Are you better off than you were four years ago? Ronald Reagan closed his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter with that very question. At the time, Reagan’s rhetorical question was a knockout punch that secured his victory in the presidential election and cemented his legacy as the Great Communicator.
Less than a week to President-elect Trump’s inauguration, headlines suggest that the country is under great stress and coping with uncertainty. After a hotly contested presidential contest, allegations have surfaced that the Russian government might have influenced the election’s outcome. Yet, despite this unsettling news, the economic news has been broadly positive post-election. And as the market has advanced, we have also seen steady gains in the labor market. Yet, surveys continue to reveal that most Americans are concerned that, big picture, progress stuck in low gear.
Information on the website “Our World in Data” refutes those negative views. There, you will find five charts that convey a much more positive view of our world’s progress. For instance, today more people live a in democratically free society versus a closed totalitarian society. And only about 10 percent of the world’s citizens live in extreme poverty compared to 75% in 1950. Also, in 1800, roughly 10 percent of the population could read. Today, that percentage has increased to about 80 percent.
I encourage you to read more to gain some important perspective and encouragement at a time when our nation seems divided and short-sighted. As it is with investing, adopting a rational, long-term view and focusing on the positives can help us avoid emotional decision-making and best position ourselves as well as our families and communities for success.