Stocks are high, but investor numbers are low

Pedestrians walk along Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Aug. 14, 2017.

This is better than it was a few years ago (only 19 percent thought stocks were the best investment in 2011), but don’t kid yourself. Nearly as many still think gold is just as good a long-term investment as stocks.

The 2008 financial crisis was a defining moment for investments. Americans shifted from higher-risk to lower-risk investments like savings accounts. But 10 years after the financial crisis, and after one of the great bull markets of all time, Americans still have not notably changed their diminished view of the stock market.

What would it take to get more households to own stock? What won’t work are new record highs. We’ve been there, time and again this year, and there is no stock euphoria or a rush to buy stocks by people who are not already investing.

In fact, new highs have often been met with indifference at best, and hostility and derision at worst.

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