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As many of you will recall, September of 2008 was one of the scariest months in stock market history. On September 12, 2008, the S&P 500 closed at 1,251.70, down just over 20% from its all time high the previous October.
On Sunday night, September 14, 2008, Lehman Brothers filed what was and still is the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. It was earth shaking! The 150-year-old investment bank and brokerage house had failed with $600 billion in assets. On the following Monday, the S&P 500 fell another 4.5%. The very next day, the massive global insurance company AIG failed and was bailed out by the federal government.
In a matter of a few days, the global credit market virtually ceased to function. The resulting Great Recession was the longest since the end of World War II and the U.S. unemployment rate peaked at around 10%. When the equity market bottomed in March of 2009, the S&P 500 was down 57% from its high in October of 2007. The media portrayed it as the end of economic life on the planet as we’ve known it. And most investors felt that way.
As long-term, goal-focused investors, let’s mark this 10-year anniversary by taking a good look at the world today. The Federal Reserve reports that household net worth is 50% higher than its pre-recession peak. Household debt as a percentage of assets has fallen to a 30-year low and is well below what it was going into the crisis. Unemployment has fallen from 10% to just under 4%, the lowest rate in the last 49 years. Minority unemployment is as low as it’s ever been.
Propelled by record earnings, the S&P 500 broke new high ground in early 2013 and today, it closed at 2,755.88, over three and a half times its value at the bottom in March of 2009! The world, which was supposed to end just over 10 years ago, didn’t! Virtually all major metrics of economic activity and household wealth are at all time highs.
According to the great investor John Templeton, the four most dangerous words in investing are, “this time it’s different.” That’s certainly what everybody thought 10 years ago. This time wasn’t different and there’s a reinforcing message in there for all long-term investors!
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Beaird Harris Wealth Management, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Beaird Harris Wealth Management, Inc. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Beaird Harris Wealth Management, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Beaird Harris Wealth Management, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.
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