Changes in financial risk tolerance, 1983-2001
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Using six Survey of Consumer Finances cross-sectional datasets representing the years 1983 through 2001, this study investigates changes in financial risk tolerance levels over time. Logit analyses are performed to test changes in risk tolerance, controlling for respondent and household characteristics. Willingness to take some risk fell from 1983 to 1989, did not change from 1989 to 1992, increased in 1995, increased again in 1998, then decreased in 2001. Financial risk tolerance tends to increase when stock returns increase and decrease when stock returns decrease. This relationship could lead to buying when prices are high and selling when prices are low. Financial education is needed to help investors overcome the bias of overweighting recent events.