Hey Millennials, here’s how being too conservative with your money could cost you in the future.
Kim Jong Un has been even busier than Arya Stark—one of the heroines of HBO’s wildly popular fantasy series, Game of Thrones. Where the warrior princess has spent this season hunting down and killing her enemies, Kim has spent his summer testing intercontinental ballistic missiles, making nuclear warheads and threatening America. Three-quarters of Americans call him a “critical threat.” But this isn’t reason to flee stocks. Despite the hype, this isn’t World War III.
Stocks have a long history of dealing with secondary conflict. None brought huge downturns. The Spanish Civil War wrecked Spain in 1936, but global markets topped 19%. Russia exploded an atomic bomb in 1949—early in the Cold War—and world stocks gained 5%. A bull market wasn’t killed due to 1967’s Six Day War among Israel, Syria and Jordan. Global stocks soared 21% that year. Stocks also rose through both Iraq Wars, Israel’s spat with Hezbollah in 2006, the 1990s’ Balkan War and many others.
Only world wars ever started bear markets. World War II’s onset in 1938, when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, cut short a rebound from a credit crisis. Stocks sank until 1942. The first World War was similarly crushing. But that’s it. Tragic as wars of any size are, regional conflict is usually too small, affecting too little of the world economy, to disrupt commerce in America and globally.
Tensions can bring volatility, but it usually ends fast, even when armed conflict breaks out. As with Game of Thrones,…