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Stock prices down; pet ownership up

By Dian Vujovich

No matter what you’ve heard about this bull market, the number of individuals owning shares of stock has been on a downward slide since the bull hit town. With the DJIA wiping out all of 2015’s gains, what’s an investor to do? Wise up.

Before going there, here’s a little brevity to lighten the money blow: Today, the percentage of people who own dogs and cats is higher than those owning stocks. Clearly creature comforts hold a lot more appeal than stock ownership.Then again, Fido and Miss Kitty are always on your side and there for you no matter what. That’s definitely something that can’t be said about the daily value of the stocks in your portfolio.

Before I get into the guts of this blog—investment terms worth learning– here are some kibbles and bits about pet and stock ownership in America.

For openers, a 2013-2014 survey from the American Pet Products Association, (APPA), found pet ownership has gone from 56 percent of households in 1988 to 68 percent. The breakdown: 57.7 million homes owned a dog; 45.3 million owned a cat and 16 million fresh or saltwater fish.

That 68 percent figure is 16 percent higher than research from Gallup that shows 52 percent of U.S. adults personally, jointly or with a spouse have money invested in either individual stocks, stock mutual funds, or self-directed retirement accounts. Given a stock market that’s been in bull territory for the past seven years, that’s nothing to crow about.

If you’re wondering, according to that same source, 60 percent of U.S. adults were invested in the stock market in 1999. That interest peaked at 65 percent in 2007 and has been rolling downhill ever since.

We all know that stocks have made many individuals plenty of money in the past, albeit not without risk. But making any money in the market isn’t easy. The only way to get a leg up on stock selection is to learn as much as you can about the company you’re investing in.

Earlier this month I ran across a piece at Aboutmoney.com titled “20 Frequently Used Financial Abbreviations”. In honor of Financial Literacy Month, I’m hoping you’ll take the time to read it and learn about what terms such as EPS, EBIDTA, CDO, AHT, and GAAP actually mean. Odds are, doing so will make you a smarter investor. As for your pets, they will love you no matter how much money you make…or don’t make.

The full story is at: financialplan.about.com/od/personalfinance/fl/20-Frequently-Used-Financial-Abbreviations.htm.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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