Thanksgiving 2017: A Lot to Be Thankful for

Each year at Thanksgiving, my family has a tradition whereby we pass the “talking stick.” The person holding the talking stick shares at least one thing he or she is thankful for. I am sure most people will mention fellow family members, health, and the feast that lays before them. I just wanted to add a few more items to the extensive list of things we can appreciate.

I’ll start with economic news that we can be thankful for, and then I’ll get to the personal stuff. Americans overall (as well as the rest of the world) are having a good year economically. Here are some of the highlights:

Thanksgiving 2017: Economically, we should be thankful that…

  1. Stocks prices have increased every month this year. Ten consecutive positive months have never happened in the 30-year history of the MSCI World Stock index! Check out this chart:
  2. The median household income in America jumped by 5.2% in 2015 and 3.2% in 2016 (after inflation). That is the largest two-year increase since the 1960s, and 2017 is also shaping up well.
  3. The number of Americans living in poverty fell over the past year from 13.5% to 12.7% of the population.
  4. Every one of the world’s 45 largest economies tracked by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) is growing this year, and every one of them is also expecting to grow next year. In fact, economic indicators and economists’ forecasts suggest that economic growth (worldwide) may accelerate next year to over 4%.
  5. Household net worth continues to set new records. To be in the top 20% of households (by net worth) you needed approximately $500k, and to be in the top 10%, $1.18 million. However, I am always shocked by how low the median net worth is across the entire U.S. population. My clients are doing significantly better than average, as are most of those reading this blog. The point of this is to reflect on how fortunate you are.  You can see lots of interesting snapshots of household net worth by age at this LINK, or assuming you know your approximate net worth, you can see what percentile your household falls in with the percentile net worth calculator for the U.S. 

Thanksgiving 2017: On a personal note, I am thankful…

  1. That my kids are too old for diapers, but still young enough to snuggle.
  2. That I have two of the best dogs in the world and neither of them have been eaten by coyotes.
  3. That my kids are thrilled with their four new guinea pigs. I am not particularly happy that these creatures are living in my house; I am just happy that my kids are happy. As I frequently say, “These are things they’ll remember.”
  4. My wife has kept me around for another year. Thank you, Angela, for all you do!
  5. My parents and siblings are all doing well, and I get to spend Thanksgiving weekend with them, a tradition I have enjoyed for 47 straight years.
  6. My family’s health insurance premiums only went up by 3% for next year (after 28% and 36% the two prior years).
  7. I have the best clients in the world (I only wish for a few more of you ????)
  8. For great coworkers. We have recently taken positivity to a new level. We no longer say, “How was your weekend?” The new question is: “What was the highlight of your weekend?” I learned that from the book: Appreciative Moments.

I could go on and on, but instead of reading more about what I am thankful for, I encourage you to make your own list and read it out loud at Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy the holiday!