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How Much Is Enough?

June 30, 2016

Yesterday I attended a speech presented by Benjamin Franklin. Actually it was Christopher Lowell dressed and talking like Benjamin Franklin and it was at a NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education course on Ethics and Virtue. It was as if the great man was still alive.

He said something that struck a chord that I want to share with you. He was talking about money and suggested whether having much more money would lead to an exponentially better life. He used this in the context of a few sayings of Franklin’s about money, but it isn’t something Franklin said. It also relates to what I wrote many times about taking more risk than you need to.

Question: Will having more money lead to an exponentially better life?

For most people the answer is “No.” Yet, many times they will take excessive risk where the extra benefits would not really change anything for them, but losses would. So, here is another question: Will having excessive losses lead to an exponentially worse life? Or rather, will losses cause a hurt where you might have to curtail some of your planned activities? If the response to this is “Yes” then I suggest the investment should be avoided.

To repeat a prior phrase of mine: Losses hurt more than gains benefit. Work it out for yourself. How much do you have to make to be able to beneficially change your situation? Now take half of that amount and assume you lost that. Would your situation remain the same or would you have to do things differently? If so, then never ever take that extra risk! Never ever!!!

How much is enough? I don’t know but never forget that losses loom on every investment.

FYI, Chris Lowell’s website is www.benfranklinlive.com. He is available for presentations on myriad topics and I highly recommend him.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ed Mendlowitz permalink
    June 30, 2016 1:57 pm

    The context of the remark by the speaker was that some people will do almost anything for money, and that we should maintain moral, honorable and virtuous standards. I applied the statement to indicate caution against excessive investment risk.
    Both interpretations are good uses for that remark.

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