March 2021 Newsletter: Retail Disaster Leaves Economy Weak, Gold and Bitcoin Shine Bright
We might be trending toward recovery, but, make no mistake, the economy is in rough shape.
The retail sector was already struggling, but the pandemic has really turned the heat up. Best Buy just announced 5,000 layoffs and more store closures. This month, Fry's Electronics announced that it would be closing up shop for good, shuttering all 34 locations and leaving its 14,000 employees jobless.
In the past year, we've seen retail giants like J.C. Penney, Arcadia Group, Ascena, GNC, and Brooks Brothers file for bankruptcy. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg as COVID-19 forces brick-and-mortar retailers out of business.
Imagine a world where Amazon or the federal government has nearly complete market share over the goods and services in our economy. Not long ago, that would've been considered far-fetched. But at the rate we're going, that might soon become a reality.
What, then, would happen to the value of the U.S. dollar, or the stock market? There's only so long we can print money to keep up the appearance of a well-functioning economy. In fact, there are millions of Americans right now who would be homeless if not for a moratorium on evictions.
To top it all off, Shell declared that they hit Peak Oil in 2019. From now on, oil output is set to decline by 1-2% every year, which might cripple the entire oil industry.
A Rough Road Ahead
The economy feels like a wobbling top, only moments from falling over.
But there's still hope. The good news is that you still have options for protecting your wealth from disaster.
Physical gold and silver have proven themselves as reliable stores of value during crises. On March 10, the day the WHO announced that COVID-19 had become a global pandemic, the price of gold closed at $1,641. Today, it closed at $1,741. That's a stable gain of +6.1%—nothing to scoff at, even for the S&P 500 on a good year.
The Upside: A Crypto Bull Market
Plus, Bitcoin is red-hot. On February 17, the cryptocurrency broke through the $50,000 resistance point for the first time. Institutional demand for “digital gold” from companies such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Tesla drove the cryptocurrency's price to new heights.
There's no telling when, or if, Bitcoin's growth trajectory will slow down. It's an unprecedented asset, and these are unprecedented times. But all signs currently point to growth as big players start to get more involved in the asset.
Now is the Time to Protect Your Retirement Savings
Savvy investors should consider making a move into precious metals or cryptocurrencies to protect their wealth in March. Amid the chaos, these assets have shown that they're strong diversifiers that can save you money when financial markets turn south.