Isn’t investing gambling?

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It is understandable that we MSers, facing exceptional circumstances, want to protect any money we make from being squandered.

Our medications and healthcare costs are astronomical. Also, as a population, we physically may be forced to retire prematurely.

Like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says “Knowing how to secure your financial well-being is one of the most important things you’ll ever need in life.”

This is especially true for us.

The MSer’s finances

Traditionally banks paid enough interest to make just saving what we could until retirement prudent. Unfortunately, not anymore.

How “safe” is a savings account if you leave all your money there for your working life, but the interest it earns doesn’t keep up with inflation when you are no longer working and need it?

This is why many people keep some of their money in savings, but look to investing to amplify their other money. For most people, the only way to attain financial security is both to save and invest over a long period of time.

Generating vs. earning

I suggest we think about our finances as needing to generate income rather then simply earning it. Viewing it in terms of generating an income “takes the power out of (the provider’s) hands and places it into your own.”

It reminds us that we still have a lot of control over our future, maybe even more than this disease does.

I work hard for my money. It makes sense that my money should be working for me, too. Why should investing be only considered the playground for the wealthy?

I resolve that it shouldn’t be. And for those of us in the U.S. with chronic disease, who live in this capitalist society, it is even more imperative.

Isn’t it gambling?

Well OK, yes and no.

For example, my clutter is gambling:

“I purchased bargains with potential usefulness. I bought things as a gamble. I gambled on the chance that one day, my dreams would come true. I would turn into the kind of person who mended expensive but damaged clothing. I would be the tinkerer who repaired a lamp that made guests gasp in delight…(But) an amazing bargain that ultimately makes my life more difficult isn’t an amazing bargain at all.”

from Dana White’s book Decluttering at the Speed of Life

So is playing baseball: “You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” (Frederick B. Wilcox)

Thus I guess that investing is gambling too, but it’s risk that can and should be mitigated. (You should never risk more than you can lose and still be okay.)

So “learn to earn”

While we probably aren’t born knowing how to invest, I think everyone should learn at least the basics.

Visit the SEC website. If you are still working, take advantage of webinars, podcasts and classes offered by your 401k provider. Be careful about the sources of your info, but you can teach yourself.

And ask for help if you’re scared. The MS Society offers free or low-cost consultations with experts.

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