Maximizing the effects of trade wars

Do trade wars have an impact on the economy and market? The simple answer is…

It depends (Freeman, 2004).  Krishna, Mukhopadyay, and Yavas (2002) determined that free-trade can hurt the economy when capital markets are distorted.  While at the same time, trade can positively impact the economy when labor markets are in equilibrium.  Whether you are a free market zealot or, believe globalization was an experiment gone wrong, this trade war is not just about trade and tariffs.  It is a part of a much larger conflict between the U.S. and China, which in addition to trade/tariffs, encompasses politics, ideology, and even the current global geopolitical order.

In our view, regardless of the outcome of the current trade negotiations, this is just one chapter in a book that will continue to be written over the decades to come. Anyone looking for a neat and clean expeditious resolution will likely be disappointed. The uncertainty surrounding this conflict will continue for a long time and is out of our control. 

So, what can be agreed upon and has strong academic roots?

What appears to be universally accepted is policy to eliminate deficits, maintaining market-oriented exchange rates, improving the education system, strengthening the legal system, and increasing competition amongst domestic firms (Baldwin, 2003).  These are essential economic considerations both now and into the future—and what will move the needle long term for our economy, our markets, and our country.

How can you prepare for what happens? Having a Financial Plan.

At Human Investing, we emphasize comprehensive financial planning (we call this hiPlan™), which is very different from traditional planning, which tends to focus on a single area such as investing or insurance. By taking a comprehensive approach, we can create stress-tested, long -term, adaptive plans for our clients and gaze beyond the short-term implications of news headlines.

Further, we work as a team to serve our clients.  Much like a peloton where each team member jumps out front to take the lead when appropriate, we've assembled a team of financial planning experts—each with specific knowledge that our clients can leverage for their benefit.  So why are we so focused on financial planning?  For us, the answer is simple, empirical evidence points to its advantage, and we have personally seen it work for the clients we serve.   

Several studies have shown that individuals and families who employed the financial planning process enjoy greater wealth during retirement versus those who fail to plan (Hanna & Lindamood, 2010) (Van Rooij, Lusardi, & Alessie, 2012). As a non-commissioned, fee-only firm, we can provide the most objective and independent advice, making it more feasible to optimize the financial well-being of our clients. We believe that by working with our expert team and taking a long-term and comprehensive approach to financial planning, our clients can have peace of mind regardless of the headline of the day.

Have you started your plan today?

If not, or, if you are interested in learning more about our people and process, please call us at (503) 905-3100 or let us know about your needs.


Baldwin, R. E. (2004). Openness and growth: what's the empirical relationship?. In Challenges to globalization: Analyzing the economics (pp. 499-526). University of Chicago Press.

Freeman, R. B. (2004). Trade wars: The exaggerated impact of trade in economic debate. World Economy27(1), 1-23.

Hanna, S. D., & Lindamood, S. (2010). Quantifying the economic benefits of personal financial planning.

Krishna, K., Mukhopadhyay, A., & Yavas, C. (2005). Trade with labor market distortions and heterogeneous labor: Why trade can hurt. In WTO and World Trade (pp. 65-83). Physica-Verlag HD.

Van Rooij, M. C., Lusardi, A., & Alessie, R. J. (2012). Financial literacy, retirement planning and household wealth. The Economic Journal122(560), 449-478.