Investment lifetime…Three follow-up thoughts
(1) I think on the whole my life has been much easier than either of my parent’s lives. At least easier in the sense that the context of stability, motivation, rich experiences and economic support they provided was at a higher level than their parents provided them. One of the points of my post was to illustrate how there may be some differences in how I think of luck vs. direct outcomes of my actions. My parents don’t acknowledge luck much while I identify it as key to most of what I have accomplished. Luck as to where I was born, that I was born to my parents, that I didn’t die of cholera as an infant, …
(2) This one seemed obvious, but in case it didn’t quite come out: The charts shown are of much of the same data–it is the window on the data that may be an explanation for the difference in perceptions.
(3) Something I did not point out, but also probably contributes to a difference in perceptions is that, during the time period represented in my window of investing, the very wealthy got decidedly wealthier. Clearly, we can be sure that the wealthy were not relying on the stock market to grow their wealth in the way that I was to grow my investments.
Where were the very wealthy investing? I don’t know.
But many of my contemporaries have been encouraged to and have practiced investing their new-style pensions (401Ks) in the stock market, which isn’t likely to go anywhere for at least a few more years. Among other things, this makes Bush’s proposal to privatize Social Security by “letting” us invest in the public markets seem rather cynical.