When it comes to assets, there are two kinds: hard, tangible assets such as real estate, equipment and durable goods, and then there are financial assets, or "things" that only have an actual worth in the context of a capital (preferably rising) market and a smoothly functioning financial system allowing for value-for-value exchanges and mark-to-market: among these are corporate equities, mutual and pension fund shares and reserves, credit instruments and equity in non-corporate businesses. We bring this up because today, as it does every quarter, the Fed released its Z.1, Flow of Funds report, which shows (among other things most importantly the rise and fall of the shadow banking liabilities as Zero Hedge first started showing nearly three years ago) total US household assets and liabilities. Not surprisingly, with the ongoing surge in the stock market courtesy of the Fed's open-ended QE ticking time bomb, and the second housing bubble courtesy of the banking subsidy known as foreclosure stuffing, in the quarter ended December 31, 2012, at least according to the Fed, the US household's total net worth rose by another $1.2 trillion, taking it to $66.1 trillion (consisting of $79.5 trillion in assets and $13.5 trillion in liabilities).
And despite TV propaganda otherwise, the US household still has another $2 trillion to go before it surpasses its historic net worth record set in Q3 2007, or when the stock and housing bubble peaked last time around.This is mostly due to the delay of the housing bubble from catching up the stock market bubble, as total household assets were $19.9 trillion compared to their peak of $25 trillion in Q4 2006.
However, one thing was particularly notable in this latest update, and as implied by the above paragraphs, is that as of Q4, 2012, total US household financial assets hit an all time high of $54.4 trillion, well over the previous peak of $52.8 trillion in Q3 2007, and nearly $1 trillion higher compared to the past quarter.
In other words, as of Q4 2012, the US household's net worth has never been more reliant on the stock market, which by implication means: Ben Bernanke and his centrally printing colleagues around the world. Because should the central banks pull the $15 trillion in house of cards props, everyone, and especially those whose net worth is concentrated in marked to fantasy financial assets on margin, will be wiped out.
Stockholm syndrome anyone?