This thread title is interesting because I've been trying to do the opposite: find fewer things to worry about. In recent years, I've tried to follow the advice of William Bernstein, who basically argues that if we think we've got it bad now, just look at all the wars, depressions, and hyperinflation over the past century, and somehow we muddled through. Not long ago, we had rampant inflation and the cold war. Even against that backdrop, the 2008-9 crisis scared me enough to take a hard look at the fragile state of the global financial system, and for a time I convinced myself that "hard assets" might very well be the way to go. Even now, I still hold a small bit of gold, but not for the same reasons I did 6-7 years ago.
Back then, the harder I looked at our whole financial system, the more worried I got. It's not hard to make a long list: the rising never-ending government debt, falling and now negative interest rates, quantitative easing, derivatives, fractional reserve banking (which arguably has become zero reserve), securities lending, fiat currencies, the Grexit, subprime, the demise of the Euro, the demise of the US dollar, oil prices exploding, oil prices plummeting, overpriced Canadian real estate, terrorism, sluggish or negative growth, not to mention a whole bunch of underfunded insurance and retirement schemes. And then there was that 50% drop in the S&P in a short period of time. I could go on and on. I suppose that is why stocks are said to "climb a wall of worry." There's always been plenty to worry about since I've been alive. And maybe some are of these threats are really, really bad, truly "end of days" kinda stuff.
But, and maybe just because I'm getting a little older, I've been moving trying to move beyond the gloom and starting to see things in another light. I now take the view that human psychology is a big part of all things financial. It's clear to me, logically, that our whole financial system is an elaborate shell game -- the shuffling of funds and debt from place to place, easily seen as a house of cards, even a pyramid scheme. Against all this, governments and financial institutions try to act as if the whole thing is somehow stable. It's not, but then again it is because it has to be. To a degree, we collectively believe what we want to believe and make that happen. Money is money because we believe it and even that is always changing, especially now in our increasing cashless society. Try to pass a Voyageur dollar to some kid working at the Dollarama. That is not money to a whole generation of people. But maybe some of these myths we live by are not bad things and help to ensure stability.
Not that long ago, Brazilian hyperinflation eventually got under control mostly because people wanted to believe it was so. Same thing happened in Germany in the 20s. From that perspective, "hard currency" (such as gold) is nothing more than just another set of beliefs in the age-old perspective of what constitutes money or value. I'm still waiting for inflation, and have little doubt it will return. That said, more than a few years ago, many of us on this board were sure that QE would trigger inflation and that interest rates were as low as they could go, and now we're facing the prospect of negative interest rates and maybe the Brexit. Those could be a harbinger of market disaster or a 100% increase in stocks over the next 10 years, or even both. I'm betting on things to work out, but not for any clear financial reasons. If I go back to looking too hard at that, I'll probably just stock up on food, water, and survivalist textbooks (because the internet will be gone).
A bit of ramble, I suppose. It's a worthy thread topic, and we have to prepare for the next thing to watch out for. I'm just trying not to worry about whatever that will be.