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With the U.S. markets hitting record highs, one would assume more adults would be participating in the stock market when compared to previous years. Since the last financial crisis, we have not experienced an increase of stock market participation. The equity markets continue to march forward and the participation in these gains has not. Per research published by Gallup, a little more than 52% of Americans’ currently have money invested in the stock market. As you can see in the below graph, this matches the lowest ownership rate since 1999. During the high in 2007, nearly 2 out of 3 adults had money invested in the stock market. Did big losses experienced in 2008-09 change Americans’ sense of confidence in the stock market?

In a recent investment meeting, a client asked me about one of his holdings that has declined in value over the last year.  After hearing my response as to why we own the position, the client said  dismissively, “Well that sounds great, but if I asked another advisor and get the total opposite opinion.  So that’s where I’m stuck, trying to choose between opinions, because the marketplace is really just a collection of opinions.”

I’ve been thinking about this statement for a while because it’s both correct and incorrect on so many levels.  Let me explain.

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