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Old 07-21-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
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For those of you 55+

Vague question in search of a subjective answer, I know, but this has really been haunting me lately:

Was the national mood and investor sentiment worse in the 70s, or today?

I was too young then to trust my memories now.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:14 PM   #2
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by the end of the 70's I was only 24 and a stock was something you used to make soup.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:22 PM   #3
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Was the national mood and investor sentiment worse in the 70s, or today?
I was too busy trying to support a family and stay alive to have any feel for investor sentiment, but I think the national mood then was even crappier then than today. The threat of nuclear annihilation, the war at home and in SE Asia over Vietnam, Watergate/Nixon, OPEC oil embargo, stagflation, the Iranian hostage crisis...oh yeah, and don't forget disco...
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:27 PM   #4
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What I recall most is the inflation of the early 80s, very scary for me because most of my educational loans were tied to prime which went up into the teens. Didn't have any real investments back then.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:34 PM   #5
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Inflation was also my main worry in the 70's. House prices were rocketing, first job after college was 1977 so very hard to get onto the property ladder as banks were also very careful back then - no exotic mortgages and no fixed rate mortgages either (this was UK)
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:43 PM   #6
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I went from teenager, to high school graduate, then married two years by the end of '79.

The only 'finances' I had was what I had in my purse and the change that had fallen in the couch. I could barely get by in my own little world...thoughts of nationwide financial attitudes never crossed my mind.

btw, I'm 52...I just grew up fast....
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:54 PM   #7
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What I recall most is the inflation of the early 80s, very scary for me because most of my educational loans were tied to prime which went up into the teens. Didn't have any real investments back then.
I think the interest rate on our first house in 1983 was 12%.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:58 PM   #8
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I think the interest rate on our first house in 1983 was 12 percent.
And CDs were paying 15% (who had anything to save, though), prime was 13-15% (maybe more), and you really felt the pinch at the market. Like most of us, we just kind of earned our way out of it eventually.

It was also the era I remember my dad saying, "if you have $15k in the bank you can retire."

He did retire, CDs went back down to 5-7%, they went broke in the 1980s, and my brother and I bailed them out.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:08 PM   #9
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I am younger than your target audience, however I do remember.

It was really bad back then in the 70's. It looked as if the American way of life was in question. All that Yankee Ingenuity was in question. Big autos, big cities, Onward and upward/new frontiers/mainifest detiny - all was in question.

Remember Carter's Crisis in Confidence speech - pretty sad really ...

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Old 07-21-2010, 03:09 PM   #10
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Yep, I recall my dad getting 17% on a three-year CD - and we were paying 13% on our new mortgage and thrilled that it had recently dropped from near 15%...
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:11 PM   #11
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CDs were paying 15% (who had anything to save, though)
We sure didn't! But we were young and ignorant; spent what little we had left on beer. It wasn't until a few years later that we moved to the big city (St. Louis) and took jobs that had pensions and a new thing called a 401k. Ehhh, we thought that sounded pretty good and hung in there.

I sure am glad we did.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:21 PM   #12
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I'll be 55 next month, so I guess that's close enough I too remember the high interest rates. My husband's parents were trying to sell their house and ended up having to offer owner financing. No one wanted a mortgage at those rates. I worked in a bank in the 70s as a new accounts receptionist. Lots of happy people buying CDs. Those looking for loans not so happy.

DH and I were poor but very happy then. We were married young and had tons of parties in our apartment. Most of our friends were still living at home so our place was quite popular. We used the little bit of money we got as wedding gifts to buy a kick a$$ stereo and didn't worry so much about the economy.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:53 PM   #13
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In the mid 70's I was working at a small business and the owner was converting a substantial portion of his assets into gold bullion and building a "survival" house, complete with a wind generator. Any money I had was in a bank account.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:55 PM   #14
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I'm younger than your target group (50), but I remember a couple of things from that era. I learned to drive in the 70's, and soon thereafter we had a kind of gas rationing, at least in this area. You could only buy gas on certain days, based (I think) on your tag numbers. And when you did go to the station, the lines were looooong. I remember sitting in one line that wrapped around and around some neighborhood streets. Those were the days when you'd read stories about what happened to someone who cut in line. There was a local story about some guy who cut in line, and the guy behind him got out and replaced the jerk's gascap with his own locking gascap.

I also remember racing to buy a home in the early 80's as housing prices accelerated faster than anyone's income did.
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:57 PM   #15
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I was in my early 30s with a young family and not much money. So I wasn't plugged into investor sentiment in the same way I am today. Back then I (and I would say most people my age) were not so focused on individual market investments. I was more worried about bills, loans, gas prices, etc.

Gas prices and inflation were my biggest worries, with long gas lines, double digit inflation, and mortgages hard to get. I was building a house during that time with a short term buidling loan and had to rush to finish it by the 12 month loan guarantee period because mortgage rates were hitting 18%, and that is if you could even find mortgage money.

But for me, it seems that the current mood and sentiment are more wide-reaching. Maybe it's my age, but it seems that back then we felt things were temporary, and a challenge to overcome, rather than the end-of-the-world thinking that we encounter now.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:10 PM   #16
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Like many others, I had no investment sentiment in the 70's (I just turned 56 this month). I was in college until 1977, then married and we had very little other than what we earned which we spent very quickly on all manner of nonsense. My LH was an Army captain in 1978 so we felt pretty flush after years of schooling and bought a somewhat pricey townhouse on the Chesapeake Bay. When we tried to sell it in 1982 interest rates were something like 13 percent so we rented it out for 3 years and paid a property management company a percentage of the rent. Finally sold it in 1985, but I don't recall the selling price. I think maybe we sold for a couple of thousand dollars over our purchase price to our last tenant.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:07 PM   #17
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oh yeah, and don't forget disco...
We never bought anything related to disco, nor did we listen to it on the radio. However clubs would sneak a few disco tunes in on us.

I have to admit I liked some of them and I danced my booty off...like this one...

As a matter of fact, it still makes me feel...ummmm...funky....


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Old 07-21-2010, 06:23 PM   #18
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Vague question in search of a subjective answer, I know, but this has really been haunting me lately:

Was the national mood and investor sentiment worse in the 70s, or today?

I was too young then to trust my memories now.
I am 62, so I was 22-32 years old in the 1970's and of course my young age influenced my perceptions, which follow.

The national mood from my point of view was pretty bad. VietNam and the Cold War were huge concerns, and the Iranian hostage crisis was awful. The atomic bomb seemed a little more likely to be used then than now. Watergate was shocking. When Nixon was nearly impeached and resigned and Gerald Ford filled in, I wondered if our country was crumbling and if it would ever recover. The country was divided, with VietNam vets getting a poor welcome home, and hippies growing older and seeing few if any of the idealistic dreams of the 60's being realized. Opportunity seemed a thing of the past. And really, disco was the Last Straw. It was vapid and insipid. We were used to the giants of rock music of the 60's, and it seemed like the end of an era. Then there was the leisure suit.

As for the stock market, in my view few in my age group at that time had any investments at all. Investing seemed to be an avocation of the Greatest Generation, not ours. Investing by young adults (and having the money to invest) appears to be much more common now, than it did then.

In the 70's consumer credit and credit cards were growing like wildfire. I'm not sure when Mastercard became so widespread but I suspect it grew a lot in the 70's. Interest rates were sky high but (being young) we had no money yet on which to earn interest. I remember being offered a 23.5% 30-year fixed first mortgage on a new home, in 1979.

The decade of the 1970's was probably the least appealing decade in my memory.
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:43 PM   #19
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I'll be 55 next month. Got my first professional job after college in early 1978. Starting salary 11,700(thought I hit the big time). Saved some of it up and rented an apartment with a college buddy in 1979. Was too busy working,partying and chasing the young ladies in Chicago. One item I did give a hoot about was DISCO-I hated it but most of the young ladies back then loved to dance to it!
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:47 PM   #20
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But for me, it seems that the current mood and sentiment are more wide-reaching. Maybe it's my age, but it seems that back then we felt things were temporary, and a challenge to overcome, rather than the end-of-the-world thinking that we encounter now.
Oddly, to me things felt much more inexorable and permanent then than they do now. By now, I have the feeling that so much has happened in my lifetime and yet we continue to bounce back, so we will probably recover from our 2010 economic and other struggles as well.
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