Know A Good Doctor? We Do.

Scott Neal

Scott Neal, CPA, CFP, is the president of D. Scott Neal, Inc., a fee-only financial planning and investment advisory firm with offices in Lexington and Louisville. Reach him at or by calling 1.800.344.9098.

A Year in Review and the Road Ahead

Bidding farewell to 2023 and stepping toward the exciting and unpredictable world of 2024, let’s reflect on the economy and investment markets, and their impact on our wellbeing.

The Economic Landscape of 2023

The global economy was characterized by both optimism and uncertainty. Some key trends and events that had an impact over the past year:

  • Pandemic recovery: Being in healthcare, you may disagree that significant progress was made on multiple fronts. From where I sit, vaccination campaigns gained momentum, leading to a gradual return to a sense of normalcy in many regions. In response, governments and central banks implemented fiscal and monetary policies to support businesses and individuals
  • Inflation concerns became a central focus early in 2023. The year began with rising prices, some of which are beginning to come down, fueled by supply chain disruptions, increased demand brought on, in part, by the fiscal policies of more money in circulation, and increased wage pressures that led to worries about sustained inflation. Sadly, it is often the worry about inflation that drives policy, even more than the actual shift in supply and demand curves, the ultimate driver of inflation.
  • A technology boom is clearly underway. The tech sector continued to thrive with rapid advancements in areas like artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and blockchain technology. The rapid change of technology, especially at big companies that are now branded as the “Big 7,” is causing many seniors to rethink staying in the workforce. I got very excited when 60 Minutes recently aired its piece on IBM’s Quantum Computing. If you didn’t see it, you should check it out.
  • Of course, 2023 will go down in history for the geopolitical tensions we have seen played out on the evening news. This is especially true between the major powers: the U.S., China, and Russia. Trade disruptions, cybersecurity issues, and territorial disputes added uncertainty to global markets.
  • Climate change and sustainability have become central themes in both economic and investment discussions. Companies have increasingly embraced ESG (environmental, social, and governance) principles and policies, and many investment companies report that more investors seek green and sustainable opportunities.

Looking Ahead to 2024

From this vantage point, let’s turn our attention to what the future might hold for 2024 in the world of economics and investments.

  • Physicians are in a better position than I am to assess, but I believe that the pandemic recovery will continue. It appears to me that the journey to full recovery is ongoing, and we may, in our lifetime, never be without COVID somewhere in the world. If I am right, vaccination campaigns will continue, and countries will strive to strike a balance between economic reopening and public health.
  • Inflation outlook: Central banks will undoubtedly remain vigilant in their efforts to manage inflation, although they are usually a bit behind the curve. The challenge will be to normalize monetary policies (i.e., short-term interest rates) without causing a sharp economic downturn. Remember that our Fed has a target of 2% inflation. The economist Dr. Woody Brock has painted very good reasons why it is more likely to settle in around 3.0 – 3.5%. At this writing, it is 3.24%. That compares to 3.7% last month and 7.75% last year.
  • Tech advancements: The tech sector is expected to continue its rapid growth with innovations in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and biotechnology. (If any of you have insights on biotech or pharma research, drop me a line.)
  • Geopolitical tensions are unlikely to go away anytime soon. Investors should remain attuned to potential risks and opportunities associated with these tensions. Trade policies, sanctions by one country or coalition against another, as well as cybersecurity are likely to remain key issues.
  • Sustainable investing (ESG) is likely to gain even more prominence in 2024, with a focus on green infrastructure projects, renewable energy, and companies committed to sustainable practices. Be on the lookout for governments around the globe to potentially enact stricter ESG regulations.
  • It seems more important than ever to pay attention to the world economy and particularly emerging markets (i.e., those less well developed). That’s one reason that I read The Economist for its perspective. Already mentioned is the impact that pandemic recovery is likely to have on global growth. Caution should be exercised to remain aware of potential volatility and political hotspots. Speaking of which, 2024 is an election year in the U.S. Any forecasts could rapidly be undone, depending on who gets elected and who doesn’t.


As we navigate the economic and investment landscape of 2024, it’s clear that we are living in a world of both challenges and opportunities. The lessons of the past year have taught us the importance of adaptability and foresight in making investment decisions. We look forward to helping you make well-informed choices toward achieving your goals and objectives in the coming year.

Scott Neal, CPA, CFP is the president of D. Scott Neal, Inc. a fee-only, fiduciary financial planning and investment advisory firm with offices in Lexington and Louisville. You may write to him at