Fear is everywhere. Our politicians scare us about a doomed future if they aren’t elected or if any of their policy proposals are rejected. TV reporters paint fearful pictures of our communities, our nation and our world by the images and news that incite fear and negativity – right in your home’s 75 monstrous inches of full HD 1080p resolution […]
This is not a topic you hear about much in mainstream finance. Even if you understood the efficient frontier and also that risk and reward are probability-based, there is a fundamental difference in our approach to risk that mainstream financial planners don’t bother to even ask. This is about risk tolerance vs. risk affordability.
We spend a lot of effort chasing our number or desired passive income to reach our financially independent or retired early (FIRE) dream. In all the search for ‘how much’, we also need to consider ‘how long’. With some retiring in early 30’s, the impact of this extreme early retirement should be carefully considered. If you are like me in 40’s or even in 50’s, there is at least one advantage we have over our 30’s retired brethren – our retirement planning is not as long. Don’t let that depress you. It’s the life you add to the years, not the years you add to life that matters! As Yoda would say: matter it doesn’t!
This post takes off from what I read in Millennial Revolution about a million dollar house-poor owner in Toronto, Canada. The inference is similar to what I experienced personally in Washington DC. We Americans and Canadians love home-ownership, and so do Australians from what I have heard. In my business trip to Spain recently, I learned Spaniards also cherish home-ownership almost as a cultural mandate. Then, I started wondering whether all this only holds true in large developed markets or does it apply even in developing markets. Perhaps only the developed world is living with contagious house fever?
English is an interesting language. We bring financial concepts into daily expressions and vice versa. All the English-speaking countries in the world trace their English language origin to some connection, if not a straight colonization, to The British Empire or the East India Company. Many of the old British expressions have survived centuries and are used even today in many countries that have historical connection to the language. This post takes an old British expression, back to the days of William Shakespeare (The Bard), that a good venture “pays rich dividends”. Even as a poet, he knew about the rules and ruthlessness of business, seen in his classic The Merchant of Venice.
“I would like to avoid risk as much as possible” is what we often hear or even say. That’s understandable for a conversation but the attitude we show towards risk is the single largest determinant of our success. And that attitude was likely formed even before you entered your teenage years. There could be any number of triggers for it.
Haven’t we seen a lot of those already? The personal finance blogosphere is filled with material, both strongly for and vehemently against, homeownership. Due to my preference for a globally mobile career and the ‘invincible’ DC market saga, you know which side of the fence I am on. But the real estate asset class can’t be broad brushed by individual experiences. It can be a delicious entree or a nice side dish in a fulfilling financial meal, if done well and in moderation. I will give you my personal recipe here.
Of course, you are! We all are. We just don’t want to admit it. The biases we have are so hidden and yet, so effective, that they pretty much control how we think, speak and act in many situations. That’s a pretty tall claim, I know. In my life and in my corporate experience, I have often found that those who feel they are objective or unbiased often have deep-rooted biases that they think actually make them unbiased! Ironical, isn’t it? Such is the nature of cognitive bias (as psychologists call them) that it spares no one on its path. They can stop you from investing efficiently. They are enemies on your path to financial independence.
My past articles have been on many essential topics relating to life, work, savings and even relationships. Those posts serve as preparatory work for getting into a serious topic in this article – on investing. Before starting on our investing journey, it is clear that we should learn to save more and be sensibly frugal. The next step is to understand what efficient investing is – nobody taught me this but I learned the hard way by making mistakes, which I hope you will avoid. You are smart to learn from my past investment mistakes. Efficient investing is an important concept that will make a huge impact on your future, easily adding over $100,000 to your retirement stash with no effort on your part!
Let’s face it. Americans, and for that matter, most of the western world, are ill-prepared for their retirement. Reading ER blogs and personal finance websites will not give you the real picture as the authors and commentators are a progressive bunch who, collectively, are better off financially than others. The real truth, of course, is scary. In this post, I analyze two charts from a well-researched American study to explain what this means to you and why you should care.