This past weekend I went to two Fourth of July parties. We celebrated our independence by overindulging in burgers, hot dogs, ribs, potato salad and plenty of dessert. And we may have had a beer or two.

There were fireworks, too. We had two shows. The official one that the town puts on… and the one put on by neighbors with fireworks purchased from roadside stands.

[ad#Google Adsense 336×280-IA]It was a fun weekend, probably no different from yours.

Just a ton of food and good times in the company of friends and family.

As I was enjoying the bombs bursting in air, I thought about how lucky I am to have been born in America – despite all of our problems.

If you read the news or go on social media, it seems like all we do is fight with one another.

We appear to be a very angry country right now.

But are things really that bad?


  • It is estimated that Americans spent $800 million on fireworks this year, up 6% from 2015.
  • Air travel demand is up 4.6% over last year.
  • Sales at restaurants are up 6% over last year.
  • In 2015, 59.8 million concert tickets were sold, up from 51.7 million the year before. Ticket revenue jumped 11% – from $6.2 billion to $6.9 billion.
  • Americans paid $29 billion to go to the movies last year, up 7% from 2014.

So, if things are so bad… why are so many people spending money on discretionary items like fireworks, entertainment and eating out?

If things were really as terrible as the media and political candidates portray, we wouldn’t be seeing people spending more money on nonessential items like Taylor Swift tickets. (Though my 12-year-old daughter might argue about whether Taylor Swift tickets are nonessential.)

Granted, things are hardly perfect. We have way too much debt… a widening gap between the rich and the poor…

Not to mention presidential candidates who, despite their rhetoric, have no real plan to change the situation.

But at the same time…

We have a stock market that is right at its all-time high. That in and of itself is amazing. Investors feel flush and 401(k)s are up. But, perhaps more importantly, the stock market is a forward-looking indicator. Generally, it forecasts the economy about six months ahead.

Think back to the Great Recession – when stocks bottomed in March 2009. Things were hardly strong at that point, but when the market stopped going down, it signaled that the economy was not going over a cliff as many feared.

We did, in fact, come out of recession in 2009.

A strong market now tells me the economy should remain decent through at least the end of the year. Though you probably won’t hear that sentiment repeated anywhere else.

The media has a vested interest in scaring you. Nonincumbent political candidates can win only if they convince you that things are terrible – and they are the only ones with the solutions to make it all better.

So the next time you’re watching your 55-inch TV, enjoying a meal out, or attending an event at your local stadium or theater, remember…

America really isn’t such a bad place to be.

Good investing,



Source: Investment U