It was recently reported that the collective net worth of Americans had increased to $94.8 trillion as of the end of the first quarter of 2017. The rise was generally credited to the rise in stocks (see graph below), and to a lesser extent, real estate values. It seems hard to deny that this is anything but good news, but digging through the data shows that the benefits of wealth are highly skewed and often aren’t what they appear to be.
David A. Pace, CFA
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