[Ads-l] "Glide path" to negative result

Thu Aug 4 23:47:21 UTC 2016

Separate from the economic sense cited by Ben in his 2012 column, there is a financial meaning of "glide path" that is neutral.  This has to do with target date funds, which are mutual funds that hold a diversified portfolio of assets and change the asset allocations periodically. The goal is that the fund will take on higher risk and provide higher returns when its investors are younger, but have an appropriately conservative allocation when the investors are retired.  The schedule by which a target date fund’s asset allocation  is adjusted is commonly referred to as the fund’s “glide path.”   The glide path typically reflects a gradual reduction in equity exposure before  reaching a “landing point” at which the asset allocation becomes static.

This preserves the aeronautical metaphor, because the fund's risk is gradually reduced. However, the fund's assets may or may not be sufficient to support investors in retirement, so I consider this a neutral rather than positive use.

John Baker

> On Aug 4, 2016, at 1:06 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> That is indeed unusual. As I wrote in a 2012 Word Routes column, "glide
> path" typically implies a happy landing.
> http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/happy-landings-on-the-glide-path/
>> On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 4:18 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 2016 has been a big year for applying the term "glide path" to a political
>> process:
>> http://www.bloomberg.com/
>> politics/articles/2016-02-22/clinton-trump-now-on-parallel-
>> glide-paths-to-nomination
>> On Face the Nation Sunday morning, I heard Reince Priebus use "glide path"
>> in a negative sense, talking about Hillary Clinton. Very unusual:
>> "Look, she has put us on a glide path which has created a situation that
>> Americans are hurting in this country."
>> http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-transcripts-
>> july-31-2016-sanders-manafort-priebus/
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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