The stock market is at it again. After steady gains early this year, the S&P 500 has dropped about 7 percent since April.
Many people – including you? – are bailing out.
Almost 30 percent of Americans between 18 and 34 plan to sell all their stocks, according to a study by brokerage firm Charles Schwab.
I understand the fear of another market dive. We’ve had two precipitous drops in the past decade, devastating many people’s retirement funds.
I still own stocks, but I have a love-hate relationship with the market.
I’ll make an analogy. I view the stock market like a beautiful, but volatile and high-maintenance woman.
When the market is rising, I feel smart and full of confidence – like I do when a dating relationship is going smoothly. When stocks tank and I lose money, I grow insecure and surly – just as I do when a woman turns on me.
The stock market, like a woman, can pump you up or deflate you – with little warning. No one, even the experts, can predict the mood of the stock market. The same can be said of women.
I hate the risk of the stock market
So why don’t I get out of the market entirely, as many others are doing? I’ll ask another question: Why don’t I stop dating?
If I avoided women, I’d have more money and less heartache. But I’d miss out on some exhilarating highs, right?
Repeat the above statement about the stock market.
I’ve heard people say the stock market is legalized gambling. So are dating relationships – you’re gambling with your heart and your future.
But we can’t stop – at least most of us. I’ve been single again for three years after my second marriage crashed and burned.
Still, I’m not a confirmed bachelor. I date often, and I’d even entertain the idea of marrying again. Stupid! Stop me!
But no one can. The appeal of lasting love – even after multiple failures – overrides my sense of caution.
Likewise, I can’t sit on the sidelines of the stock market and risk missing out on the highs – just because I fear the lows.
Life is maddening. Love is maddening.
But I know this: You can’t live a safe, risk-free life – without being miserable.