Perceptions about Wall Street
By: Frank Yunker
What's your attitude to a student club named "THe Wall Street Club?"
A recent informal survey of students came up with some answers. Besides "stocks and bonds, complicated math," the opinions of what club members were like ranged from "rich" and "uptight" to "snobby."
Changing the club name will not help. It would not attract narrow-minded, bigoted people who do not understand the multi-faceted nature of capitalism and the free market. Sure, it would be great to educate them about what it takes to be a productive member of society, but in this political and cultural climate I would rather attract people the way we help people... one individual at a time. Every time a student installs the RobinHood or Acorn App and begins a life where they do not live on 100% of their income, we are spreading the gospel of Success and Self-Reliance. And 5 years from now long after a student has graduated and they discuss a stock pick with their friends or coworkers and get them involved in investing, society will continue to see the ripple effect of this club.
Wall Street always has a few bad apples. So does the Catholic Church, the Muslim Faith and college educators. You don't allow the few bad apples to define you. Wall Street is good. The American economy would not be as strong as it is today without Wall Street. Without Wall Street, lots of great ideas would never gotten funded.
The ignorant people who supported the Occupy Wall St movement were literally "biting the hand that feeds them."
Read the book called "The Millionaire Next Door." It explains that most wealthy people are not high paid or even from wealthy families. Often, the high paid people spend every dollar they earn. The wealthy spend more each year than they earn, often treating their parents wealth as their own income. So, who becomes the millionaire? Average Joes who spend less than they earn and put away a few dollars, especially early in life. Another book to read is "The Defining Decade." College students do not realize just how important their 20's are. If you live on 85% of your income in your 20s you could actually live on 100% of your income for the rest of your life and retire a rich person. But if you spend 100% of your income all through your 20s and beyond, you will retire a poor man. It's not complicated math. It's simple math.
People have to be open-minded to join the Wall St Club. I can't tell you what the markets will do tomorrow or next week, let alone next year. We essentially begin by admitting there is more we don't know than what we do know. If someone only knows negative things about Wall Street, then they certain won't be open to any "Roadmap to Success" that doesn't involve protesting and righteous indignation, regardless of the Club name.