History tends to move in cyclical patterns, akin to seasons. The Fourth Turning, as presented in the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe, paints a cyclical view of history. Each cycle, approximately 80 years in length, is divided into four turnings. These turnings, each lasting around 20 years, depict unique societal moods:
- High – A post-crisis era where societal unity and institutional trust thrive.
- Awakening – Cultural and spiritual shifts arise as younger generations question the established norms.
- Unraveling – Growing individualism emerges, leading to weakening societal structures and institutional distrust.
- Crisis or Fourth Turning – Societal upheaval occurs as outdated structures are dismantled or reformed.
Navigating the Fourth Turning requires investors to be attuned to these societal and economic shifts.
Generational Impacts on Investment
As new generation age and turnover, each one molds the socio-economic environment:
Transition of Power: With Gen Xers entering retirement, Millennials are stepping into leadership roles. Their values, emphasizing sustainability and technology, present fresh investment avenues.
Millennial Earning Power and Attitudes: Millennials, soon to be the economic backbone, prioritize experiences over possessions and are more inclined towards sustainable and technological investments.
Homeland Generation’s Emergence: Following the Millennials, the Homeland generation, nurtured in tumultuous times, combines caution with tech-savviness. Their consumption patterns may direct investments towards tech security, virtual learning, and home-based industries.
The Role of Institutions
Institutions – whether governmental, financial, or societal – often undergo dramatic changes during this turning. The trustworthiness of long-standing institutions might be challenged, leading to potential reforms or even replacements.
Impact on Financial Markets: The credibility of financial institutions can directly influence investor confidence. If key institutions are perceived as unstable, it might drive investors towards alternative investment opportunities or “safe-haven” assets like gold.
Regulatory Changes: Historically, the Fourth Turning has prompted regulatory overhauls. For investors, these shifts mean staying alert to new compliance standards and potential shifts in market dynamics due to these regulations.
During this period, we can expect significant changes in various sectors:
Technology: Technological advancements might accelerate, potentially giving rise to new industries while rendering others obsolete. This poses both challenges and opportunities for stock pickers, making it crucial to stay updated with emerging trends.
Health & Wellness: The health sector might witness a surge, not only due to advances in medicine but also due to societal emphasis on holistic well-being.
Infrastructure & Energy: There could be a push for more sustainable and efficient infrastructure projects, alongside a shift from traditional to renewable energy sources.
Benefits of Stock Selection
Given the aforementioned shifts, it’s essential to remain nimble in investment decisions. Here’s where the approach of selecting individual stocks shines:
Flexibility: Opting for individual stocks offers adaptability, essential in the Fourth Turning’s ever-changing environment. Unlike a broad-based ETF strategy, picking stocks allows investors to swiftly react to changes in particular sectors or industries.
Anticipating Outperformance: By focusing on specific stocks, there’s a higher potential to identify undervalued opportunities and outperform benchmarks that might be weighed down by non-performers.
An individual stock strategy aligns well with the Fourth Turning’s unpredictable nature. With the potential for drastic societal changes, having the flexibility to make adjustments becomes paramount.
At Magnifina, we align our strategies to these insights, helping our clients to be prepared and well-positioned for potential growth in this unique era.
The Fourth Turning brings about challenges and uncertainties, but also immense opportunities for those willing to adapt and evolve. By understanding its implications, staying informed about shifts in institutions and sectors, and employing a nimble investment strategy, investors can navigate this transformative period effectively.