Over short periods, financial markets can be treacherous. So I usually recommend spreading your risks with low-cost investments in the entire stock and bond markets, and hanging in for decades. But an e-mail from a reader brought me up short.
“This 92-year-old just read your column,” she wrote, adding, “Wish me luck.” I did wish her luck in an e-mail, and I apologised for failing to be sensitive to her needs. Later, we spoke at length on the phone. Her financial accounts had been hacked, she said, so I agreed to conceal her identity to shield her from further problems. Her first name is Jane.