Miss the Stock Market’s Record Run? Here’s What to Do Now

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high of 20,000 points on Wednesday. But according to one measure, American investing is at a record low.

Only 52 percent of American adults have any money invested in the stock market, according to Gallup’s latest poll on this topic, which was conducted in April.

Gallup asks Americans about this at least annually, and usually multiple times per year. But with the exception of April 2013, when it was also 52 percent, the share of Americans invested in stocks has not fallen that low going back at least to the 1990s.

In other words, perhaps more Americans than ever missed out on the chance to boost their nest eggs during the latest stock market surge.

While investing in stocks entails greater risk than parking all your cash in an insured savings account, it also is likely to produce much greater returns — which are generally necessary to fully fund retirement.

In 2013 — shortly after the share of Americans invested in stocks had first hit the low of 52 percent — Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explained:

Unfortunately, today there’s no way to earn anything close to 10 percent in an insured savings account. In fact, it’s tough to earn 2 percent. The only way to get higher returns is to take some risk, like that offered by stocks.

Depending on how you measure it, stocks have averaged 8 percent to 10 percent annually over the last 100 years. Of course, stocks entail risk; that’s why they pay more. But avoiding risk creates a different one — the risk of not having enough to survive your retirement years.

Fortunately, investing in stocks is “not rocket science,” as Stacy has said. “In fact, you can learn everything you need to know in this one article.”

If you’re new to stocks, start with “Ask Stacy: How Do I Invest in the Stock Market?

Beginning stock investors, as well as anyone else interested in boosting their knowledge of the stock market, might also want to check out:

Do you invest in the stock market? Let us know why or why not — leave a comment below or on Facebook.

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