Then there are the investors who follow the herd as the market is going up, investing in hot sectors on a whim, often taking on more risk than they might otherwise.
"It's not only being too aggressive, but not having a whole plan. When the market is going up, they take on too much risk for their investment profile, and then when the market pulls back they are hurt and can't get the money back," says Christopher Zeches, vice president and chief investment officer of Zeches Financial Services in Tucson, Ariz.
In a similar vein, there are savers who managed to sock away money, but never came up with an investing plan.
"While it's common to hear about employees having lost great sums in their company-sponsored plans, usually because they've been too aggressive or aren't properly diversified, what might be more alarming is the fact that people have left their retirement savings in money market accounts for years. This is clearly too conservative and usually has more to do with a lack of direction than aversion to risk," says Gregory Hermes, senior vice president and financial adviser at First Financial Equity Corp. in Scottsdale, Ariz.