A myth is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as, among other things, an unproved collective belief used to support institutions or other parts of the status quo.
Financial security is a big myth. It always has been.
In the 19th century people believed that owning land created financial security. If you owned you own land you could farm it, grow your own food, sell the surplus to buy whatever else you needed and always have a home and hearth. For millions this was true. It was a path to success for many, if not most Americans for a century or more. It was not secure. Financial panics, droughts and dust bowls, crop failures, tornadoes, floods, wars and foreclosures stole that security away.
In the 20th century the common myth was that if you got a good job with a sound well established company you had financial security. For millions this was true – it worked for many of our fathers and grandfathers. A major depression, several deep recessions and major changes in our economy then took that away.
In the great depression the government tried to create a simple safety net to prevent the elderly poor from starving. They called it Social Security. From this a myth arose and was perpetuated by opportunistic politicians that the government would take care of you and your security lie in Social Security. If you still believe that one I would really like to talk to you about a bridge that is for sale.
It is all a myth. There is no real financial security. There is none in the stock market. There is none in real estate. There is none in business. There is no financial security in any of these places the myth says there is if you think you can plunk your hard earned money down in one place, guard it there and just let it grow into your future fortune. It might, but it might not. That is not security in my book.
First confession here, if we are talking about absolute security there is none anywhere or anytime, period. There is always risk. The challenge then is to minimize the risk.
There are all kinds of strategies to minimize risk. There are investing rules to minimize risk in the stock market. There are strategies for minimizing risk when you invest in real estate. And there are similar strategies for minimizing risk in all forms of business.
In your overall financial strategy there are two competing approaches that will minimize risk. The first is to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. To diversify is to spread the risk out so that a failure or crisis does not totally wipe you out. That is smart.
At the same time many financially successful people like Andrew Carnegie and Warrant Buffet counsel to put your eggs in one basket – or rather to make sure you study and learn enough about the basket where most of your eggs are to insure you do well there. You cannot spread yourself out so thin in the effort to diversify that you end up with many under producing investments.
The bottom line is that there are no easy, simple, automatic secrets to financial security.
Security comes from knowing as much as you can possibly know about how you earn your money and how to invest it in the least risky ways.
The person who knows the most about building wealth, investing wealth and growing it while protecting it reduces his risks the most.
That is as close to financial security as anyone can come.
Constantly learn. Read and study. Then use discipline to apply what you learn every day. Do that and you create more security than with anything else.
Daniel R. Murphy
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.