Ever the eternal optimist

Analyst Jim Grant sees some silver lining in all those economic clouds

On what principle is it, that when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?

— Thomas Babington Macaulay, Review of Southey’s Colloquies on Society

 

 

 

Are we truly going to hell in a hand basket? According to the Oxford English dictionary the expression was first used by I. Winslow Ayer in 1865 — over 250 years ago! How many times the expression has been used since, I have no idea. But here is what I can tell you. Since the 1800s the average person:

• Lives twice as long

• Earns nine times more real income

• Is sick less

• Drinks cleaner water

• Travels faster and further

• Eats healthier food and eats more food

• Enjoys more leisure time

And while this is true for the rich, it is even more true for the poor, who in the developing world grew their consumption twice as fast as the world as a whole between 1980 and 2000.

And please don’t tell me that people were happier back then — especially those with toothaches and migraines and incurable diseases.

As far back as I can remember, the pessimists have dominated the news. But the truth is: life is getting better (not worse) — and at an accelerating pace.

Few will argue that the world has problems to overcome. But at the same time, it always has, and likely always will. Yet through it all, we always find a way. And things get better.

I am not the eternal optimist, but I am an optimist.

As humans we make mistakes quite often, and we do suffer setbacks. But if there is one thing history has shown, it is that we learn from our mistakes, and improve because of them. Not always over night, but at least over time.

So have confidence, and (of course) don’t be afraid to invest for your future.

In closing, here is one more quote from Sir John Templeton:

“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy…”

 

 

Jim Grant, CFP (Certified Financial Planner) is a Financial Advisor with Raymond James Ltd (RJL). This article expresses the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James Ltd. This article is for information only.  Securities are offered through Raymond James Ltd., member Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Insurance and estate planning offered through Raymond James Financial Planning Ltd., not member Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

For more information feel free to call Jim at 250-594-1100, or email at jim.grant@raymondjames.ca. and/or visit www.jimgrant.ca

 

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