In Observance of Thanksgiving Hudock Capital Group LLC will be closed Thursday, November 26th 2020 and will close at 1 P.M. Friday, November 27th 2020

Letters category: Letters

Counting our Blessings November 25, 2020
Downloads: 2020-Thanksgiving.pdf

Every year, we expect certain things to happen around Thanksgiving.  We expect the leaves to change colors.  We expect to decorate our houses with pumpkins and cornucopias.  We expect football on television.  We expect to eat turkey and stuffing, potatoes and gravy.  We expect our family to gather from near and far.

But the coronavirus pandemic – and all of 2020, really – has turned our expectations upside down.  This year, many of us will not be able to see our parents, grandparents, or other relatives. Those who have lost their jobs may not have the means to enjoy the kind of feast we’re accustomed to.

Most of us have never experienced a Thanksgiving like this one before.  That’s because most of us have never experienced a year like this.

And yet, it’s precisely during a time like this that Thanksgiving becomes more important than ever.  Because, it’s when life takes certain things away that we realize what truly matters.  When we learn to live without certain comforts, we learn what we couldn’t live without.  We learn what we really have to be thankful for.

Let us tell you: There are so many things we are thankful for.

First and foremost, we’re thankful for our family.  Not being able to see certain loved ones as often makes us realize how much they mean to us.  This year, we have treasured every email and letter, Zoom® session and phone call, more than ever before.

Second, we’re thankful for the technology that enables us to connect with our families, even when we’re hundreds of miles apart, or simply separated due to social distancing.

Third, we’re thankful for our amazing team.  Their dedication, professionalism, and attitude inspires us every day.  When the markets were crashing, they were on the phones, working hard to reach every client we have.  When the lockdowns started, they worked from home without skipping a beat, working to take care of you even while they took care of their own families.  We do what we do because their hard work empowers us to.
Fourth, we’re thankful for life’s daily luxuries that we too often take for granted.  Can you imagine going through this pandemic the way people would have hundreds of years ago?

The pandemic has reminded us just how accustomed we are to always having food, always having water, always having power, always having shelter.  In the 21st century, we have books and games and movies to keep our minds occupied.  We have pets to keep us company.

Let’s face it, this pandemic has even reminded us how much we take toilet paper for granted. Toilet paper!

As difficult as it is to live with COVID-19, the modern world makes it easier than past generations could have imagined.  And we’re grateful for that.

Fifth, we’re thankful for the men and women striving to end this pandemic.  The doctors and nurses on the front lines, caring for the sick.  They are literally putting their lives on the line, working from sunup till sundown.  All to save lives and to reunite families.  And let’s not forget the scientists and researchers, racing against the clock to deliver the world a vaccine in record time.  We could never do what they do.  We’re so thankful they’re doing it.

Sixth, we’re thankful for the members of our community who keep our community functioning.  From teachers to police officers.  From grocery store baggers to truckers.  From utility technicians to sanitation workers.  Many are working double shifts.  Others have converted their offices into makeshift bedrooms.  Too often, their work goes unnoticed and unsung.  But they are considered essential workers for a reason – because none of us could live without them.

Finally, we’re thankful for you.  When the pandemic began, our team tried to reach as many clients as possible.  Not just to talk about your investments, but to talk about you. To see how you and your family were doing.  But very soon, we realized we didn’t have to call each of our clients.  That’s because most of our clients were calling us!  Not to ask about the markets.  Not to ask about their money.  But to ask about us.  To check in on us.  To express their appreciation for us.

There is never a day that goes by where we are not thankful for what we do – because of who we do it for.

This pandemic has changed so much.  How we live, how we celebrate.  But there are some things it hasn’t changed.  It hasn’t changed what we care about.  It hasn’t changed who we love.

It hasn’t changed how much we have to be thankful for.

On behalf of our entire team, we wish you and your family a safe and joyful holiday season.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

We Salute Our Veterans November 10, 2020
Downloads: Veterans-Day-Letter-2020.pdf

The Highest Honor

On Veteran’s Day we pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. We pay tribute to all levels of sacrifice—from the cook, to the soldier who gave up his/her life in defense of our freedoms. All are important to us.

As we think about the sacrifices of our armed forces we recollect the importance of the Medal of Honor and the symbolic tribute paid by the Tomb guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The highest military decoration awarded by the U.S. government is the Medal of Honor. It is awarded to members of the armed forces who illustrate, “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.” (1)

One soldier who exhibited such courage was Audie Murphy who at the age of 17 enlisted in the United States Army because he wanted to make something of himself. On January 26th, 1945 the company Audie commanded came under attack by six tanks and various waves of infantry. 2nd Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to the woods, while he remained in a forward position to give fire directions to the artillery by phone.

After the enemy realized his position he climbed into a burning tank, at great peril to himself. He was exposed to gunfire from 3 sides, was alone, and in a burning tank that could blow up at any moment. He employed the .50 caliber machine gun causing the attack to waiver, and in turn pushed the enemy tanks back. The Germans continued to try for an hour to kill Audie.

During the fire fight, he received a leg wound and continued to fight until ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized his company to counterattack the Germans who withdrew their forces.

His single act of courage saved his company from possible encirclement or destruction, and allowed the company to hold the woods, which was the German’s objective. (2)

By the end of World War II, he was the most decorated U.S. soldier, having earned every medal his country could give, including the Medal of Honor. If the name Audie Murphy sounds familiar, it’s because after the war he also became a famous movie actor, author, and has his name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Audie’s show of gallantry was not an isolated event. The U.S. has given over 3,460 Medal of Honor awards with 19 men receiving the award twice. Fourteen of these men received two separate medals for two separate actions; five received both the Navy and the Army Medals of Honor for the same action. Over 600 received the award posthumously. The most medals earned in a single war was during the Civil War with 1,522 awarded. (3) The Medal of Honor is properly described as having been “awarded”, “earned”, or “received”, not “given” or “won.” (4)

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

As a country, we go to great lengths to make sure that those who lived and served, and those who died while serving are remembered and honored. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier the Tomb Guard symbolically gives another one of the highest military honors, but to the “Unknown Soldiers.” During a Tomb Guard’s watch, the soldier marches 21 steps down the black mat, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, and turns, faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process. Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolizes the 21-gun salute. (5)

During Hurricane Isabel in 2003, with winds that turned over vehicles, downed trees, and turned debris into projectiles the Regimental Commander of the U.S. infantry sent word to the nighttime Tomb Guards to secure post and seek shelter. They disobeyed the order. Their important watch continued as normal. Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930. (6)

The Medal of Honor award winners, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier represent the deep gratitude our country feels about our military service members willing to give his/her life. But, even these significant acts of gallantry don’t dampen the gratitude we have for all our military personnel willing to serve their country. Happy Veteran’s Day!


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant







Elections and the Markets October 21, 2020
Downloads: Elections-and-the-Markets-2020.pdf


It’s that time again!  Every four years, Americans participate in an election to choose the next President of the United States.  Under normal circumstances, voting is a simple, uncomplicated act—but the months preceding it are anything but—and this year is no exception.  After all, before we vote, we first have to endure the dreaded “campaign season.”  From endless television commercials to the plethora of yard signs, “politics” seems to become the order of the day.

If you’re like us, you probably don’t enjoy all the campaigning.  But you also know how important the political process is.  Being an informed, engaged citizen is crucial to maintaining the stability of our Republic.  That means asking some pretty tough questions.  And, getting the answers can be both frustrating and time-consuming.

Fortunately, there’s one question you don’t have to ask.

“How will the election affect the markets?”

This is a question we get every four years.  And the answer is always the same:

Not much.

Since 1957, the S&P 500 has gained an average of roughly 9.8% every presidential election year.1  Of course, there can be some massive exceptions.  For example, in 1928, the S&P rose over 37%.  In 2008, it fell over 38%.2

There is a danger, however, in using averages to try to predict what will happen.  Take the “Presidential Election Cycle Theory” for instance.  Once upon a time, many people believed that U.S. stock markets are always the weakest in the year following a presidential election.  This was the case for Franklin Roosevelt.  It also held true for Truman and Eisenhower.

But in George H.W. Bush’s first year, the S&P 500 rose 27%.  In Bill Clinton’s first year, it rose 7%.  Barack Obama’s first year saw a 23% rise.  Donald Trump’s first year was 19%.

It’s clear that the “Presidential Election Cycle Theory” just doesn’t hold water.  And that’s true for actual election years as well.  An average merely shows you what has happened, not what’s going to happen.  (Side note: this is why you often see the financial industry emphasize that “Past performance does not guarantee future results.”  Because it’s true.)

“But what if the Democrats/Republicans win?  Won’t that have an effect?”

That’s the next question we get every four years.  Our answer:

Not really.

Don’t believe us?  Let’s see what markets have done over the past 50 years.  Below are the last eight presidents of the United States, with their political party next to their name.  (We’re skipping Ford as he took office in the middle of Nixon’s second term.)  The third column shows how the S&P 500 performed.(You might want to cover the third column and try to guess the result—you may be surprised).

President Party Markets Up or Down?
Richard Nixon (1st term) Republican -11.36%
Richard Nixon (2nd term) Republican -17.37%
Jimmy Carter Democrat -11.5%
Ronald Reagan (1st term) Republican -9.73%
Ronald Reagan (2nd term) Republican +26.33%
George H.W. Bush Republican +27.25%
Bill Clinton (1st term) Democrat +7.06%
Bill Clinton (2nd term) Democrat +31.01%
George W. Bush (1st term) Republican -13.04%
George W. Bush (2nd term) Republican +3.0%
Barack Obama (1st term) Democrat +23.45%
Barack Obama (2nd term) Democrat +29.6%
Donald Trump Republican +19.42%

If a hypothetical investor had followed the “Presidential Election Cycle Theory”, he or she would have missed out on some of the biggest gains in market history.  The same is true if that hypothetical investor had made decisions based on politics.  For example, an investor that didn’t want to invest during a Democrat administration would have missed out on the market performance of Clinton’s second term.  Just as an investor that didn’t want to invest during a Republican administration would have missed out on the market performance during Reagan’s second term and the first Bush term.

As worked up as we often get about our political beliefs, neither party tends to have that much impact on the markets compared to the other.  Historically, the S&P 500 has gone up 10.8% under Democratic presidents, and 5.6% under Republican presidents.Either way, the markets go up over time.  That’s because the markets are driven by far more than just one person or event.

Obviously, it matters a great deal who our president is … but not when it comes to the markets.  And that’s a good thing!  Here’s why:

1.  The Founding Fathers created a system of government where no branch (executive, legislative, or judicial) was supposed to dominate the other. The fact that neither political party, nor election years in general, have that much influence on the markets shows that our system of checks and balances extends to investing, too.
2.  Again, the markets are driven by far more than just one person or event. They’re controlled by the ebb and tide of trade, by the law of supply and demand, by innovation and invention, by international conflict and consumer confidence. The markets are like life. The course our lives take isn’t determined by one gigantic decision, but by the millions of small decisions we make every day.

We don’t know about you, but we find that comforting.

So, what’s the takeaway from all this?  The takeaway is that when it comes to investing, we control our own destinies, not politicians.  The way to reaching your financial goals is by having a sound investment strategy, making informed decisions, and taking emotion out of it.  Not by worrying about the election.

Sure, campaign seasons can cause short-term market volatility and any pre- or post-election uncertainty can too.  Yet we know that making emotional decisions during periods of volatility can lead to bad results and that the best decision is often not to act in the face of market volatility.  Why? Because it is so unlikely that we can perfectly time the market.

We also know that campaign seasons involve a barrage of information with often conflicting or negative news stories.  When these stories are repeated over and over, they sometimes affect our ability to think independently, and may cause us to lose our focus on the long term.  As we stay informed, we should try to avoid overexposure to the media, particularly when a news cycle repeatedly focuses on the same negative events.  Everything in moderation, including the news.

So, yes watch the debates, chat amongst your friends, and decide who you want the next president to be.  Do so with the knowledge that whatever happens, the markets will go their own way … and so will you.  Regardless of the direction that you or this election takes, rest assured that your financial plan anticipates periods of volatility, that the disciplined investment strategies we have implemented together aim to achieve positive performance over time, and that history is on our side.

As your Wealth Partners with Purpose, we are always here for you.  Please contact us with your questions or concerns anytime.

On behalf of everyone here at Hudock Capital, we wish you a happy (and headache free) election!


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

1 “What could the S&P 500 tell us about Trump’s reelection?” Forbes, October 21, 2020.

2 “S&P 500 Historical Annual Returns,” Macrotrends,

3 “Democratic presidents are better for the stock market and economy than Republicans, one study shows,” Business Insider, August 24, 2020.

Happy Labor Day! September 4, 2020
Downloads: 2020-Labor-Day.pdf

Labor Day is coming up! Normally, we’re used to celebrating it with parades, barbecues, and sometimes, fireworks. Unfortunately, for this Labor Day, we will have to go without the traditional celebrations. But we think we can speak for everyone when we say we deserve a holiday – even if we can’t observe it in the usual way. So, as we approach Labor Day, let us pause and reflect on the circumstances that make this year’s holiday unique.

As you know, this year has put our workforce to the test – the essential worker and the unemployed alike. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, we are recognizing more and more that labor is what holds our communities together. Billboards recognizing the workers who maintain our essential infrastructure are replacing advertisements. TV spots thanking the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals working on the frontlines are replacing commercials. Parents taking on the extra labor of homeschooling their children feel more appreciation for teachers and school workers than ever. And many of those lucky enough to stay employed during this time are doing everything they can to help out those who aren’t. This has been a challenging time, but because we are all pulling through it together, we know there are better days ahead.

And we know that it’s our workers who will help us get there.

Of course, when and how we return to a normal, flourishing economy is uncertain. What is certain is that we will. We can be certain because our workforce is nothing if not resilient and eager to move forward.

We believe the pride and determination in our workforce is an inherently American trait. That’s how President Grover Cleveland saw it.  In his presidential nomination acceptance in 1884, he wrote these words:

A true American sentiment  recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.”1

Ten years later, he made Labor Day a national holiday.

One-hundred and twenty-six years later, we honor laborers past and present. Every day we work to better ourselves, our community, and our nation, is a day to celebrate. That includes yourself, those you depend on, and those who depend on you.

So, even though we can’t celebrate Labor Day in the usual way this year, it’s still a day worth celebrating. Because it’s not just about the end of summer. It’s about ourselves and our community. It’s about recognizing everything we’ve gone through and everything we’ll do. It’s about recognizing that, no matter what happens, we’re in this together.

We think that’s worth celebrating. Don’t you?

So, however you celebrate, we wish you and yours a very happy Labor Day!


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

1 Grover Cleveland, “The Public Papers of Grover Cleveland: Twenty-second President of the United States”.

The Best Man I Ever Knew July 2, 2020
Downloads: Home-of-the-Free-Letter-2020.pdf

Happy Independence Day!  As we prepare to commemorate our beautiful nation, we’re conscious of the fact that this year’s holiday will probably be somewhat different than what we’re used to.  Fireworks and barbecues will be balanced with the need to “flatten the curve.”  Songs and celebrations will have to take place amid social distancing.  Indeed, our country is faced with challenges most of us have never experienced before.

But recently, we came across a quote that reminded us of something important: No matter how different this Independence Day may feel, the most important thing about our nation is still the same:

“I am an American, free born and free bred, where no one is my superior, except for their own worth, or my inferior, except for their own demerit.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Many things have changed since then, but his words still apply.  For that reason, there is nothing – not even a pandemic – that can dampen our love for our country.  And nothing can stop us from having a wonderful Independence Day.  A day spent giving thanks for this land we live in.  The home of the free and the brave.

From all of us at Hudock Capital Group, we wish you have a safe and wonderful Independence Day, too.


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

The Best Man I Ever Knew June 19, 2020
Downloads: The-Best-Man-I-Ever-Knew-Fathers-Day-2020.pdf

Happy Father’s Day!

As you know, this special day isn’t just a chance to buy Dad some new cologne or a power drill.  It’s an opportunity to reflect on what fathers mean to us.  The things they’ve taught, the values they’ve instilled, the examples they’ve set.

It’s a chance to look in the mirror and ask ourselves just how we’re measuring up.

One of the greatest and most moving tributes we’ve ever read about fathers comes from none other than Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., the 26th president of the United States.   Even today, the popular image of Roosevelt is that of a rough-riding boxer, a Bull Moose.  He was a man who, after being shot in the chest at a rally, decided to finish his speech anyway.

But as a boy, Roosevelt was “sickly and timid,” prone to asthma and bullying.

As Roosevelt would later describe it, the main reason for his transformation was his father, Theodore Sr.

My father, Theodore Roosevelt, was the best man I ever knew.  He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness.  He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfullness.  As we grew older, he made us understand that the same standard of clean living was demanded of the boys as well as the girls; that what was wrong in a woman could not be right in a man.  With great love and patience, and the most generous sympathy and consideration, he combined insistence on discipline.  I never knew anyone who got greater joy out of living than did my father, or anyone who more whole-heartedly performed every duty.1 

I was fortunate in having a father whom I have always been able to regard as the ideal man.  It sounds a little like can’t to say what I am going to say, but he did combine the strength and courage and will and energy of the strongest man with tenderness, cleanness, and purity.  I was a sickly and timid boy.  He not only took great and untiring care of me – some of my earliest remembrances are of nights when he would walk up and down with me for an hour at a time in his arms when I was a wretched mite suffering acutely with asthma – but he also most wisely refused to coddle me, and made me feel that I must force myself to hold my own with other boys and prepare to do the rough work of the world.  I would have hated and dreaded beyond measure to have him know that I had been guilty of a lie, or of cruelty, or of bullying, or of uncleanness or cowardice. 

Gradually, I grew up to have these feelings on my own account, not merely his.2

In some ways, we think that last line was the most profound of all.  You see, most children lucky enough to have a good father grow up idolizing their dad.  He’s a pillar of strength, a font of wisdom.  He’s a hero and a wizard, a teacher and a coach.  As we grow up, though, we start to see that nobody’s perfect, not even Dad – and it’s easy to focus more on avoiding his mistakes or perfecting his shortcomings than following his example.

But then, as we grow older still, we learn we’re not perfect, either.  We realize the only reason we avoided Dad’s mistakes was because he taught us how.  We realize that most of what we take pride in, most of what we value – it came from him.

That, to us, is what Father’s Day is all about.  It’s about more than gifts and cards.  It’s about more than simply saying “Thank you.”

It’s about saying, “I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.”

Whether out loud at a family gathering, or in the quiet of our own hearts, we hope all of us take the time to pay tribute to our dads this upcoming Father’s Day.  And from all of us here at Hudock Capital Group, we wish to say, “Thank you” to all fathers reading this.

We wouldn’t be who we are without you.


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

1 Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., “Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography,” 1913.

2 Joseph Bucklin Bishop, “Theodore Roosevelt and His Time Shown in His Own Letters – Book I,”


Have a Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! May 21, 2020
Downloads: Memorial-Day-Letter-2020.pdf

In honor of Memorial Day, we’d like to tell you a story about a man named Ben Salomon.

Ben Salomon was a dentist.  He went to school, got his degree, and started his own dental practice at the tender age of 23.  The most trying ordeal he was ever supposed to encounter was a mouth full of cavities or a particularly tricky root canal.  But when his country called, he answered – serving as the dental officer for the 105th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army.

The year was 1942.

Ben Salomon was a dentist, but he still had to train like a regular infantryman.  He qualified as an expert with both rifle and pistol and was even declared the unit’s “best all-around soldier” by his commanding officer.  Soon, he was promoted to the rank of captain.  Two years later, he went into combat – specifically, to an island in the Pacific called Saipan.

Ben Salomon was a dentist.  But during combat, a toothache was the furthest thing from most men’s minds.  The Battle of Saipan was fierce, with the U.S. suffering over 13,000 casualties.  So, with little dental work to do, Salomon volunteered to go to the front lines, to replace one of the surgeons who had been wounded.

It was July 7, two days before the battle would end.  As the U.S. advanced across the island, the wounded began to pile up, and it wasn’t always possible to transport them back to the regiment’s main base.  So, Salomon set up a tent barely fifty yards from the frontlines to serve as an immediate aid station.  Just after dawn, approximately 4,000 Japanese soldiers launched one of the largest counterattacks of World War II.  Within minutes, Salomon’s tent filled up with wounded soldiers, many of whom had to be physically carried in.  Undaunted, Salomon got to work, trusting the line would hold and the enemy be repelled.

That was when he saw his first Japanese soldier.

Ben Salomon was a dentist.  But when he saw the foe attacking the wounded men lying outside his tent, he remembered his training.  He grabbed a gun, fired, and returned to his work.  But then, two more enemy soldiers entered the tent.  Salomon dealt with these, too – only for another four to emerge from beneath the tent walls.  Shouting for help, Salomon rushed them head on.  He defeated three on his own; one of his wounded comrades stopped the fourth.

But the front lines were punctured, and the bleeding couldn’t be stopped.  The enemy was overrunning the foxholes, and the aid station was doomed.  Realizing what was about to happen, Salomon ordered the wounded men to retreat, supporting and carrying each other as necessary.  In the meantime, Salomon said, he would hold the enemy off.

The wounded soldiers staggered out the rear of the tent.  Ben Salomon left by the front.

When they found his body two days later, Salomon was alone, clutching a machine gun.  The bodies of ninety-eight enemy soldiers were in front of him.  He had seventy-six bullet wounds and dozens of bayonet wounds, many of them suffered while he was still alive.  While he was still fighting.

Ben Salomon was a dentist.  He was also a warrior, a patriot, and a hero.


Fifty-nine years later, Ben Salomon was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.  This often happens with those who have died in battle.  Their names are preserved in records, but entire generations can pass before history gives them their due.

Despite receiving the Medal of Honor, and despite the incredible heroism he displayed, few people have heard of Ben Salomon before.  That’s not a surprise.  After all, over one million men and women have died serving our country.  They were all heroes, yet most can’t be found in history books, documentaries, or even Wikipedia articles.  In a sense, Ben Salomon is fortunate.  The Medal of Honor is given to those who have “distinguished themselves by acts of valor.”  But surely there are tens of thousands of people who never received such a medal even after their death – because their own acts of valor are lost to time.

We think this is one of the reasons we observe Memorial Day every year.  Whenever we visit a cemetery, whenever we flip through a photo album or scrap book, whenever we comb through the stories of our friends, family members, and ancestors who made the ultimate sacrifice, we commemorate the Ben Salomons of the world.  They weren’t superheroes like you see in movies, with magical powers or unworldly strength.  They were teachers and taxi drivers, farmers and factory workers, students and scientists.  They were dentists.  Every Memorial Day, we ensure their memories, their deeds, and their sacrifices are never forgotten, and thus never in vain.  We award them our own personal medals of honor – for deeds that mean so much to the world, and everything to us.

That’s why we observe Memorial Day.  To ensure that, while people die, valor lives on forever.

On behalf of everyone at Hudock Capital Group, we wish you a safe and peaceful Memorial Day.


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant


“In Recognition: Posthumous Medal of Honor Recipients,”,

“Salomon, Ben L.,” Congressional Medal of Honor Society,

“Medal of Honor,” Wikipedia,

“Ben L. Salomon,” Wikipedia,


Forbes Recognition Letter May 7, 2020
Downloads: Forbes-Recognition-Letter-2020.pdf

As we weather the current environment, we are reminded to focus on what’s important—our
health, our families, our community. At Hudock Capital, we continue to be grateful for the
opportunity to help our clients live the lives that they’ve imagined and have been deploying
dynamic strategies to navigate the present challenges and opportunities.

It is in the spirit of serving our mission that we were delighted to learn that Forbes just released
its 2020 Top Women Wealth Advisors and named our own Barbara Hudock as one of the top
ten Women Wealth Advisors in Pennsylvania! This follows additional recognitions announced
earlier this year by Forbes and Barron’s which place Barbara and our firm among the highest
ranked in the nation.

Of course, Hudock Capital cannot do what we do without our tremendous clients or our
amazing team of dedicated professionals. In that sense, Barbara shares her recognition with
each member of the Hudock Capital family, including you. Thank you for being a part of our

As we celebrate our collective successes, we are reminded how fortunate we are, even in these
uncertain times. We are humbled by our clients’ trust and know that our faith in the future is
well placed. On behalf of each of us at Hudock Capital, we hope that you and your family
remain healthy and safe and thank you for your business and your friendship.

Sincerely yours,

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

Coronavirus Market Recap April 24, 2020
Downloads: Coronavirus-market-recap.pdf

Coronavirus Market Recap

As you probably know, the markets have enjoyed a stellar April.  After hitting a low of 18,591 on March 231, the Dow has climbed over 25% since then.  (As of this writing, the Dow sits at 23,650.2) Technically, that means the brief-but-vicious bear market we endured in March is over.

So, does that mean the recent volatility is over, too?  To answer that, let’s recap what’s been happening in the markets over the last two months and what it all means for us.

February-March: How the coronavirus impacted the markets

Back in late January, when the world caught wind of an emerging outbreak in Wuhan, the immediate concern was how the virus would affect China’s economy.  The markets wobbled a bit during this time, but the hardest hits were still to come.

Within a few weeks, the markets realized that COVID-19 was no mere local epidemic.  This was not a repeat of SARS, but something far bigger.  As the virus spread across the world, concerns grew.  How would a global pandemic affect the global economy?  How would it crimp supply lines and consumer spending?  Would it cause a recession?

This was when the wild swings of early March started dominating the headlines.  But from an investor’s perspective, we still hadn’t hit rock bottom.  As the weeks passed, it became clear that we were experiencing something few had ever seen before.  The pandemic wasn’t just affecting people’s health, or the stock markets.  It was changing our daily lives.  As a result, concern grew again.  How long would this all last?  How many people would get sick?  How many would lose their jobs?

The Dow hit its all-time high on February 12 – the apex of the longest bull market in history.3  Within a month, it had fallen over 20%.3  It was one of the fastest slides in history, with several record-setting point drops.  There were more rough days ahead, but toward the end of March, the tide began to turn.

Late March-April: The markets rise

Between March 23 and April 14, the S&P 500 rose 27%.4  According to some analysts, it’s the biggest 15-day rally in 87 years. 4  The Dow rose even further — to the tune of 29%!4

But while the markets seem to be in recovery, the economy has only gotten worse.  Approximately 22 million people have filed for unemployment in recent weeks, and that number is all but certain to go up.5  Economies all over the world are facing their sharpest downturns since at least the Great Recession.  And while some countries seem to be “flattening the curve,” the number of worldwide cases continues to climb, including here in the United States.

So, that begs the question: If the economy is struggling, why have the markets been doing so well?  Why are stocks not continuing to suffer, too?

There are two main reasons.

The first reason centers around the government’s response.  On March 25, Congress passed the CARES Act, a massive, $2 trillion stimulus package.  Among other things, it provides funds for both the unemployed and for businesses to keep their staff on payroll.  The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, has lowered interest rates to near 0%.6  The Fed has also pledged to buy hundreds of billions in treasury securities and mortgage-backed debt over the coming months in order to stimulate the economy. 6  More relief is in the works, and it will certainly be needed.  But these are important first steps, and they have helped to buoy the markets.

The second reason has to do with how the markets often work.  You see, the economy and the markets are not the same thing.  They’re related, but different — and they don’t always move in concert with each other.  The economy moves based on activity, like production, consumption, and trade.  The markets, on the other hand, move largely on anticipation.  When investors expect something will happen, they make decisions based off that expectation.  So, when the markets plummeted in March, it was based on the expectation that unemployment would rise, consumer spending would fall, and the economy would contract.

All those things have happened.  So why haven’t the markets continued to slide?  Because those developments have already been “priced in.”  The massive swings we saw in March were based on what is happening right now.  By the same token, the stunning climb we’ve seen in recent weeks is based on what investors expect will happen in the future — that the provisions of the CARES Act will kick in, more government stimulus will arrive, and the pandemic will end.

So, does that mean volatility is over?  To put it simply: no, it doesn’t.

Late April-Future

Here’s why.  We mentioned a moment ago that the markets often move based off expectation.  But market volatility is driven by uncertainty.  When investors don’t know what to expect, they tend to get nervous — and the result is a topsy-turvy market.  Right now, there is still a lot of uncertainty.  We are dealing with a pandemic for which there is no playbook.  While we can make educated guesses, no one knows when this pandemic will end.  No one knows whether things will get worse before they get better.  To be frank, no one knows whether the government’s actions will be enough.  Should the headlines take a turn for the worse, we may well see the markets fall again.

Now, this doesn’t mean we are due for another round of wild swings like we saw in March.  Here’s what it does mean.  When the markets were in free-fall, we counseled you to avoid making any drastic decisions.  In fact, better to ignore what the markets were doing altogether then stress over what they were doing day-to-day!

Our advice remains the same.  Just as we stayed calm while the markets were falling, we’ll also stay calm while the markets rise.  Just as it wasn’t time to throw in the towel when things looked black, we’ll also avoid irrational exuberance just because the sun is coming out.  Our team relies on preparation, not predictions.  So, we must remain mentally prepared for more volatility in the weeks ahead.  If the markets recover entirely, and even climb to new heights?  Terrific!  We are well-positioned to take advantage of that.  If not, that’s okay too.  Remember, we are in this for the long term.

So, our advice is to focus on three things: Your family, your health, and your happiness.  Our team will continue to focus on the markets.  As always, we will let you know the minute we feel any changes are necessary.  But in the meantime, we will remain in “watchful waiting” mode.

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out via phone or email.  We are always here to serve you in any way we can.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and have a great rest of the month!


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant



1 “Dow sheds another 3%,” CNBC, March 23, 2020.

2 “Dow tumbles 600 points as oil’s May contract stages historic plunge,” MarketWatch, April 20, 2020.

3 “Dow Highest Closing Records,” The Balance, March 20, 2020.

4 “The stock market is acting like a rapid recovery is a slam dunk,” CNN Business, April 16, 2020.

5 “22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits,” CNN Business, April 16, 2020.

6 “Fed Slashes Rates to Near-Zero and Unveils Sweeping Program to Aid Economy,” The New York Times, March 15, 2020.

An Update on the Coronavirus Situation April 3, 2020
Downloads: Breaking-down-the-CARES-Act.pdf

Breaking down the CARES Act

As you know, the coronavirus pandemic has created both a health crisis and an economic crisis.  As of this writing, there are over 160,000 known cases.1  By the time you read this, there will certainly be more – and that number does not reflect those who have been infected but not tested.  The economic cost, meanwhile, has resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs.  Some economists at the Federal Reserve estimate the unemployment rate could rise as high as 32%!2

To help address both crises, Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) ActIt’s a massive, $2 trillion stimulus package designed to help everything from hospitals, to individuals, to businesses large and small.  Time will tell if it will be enough to blunt the impact of this pandemic, but the fact Congress was able to pass something so significant, so quickly, is a rare feat worth celebrating.

Charles Darwin once said, “It is the long history of humankind that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”  For many years now, that is not a quote you could usually apply to the United States Congress.  Political partisanship has meant that gridlock usually prevails over collaboration.  Thankfully, both sides of the aisle recently proved the institution still works when people put aside their differences and work together for the common good.

This is major legislation, with benefits for almost every American.  Some of the bill’s provisions are especially important for retirees.  So, to help you understand what the CARES Act does, and how it will impact you, we have prepared a special breakdown.  As we are sending this to all our clients, some information may apply to you, and some may not.  Please read it carefully, and then let us know if you have any questions.

As always, we hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you!


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant


Important Provisions of the CARES Act

The CARES Act is designed “to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.”3  Think of it as a kind of massive care package.  Just as an actual care package is meant to get somebody through a tough time, that’s what the CARES Act is designed to do.  Because so many people have either lost their job, seen their hours cut back, or experienced drastic changes to their daily lives, many Americans must now contend with potential cashflow problems.  The CARES Act contains a number of provisions to help individuals and businesses handle those problems, at least for the short-term.

What follows is a brief overview of the provisions that could affect you and your finances.  Let’s start with:

Direct Payments4

What’s the quickest way to ensure people get the money they need?  Pay them directly.  Perhaps the most newsworthy aspect of this bill is that many taxpayers will receive a one-time direct payment to help them cover expenses.

Here’s a breakdown of how it will work.

Individuals who made up to $75,000 in 2019 will receive $1,200.

Heads of Household (single parents, for example) who made up to $112,500 in 2019 will receive $1,200.

Married couples filing a joint tax return who made up to $150,000 in 2019 will receive $2,400.

On top of this, each taxpayer will receive up to $500 for each child they have under the age of 17.  So, for example, a married couple with two children would receive $3,400.

Note that payments decrease for individuals and married couples with income above their respective thresholds.  Specifically, payments shrink by $5 for every $100 earned above the $75,000/$150,000 limits.  The payments disappear entirely for individuals who made $99,000 or more, and for married couples who made $198,000 or more.

So, when will this money actually arrive?  It’s unclear.  The IRS could start issuing payments sometime in April or May, but an official schedule has not been released.  (The CARES Act itself only mandates that payments be made “as rapidly as possible.”4)  It’s likely that those who filed their 2019 tax returns with direct-deposit information will receive payments first.

If you haven’t filed your tax return for 2019 yet, please let us know.  We would be happy to work with your tax preparer to expedite the process.

Speaking of tax filing…

New Tax Deadlines5

This isn’t technically part of the CARES Act, but we’re going to cover it anyway because it’s important.  Due to the pandemic, IRS has extended this year’s tax-filing and payment deadlines.  Now, taxpayers have until July 15 – up from the standard April 15 – to file their 2019 tax returns.  The deadline to make IRA and Roth IRA contributions is now July 15 as well.

Note that this new deadline applies to everyone, not just those who are sick, under quarantine, or materially affected by the coronavirus in some way.  And if you’ve already filed your return, you should still receive your refund around the same time you would during a typical tax season.


Let’s get back to the CARES Act.

We said a moment ago that direct payments were the most newsworthy aspect of the bill.  But for the overall economy, the bill’s unemployment provisions are probably the most important.  Unemployment claims rose by 3.28 million between March 15-21.  That’s the highest weekly surge in history.  The previous record?  695,000.6

To help combat this, the CARES Act provides approximately $260 billion in unemployment assistance for those who lose their jobs.  This includes freelancers, independent contractors, and other self-employed workers.  That’s a major change, because under normal circumstances, they can’t apply for unemployment benefits.

Generally, workers who lose their jobs will receive $600 per week for four months, in addition to what their state unemployment program pays.  The CARES Act also adds an additional thirteen months of federal unemployment insurance on top of a person’s state benefits.

If any family members lose their job, please let us know.  We would be happy to answer their questions or provide any assistance we can.

Business Support4

Even those who don’t lose their jobs will still want to keep a close eye on our nation’s unemployment rate.  More people out of work means less people spending money on the economy – which can have a profound influence on the markets.  That’s why one of the most critical things the government can do right now is help businesses avoid laying people off. 

Roughly $350 billion of the legislation’s price tag is geared towards just that.  Companies with up to 500 employees can receive loans of up to $10 million.  Any portion of the loan used to maintain payroll or retain workers – at least through the end of June – will be forgiven.  In addition, businesses can apply for grants of up to $10,000 to cover their operating costs.

For larger businesses, the CARES Act sets aside around $500 billion in loans and grants, especially for hard-hit industries like airlines.  And for companies that are forced to close or furlough workers, the legislation “covers to 50% of payroll on the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, for each employee.”7

These are all necessary steps to keep our economy going.  Will they be enough?  That’s an open question.  The answer largely depends on how long the pandemic lasts – and how well Americans commit to social distancing to stop the virus’ spread.  Watch this space.

Retirement Funds4

We said at the beginning of this message that some of the CARES Act’s provisions are especially important for retirees.  Let’s cover those now.

First up, Required Minimum Distributions, or RMDs.  In a normal year, anyone 72 years or older would need to withdraw a minimum amount from their IRA or 401(k).  Not this year.  Under the CARES Act, all RMDs are suspended in 2020.  That means you can leave that money in your retirement account for the year if you don’t need it now.  Note that this applies both to retirement account owners and beneficiaries.

People who have already taken their distribution for 2020 can potentially return the money to their account if they want.  This could be a slightly complicated process, so we won’t cover it here.  However, if you want further information about it, let us know.

The CARES Act also waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for retirement accounts.  Withdrawals will still be taxed, but spread over a three-year period.  Under most circumstances, our advice is to leave your retirement savings where they are, but it’s nice to know that early withdrawals are an option if you need them.

Finally, the CARES Act increases the 401(k) loan-limit from $50,000 to $100,000.

If you have questions about any of these provisions, or how they apply to you, let’s chat!

Combatting the Coronavirus4

Finally, it should come as a great comfort to know that the brave doctors, nurses, and scientists on the front lines are getting assistance, too.  Specifically, the CARES Act provides $100 billion for hospitals, $1.32 billion for community health centers, $11 billion for coronavirus treatments and vaccines, $16 billion for additional medical supplies, like ventilators and masks, and $20 billion for veterans’ health care.  You should know, too, that the Act includes a telehealth program so that if you can’t leave home, you can still have a virtual appointment with your doctor.

Our hearts go out to all those giving their time, talents – and sometimes, lives – to keep the rest of us safe.  They are true heroes, and we are so grateful for them.  Let’s all do our part to make their jobs just a little easier by maintaining our distance, keeping clean, and staying home as much as possible.


As you can see, the CARES Act is a loaded piece of legislation.  Time will tell whether more measures are needed, but this is definitely a good start.

Of course, our team will continue poring over these changes.  If there is anything else we feel you need to know, we’ll reach out to you.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about:

• Getting a direct payment
• Filing your taxes
• Protecting your paycheck and/or income
• Your retirement accounts

Please don’t hesitate to let us know.  Whether we’re in the office or working from our own homes, our team is always here for you.

Stay healthy, and stay safe!



1 “Cases in U.S.”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 31, 2020.

2 “Coronavirus job losses could total 47 million, unemployment rate may hit 32%, Fed estimates,” CNBC, March 30, 2020.

3 “Text of S. 3548,” United States Senate,

4 “Text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” United States Congress.

5 “New Details From the IRS on July 15 Tax Deadline, Audit Relief,” The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2020.

6 “Unemployment claims soared to 3.3 million last week, most in history,” CNN Business, March 26, 2020.

7 “What’s Inside the Senate’s $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package,” NPR, March 26, 2020.

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