Hello. My name is Chad Taylor, managing partner with MDT Financial Advisors here in Houston, Texas. Today is September 21st, 2022, and I wanted to cover a couple of different things that were on my mind today. One being Shelley Bolek, Dante Milanesi and myself attended the Excel Conference last week, where we got to hear many different things on practice management, but also on talking to different money managers or research institutions and kind of their views of what's going on in the markets right now.

It's always good to hear other's opinions on the markets. And there were quite a few different opinions. In addition, today the Federal Open Market Committee, or FED, raised their FED funds rates by 0.75%, matching their increases in June, July. So they raised it 75% of 1%. And rates right now are 3.0 to 3.25%. The FED will continue to reduce their balance sheet by reducing holdings of treasury securities, agency debt and agency mortgage back securities based on their statement that they had back in May.

So they both kind of talked about that today. Stated reasons for why they raised the rates. Modest growth in spending and production. Job gains. Unemployment rates have remained low. So you have all of these things going on the good side of the economy, but inflation has continued to be an issue because of supply and demand issues still related to the pandemic. Higher food, higher energy prices, and just broader prices across the economy right now. So they've got a lot that they're dealing with. Mix in Russia, Ukraine, and you can see that the FED has a challenge in front of them of what they need to do.

And also, I always remind myself, and want to remind you, that the FED has really kind of two main mandates. They seek to have maximum employment and an inflation rate roughly right around 2%. Well, if you've been to the grocery store, that 2% over the long term is... We're quite a bit higher than that right now. And so that is the reason that the Fed's main focus right now is on inflation and not so much maximum employment, because the unemployment rate is pretty low right now.

So when the FED, in the next couple of meetings, one being in November, I think November the second, the next one after that December 14th, we expect that the FED's going to raise rates again those months. Now, how much? They did reiterate that they're going to be market dependent or excuse me, data dependent. And so they're going to be looking at what's going on with the data before they know how much they're raising. But I would expect that it's going to be higher than lower at this point. 50 basis points, 75 basis points, depending on what's going on.

So when that happened today, the markets were kind of all over the place. So they were up earlier today, once the FED made their announcements, they fell. They rallied again, and then they fell until the close. And that market volatility can be unnerving. We've had market volatility all year long and it can be unnerving.

And so what I want to remind you is, when you are thinking of this, please reach out to us. Let's talk. I found that talking in one of these volatile markets like we're in always helps. And the question I get, should we make some changes? And the answer is always, "It depends." If your portfolio is aligned with your investment plan, maybe making no changes is the right thing to do. If something's changed in your life, you're more nervous now than you have been in the past. Or if you have needs coming up, as far as cash goes, making changes might be the right thing to do. Is your portfolio too aggressive right now? Is it too conservative?

All of those things play into decisions on what to do in one of these volatile markets. And so I don't want to say, "Don't do anything," and I don't want to say, "Make changes." It always depends on your situation. So let's have that discussion. If we haven't done your review in a while, let's go ahead and do that. If we have done it, maybe we want to revisit it again, even if we just had it. So don't hesitate to reach out. I really appreciate it. I hope all is well in your world. Thank you for your time.