June 1, 2021

For the Masters household, May was a month of reflection on all the serendipity and good fortune that has come our way over the years. For starters, my wife Kathy and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Rather than constrain the festivities to one evening, we decided to make it a month of celebration and reflection. We were giddy with excitement, thankful to be fully vaccinated, and looking forward to resuming a more normal social life. The weather in Atlanta was spectacular and seemed designed to draw us back into the larger world after being socially distanced for so long. 

Another May development on our minds was the bittersweet publication of a new book, Understanding Economic Equilibrium, by Tom Cunningham and Mike Shaw. I am fortunate to know both authors. As serendipity would have it, we all met independently through mutual friends. Tom was a Federal Reserve economist who spoke frequently at some of the finance groups I attend. Mike is a business writer and long-time friend who also celebrated a big anniversary in May. The book release was tinged with sadness because Tom died unexpectedly before the book was published. 

Tom had a knack for making complex topics accessible and understandable. He obviously cared deeply about his work. His position at the Federal Reserve gave him great perspective. I always enjoyed our conversations, and I will miss Tom’s good humor and insight. He was taken too soon.  

Tom and Mike’s book won’t show you how to get rich quick in the markets. There are no hot stock tips or secret strategies guaranteed to win in all environments. What it will do is give you a good solid grounding in how markets and economies fit together. It shows how interdependent global markets are – Everything is related. Nothing happens in a vacuum. What happens there matters here, and vice versa. It is a valuable insight, especially in these unusual times. 

As for what happens next in the markets, I can speak with some authority at the micro-level. Kathy and I will continue to release our pent-up demand. We have a lot of catching up to do, and I suspect we are not alone. We are grateful to all the scientists and health care workers who have helped get us to the other side of this pandemic. We are mindful of the suffering and loss so many have endured. We look forward to rekindling our personal and business relationships, doing good work with good people, more frequently face-to-face rather than screen-to-screen. And maybe, just maybe, if we make it another 25 years together, we will look back and see we have made the world a slightly better place than it would have been. 

Mike Masters