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      One might think “Smoking Hot” refers to the stock market over the past fifteen months but in this case, it refers to a dear friend of ours and his journey into the art of grilling with a Pitmaster. This friend of ours recently signed up for a Masterclass on Texas Style Barbeque with Aaron Franklin because in his words he had spent years crafting his grilling skills to a high level but was unable to cook a beef brisket to his level of satisfaction. For the uninitiated, the skill needed to not burn a New York Strip on a gas grill is different than the one needed to smoke a beef brisket for nearly 12 hours on a smoker. Choosing the meat, trimming the meat, perfecting the sauce and rub and rewrapping the brisket in special paper are just a few of the nuances of mastering a brisket that require an expert with loads of experience. So, of course, we find parallels between mastering investing and mastering grilling and we also enjoy a good “tasty” metaphor to provide a backdrop for investment talk that can sometimes turn out a little “dry”, pun intended. Thus, we thought we would frame our investment missive with a grilling theme this quarter in hopes of reaching our readers that may sometimes get bored by the same overused cliches.      

      For instance, one would probably agree that there is a certain art and craftmanship surrounding grilling and the BBQ culture. Of course, we realize that this is somewhat in the eye of the beholder if one has stared at pink-pig artifacts in a local “hole in the wall” BBQ joint that smelled of hickory. You may not know how to define it as art but you know it when you see it, right, and there is certainly some skill involved. In our opinion, there is a little bit of art in the science of investing also. Deciphering true risk tolerance and understanding a client’s complete financial plan in order to pick out the best investment options for them is as much of an art as picking out a brisket and trimming off the right amount of fat. Investing in a flexible mutual fund or exchange traded fund with low expenses, strong investment discipline, and organizational fortitude is as complex as managing the wood and flame on a smoker. Double digit hours spent grilling a piece of meat correctly is akin to investing in value stocks and compounding returns over time. Similarly, when one has navigated a grill for hours/or a market for years, then one can stomach flameouts and grease fires (or corrections and recessions) with logic and calm. Keep in mind that stocks have averaged a 10% drop one time a year since 1929 so corrections are to be expected.

      At risk of overcooking this metaphor, we would argue that investing in growth stocks and cryptocurrencies reminds us of purchasing authentic Wagyu Beef and grilling it on a gas grill. Given the high price of Wagyu Beef you might be left feeling empty and unsatisfied when it is all said and done. Value stocks, small and middle capitalization stocks, and international stocks feel more like slow-cooking a brisket on a smoker for twelve hours. One of these examples feels more like investing and the other one feels more like a trade. One of these compounds returns slow and steady and the other can burn you in a flash. You could even argue that a diversified portfolio with a good mix of conservative fixed income is closer to something a Pitmaster delves into rather than a part-time dabbler. We all start off building our skill-set but lessons learned at too high of a temperature can burn one irreparably. Our goal is to keep you on the grill and satisfied. As Davinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned”. We don’t want you to ever abandon investing, or for that matter, grilling. If you stop investing, you miss opportunities to truly compound returns and that could leave one feeling empty.

      We realize we spent way too much time on grilling metaphors and we hope that we didn’t lose anyone. If you are a non-beef eater, please know these metaphors work for grilling vegetables/fish on a smoker as far as we are concerned. If we are tone deaf on the Vegan/Vegetarian practice, please forgive our attempt at making investing sound more interesting by using food as a backdrop. In fact, we welcome your favorite grilling recipes whether they are beef or not. We are equal opportunity eaters. We also welcome names of your favorite restaurants around the area. We hinted at BBQ joints and we could share lots of those with you, but we will take all types.

      On that note, please reach out to your planner with recipes/favorite BBQ joints and investment questions (not necessarily in that order), or even an invite to come over and grill out. We always enjoy breaking bread with friends even if it takes several well-spent hours spent around a smoker.

P.S. – Several years ago we wrote a missive drawing parallels about poundcake and investing that was very popular and inspired sharing recipes so maybe our friends BBQ story inspired us for reasons beyond altruistic ones. Maybe it sparked a format that we thought would allows us to build our network of BBQ joints. We are not sure that is a bad thing but it did makes us think back to our poundcake letter and realize that new clients may not have seen that letter. If you are new and have never seen that letter, then feel free to share poundcake recipes as we received some fantastic one last time and Grandma Fishes recipe was one we are happy to share, as well.


General Compliance Disclosures

Statements made via this letter are the opinions of Creative Financial Group (“CFG”) and its advisors, and are not to be construed as guarantees, warranties or predictions of future events, portfolio allocations, portfolio results, investment returns, or other outcomes. None of the information contained is intended as a solicitation or offer to purchase or sell a specific security, mutual fund, bond, or any other investment. Readers should not assume that the considerations, suggestions, or recommendations will be profitable, suitable to their circumstances or that future investment and/or portfolio performance will be profitable or favorable. Past performance of indices, mutual funds, or actual portfolios does not guarantee future results. Future results may differ significantly from the past due to materially different economic and market conditions. SSI, its affiliates and its officers, directors and employees may from time to time acquire, hold or sell securities mentioned herein.

Investment products and services provided by Synovus are offered through Synovus Securities, Inc. (“SSI”), Synovus Trust Company, N.A. (“STC”) and Creative Financial Group, a division of SSI. Trust services for Synovus are provided by Synovus Trust Company, N.A. The registered broker-dealer offering brokerage products for Synovus is Synovus Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC and an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested.

Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank and Synovus Trust.  Synovus Trust Company, N.A. is a subsidiary of Synovus Bank.

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