wounded economy and supply chain interruptions that have caused productivity problems around the globe. The Great Resignation and Great Retirement are phenomena we’re still trying to understand and grapple with. Climate change, with worsening West Coast fires, East Coast hurricanes, and a growing occurrence of tornados in between, is also having its impact on insurers, policy costs and managing risk.
Insurance agents and financial advisors are working to understand new products that are arising to address these financial challenges, and to be prepared to advise consumers in navigating the quickly growing range of options. Indexed life insurance and annuity products, for example, are growing at a historic pace, as are the indexes they are based upon.
What does all this turbulence mean?
What does all this change and turbulence mean? Can anyone predict what the landscape will look like even a year from now? Information is crucial to navigating these rough waters successfully. As these changes come into focus, our role will be to understand the implications of the changes and bring in many expert voices who can inform your next steps.
I’d also like to hear from you, our readers.
» What are the issues that concern you most?
» What topics would you like us to cover that we have not covered yet, or that you would like us to cover more in depth?
» Are there questions you’d like us to answer?
The chances are good that if you have a particular question or challenge you are facing, many of our other readers will as well. Also, if you have found something new that is working well for you, many in our audience could benefit from your discoveries.
We hope to use these pages to provide the information you need to navigate these changing markets, products and services. And we hope you join us on the journey to understand what these growing series of changes will mean to you and your customers.