MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Investment Risks

Mark Zaifman   |    Sun, Jun 13, 2010 @ 11:35 AM

golden nest eggs

Imagine being an investor at the time of the Crash of 1929 and realizing that you lost all of your savings that was invested in the stock market. Picture the images of distraught businessmen leaping out of buildings and the poverty that followed in the years of the Great Depression.

These images burn in the minds of those who lived through it and will forever be associated with the risk of investing. The risk of the market alone wasn’t what caused people to jump to their deaths, rather, it was the enhanced risk caused by leverage. People were investing beyond their means by buying on margin, and as a result lost more than they had invested; in many cases, they lost more than all of their net worth.

In truth, investment risk is a necessary evil for those looking to achieve returns higher than the 90 day T-bill rate, which is commonly accepted in investment planning as a risk-less or risk free asset. Risk is a measurable possibility that an investment will lose or gain value. Invest in the stock market and you’re taking risk.

Unfortunately, all too often in my practice, when I meet with new clients and review their investment portfolio, it’s usually the first time they realize just how much risk they’re actually taking. Many have a hard time deciphering their monthly or quarterly investment statements let alone understanding even the basic strategy developed for their investment portfolio.

I think it’s pretty clear that a lot of people give their power away around money, either consciously or unconsciously, male or female. We’re taught very little about personal money management when we’re younger, and as adults, especially true for men, we’re supposed to have some divine ability to know how best to manage and invest money- Yikes! Who made up these rules?

Wherever you may find yourself in terms of your relationship with money, if you’re someone reading this post that happens to be struggling with a money issue, I urge you to transform your relationship with money (by reading the new and revised edition of Your Money or Your Life) and move forward with a renewed sense of self-confidence around money. You so deserve it.

Becoming financially intelligent (FI) will be one of the greatest gifts you offer yourself as well as your loved ones. Make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to learn enough about money to become dangerous. It’s this knowledge about money and how it works that will allow you to gain the self-confidence you’ll feel deep in your gut. This feeling will inevitably lead to the power, energy and self-confidence you will need to create true and lasting financial independence. (FI).