Finding your risk tolerance is an investment in antacids

By a show of hands, who is comfortable with the volatility of their investments? Just as I thought. I don’t see any hands, but then I am inside your newspaper and can’t see you very well.

I, for one, try to avoid reports on the economy, interest rates or the words Dow or Jones. It just gives me acid reflux. (Maybe I should invest in Prilosec and Pepto Bismol. Those companies are probably making a killing right now.)

Recently, the wife and I had a discussion about our risk tolerance for our very modest investments.

“Honey,” the wife said to me, “you do a lot of stewing about our finances. Maybe we should take one of those surveys that help you determine the kind of investments you are comfortable with.”

“Do you want to know what kind of investments I’m comfortable with? I’m comfortable with the Sealy Posturepedic investment,” I said.

“Oh, you want to invest in high-end mattresses?”

“No. I want to cash my check and shove it under my high-end mattress. The more cash, the higher the end.”

“Just for fun, let’s take a survey to see where we are investment-wise. What is your investment attitude; conservative, moderate or aggressive?”

“Is depressively despondent not a choice?” I said.

“OK, we’ll put down as conservative. How many years do we expect to live; less than a year, 1-10 years, or 10-25 years?”

“Hey, I’m taking One-a-Day Men’s 50+ vitamins, I’m freaking immortal. Is that an option?”

“I’ll put you down for 10-25. Protecting my portfolio is more important than high returns; true or false?”

“I would give up both kidneys and a liver to protect my 0.25% interest CDs and my 0.01% APR savings account.”

“So that would be true,” the wife checked off. “What do you expect to be your next major expenditure; a house, college expenses or an automobile?”

Thinking pensively, “I’d say two hips and a knee.”

“Honey,” the wife said, “I’m getting the impression you aren’t much of an investor.”

“No, I am not. First of all, we don’t have that much to invest. We are living pretty comfortably as it is, and the investments we have made in the past have never done particularly well. Why put yourself through all that paperwork, not to mention acid reflux. Do you honestly want to be rich? Is there something in your life that you are missing?”

Without missing a beat, the wife said, “Absolutely nothing. As long as I have you and 10-25 years, that’s all I’ll ever need.”

“Aww, honey,” I said, “that’s so sweet.”

“I would, however, like to take out a $10 million life insurance policy on you in case you don’t make it the full 25 years,” the wife said filing her nails. “I would like to be able to live in the life-style I am unaccustomed to.”

Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at [email protected]