It's Mother's Day and cheers to these wonderful risk takers
By Dian Vujovich
When writing about money and investing, it’s never prudent to overlook the risks related to investing. Risks, whether large or small, are everywhere in the products sold to us from those in the financial arena. But risk isn’t a word only relegated to the financial world: There are risks encountered every minute of everyday in everything we do. Just ask you mother.
Mothers might very naturally be the ultimate risk-knowers and risk takers in the world. From the moment they learn that they’re pregnant, or decide to adopt a child, the risk taking begins. Preparing a life for a life requires a lot of conscious thinking and ultimately making decisions that don’t come with guarantees. And so the risk taking begins and doesn’t end until life itself does.
There will be some who might argue the fact, but I’m not really a mother. For whatever reason, that situation did not present itself in my life (at least in two-legged form). As for my mom, she died 25 years ago but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about her, wishing I could send her a card or meet for brunch today.
A neighbor of mine, who is in her 80s, bought one of those Mylar Happy Mother’s Day balloons for her long-gone mom. In magic marker she wrote her mom’s name on it and the heart-shaped balloon is a joy filled bobbing-and-floating reminder of the lady who gave her life. She was the one who taught her the simple but oh-so important stuff like not to touch a hot stove, how to cross the street along with hundreds of other dos and don’ts and tiny details about what to watch out for in life.
I got into this moms and risk-taking mode after reading more about how the financial crisis –that began years ago and still impacts us today— got its footing in the 1990s as a financial company set out to create a product that eliminated risk. Last week’s news about how trading strategies by JPMorgan Chase blew up in their effort to manage risk added fodder to what I consider a ridiculous, impossible and arrogant notion. Too bad the investment product meister’s on Wall Street see things differently. But they don’t and would rather cloak risk than admit its always and ever-present existence.
In reality, the best one can do is try to manage risk. But even managing risk isn’t a slam-dunk deal. Ever. The unknowns are too vast to totally eliminate risk whether those risks are within our investment portfolios or our personal lives.
Moms know that.
So on this Mother’s Day how about thanking your mom for the multitude of lessons she has taught you. Then, make a special nod of appreciation to her for those that center around the mom-like way she taught you that living life always requires some degree of risk taking. Knowing that can make all of us both richer and wiser.
To read more articles, please visit the column archive.