Last week, I asked two of my neighbors the following question:
If you were given the guaranteed option of getting 10% return in cash from a stock in 10 days, would you buy that stock?
One of my neighbors is a retired teacher and a millionaire. The other is a working architect and not a millionaire. Here’s what they answered:
Millionaire: I don’t do things like that.
Architect: What’s the down side?
There was no down side. A company was paying a special dividend of $11 and I wanted to help my neighbors make some extra cash.
In addition, these two neighbors, who are also my friends, know what I do, but have never asked me for a financial advice. They also know that I consistently get over 30% annual return on my investments, and they continue to buy bonds and mutual funds.
In the end, both didn’t buy the stock.
In the case of my millionaire neighbor, I understand why he didn’t care. He’s 72, and he just beat prostate cancer. He doesn’t have any ambition left in him and his main purpose in life is to be entertained.
My architect neighbor is 54, plays tennis, has a girlfriend, and lives on rent. He wants to own a house, but doesn’t have enough money for a down payment. Why did he reject my offer?
Upon further investigation with more of my friends, I realized that all of them feared losing their money. Only one person, out of 150 people in my Contacts, was willing to listen to my financial advice. They all read my monthly Financial Freedom Newsletter, but none of them did anything to improve their financial situation.
What’s wrong with these people? Why are they so afraid of my free advice? Why are they so afraid of making money and being financially free?
In practical terms, money equals security. Most people fear losing their security. They fear losing it because, on a subconscious level, security means “Life” and lack of security means “Death.” This is also called conditioning.
Also, in broad psychological terms, the way we relate to one thing is the way we relate to all things. If we fear losing a loved one, we fear losing our money, our glasses, our keys, our reputation, and so on.
Lastly, most people lack financial education, which feels like blindness when dealing with money. That’s why they grow their money in non-threatening ways: Savings Account, IRA Account, CD Account, 401(k) account.
In order to conquer this primal fear of dying, one has to understand that money is an abstraction, a concept. It is not real. And fearing something that isn’t real is called paranoia.
When we lose money, we don’t lose anything of value. Money has no true value. People, with their skills and knowledge and emotions, have value. Money is just a result of the value in us.
So next time you fear losing your security by investing your money in stocks, remember that nobody can rob you of your riches. You’re already wealthy.
If your bank account doesn’t reflect that and you’re still unhappy, remember what philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said:
“Money is human happiness in the abstract: he, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes his heart entirely to money.”
Measured by Schopenhauer’s wisdom, most of us are 50/50: we strive to find happiness, but we also strive to make money. But we can’t be truly happy if we fear losing our security.
Hence, we’re neither happy nor financially free. And this is not good.
Luckily, there’s hope.
Investing in ourselves by learning more about who we are and how we function, trying new things and venturing outside of our comfort zone, letting go of attachments, and finding inner balance helps us develop high human value, from which springs health, happiness, love, and limitless abundance.
I may have asked my two neighbors whether they wanted to make 10% return in 10 days, but what I was really asking them was: Are you willing to be happy and financially free?
They declined. Will you?
By Krasimir Karamfilov, who is the manager of Pirgos Mirgos LLC, an investment company in Santa Monica, CA. He holds two Master's degrees in the arts, which helps him invest creatively.