Death by Dow

I am not a cardiologist. Just speaking for the millions of individual investors who have been in the market during ups and downs, and who – over time – have put more and more of their assets into equities. These are the folks who enjoy taking risks, but not off-the-wall ones. They are also the ones who are the best candidates for heart attacks on really bad days.

I am not a cardiologist.  Just speaking for the millions of individual investors who have been in the market during ups and downs, and who – over time – have put more and more of their assets into equities.  These are the folks who enjoy taking risks, but not off-the-wall ones.  They are also the ones who are the best candidates for heart attacks on really bad days.

 

They are people whose memories are probably pretty shot, quickly forgetting the downs (when they wonder out loud to whomever will listen why they didn’t get out two, three hundred points higher) and who brag about their returns and all the money they are making.  These same folks are always surprised and not a little scared when they hang in during downturns, regardless of their severity, knowing that things will get better.  Or so they think.  Until the market really hits the skids – like today.  Then when the market goes down 400+ on the Dow (and let’s not even talk about the others), they begin to fret.  Worse, they begin to feel tightness in their chests.   

 

I will bet – having already waged my fortune in the market – that there are far more heart attacks on a day like today than on any ordinary day.  Death by Dow is a lousy way to go.  This really is a crap game, and even when you know it – even when you think you have it all in the right perspective – something like this happens and you drop dead.  Forget Lipitor (though now statins may kill you in other ways), forget exercise; if you want to stay well, get out of the market.

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Comments

  • Anonymous

    July 27, 2007

    I was at a cafe this afternoon in New York and an older fellow came in and sat next to me. He then looked up and saw the ticker on CNBC and started gasping for air. I didn't ask if he was OK, but I stuck around a little longer just to make sure that someone was keeping an eye on him to call 911. Came very close to calling.

  • Anonymous

    July 27, 2007

    @soczie Please, you've got to be kidding. It sounds like the stories of people jumping out the windows after the stock market crash in '29.

  • Anonymous

    July 27, 2007

    I hope this isn't true. One bad day shouldn't kill you.

  • Anonymous

    July 28, 2007

    After two days of this, I am beginning to feel some tightness in my chest.

  • Anonymous

    July 30, 2007

    Give me a break.

  • Anonymous

    August 01, 2007

    Good article. I can see these tumbling markets causing heart attacks easily.

  • Dave Lloyd

    August 07, 2007

    Lots of people know how to play this volatility and profit off of it. The market is really a mechanism for moving money from "weak hands" to "stronger ones".

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