Written By: Abed G. Rabbani, John E. Grable, Barbara O’Neill, Frances Lawrence, and Zheying Yao
Is there an association between a household financial decision maker’s risk tolerance and the performance of the stock market? Some researchers argue that financial market events have little association with the financial risk tolerance (FRT) of household financial decision makers, while others argue that FRT among individuals can vary in relation to significant market fluctuations. The applicability of either argument may depend on the length of the period before and after a major market event. The purpose of this study was to evaluate aggregate changes in FRT around a major stock market event for different anchor time periods and to test the recency bias hypothesis. The analyses were designed to explore the FRT of Americans during a volatile multimonth period of stock market performance in 20182019. Several univariate, bivariate, and multivariate tests were used to compare FRT assessment scores pre- and post-October 3rd, 2018 (i.e., the market high in 2018). A decrease in FRT from the market high was noted across the sample; however, the decrease was exhibited most acutely by younger, nonmarried resfinancial counselors and financial planners likely serve a “buffering” role when household financial decision makers experience stock market shocks.