I think most people find that their childhood love of roller coasters tends to fade as they grow older.
When you’re a kid and you go to an amusement park, there’s always the hope that you’ll be able to stake a claim to the first car and thereby experience the ups and downs to a much greater degree than anyone else on the ride. And often it’s “Look, ma, no hands!”
But as I said, being thusly enamored with the thrills and spills of something like the Thunderbolt or the Tornado (at the Coney Island of my childhood) tends to dwindle as one embraces the charms of good old down-to-earth stability and a stomach that’s not thrown out of whack by one or more precipitous dives.
Yet, isn’t it funny how millions upon millions of Americans have gone in the opposite direction when it comes to investing, particularly when it comes to investing their retirement funds? By pouring so much money into equities over the last couple of decades, Americans have said in effect that they are willing to continue riding roller coasters, no matter what their age.
They have embraced the ups and downs with a vengeance. After all, if you voluntarily decide to ride a roller coaster you know you are going to experience the thrill of mounting to a peak and the complementary sensation (where the real thrill is) of a steep fall. You’ve said OK to volatility as a way of life.
But there is volatility and then there is VOLATILITY. While many people may be prepared to deal with the former, I don’t know how many people investing for retirement have the stomachs of steel that you need to deal with the latter.