A reader this week accused me of being less than truthful in my last column. I was startled and wondered which article he might be referring to. He then said, “There is no way you are still riding roller coasters at your age.”
Relieved that he was only challenging my theme park experience, I laughed and assured him that on two issues it was he who was incorrect. First, I do in fact love riding roller coasters and have yet to lose the contest the kids and I have every year when we visit one particular park. We ride non-stop coasters until one of us gets sick and quits. Flying into St. George on hot summer afternoons provides me an advantage with lots of great motion sickness training.
Our family is always looking for great coasters. I remember the first time we drove to Six Flags to ride the brand new ride, “X.” It was a unique coaster that placed the seats outside the track, allowing 360 degrees of rotation in addition to the normal ups, downs and loops. It was an exhilarating experience and the long line to the ride spoke for its popularity.
As we left X, I noticed another coaster nearby with hardly a person in line. It was Revolution, the first modern inverted coaster which opened in 1976. It was a nostalgic moment since my own father had taken us to ride Revolution when it was brand new, and at the time, we had happily waited in a very long line. Like so many other great rides of the past, the once thrilling Revolution had lost its thrill.
It is human nature that as we become accustomed to anything, the attraction tends to fade. Movies that scared me as a youth seem a bit like comedies today. Coasters that once frightened me, I now find boring. Humans are very good at adjusting and as we adjust, we seek a higher level of excitement.
This human ability to adjust can become a point of concern for investors. Risks that might have once frightened can seem commonplace with continued exposure to them. Like a gambler that continually increases his bets, investors can become increasingly comfortable with risk. If they are not careful, they may find their portfolio taking on risks they once considered unacceptable.
One of the benefits of getting an occasional second opinion is to have a set of fresh eyes look at what you are doing to see if you are overlooking inappropriate risks that you have merely become accustomed to. Moving on to faster coasters is harmless since, as I discussed last week, they only present an illusion of risk. But investing carries real risks and getting too comfortable with risk can result in a real hazard to your retirement.
Oh, and the second issue the man was incorrect on. I am really not “that” old.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 375 E Riverside Dr, St. George, UT 84790
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