When we're out talking to people and the subject of business comes up, every now and again we run into pessimists that say they haven't seen any improvement. Many still believe that things will remain slow for some time, and question what will ever return this country to the prosperity it enjoyed a half-decade ago.
And yet, every ounce of these people's cynicism flies in the face of the continual flow of data and anecdotal evidence that we've seen that reveals marked economic improvement.
Consider the NASDAQ 100 - an index weighted heavily with technology stocks - that rallied to an 11-year high just a few weeks ago. That's just one story that received little coverage.
Like the NASDAQ, the Dow Jones Industrial has also been rallying of late. Earlier this week the index broke through the 13,000 point barrier. That put the Dow back at levels last seen in May 2008, right before the market crashed.
Sadly, most investors have missed out on these gains. After the calamity of 2008 - just a few short years after the 2000 dotcom bubble burst, a good many investors decided to pull all their money out of the world's equity markets and move to annuities (among the highest commission products an advisor can sell), insurance products (another big-fee product), and low-yield CDs or time deposits.
Talk about bad timing. Here these poor people went through not one but two major market upheavals, only to bail out near long term market bottoms.
And the saddest part? We WARNED THEM. In an article not six months ago we wrote that, based on the money flows we were seeing out of equity funds, it was easy to tell that a large number of investors were exiting the market at precisely the WRONG time.
Since then the Dow has rallied more than 20%, as has the NASDAQ Composite.
With that in mind, mark these words: This is just the beginning. The economy will continue to improve - it may not be ready to run like crazy just yet, but those rumblings in the distance aren't the storms many people think, but a coming boom; the likes of which this country hasn't seen since the early 1980s.
Those investors who have left the market in the past several months will have a choice to make; either live with the low yield investments they've made, or pay the penalties to redeem cash and move back into equities. We've laid our bets, and put our money where our mouth is.