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It’s All About Fall: Routines, returns, and rent

Here in Lexington, Kentucky, we may be in the dog days of August, but it just feels a little different this year, doesn’t it? I can almost sense the coming fall air as folks around me are preparing to go back to school and talking about University of Kentucky football. The Family Financial Partners team is making its way back to the office, and clients are starting to answer our phone calls as they settle into a normal schedule.

As you read this, I will be on my last official vacation of 2023 — a true week away for Kerri and me, without the children. It’s a final moment of escape before the return of our fall routine. 

In the Smyth family, there is nothing more sacred than the school schedule; with five boys, we’ve been in that schedule for many years. The first week is always hard, but once we get into a rhythm, everything seems to fall into place. For me, it’s an early morning workout and a cup of coffee with the market and research reports by myself before the children wake up. Then it’s getting kids to school, getting myself to the office, and the joy of having a functional workday with colleagues, only to rush out to pick up the kids and get them to their activities. 

While those weeks between now and fall break seem to be nonstop, on-the-go hecticness, the reality is that the weekends will suddenly be filled with dreams of an undefeated football season and my Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. And if all that fails, basketball season will be right around the corner.

Returning to work also means focusing on the third and fourth quarters, helping our client families toward their goals for this year and next.

We spent part of July in St. Augustine, Florida, and I can tell you that the economy is rolling along just fine. Tourists are spending money like crazy, and even though seemingly everybody around me is having a conversation about how artificial intelligence will impact their work, capitalism remains alive and well.

The folks on Wall Street are enjoying the last of their summer before school starts back up, as well, and they will be returning to some really good news for the economy. For the first time in three years, rent prices are cooling off, and they’re even falling in some markets. A little more than a third of the Consumer Price Index is made up by the cost of shelter, and one of the largest costs of shelter is the cost of rent. The average rent vacancy is over 6%, and there are nearly 1 million more apartment units being built nationwide. 

This is a good thing for the average American who rents. And it’s a trend that eventually will show itself in all markets. Couple that with cooling inflation and rising consumer confidence, and I remain optimistic about the next few months for the U.S. economy. I’ll have more to say about that in my next market update, but suffice it to say that I’m not advising any clients to stash cash in the mattresses.

With that in mind, I hope you enjoy these last few days of summer. I know I will.

Article by David Smyth, CLTC, Senior Partner at Family Financial Partners — a financial services firm in Lexington, Kentucky.

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