Wednesday, February 06, 2013

startling facts

Morgan Housel presents 100 startling facts about the economy.  Here's a few of them.

1. As of January 2013, there are 16 people left in the world who were born in the 1800s, according to the Gerontology Research Group. With dividends reinvested, U.S. stocks have increased 28,000-fold during their lifetimes.

5. According to a study by Harvard professor David Wise and two colleagues, 46.1% of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets.

6. There are 3.8 million fewer Americans aged 30 to 44 today than there were a decade ago.

7. Related: The population of Americans aged 30 to 44 is about to start increasing for the first time since 2000.

8. Since 1928, the Dow Jones has increased more than 10% in a single day eight times, declined more than 10% in a single day four times, and gone either up or down more than 5% in a single day 136 times.

14. Including dividends, the S&P 500 gained 135% from March 2009 through January 2013, during what people remember as the "Great Recession." It gained the exact same amount from 1996 to 2000, during what people remember as the "greatest bull market in history."

15. "97% of the world's population now lives in countries where the fertility rate is falling," writes author Jonathan Last.

17. In 1980, there were 15,099 Americans aged 100 years or more. By 1990, there were 36,486, and by 2012 there were 88,510, according to the Census Bureau.

21. Despite the overall population doubling, more babies were born in the U.S. in 1956 than were born in 2009, 2010, or 2011.

22. According to The Telegraph, "Four in 10 girls born today is expected to live to 100. ... If trends continue, the majority of girls born in 2060 -- some 60 per cent -- will live to see 2160."

24. Netflix surged more than 50% on Jan. 24 from the previous day's low. $1,000 invested in short-term call options would have been worth $2 million in less than 24 hours. (Please don't try this at home.)

27. According to Bloomberg, "The 50 stocks in the S&P 500 with the lowest analyst ratings at the end of 2011 posted an average return of 23 percent [in 2012], outperforming the index by 7 percentage points."

29. Thanks in large part to cellphone cameras, "Ten percent of all of the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year," according to Time.

32. Fortune magazine published an article titled "10 Stocks To Last the Decade" in August, 2000. By December 2012, the portfolio had lost 74.3% of its value, according to analyst Barry Ritholtz.

40. Two news headlines published on the same day last September summed up the U.S. economy perfectly: "U.S. Median Income Lowest Since 1995, " and "Ferrari sales surge to record highs."

41. According to ConvergEx Group, "Only 58% of us are even saving for retirement in the first place. Of that group, 60% have less than $25,000 put away. ... A full 30% have less than $1,000."

43. Since 1928, the S&P 500 has closed at a new all-time high 1,024 times, or 4.8% of all trading days.

45. One in seven crimes committed in New York City now involves an Apple product being stolen, according to NYPD records cited by ABC News.

46. In the first quarter of 2012, the number of iPhones Apple sold per day surpassed the number of babies born per day worldwide (402,000 vs. 300,000), according to Mobile First.

48. According to economist Glen Weyl, "Of Harvard students graduating in early '90s and pursuing careers in finance, 1/3 were making over $1 million a year by 2005."

49. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 44% of those working for minimum wage in 2010 had attended at least some college, up from 25% in 1979.

52. The number of workers aged 55 and up is about to surpass the number of workers aged 24 to 34 for the first time ever.

53. In 2011, Asia had more millionaires than North America for the first time ever, according to RBC Wealth Management.

55. The IRS estimates that illegal tax-evasion reduced government tax revenue by $450 billion in 2006 (the most recent year calculated). That's roughly equal to what the government spends annually on Medicare.

56. According to The Wall Street Journal, "The average monthly mortgage payment on a median-price home in October, assuming a 10% down payment, fell to $720 at prevailing rates, down from nearly $1,270 at the end of 2005."

59. In 2012, the Greek stock market (ATHEX Index) outperformed the Chinese stock market (Shanghai Composite) by 48 percentage points.

62. According to BetterInvesting, the number of investment clubs has declined by 90% since 1998 from 400,000 to 39,000.

68. Last year, Franklin Templeton asked 1,000 investors whether the S&P 500 went up or down in 2009 and 2010. Sixty-six percent thought it went down in 2009, while 48% said it declined in 2010. In reality, the index gained 26.5% in 2009 and 15.1% in 2010.

70. "Of the Americans who earn over $150,000, 82 percent had a bachelor's degree. Just 6.5 percent had no more than a high school diploma," writes Catherine Rampell of The New York Times.

75. According to economist Stephen Bronars, the new 39.6% federal tax bracket will only affect 0.7% of taxpayers but will hit 9.5% of aggregate personal income, as top earners earn a disproportionate share of the national income.

77. According to Gallup, 51.3% of Americans consider themselves "thriving," 45.1% say they are "struggling," and 3.6% say they're "suffering."

78. An average couple will pay $155,000 in in 401(k) fees over their careers, according to Demos, reducing an average account balance from $510,000 to $355,000.

79. Related: 84% of actively managed U.S. stock funds underperformed the S&P 500 in 2011.

80. According to The Wall Street Journal, 49.1% of Americans live in a household "where at least one member received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2011."

83. "By 2050, workers' median age in China and Japan will be about 50, a decade higher than in America," writes Robert Samuelson.

85. The U.S. birthrate declined 8% from 2007 to 2010, according to Pew. At 63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the 2011 U.S. birthrate was the lowest since records began in 1920.

86. According to Wired magazine, "In a 2006 survey, 30 percent of people without a high school degree said that playing the lottery was a wealth-building strategy. ... On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5 percent of their income on lotteries."

88. We are used to hearing how much faster the earnings of the top 1% grow compared with everyone else's, but we often forget that it used to be the other way around. From 1943 to 1980, the annual incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans doubled in real terms, while the average income of the top 1% grew just 23%, according to Robert Frank.

89. According to Vanguard founder John Bogle, the average equity mutual fund gained 173% from 1997 to 2011, but the average equity mutual fund investor earned only 110%, thanks to the tendency to buy high and sell low.

94. According to The Economist, "Over the past ten years, hedge-fund managers have underperformed not just the stock market, but inflation as well."

95. According to Bloomberg, "Americans have missed out on almost $200 billion of stock gains as they drained money from the market in the past four years, haunted by the financial crisis.

97. S&P 500 companies held $900 billion in cash at the end of June, according to Thomson Reuters. That was up 40% since 2008.

98. "More than 50 million Americans couldn't afford to buy food at some point in 2011," writes CNNMoney, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture data. In June 2012, 46.7 million Americans received food stamps.

99. Japan's working-age population is on track to decline from 62.6% of its population in 2012 to just 49.1% by 2050.

100. The unemployment rate for those with a bachelor's degree is just 3.7% -- less than half the nationwide average.

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