NO ONE TOLD YOU WHEN TO RUN, YOU MISSED THE STARTING GUN…James Quinn!

Friday, November 21, 2014
By Paul Martin

James Quinn
TheBurningPlatform.com
20th November 2014

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Pink Floyd – Time

I stumbled across two mind blowing charts yesterday that had me pondering how generations of Americans had frittered their lives away, spending money they didn’t have on things they didn’t need, utilizing easy to acquire debt, and saving virtually nothing for their futures or a rainy day. We are a nation of Peter Pans who never grew up. While I was driving home from work, one of my favorite Pink Floyd tunes came on the radio and the lyrics to Time seemed to fit perfectly with the charts I had just discovered.

We were all young once. Old age and retirement don’t even enter your thought process when you are young. Most people aren’t sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives when they are in their early twenties. Slaving away at your entry level low paying job, chasing the opposite sex, getting drunk, and having fun on the weekends is the standard for most young people. But you eventually have to grow up. Because one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one tells you when to grow up. And based on the charts below, tens of millions missed the starting gun.

I graduated college in 1986 and started my entry level CPA firm job, making $18,000 per year. I did live at home for a year and a half before getting an apartment with a friend. I was able to buy a car, pay off my modest student loan debt, go out on the weekends, and still save some money. I was in my early 20’s and had opened a mutual fund account at Vanguard. Anyone who entered the job market from the mid 1970s through the mid 1980’s, which would be the late Baby Boomers and early Generation Xers, had job opportunities and the benefit of low stock market valuations.

P/E ratios of the market were single digits in the late 70s and early 80s, versus 20 today. Dividend yields on stocks averaged 5% for the S&P 500, versus 1.9% today. The Dow bottomed out at 759 in 1980, while the S&P 500 bottomed at 98. A 20 year secular bull market was about to get under way. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers had the opportunity of a lifetime. Even after six years of the bull, when I graduated from college the Dow stood at 1,786 and the S&P 500 stood at 521. I had just begun to invest when the 1987 crash wiped out 20% in one day. It meant nothing to me. I didn’t have much to lose, so I just kept investing.

The 20 year bull market took the Dow from 759 to 11,722 by January 2000. The S&P 500 rose from 98 to 1,552 by March 2000. You also averaged about a 3% dividend yield per year over the entire 20 years. Your average annual return, including reinvested dividends, exceeded 17%. Anyone who even saved a minimal amount of money on a monthly basis, would have built a substantial nest egg for retirement. If you had invested in 10 Year Treasuries, your annual return would have exceeded 11% over the 20 years. Even an ultra-conservative investor who only put their money into 5 year CDs would have averaged better than 7% per year over the 20 years.

The Rest…HERE

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