I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 362.8 million views in recent years.
In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:
- What stops people from investing when they know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do? I explore some of the main reasons including fear generated by the media, family and friends.
- What luxury is the most difficult to go without, once you get used to it? Time, experiences, security or material goods? Moreover, how can we spend our money to feel happier, secure and more fulfilled?
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Source for all answers – Adam Fayed’s Quora page.
What stops people from investing when they know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do?
It is a great question. Deep down, people understand that it makes sense to invest to:
- Avoid poverty in retirement
- Help their children in the future
- Have more options and choices later on – such as the ability to retire early
- Avoid losing to inflation in the bank.
In a sentence, it makes sense to have more choices and a better life.
The biggest things which stop people are:
The media make money from fear – “whatever bleeds leads”.
Therefore, there will always be misleading headlines. What is more, as most people don’t understand investing, they might wrongly think that keeping money in the bank is less risky than investing this.
This is only true if people speculate or are short-term investors as the graph below shows:
As the billionaire Ray Dalio says below, cash is actually the riskiest asset of them all, due to inflation:
What doesn’t help with fear, in this day and age, is social media, friends, and family.
I have run out of the number of expats who have emailed me saying something like “I know I shouldn’t time the markets but this time could be different due to speaking to X and Y person, watching such and such video”.
There is never a perfect time to do anything. There will always be potential personal clouds on the horizon which means you might need a percentage of the assets to be returned if the threat materializes.
There will also be other dangers and threats in the world. There always have been, and there always will be.
What is most ironic is that people who procrastinate once always will do for example those who leave money in cash waiting for years (or even a decade) for a big stock market crash will continue to wait for markets to drop more once one finally happens.
I only knew a few people who predicted 2008 and 2020. I don’t know anybody who knows anybody who predicted the crash AND invested at the bottom.
People who make money are those who take action quickly and don’t try to outsmart the market.
What luxury have you earned that you will never go back to not having?
What does somebody without a job and many million-dollar salary earners have in common?
Most people would say absolutely nothing. Yet the stats show they do have something in common.
Namely, they are always 3–4 payslips away from financial danger. How many celebrities have you heard about who have gone bankrupt?
It is estimated that the majority of former athletes go broke, with many lottery winners going the same way.
The reason is simple. Their financial life is like a juicer:
Money comes in, and money goes out. If fresh money doesn’t come in, the whole show can come tumbling down.
The same is true with some businesses. Look at industries like football in the last few decades.
Loads of extra money have come in but profits haven’t gone up because all that extra money has gone on players’ wages, transfers, and agent fees.
This issue is so common that Parkinson’s law has been adapted to explain it:
The sensible businesses, and people, don’t just spend all the extra money as they earn more.
They create a surplus, invest it well, and this ensures the person doesn’t always need fresh money if there is an emergency.
This surplus, in turn, creates options and security. Security is higher up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs compared to material things, so is more likely to make you happy than buying loads of random materialistic stuff:
So, the biggest luxuries I would struggle to give up on are options and relatively good security.
I am not saying never buy luxury things, but the evidence shows it isn’t as useful as having a more balanced life, with enhanced security.
One of the biggest reasons for that is you get used to new luxuries. If you fly economy as an 18-year-old kid, you are just happy to be traveling internationally.
The first time you fly business class you are excited. Then it gets so normal that it doesn’t feel any better.
The same thing is true for any material service or product which you do too often. Spending money on experiences doesn’t get old as quickly as things.
Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?
Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 669.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.
In the article below, taken from my online Quora answers, I spoke about the following topics and issues:
- Could the property developer in China, Evergrande, go under and cause a Lehman-style crisis. This is worrying people, given how much debt is in the Chinese system, and how important the property and construction sector is to the Chinese economy.
- The stock market didn’t crash in 2021, but many people predicted it would, and asked fearful questions on Quora to that effect. What does this show going forward for future years?
To read more, click on the article below