The latest issue of Smart Money landed in my mailbox on Saturday. Inside was this doozy of a question:
I’m confident in my investments, but one thing could throw them off: a nuclear attack on a major U.S. city. Can you recommend a portfolio that would hold up?
My first reaction was laughter, but that’s not fair to the questioner. It’s probably a real concern to some people. Stephanie AuWerter, the Ask SmartMoney columnist, does a good job of responding:
Let’s face it: The likelihood of a nuclear attack is exceedingly low, and hedging for such a possibility could leave your portfolio in pretty bad shape. Sure, you could load up on U.S. Treasurys or gold coins, but chances are your investments need a fair amount of growth to meet your goals.
AuWerter notes that following 9/11, the markets dropped sharply, only to return to their previous levels within two months. She recommends that the worried investor save six months of living expenses in an emergency fund — or even more if the person is really worried — but advises that investment portfolios be left untouched.