Wall Street. A name and place that everyone in the developed world recognizes…have you ever visited Wall Street? It is a wonderful place, and I highly recommend a visit if you ever have the opportunity. Wall Street was formalized in 1792 by traders and speculators who had, informally, gathered for years to conduct business in our wonderful country. How important was Wall Street in its earlier days? Well, 1789, George Washington took the oath of office on the balcony of Federal hall overlooking Wall Street on April 30th, 1789 during our first U.S. presidential inauguration.
Wall Street, and all of lower Manhattan, has grown and for 25 years has been the financial heart of the world. It seems no matter what is thrown at it; market crashes, scandals, horrific terrorist attacks, political meddling, etc., Wall Street continues to not only survive, but thrive. I feel that the U. S. financial markets are the most efficient “man-made” things on earth. They can prove more people wrong in a single day than anything else I have ever seen. Wall Street doesn’t care about your age, sex, nationality, or pedigree. I have seen people totally broke by the market in one day no matter if they were a blue collar worker who decided to “play” with his family’s life savings or a multi-billionaire who thought the market was going to “zig” and instead it “zagged”. Wall Street has taken, and of course created, fortunes in a shorter time than it takes to read this blog. That my friend, is what makes the financial markets, and Wall Street in particular, so fascinating – I for one am very proud that we have her.
Is Wall Street all good? Absolutely not. But what is? Is our country all good, our society, the church, business, your cooking all good? Of course not. but, just like with all of those things (less some peoples’ cooking), there is much, much more good than bad. Let’s face it, unfortunately the media does a great job of emphasizing all of the negatives in the world. I can say that our financial markets and most financial markets offer wonderful opportunities. Should the occasional greedy Wall Street guy or girl be beaten in the town square? Sure - but so should the dentist who tells you that you need a filling when you really don’t, so he can fill his pockets. Or the HVAC guy who says you need a whole new furnace when you really just need a good duct cleaning. Or the guy you bought your last car from, who used a power drill to reverse the miles on the odometer. My point here is, do these things happen? Yes they do. But there many more honest, credible, and genuinely nice people in the world that we all come across and do business with.
There is a lot of political hay being made right now at the expense of those who work on Wall Street, and you, the investor. I have said for some time now that the damage coming out of Washington D.C. to our economy and financial markets is fifty-fold of what is being done by those dishonest few on Wall Street.