Have you heard about Jean Paul Getty? He was named the richest living American by Fortune magazine in 1957, but unless you’re a history buff, his name only rings a bell because you’ve probably purchased gasoline from the company that bears his name, Getty Oil.
Now, Mr. Getty was not right about everything. For example, he had five different wives and was quoted once as saying, "A lasting relationship with a woman is only possible if you are a business failure." I’m not exactly sure how he kept getting dates with proclamations like that, but maybe it was because he had a way with words… or because he had a lot of money. Regardless of Getty’s lack of relational skills, he became the richest man in America due to his keen business sense. Consider this line that seems incredibly applicable to our current economic environment, “In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.”
Is it possible that your comfort – or your advisor’s comfort – with the notion that the market is always going to take care of you led to the deep losses in your investments in recent years? Maybe you thought that you survived the dot com bubble from 2000 through 2002, so what could be worse than that? The answer: 2008. History is still unfolding in this economic crisis at a pace more rapid than Getty could’ve dreamed. How much more, then, should we heed his advice?