There Are No Guarantees In Life Or Investing

New investors often start with a sense of optimism that is hard to maintain. Almost everyone experiences significant setbacks by the time they reach middle age and need to begin thinking about retirement. These reverses are not reasons to give up. They are signs that it is time to grow up. Avoiding major mistakes is more important than making a fortune because there are no guarantees in life or investing.

So many of us invest everything in our career, an education, or a single business. Youthful energy and enthusiasm often bring success, but then life slows down. Recessions and even poorly timed Fed interest rate hikes can be enough to stall a business or a career. The connection between hard work and success starts to breakdown, and it is easy to lose hope. Getting too much too fast can do even more damage. When winning is too easy, we tend to become overconfident and lazy until disaster strikes.

There are no guarantees in life, so everyone needs to save money to deal with the inevitable setbacks. As a general rule, you should save a higher portion of your income as you make more money. Climbing the corporate ladder provides a boost to our egos, but it can also lead to a bigger fall. There is less room at the top, so duplicating that success could be difficult. Business owners face a different set of problems because even stable small businesses see their share of downturns. Saving money on the side helps you to prepare while investing everything in aggressive expansion can lead to bankruptcy. By increasing savings with income, you also avoid developing wasteful spending habits that are hard to break.

While saving more money is the first step, it is also important to realize that there are no guarantees in investing. One of the most common mistakes is to invest everything in stocks and real estate. You might have $100,000 in home equity and another 100k in stocks. You are responsible, hard-working, and successful. This also described a lot of people before 2008, then everything changed. At the same time that people lost their jobs, they also lost their home equity. The stock market crashed too, so 100k in stocks became 50k. $50,000 doesn’t last long when you have no job and a family to feed. Losing everything is easier than most people think.

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