What do you think of when you hear the word gambling? If you're like me, it's probably something along the lines of someone in a casino hopefully hitting it big (or slumped over looking devastated).
There are a lot of different types of gambling though - outside of the casino. Think 'playing around in the stock market,' 'I trade but I do not really know what I' m doing. ' We hear these things all the time - rookie 'investors' that follow advice of 'professionals' blindly and throw their money into the stock market, of where ever. that I am only referring to people that do not have training or formal knowledge about the stock market. There are a lot of educated investors out there that are really investing, and profitable - not gambling.
For the rest of us though, we need to be focusing on investing instead of gambling. What does that mean? Well, it will probably be a lot more boring than playing in the stock market all day. True investing means you have a plan. A well-thought out, goal driven, detailed plan. If you do not know your Financial Independence Number, that is a good place to start so you know where you'll need to end up. Your agent can help you identify what your number is. A word of warning though - for most of us, the number is so massive its unfathomable. Right now at least. With a dedicated investing plan, you'll get there sooner than you expect.
Many people find investing difficult because it takes discipline. Usually, money being invested used to be spent on a more immediately gratifying something. Now, not only do you have to wait - a long time - for that gratification, but you are not able to do the fun activity as much as you were before. Double boo. Is it worth it though? Of course.
We need to recognize that most of us do not know the difference between true investing and gambling. Moreover, most people do not realize the significant difference taking one path or the other means for their future. Take a look at our current economic situation. More and more people are falling into the 'poverty' bracket. If we are smarter and / or more educated than we have ever been, why are we backsliding financially? In a nutshell, people simply do not know. They do not understand how money works, how to keep it or make it grow. The chasm between the people that do know (like your agent or adviser) and those that do not growing so soon some have started to give up.
It is not too late though. Recognize that this economic problem is not a national problem, it's an individual problem. No one is going to chase you down to teach you about this stuff. Take action and seek out this information on your own. Start with your financial advisor. Other than the effort to make the initial call and set the appointment, it takes less effort than you think. And the payoff will be worth the effort in spades. Go!