I recently turned 59, and received a reminder that I barely missed seeing dinosaurs roam Southern Indiana. However, the reminder did contain an interesting snapshot of life in 1958 (from www.clientbirthday.com).
|Cost of Living|
|Gallon of Milk||$1.01||$3.98||3.9x|
|Loaf of Bread||$.19||$3.98||10.4x|
|Gallon of Gas||$.24||$2.21||9.2x|
One comparison that catches my eye is that a year’s worth of work in 1958 would now provide a down payment for a new car. This is a very big picture observation of a slow moving event.
Similarly, on August 21, our part of the country will see another big picture observation of a slow moving event – a solar eclipse. The last total solar eclipse viewed from North America was in July of 1972 (summer before I started high school).
I found it interesting that Wikipedia defines an eclipse as: “an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer” (emphasis added). This reminds me of inflation.
The date in the “you’re old, get over it” table documents the inflation that anyone alive when Ike was The President has experienced. Incomes have grown by roughly a factor of 10, approximately keeping pace with the other items (slightly under the rate for homes and autos).
But what has this meant for the investor? Using only beginning and ending data points admittedly glosses over the many ups and downs, but notice that the multiple for the Dow Jones index is roughly 30.
These figures do not take into account taxes, and an investor cannot invest directly into the Dow Index. Most certainly, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Don’t miss the opportunity to experience history on August 21st, and think about time, passing things that obstruct our view, and that we will gaze skyward in wonder just as the dinosaurs did.
Bryan Trible, CLU, CRPC
P.S. Notice the nifty heat sensitive stamp on the envelope, and watch what happens when you rub your thumb on it. Be patient, as it takes a bit of rubbing. FYI, a 1st class stamp in 1958 was 4¢, or about 1/12 of today’s cost.