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Old December 2nd, 2013, 11:43 PM
AR AR is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,597

I just saw something that floored me. I've always known that many Americans habitually act counter to their best financial interests, and that many of these blunders are "unforced errors." But emotions get in the way and perpetually lead people to--one way or another--buy high and sell low.

I noted in the OP that half of the nation's "investments" are in cash, meaning they're not investments at all, they're savings.

But now I see the news that stock ownership among Americans is at a record low. Just 52% of adults say that they or their spouse own any stocks, either individually or through funds. That's according to Gallup, which began tracking this in 1998.

The sharpest decline is among middle-income Americans, classified as those earning between $30,000 and $75,000. In 2008, about 66% of middle class Americans owned stocks, compared to just 50% now.

So should everybody who sold into the 2008 crash get back into stocks now? Well, by definition, that would be "buying high," wouldn't it? On the other hand, does it make sense to steadfastly avoid the one asset class that has had the best and most consistent gains decade after decade, despite the crashes? I don't know. I do know that those who buy now had really better do their homework, because I have no idea how long the current bull will run. A conundrum.

And if you haven't yet seen it, I think everyone should watch this short "chalk talk."

Wealth Inequality in America - YouTube
The most dangerous man in society is the man who has nothing left to lose. -- Saul Bellow
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