You devotees of the Flagpole school of "thinking" -- you know, where you don't take a 1 in 4 chance to get a 200 to 1 pay-off -- believe.
1. If someone is not in the equities market and begins a period with $500k and 6 months later has $502k, he has lost money if the equities market went up during that period. $2k more than when he began the period, but he has lost money.
2. ON the other hand, if someone begins with $500k and the market goes down so he has $450k at the end of the period, he hasn't lost anything until he sells his investments.
There is juts no reasoning with these people