Hi friends!

We hope all of you had a fun Valentine’s Day with the ones you love most (even if that’s a glass of wine and the new season of Love is Blind–we don’t judge!).

We know some of you are worried about the situation in Ukraine and what that might mean for the US economy, as well as for the citizens of Ukraine. We checked in with Todd to get his take on the situation.

“Markets have been volatile so far this year. This tends to occur when there is uncertainty,” he said. And what is there to be uncertain about? “Well, the Fed is looking to increase interest rates, which raises questions–should folks take advantage of where rates are now? Have people missed an opportunity? Will higher rates tame inflation? Will the markets go down more? How will the potential for a Russian invasion of Ukraine affect investors? All of these are on our clients’ minds.”

The potential invasion of Ukraine in particular is causing concern for many folks. We do know that if Russia does invade, the first tangible effect we will likely see is changes in oil prices. There could be an immediate market reaction and then a longer-running impact depending on how events unfold.

There is some historical precedent for concern. The market did react in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait–stocks fell and oil prices rose. But then in 2013, the internal turmoil in Ukraine that led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, US markets barely seemed to notice.

It’s important to note that Russia supplies 30% of Europe’s oil and 35% of its natural gas, so an escalation could cause a surge in oil prices if this supply is cut off.

Grain is also a concern, with four major exporters (Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Romania) shipping from ports in the Black Sea, and likely to face disruptions as a result of military action.

As always, events like these demonstrate why it’s important to work with your financial planning team at Obsidian. We keep tabs on the news without ever taking our eyes off the long-term goal: your personal financial objectives. Let us know if you have questions or concerns, and rest easy knowing you’re always our priority.

And now for something completely different! Are you thinking of taking a trip? (Probably not a great time to go to Eastern Europe, although we hear Turkey is beautiful this time of year.) If so, you’ll definitely want to check out these packing tips so you can save room for souvenirs and avoid baggage fees:

  1. Make a list. Which is funny, because this is also a list. But seriously, if you write down what you need, you’re less likely to have to buy a $13 toothbrush at the airport and also won’t just keep throwing jeans in your suitcase because you haven’t thought through how many you’ll need.
  2. You know what? Avoid packing jeans. They’re so heavy. If you’re going to want to wear them, we suggest traveling in them.
  3. Speaking of heavy, shoes are your enemy when you’re packing. We know they make an outfit, but they also make a baggage fee. So how many do you really need? Can you wear your heaviest pair? Be stingy with yourself on the shoes. You’ll thank us later.
  4. Folding clothes is like, so over, dude. Roll your clothes–they’ll take up less space and won’t be as wrinkled when you arrive. Or if you’re really fancy, you can get bags that really compact your luggage. This might not save weight, but it will definitely save space, and you’re probably going to want to bring home a cute stuffed animal or something, right?
  5. Regardless of how you roll or fold your clothes, don’t take too many of them. An extra pair of socks never hurt anyone, but do you have three outfit changes a day in your regular life? No? Then you probably don’t need that much on vacation, either.

 

Whatever you’re up to, you know we always love to hear about it, so send us all the glamorous travel or Instagram-worthy staycation pictures! We’ll be back with you next week.

 

 

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At Obsidian, we’re always learning and we love to share our knowledge with you. We’re very excited to share our upcoming estate planning webinar on March 8 at 7:30PM. You can attend on Zoom! In the coming weeks, we will be announcing some additional webinars upcoming throughout the year, so don’t touch that dial.