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Good points. Here are some other thoughts.

I don't equate investing in a stock index fund with some of the riskier behavior that you mention in your earlier post. I think that putting all your eggs in Gateway or Enron or the tech sector or even ATT is more akin to veering toward unrealistic, exuberant optimism even if people don't always recognize it.

I marvel at how the depression still drives investment behavior for so many people. I'm relatively young and so it might as well be ancient history to me but obviously its lingering effects on the psyche may take many generations to work through. Obviously, I didn't lose big enough on the great tech bubble to scare me away from equities.

As a society we may be past the golden age of the three-legged retirement - pension, SS, and personal savings. My father has no pension so his retirement is dependent entirely on SS and personal savings. Today, we have airlines declaring bankruptcy and dumping their pensions on the PBGC. Surely no one with a GM pension can feel that great about it right now. And this board has quite a lot written about the unsustainable rise in federal entitlement spending. My point is that investing in stocks is practically a necessity to ensure a smooth retirement in this environment unless you happen to be exceptionally frugal relative to your earnings.

Finally, I'm sure that I'll get my come-uppance someday when my son rolls his eyes at me and says "Are you kidding, Dad?"

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