The stock market is not a measure of how the economy is doing. It is a measure of how people think the economy is doing. Often that perception becomes reality.
I began my business career as a young college graduate running my own New York Stock Exchange firm office. I clearly remember the day in the 1980s I was sitting at my desk when the Dow Jones Industrial Average — the most recognized barometer of the market — went over 1,000 and stayed above that level. The stock market had existed for well over a century and had finally reached the 1,000-point milestone.
Today as the Dow Jones industrial average sits around 25,000, it seems that it passes 1,000-point milestones like a speeding car passes telephone poles along the side of the highway. This market will adjust at some point because it always has, and this market will go up again because it always does.
When you invest in the stock market, you are investing in free enterprise and capitalism. Recently due to some convoluted media coverage, the stock market, politics and the economy have been co-mingled and referred to interchangeably by some so-called experts.
I realize there are many people reading these words who are in favor of the current administration, and there are other readers who are not. I am more concerned that you are involved in the political process than I am concerned about which side you choose.
In recent days, I’ve had a number of people who are fully-invested in the stock market — either on their own or through a retirement plan — tell me they are opposed to the current leadership in Washington.
Politically, we all express our preferences and invest our political capital when we vote. Economically, we express our preferences and invest our financial capital when we move in and out of the stock market.
For most people around the world, the U.S. stock market remains the most reliable and dependable growth investment. While our economy certainly has challenges, and our country needs to correct some financial policies, I would never recommend that anyone bet against the U.S. economy and free enterprise.
As a young man running that investment office, I remember asking one of the grizzled, old Wall Street veterans about the best time to invest in the market. Three decades later, I still remember his response. “Kid, the best time to invest in the stock market is when you’ve got some money.”
The stock market will continue to move up and down, but it’s a lot more fun to be speeding along the highway passing the thousand-point milestones than it is to be standing beside the road watching the parade pass you by.
As you go through your day today, work hard for your money, and make sure it works hard for you.
Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network and an author. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Twitter at @stovallauthor; or on Facebook at facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.
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