2013 had some personal ups and downs for many of us, but there was one bull that didn’t take any…well, you know the phrase. I’m talking about our little friend the stock market. 2013 ended with a new stock market record high, posting the largest percentage gain in 16 years (AKA back in the 90’s when I wanted to be a Spice Girl). The S&P 500, which is a closely monitored benchmark index of the 500 most popular stocks on the market, rose an astounding 29.6%. This is freakin’ awesome for investors and the economy alike, as it means that we are on the upswing from an economic rough patch that has been going on for years. Even though investors are now basking in the sunlight of a year’s worth of stock market bliss, there is one question that remains. Now what?
Was 2013 a one hit wonder that we should quickly lose faith in or is it a Bono-like rock star that will be around so long that it only needs one name? Honestly, it will probably be somewhere in between. After closely monitoring the first few weeks of stock market activity in 2014, economists have advised investors to be cautiously optimistic and to watch their investments closely. In my opinion this is great advice. Just because the stock market is doing well doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop being a fan and investing; it just means you need to do a little extra research than you usually do and you certainly don’t need to lose your investment style! If you’re Lady Gaga ballsy and prefer to buy stocks, then by all means do it. If you waver on the calm side and are more of a John Mayer girl, then continue to invest in the bonds and funds that you have probably been going for. Just spend 15 extra minutes contemplating your investment decision, it will be worth it in the end!
This note of caution comes from the housing bubble that burst in 2008 (AKA when Katy Perry was kissing girls) and caused the economy to slow down to a semi-halt. Because this is relatively fresh in everyone’s memories, many investors and economists are skeptical of what is ahead. This is OK, it’s completely normal human behavior and it is smart to be careful with your money. We also have to look at what is in front of us…and it’s a big, loud, awesome stock market concert on Wall Street. So I say we all go buy tickets and enjoy the show. But don’t go too crazy ;).
By Jenna Heffernan