Even as advisors currently find themselves in a low-volatility investing environment in the U.S. – a stark contrast to intense market turbulence of 2008 – they aren't convinced that such calmness will go on forever.

Over the last four decades, trading volatility in the U.S. has increased. Between 1973 and 1982, there were 99 days when the S&P 500 saw swings of 2% or more. Recently that number has more than doubled, with 224 such days in the period from 2003 to 2012. (See the chart below.)

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