June 14

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This is a Bad Time to Invest

We took my daughter to the University of Florida for orientation last weekend. My mom went with us, and as she surveyed the crowd, she noticed she was the only grandparent. What a supportive Grammy!

It was a two-day marathon of presentations and tours. I had a few main takeaways from the trip.

1. I am very jealous. It looks like so much fun.
2. It was very well organized. UF appears to be a well-run school
3. You can now use your cafeteria points at Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, and other fast-food joints. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
4. Gainsville is an awesome town, and the campus is gorgeous.
5. She had a chance to choose her courses. She only has classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Oh, to be a college student again.
6. Even though she lives there, some classes are only online. She will be sitting in her apartment, looking out the window at the campus, attending class on her laptop. It makes no sense.


Have you ever seen Back to the Future? Let’s all jump into my handy time machine and travel back to the early 20th century.

(Buzz. Whirr. Beep. Clunk.) Those were time machine sounds.

We’ve arrived!

The year is 1941. Hitler is marching across Europe. The war is clearly working in his favor. The reality of World War II can be seen on every American’s face. News just hit that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Boys are going to war.

American citizens are very realistically thinking, “THIS time is different. The stock market could collapse and never recover. Heck, there may not even BE a stock market in a few years. We may all be speaking German.”

If you invested $100,000 in 1941, ten years later, you’d have $483,014.

Let’s jump ahead a few years. Next stop, 1951!

The year is 1951. Harry Truman orders the development of the hydrogen bomb. Russian expansionism has become a giant concern. The Korean War begins when North Korean Communist forces invade South Korea.

Why in the heck would you invest your money at this time in history?! A new “red” menace has appeared from the wreckage of WWII. The world is an uncertain and scary place.

If you invested $100,000 in 1951, ten years later, it would be worth $446,944.

Buckle up because our time voyage still has a few more stops.

3. The year is 1962. The Cold War begins to really heat up. The USSR has plans to build missile bases in Cuba capable of launching nuclear warheads. As a side note, the Russians had, the year before, successfully tested a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb.

The American populace is gripped with fear. Schools run nuclear attack drills for students where they hide under their desks (which would protect them from the thermonuclear blast and following radiation). The possibility of a new World War is staring us in the face.

You would have to be completely nuts to invest your money in the face of such uncertainty. The possibility of worldwide nuclear Armageddon would make any investor a bit nervous.

If you invested $100,000 in 1962, ten years later, it is worth $257,778.

Let’s jump ahead to the seventies. Groovy, man.

4. The year is 1974. The Watergate scandal has rocked the country, leading to Richard Nixon's resignation. The Arab oil embargo began the year before and has deeply affected the economy. Unemployment reaches historic highs. Cars line up for miles at the gas pumps. Economically, politically, and socially, society is experiencing some of the worst struggles since the Great Depression.

Investing your hard-earned savings at this point in history is ludicrous. The economy is in shambles, and there is no relief in sight. If you invested $100,000 in 1974, ten years later, it is worth $397,874.

You know what? Let’s take the expressway past the eighties. Here we go!

5. The year is 1991. Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. A new Middle-Eastern menace has appeared on the scene. George Bush initiates Operation Desert Storm. Racial tensions explode in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict. What a crazy time to be alive! For the first time, the news stations report on the war in real-time, broadcasting frightening images of bombs exploding and tracers filling the air from anti-aircraft guns.

Investing during such upheaval would be nothing short of irresponsible.

If you invested $100,000 in 1991, ten years later, its worth would be $337,272.

Two more stops on our way back to the present day.

6. The year is 2003. The September 11th attacks have radically changed the way Americans view the world. The USA PATRIOT Act and the Department of Homeland Security came into being. Hundreds of thousands of troops are called up. The U.S. invades Iraq. The threat of radical Islamic terrorism seemingly comes from nowhere. Tension fills the hearts and minds of the American public.

Why would anyone invest their savings amid such uncertainty? If you invested $100,000 in 2003, ten years later, it would have grown to $204,207.

Last stop on our Time Travel Express!

7. The year is 2008. The housing market plunges. Banks are hit hard, most of them slashing dividends to near zero. Respected institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, and Countrywide go bankrupt. The stock market goes into free fall. The “Great Recession” is upon us.

If you invested $100,000 at the end of 2007 (before the stock market crash) ten years later, it is worth $225,863.

I think you get the point. The phrase “This is a bad time to invest my money” can have dramatic consequences. The world will always seem unstable.

In the twenty years that I’ve helped people with their investments, there has never been a single day where I thought, “Man, everything is working out A-OK in the world right now. What a perfect time to invest.”

Be Blessed,

Dave

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