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Anticipatory anxiety describes when people experience worry and apprehension for a future event that may or may not occur. It can begin anywhere from minutes to years before an anticipated event.

People can experience anticipatory anxiety when awaiting an upcoming personal task, like a job interview, or when thinking about unforeseen dangers, like natural disasters.

Individuals experiencing this condition can be overwhelmed by negative thoughts and what-ifs. They often expect the worst and sort through every possible bad outcome, becoming unable to focus on anything else.

Hopefully you do not suffer from acute anticipatory anxiety triggered by your investments. If this is the case, Susan and I will do our best to help. Reaching out to other professionals who counsel in different ways might also be appropriate.

It’s entirely possible that you might be experiencing anticipatory anxiety episodes (but not an acute condition) after living through the financial markets’ wild swings and selloffs of 2022. You’re likely now wondering what’s in store for 2023.

Susan and I encourage long term thinking. This includes building financial plans that extend well into the future and constructing portfolios with well-diversified asset allocations that help clients achieve life goals.

Focusing on long-term financial plans and future outcomes can help relieve anxiety about what will happen in the markets tomorrow or next week. Attempting to forecast what will happen next month, or next year, does little to support long-term thinking.

Yet it’s just human to want to know what comes next. We understand this, too. And we realize that having a framework for thinking about what may lie ahead in 2023 for the financial markets may also help calm anxiety related to your investments.

There are many folks at large financial firms who are paid to work up ‘year ahead’ forecasts, and they tend to share their views around this time of the year. Do the Wall Street Wizards really know what will happen in 2023? Of course not.

 

But these forecasts can be useful even if they’re not right because they provide a reference point to guide our decisions.

On January 2, 2023, Bloomberg, the news and data service, compiled opinions from researchers, analysts, and economists at fifty large financial firms.

While there are outliers – for example, a researcher at Piper Sandler, known as Wall Street’s ‘Top Bear’, sees stocks sliding another 16% in 2023 – most are more sanguine.

After reading through the projections from the large financial firms, here’s my take on what the consensus forecasts for the year ahead looks like:

  • Economy: things get worse before they get better; there will be a recession in the US, but likely a mild one, with the economy recovering toward year’s end
  • Inflation: continues to decline, reaching 3% – 4% by year end, but still higher than ‘normal’
  • Federal Reserve: stops raising interest rates by springtime
  • Short-Term Interest Rates: reach a high of 5.25% (currently 4.5%)
  • US Dollar: will weaken versus other major currencies
  • Company Profits: likely to decline in 2023
  • Stocks: likely to decline in the first half of 2023, possibly improve in 2nd half; don’t expect a lot from stocks this year

 

Bracing oneself for the potential rocky ride in stocks during the next year is probably a prudent approach.

However, recognizing that there are many possible paths the financial markets could travel, and being open to the potential of a better future for stocks and bonds (maybe even in 2023) is important for your psychological well-being and encourages perseverance in your investment approach.

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