What do you remember? Have prices really changed that much?
When I was a kid, I remember that in 1979 a gallon of regular gas cost $0.86. Jimmy Carter was the President of the United States, a first-class stamp cost $0.15, life expectancy was 73.9 years, and the Dow Jones hit a high of 907 that year.
907? Really, is that all? The same Dow-Jones Industrial Average that just set a new all-time high around 14,500? Maybe this was just a really great 35 year period of time to invest. Maybe there were no significant world events to cause a set-back – or were there? What about the first Chrysler bailout, 3-Mile Island, President Reagan being shot, the Cold War, the 1987 Stock Market Crash, 9/11, or the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy?
Maybe your memories go back a bit farther to 1946, when the first of the ‘baby boomers’ were born. The average house cost $12,500, gas was $0.15 a gallon, Harry Truman was the President of the United States, Du Mont Televisions were popular, a first-class stamp cost $0.03, life expectancy was 66.7 years, and the Dow Jones hit a high of 212 that year.
And in spite of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the assassination of President Kennedy, and Watergate (to name a few events), the Dow Jones also rose during the 33 year period from 1946-1979.
So what is the point of this walk down memory lane?