Life is all about risk.
Anything worthwhile involves risk and the quality of your life is determined by the risks you take and the risks you avoid.
To get into school, you must face the risk of writing an admission exam and embrace the possibility of failing. To get married, you must face the risk of proposing to the woman of your dreams and embrace the possibility of a resounding ‘no’.
The pursuit of financial freedom, success and wealth is no different. If you do not like taking risks, you probably will never be wealthy. Simple.
As an African youth, born and raised in a ‘third world’ country, I was already automatically in a high risk situation anyway.
These risks include:
1. The Risk of Limited Government Created Opportunities.
2. The Risk of Poor Social and Economic Infrastructure.
3. The Risk of Under Education (when globally benchmarked).
4. The Risk of Under Employment.
5. The Risk of Job Insecurity.
6. The Risk of Poor Pension and Retirement Packages.
The list is endless. Highlighting these points just made me realise that I was kinda describing the Eurozone recently (I am just kidding, or am I?).
But seriously, in view of these imposed risks, I asked myself, what are the odds that I will ever achieve financial freedom, if I continue to live like I had always done? Not likely.
So, I decided to switch risks. I decided to choose my own risks – the risks of investing and trading.
And as I ventured into the jungle of trading and investment, (I call it a jungle because only the strongest survive there), I had to sit down and seriously ask myself questions.
Am I really willing and maybe, even able, to embrace the risks involved in investing, trading and compounding by deliberately beginning to develop a systematic, well researched and well defined approach to wealth creation, wealth preservation, wealth multiplication, and wealth succession?
Would I rather avoid investment risks altogether and simply live an unintentional financial life, hoping, wishing and praying that I will someday in the undefined future, supernaturally (we West Africans love “divine wealth”, whatever that means) stumble into sustainable and ever increasing wealth?
Of course you know what I chose to do.
Before choosing, I was a financial ostrich, burying my head in the sands of risk aversion caused by self induced financial illiteracy, consoled only by the false promises of job security and a robust retirement package eventually, watching helplessly as the ever accelerating rate of inflation increases the cost of living and erodes the value of my savings by the day.
But now I see myself as a financial eagle, who is isolating himself for the painful, disciplined process of acquiring, applying and refining knowledge, so that I can launch out to spot prime profitable opportunities afar off and sensing the wind-like trends of the business and investment world, so that I can ride both the stormy and the calm currents alike with the same level of ease and profitability in the years to come.
Now I no longer avoid financial risk.
Rather I am now a lifelong student of risk management. I seek out risks.
I seek to identify them. To assess them and to select the particular risk that suits me. To embrace that risk and to manage that risk in a way that it will produce rewards that I can enjoy if profitable and lessons that I can learn if unprofitable.
This is what memories of a fulfilling life are made of! The challenges we faced and the informed risks we took to overcome those challenges!
We won’t all be financial markets traders or investors, but we can all start to look for little ways of demonstrating our choice to be financially free.
For example, I refuse to allow my spending exceed half of my earning. I live within my means, always, so that I can save towards investing. I keep growing my knowledge base and improving my skill sets while saving because real wealth involves combining capital with competence. And because I am more interested in actually being rich than in appearing to be rich, I rarely buy things I cannot afford. Impulse spending and competitive spending are some of the many reasons why people find it hard to save. (Have you watched the movie “Keeping up with the Joneses”? Awesome movie!)
I keep talking about savings, because anybody can start saving, anytime.
Saving alone will not make you rich, but it will teach you some of the habits and disciplines necessary for wealth creation. Habits like budgeting, delayed gratification, amongst others. And have you noticed that the more you have saved, the greater the pressure to invest so as to generate returns?
In conclusion, Malcolm Gladwell in his book Tipping Point (or is it Outliers now?) gave a convincing argument that aside from personal effort, there is the effect of time and chance in determining the success rate of a new generation. (Please get and read his books, if you have never read them).
I agree with Malcolm and like never before, now is the time for every young African to embrace risk and take informed action, because Africa is poised for unparalleled growth in the next two to three decades. Africa’s time is now.
Read more about that in my previous post here: https://mytrustfunddreams.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/15/
Like I said earlier, risk taking is not restricted only to the financial markets. Find out how Andrew Carnegie, history’s greatest steelmaker and once of the richest young men of his time handled his own kind of risk.
So, keep looking for little ways of demonstrating your commitment to financial freedom. And take those little risks. In parts 2 and 3 of this article, I will be sharing the steps I am taking to transform myself into an informed risk taker.
Remember, life generally and wealth specifically, is spelt R-I-S-K.
Olufukeji Adegbeye CWM.
- Basic Tips For Wealth Building (ally.com)
- My First Taste of Self Made Money. (mytrustfunddreams.wordpress.com)
- 21 WAYS RICH PEOPLE THINK DIFFERENTLY THAN AVERAGE PEOPLE By H.Q. ROOSERVELT (anastasiaruth.wordpress.com)
- Safe Investing Is an Unfunny Joke: Bernstein CIO on Risks of Prudence (bloomberg.com)