Year-End Greeting from Rachel Kuss

December 09, 2022

Dear Friends and Valued Clients-

Here at year-end I am reaching out to you, full of gratitude. 

It is a joy to get to know you better each year as we walk together on your journey toward financial freedom.

I’m happy to say that you have shown great resilience and strength as your resolve has been tested this year, as it has before and certainly will be again.

My highest purpose is not only helping you create a plan for a lifetime of financial independence, but also supporting you when temporary conditions cause fear and doubt.

As we consider putting the bear market of 2022 in the rearview mirror and look forward to eventually coming out the other end of rate hikes, inflation, and recession, I encourage you yet again to zoom out your perspective to the time horizons we use when creating a lifetime financial plan.

“There is nothing new in the world except the history we do not know.”- President Harry Truman

Over the last 50 years, the stock market has gone down by half 3 TIMES.  Two of these happened since I began my career! As my daughter would say, “oof.”

During these times we had recessions, an oil crisis, stagflation, a stock market bubble, 9/11, financial system failures, high unemployment.  The resulting decisions made by fearful or unguided investors caused a secondary effect of serious, but possibly avoidable, financial loss. 

How can an advisor know that permanent loss is avoidable, and that success is always possible, despite all these events that seemed like the end of the world at the time?

A few things:

Over the past 50 years the average annualized compound rate of return for the S&P 500- 500 large US companies- has been 10%.  That nice round number blends together some heart-stopping lows and euphoric highs. 

Also, after 50 years of various crises with intervening periods of steady growth, inflation is up 7 times and the dividend of the S&P 500 is up 20 times. 

Heck, today dividends are up 10% since the beginning of 2020.

As Nick Murray says characteristically “equity dividends haven’t just kept pace with inflation, they’ve beaten the heck out of it.” 

Famed investor Jeremy Grantham wrote an instructive article in 2009 near the end of the financial crisis called “Reinvesting When Terrified”.

Contradicting a cliché I use frequently, he says: “The market does not turn when it sees light at the end of the tunnel.  It turns when all looks black, but just a subtle shade less black than the day before.”

We are resilient- and so is your plan.  Please add that thought to the list of glad tidings this holiday season. 

 All my best for a happy and prosperous New Year!

Rachel Kuss


Inflation data: Bureau of Labor Statistics,

S&P levels, earnings and dividends: NYU Stern School

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio.  Diversification does not protect against market risk.

Securities and Retirement Plan Consulting Program services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice offered through Western Wealth Management LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. LPL Financial, Kennebec Wealth Management LLC and Western Wealth Management LLC are separate entities.