The entrepreneur and the worker have one fear in common; the fear of what happens when they retire. This fear should by no means be disregarded. It is a very real and tenable fear.
I have had to struggle with this fear myself for all of my working life and all of my time as an entrepreneur. The need to grow my wealth and to make retirement investments has been an obsession of mine for years.
I have tried short-term investments that promised stupendous ROI and long-term investments that under-delivered on their promises.
I have invested in almost everything there is, from bonds to stocks, crypto, forex, and real estate in the last five years, and I can affirm that I have learned some pretty harsh lessons along the way as well as some pretty great ones.
This article highlights my top four investment lessons from trying repeatedly.
Related: How To Start Investing
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
My first foray into the world of investment came many years ago as a final-year law student. I had attended scores of conferences that emphasized investments and the need to make sure your money is working for you. So, I jumped on the first train that came by the station, an investment that promised to double my investment in a month.
It sounded too good to be true, but my research showed that this investment was indeed “working.” I gathered up all my savings which was about $500 at the time and plunged it in and then relaxed in the hope of ‘harvesting’ $1000 at the end of the month. Needless to say, the company had seized to exist by the time the month ended.
To any trained entrepreneur or investor, this instantly sounds like a very foolish thing to do, and it was, but the lesson it taught has a very broad application.
When you consider an investment, the numbers are key; it is necessary to do your research on the average ROI in the specific industry. This information will help you probe investment opportunities and make the best decisions.
Investments that promise unreasonable returns are often risky and unsustainable over time. An investment ROI is unreasonable if it goes far beyond the average ROI obtainable for similar opportunities in that industry.
As a rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Don’t wing it, if you don’t have to
After making a few poor disastrous investment decisions and losing a lot of money in over three years of failed investments, I decided to give myself to research and to seek expert advice.
The numbers are only beneficial to you if you understand them, and as a lawyer and a budding entrepreneur, I wasn’t what you would consider a numbers guy.
I really started making wise investments when I started extending my research beyond people’s recommendations and started listening to experts.
I quickly learned that not all investments were suitable for every investor. I learned that it was wiser to invest in industries I was passionate about because this made it easier for me to follow the news and do my research.
I also learned to look beyond paper assets, which brings me to my next point.
Diversify away from paper assets
Until I really started following some investment experts, I always limited my understanding of diversification to paper assets, but when I considered my long-term retirement investments resting in paper assets, three major fears came to the fore in my mind;
My first fear was centered around the constant fluctuation in the dollar; this made me scared about the long-term value of my investments. I was also increasingly scared because I had lived through a few devastating market crashes and the thought of losing everything due to a crash was pretty unnerving. I was also acutely aware that just saving up my money was a recipe for disaster due to the inflation sweeping the USA and the world.
I hadn’t had any encounter with the concept of diversifying my portfolio into precious metals until I stumbled upon Gold Alliance, a platform that had already multiplied scores of their investors’ portfolios by mapping out the best investment for them in Gold and Silver IRAs. What I found attractive about this platform was that it allayed all of my main investment fears about my long-term investments one by one.
Diversifying into non-paper assets like precious metals and real estate offered me a safe space for my long-term investments because they have an opposite relationship to stocks and the dollar. They tend to go up if the dollar or the markets go down.
The ability to hold these assets personally, an option that platforms like Gold Alliance offered me, also removed the risks of deregulation or bank confiscation.
This option suddenly opened a vista of opportunity for me to greatly alter my portfolio with very minimal fear in the face of inflation, market instabilities, and a change in government policies. Non-paper assets tend to consistently grow upwards in value over time.
Bad times offer great opportunities
Warren Buffet puts it rather beautifully when he says, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”
I have learned over time that sometimes the selling seasons for the majority are a great buying opportunity for wise investors.
When everything in you is asking you to pull out your investment and run for the hills, maybe the best time to pause, think, and invest.
Investments are to be made relying on concrete data and analysis and not on emotional fluctuations.
The fear of loss is responsible for some of the greatest investment losses that I have ever had. To win at investing, I have learned to play the long game, which often leads me to go against the grain.
This is not a call to have blind faith, but a call to follow the data and analysis and not your palpitating heart.
Emotions are the reason why people jump on investments on the recommendation of the majority and also the reason they jump out, but when I learned to treat investment like science, I started winning.
Everyone can win in the investment game, but the onus lies on the investor to do the homework and plug the leaks.