“I think I’m just going to wait until after the election.”
I am hearing this response nearly every week from someone else afraid to make a decision with a financial impact.
In my career I have lived through the elections of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
The runup to each election was filled with drama and non-stop attack ads proclaiming the end of mankind and civilization as we know it if the wrong person was elected.
Taxes would go up, regulation would intensify, the national debt would swell, the stock market would swoon, the environment would be trashed, the poor would suffer, violence would increase and America would be taken in the wrong direction…
The day Ronald Reagan took office (January 20, 1981), the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 946.
Eight years later, George H. W. Bush took office and the Dow had risen to 2235.
Bill Clinton convinced America he was the better choice and when he took office after just one Bush term, the Dow had climbed to 3253.
After eight Clinton years, Daddy Bush’s son got his chance at running things in 2001. When Dubya took office, the Dow was 10,578.
America’s first black president Barack Obama took office on January 20, 2009 and this time the markets had pulled back since the start of Dubya’s first term. It stood at 8,228.
And to everyone’s seeming surprise (but his own), Donald Trump took office on January 20, 2017 and the Dow stood at 19,827.
As I write this, the Dow stands at 27,386.
No matter who may be reading this, you’ve been down following at least one election day. Your guy didn’t get elected. Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals have both been disappointed by the results of one presidential election or another.
Presidents and their administrations are powerful. But by design, they are not all-powerful. Our political system, whose flaws are well-known and oft-castigated, still operates on a system of checks and balances, holding back the excessive inclinations of either political party.
More importantly, our markets are largely free, our laws are generally fair and most Americans want the prosperity that comes with hard work and smart choices. These are not fundamentally political qualities that change with administrations.
Should you make an investment? Start a business? Build a house? Move to a different city? Design a financial plan?
Too often, the answer I’m getting these days to these questions is “I think I’ll just wait until the election is over.”
Before any election, there is controversy, accusation and worry about the future. That’s what gets voters to the polls and that’s what gets people to tune into the news.
But after the election? There will be controversy, accusation and worry about the future! The only question is, which side will have the big microphone of the presidency?
Presidents and their elections are important. Work for and vote for the person you believe will best serve our nation.
But presidential elections are no excuse for procrastinating decisions.
Your future is coming…not matter who is in the White House.
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