I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 621.7 million views in recent years.
In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:
- Should I invest in AI?
- Why don’t ‘real’ wealthy people teach how to make money?
- ‘What would you rather have: a meeting with a billionaire or $500,000?
- How should parents start saving for their child’s education abroad?
- What are the risks behind government securities like bonds, savings certificates, etc.?
- What is the worst financial decision many people make?
- Does having a lot of money always mean more problems for a person?
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Table of Contents
Should I invest in AI?
It is a question many people are asking with the rise of ChatGpt:
Technology is the future. It always has been in many ways, as it allows companies to do more with less.
The Nasdaq has beaten the S&P500, Dow Jones and MSCI World long-term. It is just more volatile.
However, remember what happened to tech stocks in the late 1990s?
Most went bust, because they weren’t profitable, even if they had great products and technology.
More recently, Cathy Wood’s fund has tanked, for the same reason.
As this graph from the Insider shows, the S&P500 quickly caught up with its performance. Since this graph was made, it has more than caught up.
The biggest risk you face with AI investing is that a few companies might gobble up the whole market – a “winner takes all” situation which often happens in technology.
What is more, it isn’t easy to pick future winners in advance. Some are saying Google will be the big winner, and others are saying AI will kill Google search.
That is similar to the 1990s/2000s when Yahoo was almost destroyed by Google, and few saw it coming.
Therefore, if you really want to invest in this sector, it is important to have broad-based diversification via a fund or ETF.
That eliminates the risk of unprofitable companies that have great technology going bust.
Why don’t ‘real’ wealthy people teach how to make money?
Well they do…….all the time.
This man probably has enough free content alone where you could watch him for a whole year…..
What is true is most super wealthy people won’t coach you directly, unless they got rich by coaching + motivational talks and scaling that as a business, such as Tony Robbins.
That is because they can earn more money from doing other things.
Some billionaires and especially multi-millionaires who are worth hundreds of millions do provide consulting services but the fees are massive, so it isn’t for the mass market.
Why would somebody who is already worth a lot charge $50-$100 an hour to coach somebody, when they can make more from a primary business or only coach the ultra wealthy?
But free advice? It is everywhere.
‘What would you rather have: a meeting with a billionaire or $500,000?
The $500,000 would make sense because of what I could do with that money.
$500,000 could become multimillions if invested correctly into non-speculative investments.
So, indirectly, the choice is between meeting a billionaire and $3m-$10m, or more, depending on your age.
With that eventual figure of $3m-$10m, you could generate a safe income of at least $90,000-$300,000 a year, or accumulate it further before taking an income.
With that being said, it depends why you want to meet the billionaire.
If you could meet the billionaire AND get a celebrity endorsement for your business, then that could be a good investment.
Likewise, if you could record the meeting and use it for marketing, that might also become a good investment, if you are an entrepreneur.
What is more, as per this image from Market Watch, lunch with some billionaires costs millions:
Some people must think that is good value.
So, it depends if you are meeting them for vanity or for getting a good return on investment on your money.
How should parents start saving for their child’s education abroad?
This graph from the Virtual Capitalist shows the cost of university education in the US:
If we look at the UK, the graph would be less extreme, but would still show a big rise.
What is more, the USD has strengthened against most currencies, especially in the emerging market world.
Therefore, the first two things I would do is:
- Work out how much you would need today if your child was beginning their course. That should include all costs and not just tuition.
- Then, assume that the cost will at least double before your child goes to university, and that your local currency will weaken.
After doing that, you at least have something to work on.
Based on those figures, it makes sense to start investing in productive assets, in the currency that you will eventually need.
So, if you plan to send your kids to the US, invest in a USD plan.
At least doing it this way, any sharp devaluation close to the date where your kid is due to attend university, won’t affect you.
I would also
- Check out scholarships but don’t rely on them
- Work with an advisor who has helped others in this situation before
- Check out any tax-efficient schemes
- Consider whether putting assets in the children’s name can sometimes make sense.
What are the risks behind government securities like bonds, savings certificates, etc.?
The main ones are:
- Inflation being higher than the interest rates being offered
- Currency falls and collapse.
- Interest rates going up and pushing down the price, like what happened last year
- A relative risk of losing more than going in stocks/equities, which outperform long-term
What is the worst financial decision many people make?
When I was 16–19, it was clear that most people were somewhere in the middle in terms of intellect and drive.
A few were especially hard working or lazy, and some were clearly smart.
When I look at the same people now, it has became clear that many of those from the poorer backgrounds ‘embedded’ poverty into their lives.
For some it was early pregnancy. For others it was drugs and excessive alcohol which wasn’t just a teenage period.
And finally there were those who didn’t go to university.
This was usually not because of some rational decision, but to accept a full-time job paying 50p-1 Pound an hour more compared to the current part-time job.
Not delaying gratification is a key mistake. When people are 16 or 18, they often focus on what they can earn at 22 and not 30 or 35.
For many, somebody who is 30 seems old. You see it all the time – ‘better to earn and spend as much now because i will be too old to enjoy it at 30 or 40’.
Then you get there and realize you often have more energy than as an 18-year-old!
Does having a lot of money always mean more problems for a person?
It depends how people use the money and their mentality.
At the lower ends of the spectrum, having more money should reduce problems.
Going from poverty to a comfortable income shouldn’t cause you extra problems.
In comparison, going from upper middle to rich or super rich, might increase your problems.
Take travel. If you are upper middle or rich, you can fly business class often, or even first.
You might even be able to do it mostly on points, especially if you are a business owner or frequent flyer, and not pay the full cost.
It is possible to simply book online, and get conveniences associated with that service, like a chauffeur driver, to take you to the airport.
The processes won’t take you any longer than booking economy class and you will save time at the airport.
If you are rich, you might even be able to charter a private jet.
In comparison, some super rich people own a jet. Think about the practicalities though:
You suddenly have to deal with:
- Finding a pilot or learning how to fly yourself
- So many other things you never realized were needed.
The same is true for housing. If you go from a tiny place to a nice five-bed penthouse, or family house in the countryside, then you might not have many extra problems.
If you buy a mansion, then you could have multiple heating and air conditioning systems, and more things will break.
Therefore, you will need to hire staff, and that will come with problems.
It should be no surprise that many wealthy people eventually just want liquid financial assets.
Having $20m in a brokerage account is no less inconvenient than having $100,000, apart from a few more compliance questions perhaps.
Holiday homes in four continents worth $20m? Not quite the same thing.
Using AirBnb and just renting would be more convenient!
Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?
Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 666.9 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.