Sometimes the thrill of the unknown can be so exhilarating that we actually seek it out. For instance, as a kid I used to love roller coasters. The climb to the top built anticipation, foot by foot, as it slowly jerked you up to the peak. That was followed by a silent, momentary pause just before the force of gravity shoved your stomach into your throat.

In 1975, Walt Disney created the Space Mountain roller coaster. The lines were huge and people were buzzing about the ride. It wasn’t the most extreme roller coaster, didn’t have the biggest drop or go the fastest, but what it did have was a big surprise: The entire ride was in the dark. You couldn’t see the drops, the turns or the tunnels. The thrill of not being able to see what was coming next turned a somewhat ordinary coaster into something extraordinary.

So there it was. The big thrill was about being surprised by the unknown and people were willing to pay money and stand in line to experience it. It’s ironic that in other situations the unknown can cause stress extreme enough that we go to great measures to avoid it.

While we’ve become somewhat desensitized to the volatility of the stock market, being on the losing end of a thousand point drop can create plenty of stress. Nobody knows what the markets are going to do day-to-day, but there are people who study market indicators looking for signals. They do this to try and minimize some of the unknowns. They are financial professionals who devote their time and attention to studying the factors that influence market behaviors.

Having a retirement plan you can count on is about minimizing risk by anticipating the unknowns. It’s strategic planning that’s designed to take emotion out of the equation. If the recent market volatility has created big losses or jeopardized a significant portion of your portfolio, chances are you may not be properly planned for retirement.

A solid retirement plan should insulate you from devastating market losses while still giving you some room for market related growth. Longevity of funds, security and income are just some of the considerations that go into a well-rounded retirement plan, and figuring those out can help you handle some of the surprises you may encounter later.

If you’re feeling stressed during market downturns, it’s time to get a second opinion of your current retirement plan. Many financial professionals offer complimentary second opinion reviews to let you know if your retirement plan is properly designed to meet your goals.

When it comes to your retirement, being in the dark is not where you want to be. Make sure you have a solid retirement plan you can count on; it’s like taking a ride on Space Mountain with a powerful flashlight. You might not see everything coming, but you’ll see a lot more than being in the dark.