This article by Gary Ott touches on something but doesn't explore it quite far enough.
"A group of us would sit around the office and carry on a conversation like this (and we would be dead serious, too):
Person No. 1: "You know, it would be tough, but I REALLY think I might be able to retire at 55. I couldn't live extravagantly, mind you, but, hey, I'm a simple person with simple needs."
Ignoring the obvious fact that (in the scheme of things we call life) retiring at 55 is pretty damned extravagant.
Person No. 2: "I know what you mean. I was looking at my statement the other day, and I swear my profits have TRIPLED in the past two years."
No. I'm. Sorry. They. Didn't. Your paper gains may have tripled but you held on to those stocks because you wanted....what?....a quadrupling or a quintupling of your profits in three years. No extravangance in expectations there, huh?
Person No. 3: "I just wish the government would increase the maximum we could put in the 401(K). I mean, I'm maxed out now, but I'd go even higher if I could. And I'd put it all in the stock market."
Why not go to Vegas and put it all on Big 6 or Big 8 at the craps table?
Lord, were we stupid or what?
I think greed has some culpability here too, don't you think?