Fear and loathing on Wall Street

Here is an article from the New York Times about “neurofinance.”   This was published two weeks ago, when the markets were gyrating wildly from one day to the next.

It seems that since the 2008 crash, Americans are much less tolerant of such market swings.

Olson Zaltman Associates conducted a ZMET study in 2008-2009 in which people spoke eloquently about their economic fears.  That fear is still with us.   It does not seem to have dramatically affected how much money people save – Americans are saving more than we did before the 2008 crash, certainly, but we’re still below where we were in the early 1990s and we’re well below post-WWII norms.

But perhaps where we’re really seeing a change is in our tolerance for risk and our faith in financial “experts.”  It seems that this current generation of stock market investors has grown jittery and anxious, ready to sell at the first sign of turbulence.  Like any traumatic event, the 2008 collapse seems to have imprinted itself on our subconscious.