In early 1992, the Economist magazine commented, "Economic paranoia has become an American habit. America worries as it prospers. These fears are based on false premises and are greatly overdone."

Around that time, a Christian ministry referred to me a couple who had received an inheritance. As a financial counselor, I suggested they diversify among proven, conservative investments. They showed little interest and finally shared with me a newsletter from a prominent Christian broadcaster, who wrote, "I believe that there will be a sharp market selloff, even a crash, sometime in 1993."

During 15 years of financial counseling, I have helped many Christians deal with such predictions. In the early 1980s, bestsellers told them inflation would destroy America. A few years later, America was to grow cold as we ran out of oil. Then Japan was going to buy us. The decade closed with The Great Depression of 1990 topping the bestseller list. Today, Bankruptcy 1995 has reset the doomsday clock.

The prophetic stock market prediction in question, coming from a Christian leader, seemed to be from a higher source. So the couple buried their money in a money market fund paying 2 percent, watched stocks and bonds soar, and worried even more.

Many Americans, including some Christians, are particularly susceptible to doom-and-gloom financial scenarios, totally unaware that the prosperity currently enjoyed by U.S. citizens is unprecedented in human history.

The Wall Street Journal noted recently that the average net worth of baby boomers born from 1946 to 1955 was $52,800 in 1989, while people born in 1918-27 had a net worth of $24,636 (in 1989 dollars) at comparable ages. Boomers are about to inherit the largest transfer of financial wealth in history. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: