Last year, the stock market rose to its all-time high, where it still sits. The S&P 500 index was up almost 30%—the best performance in decades. Still, most Americans view stocks as an inferior investment to magic beans.
Sure, the fat cats might not agree. Those out of touch elites might tell you, "Hey, 30% growth in a single fucking year is the best investment you're gonna find this side of cocaine. It's free money, and anyone with half a brain in their head would have had their extra cash sitting in stocks years ago." Sure, U.S. stocks beat the pants off every other asset class last year, from bonds to real estate to commodities to Beanie Babies, by several orders of magnitude. Considering the fact that the average American gets the bulk of his or her financial news from the vague chatter that Today show hosts use to fill the time between cooking segments, you'd think that the simple message "Buy Stocks" would have infiltrated their brain by now. Hell, the whole god damn American economy is on fire! Mergers are booming! The people who do own stocks are buying flashy cars left and right! Even the idiots who jumped into the stock market last year way after they should have still made a tidy bundle! Joe and Jane Average should be thinking about putting that disposable income in the market, right?
U.S. investors are generally wary about stocks as a way for Americans to build wealth, as 37% say the stock market is an "excellent" or "good" way for average Americans to grow their assets, while 46% consider it "only fair," and 16% call it "poor." Large class investors — those with $100,000 or more in investable assets — are significantly more upbeat about the market's value as a wealth generator than those with less than $100,000 of such assets, but still only 50% rate it positively.
Of course, when this bubble inevitably collapses, these Magic Bean investors may unintentionally and momentarily appear wise.
"Yep, never trusted that stock market," they'll say, eying their dusty bean fields. "These magic beans are gonna start growing any day now."
You can't eat no math. Now, beans? Those you can eat.