Top 12 of the ’100 Startling Facts About the World Economy’

The recently wrote an article titled ’100 Startling Facts About the World Economy.’

I thought it would be interesting to highlight 12 for those who don’t have the time to read the entire list.  I guess my version of being the Greater Fool also highlights a couple of key themes to be aware of…

Key themes of the entries.

Income disparity – the average/median person is earning less while the richest are earning more.

40. Two news headlines published on the same day last September summed up the U.S. economy perfectly: “U.S. Median Income Lowest Since 1995, ” and “Ferrari sales surge to record highs.”

61. According to CNBC wealth reporter Robert Frank, the population of millionaires in America is now at or above its 2007 high.

Demographics – the World is getting older,

50. According to The Economist, “By 2030, 22% of people in the OECD club of rich countries will be 65 or older, nearly double the share in 1990.”

52. The number of workers aged 55 and up is about to surpass he number of workers aged 24 to 34 for the first time ever.

Lack of savings:

5. According to a study by Harvard professor David Wise and two colleagues, 46.1% of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets.

41. According to ConvergEx Group, “Only 58% of us are even saving for retirement in the first place. Of that group, 60% have less than $25,000 put away. … A full 30% have less than $1,000.”

Perspective – how we feel and what actually happen are two different things!

14. Including dividends, the S&P 500 gained 135% from March 2009 through January 2013, during what people remember as the “Great Recession.” It gained the exact same amount from 1996 to 2000, during what people remember as the “greatest bull market in history.” – Great recession!

28. “Globally, the production of a given quantity of crop requires 65% less land than it did in 1961,” writes author Matt Ridley. -what food shortage?

32. Fortune magazine published an article titled “10 Stocks To Last the Decade” in August, 2000. By December 2012, the portfolio had lost 74.3% of its value, according to analyst Barry Ritholtz. – Reporters – not the best stock pickers.

68. Last year, Franklin Templeton asked 1,000 investors whether the S&P 500 went up or down in 2009 and 2010. Sixty-six percent thought it went down in 2009, while 48% said it declined in 2010. In reality, the index gained 26.5% in 2009 and 15.1% in 2010.

73. Credit card debt as a percentage of GDP is now at the lowest level in two decades.

93. Bonds have become so richly valued that UBS is reportedly reclassifying brokerage clients who are overweight bonds as “aggressive” investors — most likely to avoid future lawsuits if and when bonds lose value.


To summarize, save more.  Believe less.

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