Megan McArdle and Brett Arends lay a knowledge carpet-bombing on the internet:
- Mom and Pop: The world’s worst investors (WSJ MarketWatch)
- You are a terrible investor and you should stop that (Asymmetric Information)
Read Arends’s story for the context, but McArdle’s polemic for lines like these:
Markets are herd phenomena, and you should never forget that you are part of the herd. When everyone is stampeding into a stock, that’s the worst time to buy, because it means that the price is probably too high. But that’s when you’re going to want to buy, because–momentum! Plus it feels safer when all of your neighbors are doing it.
This is how hunter gatherers used to be able to drive 10,000 wildebeests over a cliff without any of them stopping and saying, “Hey, guys, this seems like a bad idea. Let’s stop and have a think about this.”
You guys have enough money to save, which I can scientifically prove because your grandparents almost certainly lived on a small fraction of what you now do. And don’t tell me things were cheaper, back in the good old days: in almost all cases their houses were smaller, less well heated, and entirely un-air-conditioned; their entertainment budgets were much leaner; their groceries heavier on the cheap and utilitarian and lighter on the tasty and expensive. They literally had about a quarter as many clothes as the ones bursting out of your closet. Their health care was cheaper because it sucked and they died quicker.
You have enough money to save and still live a rich, satisfying life. What you maybe don’t have is enough money to save while enjoying what you have come to think of as the minimal standard of living for your peer group.
I have nothing to add beyond RTWT.