Saturday, November 30, 2013

There is no investing for dummies! The Deadly Comfort Zone

Many people feel still burned by 2008.  9/11 is etched into our minds as the event that once again made us lose a piece of our innocence. 9/11 created a society of endless suspicions and with numerous means to spy on each other. 9/11 was the event that provided our governments the excuse to develop a nearly Orwellian society while today’s technology provided the means.

Similarly 2008 is etched into our minds as the new era of fearful investing when we learned that there is no such thing as the ‘Golden Years’, an image that is so often presented to us by Insurance companies, banks and financial planners. “Let us help you… steal your money!”
Really, if you want to live the ‘Golden Years’ dream it will cost you. Whom do you pay? You’ll pay all those financial advisors, planners, banks and insurance companies. You also will find out that often the promised dream won’t work out. Even if you achieve the ‘Golden Years’ dream in spite of the ‘help’ from you financial advisors, the dream may  turn out deadly!
LADIES and GENTLEMEN, there is no free ride!  There is NO CERTAINTY in this life, no matter how much you crave for being Grand Parents with perpetual smiles and no money worries! Get over it!  Now with our time on earth increasing, we better learn that each stage of our life is governed by our past actions, and yes by today’s, and that there is no cruise control toward heaven once you retire!
See your life as a series of graduations to ever new and challenging stages in your growth as a human being. Those who stay too long in their comfort zone will perish first! If you stop exercising, you’ll get out of shape fast!  And, boy, can it be tough to get back into shape.  It is easy to lose your exercise regime and when you give in, first you will not notice how your body weakens… but it does!  Then everything comes to a head, you’ll develop a pot; you find out that you have suddenly a heart disease or diabetes and god knows what else.  “Where does that come from?  As a teenager I won the triathlon! “ Yes, you did and then you stopped exercising and by 30 you were pudgy; by 35 you got out of breath running the staircase; by 55, just when the kids left home, you were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease! By 60 you are dead!
The same with other things in live – you always did your best in life, worked hard at school; worked hard to get a job; worked even harder to marry the dream of your life and build a family; worked hard to make a good salary and get your own house. By 55 or by 60 you have deserved your restful ‘Golden Years’ and you stop working hard. You don’t want to worry about money any longer, you only want to golf and go on vacation. Within two years of said retirement, you also will be out of shape; within 5 years you lost touch with your old profession and colleagues.  After 10 years, you only do have bingo friends and none of your bingo friends, or you, knows what is going on in this busy world that whirls around you. In 15 years you will have forgotten how to think and then, unexpectedly you are a stranger in a strange land; you don’t know how to deal with this life by yourself any longer; you lost your life energy and basically you are dying. In fact you started dying when you ‘retired’ and started to live the ‘Golden Years’!
Really, whatever the story, the real reason we fall by the wayside is that we no-longer want to struggle in our daily lives; we are tired and remain within our comfort zone and… we literally die from that!
Yes once you reach ‘financial adult hood’, (i.e. you are graduating from working out of financial necessity to working by choice) your life is not over!  To the contrary, your life is just beginning a new adventurous stage! Just like during your other stages in life, you can stay within your comfort zone or you can move on to doing new challenging things. Only the latter will lead to further personal growth, renewed energy and a longer and more satisfying life. If you give up control because you feel that stock market volatility is too much for you; because real estate management requires too much energy; because learning new things is too difficult, you will start to die financially.
Investment markets are not there to make your life easy!  They are tools of the predatory capitalist world.  Stockbrokers are not your friends; they make a living of their clients – you!  The banks don’t lend you mortgages out of the goodness of their heart and neither do they pay interest on your savings through GICS because they love you.  When you invest, you put your money to work in a shark invested pool. If you don’t know how to swim with the financial sharks, you and your money won’t survive no matter how friendly those sharks are and how much lip-stick they have put on!   No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it still will be an ugly thing. Guess what, the same is true for sharks!
I don’t talk about the glossy dreamy ‘Golden Years’ model that even if you achieve it, will only lull you into complacency and death. I want us to reach ‘financial adulthood’ where you are accountable only to one person in your life – you! – It is only a stage in your life, just like going to high school!  If you don’t learn and don’t do your homework at high school, you are likely less successful as a teenager and during the rest of your life (some luck out). If you don’t learn to invest and if you don’t  work on living from your savings and on a career that may last longer than you ever dreamed of as a youngster, you will not fare well either!
There is no sacred black box for investing and retiring. Your struggle outside your comfort zone will continue until your last breath. If you don’t, you’ll die prematurely as if you were suffering from bad health!  There is no ‘Investment for Dummies’

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