December 30, 2013
Luckily for me, all of my Christmas shopping was done at the local shopping centers. Unfortunately for others who predominately did their shopping in the comfort of their own home, the Grinch was not green this year; instead the character came dressed in brown uniforms. The United Parcel Service (UPS) was responsible for some folks missing that special gift beneath their tree. With Thanksgiving arriving later than usual, the holiday season was severely compressed, forcing carriers to handle hundreds of millions of shipments in just 26 days.
As brick and mortar stores continue to lose market share to online shopping, it will not change the fact that Americans tend to procrastinate when it comes to holiday shopping. All of the bad publicity surrounding UPS' missed deliveries will have an impact on last minute purchases going forward. It shows us that the final week preceding the holiday can be one area where brick and mortar retailers may prevail over the convenience of shopping from your home. After this years' experience, some consumers may be more willing to strap on their boots, tie up their scarves, and warm up the car to go to their local shopping center instead of shopping online for the peace of mind of not having to depend on the logistics industry.
Carriers like UPS and FedEx do not have a magical sleigh to employ during the holiday season. With the increased convenience of shopping from your home comes the uncertainty of weather, car accidents, and human error. As for me, all of my online shopping will be done well before the holiday to give me a time buffer for the uncertainty of any delays. Similar to investing, where there are added benefits, there is the potential for additional risks and uncertainty. It is important if you're taking on a significant amount of risk for the potential of greater returns to make sure you are aware of the potential uncertainties and have a sufficient time buffer before you will need access to the funds. Don't let there be a Grinch who ruins your retirement plans like UPS ruined holiday cheer for thousands of families.
Ethan Wade, Financial Advisor
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).