Investors Biggest Fears: Market Crashes, Loss of Capital & Government Intervention


This week’s AAII special question asked what is the biggest fear investors have. Just over 13% said their biggest fear is a market crash. Another 10% said they fear a loss of capital and a similar number said they fear the U.S. government passing legislation that would have an adverse impact on investors through higher taxes, negative market intervention, etc.

It was not surprising that presidential politics received some attention from respondents as well. Those participating had the least amount of fear of a Bernie Sanders’ presidency (1.1%), followed by Donald Trump (1.6%) and Hillary Clinton (3.3%).

Rounding out the top five investor fears were an economic downturn (6.0%) and the U.S. debt/budget deficits (4.9%).

Here is a sampling of the responses:

  • “Another collapse like the recession of 2008-2009. It seems like we now go through the throes of a significant downturn in the market every 8 years or so. The last one was caused by the politicians and I fear the next one will be another result of government interference in the economy.”
  • “As the baby boomer generation ages, I’m concerned about a prolonged exodus from the stock market. Whether the withdrawals are made by need or RMD, I’m not convinced the Gen-X and Millennial generations will balance the equation.”
  • “Biggest fear is that important information about funds or companies is being withheld that would affect how I invested.”
  • “China’s growing negative impact on the world’s finances, politics and peace. Using its size to bully its neighbors into doing whatever it wants with no one to stop them.”
  • “If I were fearful, I wouldn’t be an investor!”

And this week’s most interesting response:

  • “Spiders. Perhaps heights. Maybe raging, envious, collectivist socialism. But probably spiders.”

Want to weigh in? Participate in our weekly member poll and see the results online at

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