Gambling, Investment Schemes and Other Empty Wells

Income sources you’ll be Richer for NOT having tried – Part 3

By Kevin M

In the previous posts in this series we’ve covered the implications of TV infomercials as well as real estate, insurance and car sales as a means to overcome a career- or financial crisis. All of these efforts are an attempt to create a new career or income stream based on enterprise. Today we’ll take a look at some financial “tactics” that rely little on enterprise but heavily on luck.

If your career or financial situation are under stress, that which seems improbable during more prosperous times, might start to look as if it may be “worth a shot”. And while the thinking behind such a belief actually makes sense at some level, the near inescapable reality of life is that when we absolutely need Lady Luck to smile upon us, she’s usually on vacation! Moral of the story: luck is not a career or financial strategy!

Rolling the dice – literally!

If you have an orientation toward gambling, be it in casinos, online, buying lottery tickets, playing the horses, involving yourself in card games or any of the other popular methods, now would be a stellar time to end the practice. If money’s tight you can’t afford it, period!

The notion that it gives you a chance at hitting it big is little more than a justification gamblers use to lend credibility to an addiction. Buying 20 lottery tickets instead of two may lower the odds from say 10 million to one, to 1 million to one, but both sets of probability are still somewhere out in the stratosphere.

I’ve never known anyone who has made a living out of gambling, and I’d guess you don’t know any either. That alone should tell you all you need to know. But once again, we have to look at the cost of losing in terms beyond money. How much hope do you lose, how much despair do you take on, every time you don’t win? Can you afford to carry those negative emotions with you when you’re looking to make a fresh start in life?

The problem with gambling is that if you’re not winning, you’re losing. Can either your finances or your emotions afford that?

“Can’t miss” investments

I have known people who have made a living (and a fortune) by investing small amounts of money in different ventures that rocketed in value. The people who have done this successfully have been people who were well moneyed to start, didn’t need the cash for survival, and spread their fortune over many different ventures.

It’s a form of legalized gambling, and it’s absolutely necessary to have such capital available in a free market economy. The investor is risking that any individual allocation could go all the way down to zero, but does so because he has sufficient capital to spread his money over many different investments so that even if only two or three rise many times in value, that will be more than enough to offset loses in the ones that didn’t pan out.

The world will hear all about his winners, but nary a word about the deals that went sour. If you have limited means, meaning money you can’t afford to lose, you have no business trying to play this type of game in the hopes of striking it rich on a can’t-miss-opportunity. That kind of “investment” will only miss if/when you absolutely, positively need for it to hit.

If you have some money, use it for more day to day needs, or at least as a cash cushion. Losing money on a bad investment when you’re on the financial edge is the worst kind of defeat.

If you are in a desperate financial situation, or close to it, you are emotionally vulnerable, and one thing you absolutely don’t need is another failed venture to put into you’re life’s collection. We all fail at some things and that’s only the price of trying. But trying to succeed at something with a predictably high rate of failure is not something you can afford when life is already weighing heavily.

Have you ever tried any of the above in an effort to overcome a career or financial crisis? How did it work for you?

Part 1 – Get Rich Quick infomercials

Part 2 – The Big Three Sales Careers: Real Estate, Insurance and Car Sales

4 Responses to Gambling, Investment Schemes and Other Empty Wells

  1. Kevin,

    This is a great series and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I believe MLMs (Multi-Level Marketing), such as Amway and MonaVie, are conspicuously absent from your list. I have a friend who made a lot of money selling water filters, but then the whole organization failed and took his income with it.

    I feel MLMs are good for some people with the right personality, but they are not right for most people. You give up your “warm market” (friends and family) to the organization, so the people who recruited you can make a quick buck. Then, you drop out and they move on to the next recruit.

  2. Hi Bret, I left MLM’s out because I don’t have any first hand experience with them. I strongly suspect that you’re right in what you’re saying, but there are a lot of programs out there, and I don’t know enough about a sufficient number of them to generalize.

    I’d love to hear from anyone who does, because it’s certainly relevant to the subject at hand.

  3. “The investor is risking that any individual allocation could go all the way down to zero, but does so because he has sufficient capital to spread his money over many different investments so that even if only two or three rise many times in value, that will be more than enough to offset loses in the ones that didn’t pan out. ” ~ Kevin M

    Let us not forget that speculating (that is, the gambling approach to investing) is best left to people who actually have some sort of financial foundation. Most people who fall victim to these sort of thing are either too busy trying to pay off their mortgages and cars, or to even afford investments in the first place.

    Personally, I haven’t had been subjected to a financial crisis so dire that I had to make note of it. Other that cut expenses of things unaffordable; nothing too much beyond that. I’m developing little hedges with liquid assets that can help me afford major fall-backs should it ever happen though!

  4. If you are buying lottery tickets, you are truly wasting your money… you won’t win the big one…. odds are against it. You have a better chance of getting hit by lightning on a sunny day.

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