Thursday, January 2, 2014

Risk and reward

This past year the stock market provided an excellent example of the rewards of taking calculated risk with one's financial resources.  The Standard and Poor's 500 index ended the year up nearly 30 percent.   On the other hand, the much more traditionally safe investments of treasury notes returned less than three percent, while bonds lost two percent over the year.

While it was only recently we were reminded how the stock market can also drop dramatically, on average it outperforms other traditional investments that are considered much less risky.  Such is life, isn't it?  To receive a significant gain of any value one must take significant risks.

My biggest risks over the years also reaped the greatest gains.... leaving home for college, spending my junior year abroad, getting married and adopting our child.  All of these were great risks, and brought me well outside of my comfort zone, but also helped me to grow and a person.

While directing a mentoring program I often reminded people that the significant risk and investment required to become a mentor could also yield a great gain, not only for the child being mentored, but also the volunteer doing the mentoring. People who only want to make a brief, one shot volunteer commitment shouldn't expect the significant kinds of returns of those who make a great investment of themselves and their time.

So, as you enter the new year, what risks might you consider taking to help you grow and possibly yield a great return on your investment of your time or money?

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