- Inculcation: We are taught that the market is safe, and it is the best vehicle for Americans to both invest and save for the future--witness the SEP IRA plans, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, IRA's.....We have accessible vehicles and they drive right to the market.
- Excitement: There are enough high fliers to tantalize one's imagination that quick and easy riches can be made.... eyes glaze over, daydreaming of your Maserati's color preoccupies your time, and you try to figure out if you should pay your mortgage off with your gains or buy an new home.
- Perception of Ease: Nothing could be easier than finding stocks! Buy technical analysis books, subscribe to a stock picking service, surf the web for clever sites with trade by trade suggestions. It's like printing money (until the press hangs up and eats your money.)
- Status: The stock market is emblematic of wealth and status for many Americans--there's a certain cachet about having money in the market.
- Social: There's a social aspect--this blog, other blogs (radio/TV shows), and however we choose to interact with those media. You connect with the message, the personality.
Your return on assets includes your return for your time. You are a big part of your portfolio. If you have $100K in the bank and no other assets and you make $50K a year ($44K after tax), then you've earned a gross return of 44%. Sure it's an oversimplification, but that's the gist of it. Whatever you save and put in your account would essentially be your net return.
I believe that there is no imperative to always be in stocks all the time or even in stocks at all. Investing in your business, in real estate, buying loans, putting your money in CD's or buying bonds...there are plenty of places to put your money. You can put it in my account if you want!
I really try to keep the J. Altucher's story very close in my psyche.