Fear or Phobia

First, a few thoughts on the world of blogging, podcasts, and internet news. I discovered a neat feature available through Google at http://www.google.com/alerts. This feature allows you to enter keywords that might appear in news stories that you are following so that Google can email you when any new story appears that relates to your keyword. As an example, like many, I have been following the Madoff story. By entering “Madoff” as a keyword, any new story that Google finds regarding Madoff is sent to me by email. And there is no charge for this service! It is a great time saver, but it’s not perfect.

One of my alerts is “SEC” or Securities Exchange Commission. Unfortunately, SEC often means the South Eastern Conference for NCAA sports. As football season approaches, most of the stories for the SEC are not exactly what I am looking for, as I graduated from an ACC school. Another alert has “fear” as a keyword. Any story produced by Cape Fear Business News makes it to my inbox. But you still find many stories that you might not otherwise find.

One of my alerts is for the keywords, “fear”+”invest” and I discovered a story in the Chicago Tribune written by Gail Marks Jarvis. Gail is a very well known nationally syndicated columnist and in the July 5 issue of the Tribune she wrote a very good column entitled, “Fear can force more planning, smart investing”. Here is a link to the article, http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/yourmoney/chi-ym-marksjarvis-0705jul05,0,3774957.column?obref=obinsite

The article provides tips for investors from young to old and points out in a very direct manner the possibility that Social Security and Medicare may be weakened by the time the younger generation becomes eligible. Obviously, the burden and responsibility for our retirement is up to each of us. The more concerned we are about our retirement, the more motivated we are to save and invest to prepare for it.

If you look at the future, and specifically at your retirement, it is reasonable to experience fear when you think of Social Security and Medicare. What will they be when you become eligible? Fear, based on knowledge, is a helpful motivator. But, what if it becomes a phobia?

Investiphobia is caused by fear that becomes irrational and persistent. Where fear can be a motivator for the good, phobias discourage us from finding a solution. At http://www.thesaurus.com, “motivate” has four antonyms. For those of you who haven’t heard the word “antonym” recently, you might recall that it describes words that have the opposite meaning. The four antonyms of motivate are: Depress, Disconcert, Discourage, and Dissuade. None of these antonyms help an investor handle their portfolio! When fear becomes a phobia, the investment process is disrupted. Depression, disconcerting, discouraging, and dissuading demotivators are extremely destructive to an investment portfolio. When you suffer from Investiphobia, you will find it difficult to make a sound investment decision.
Fear can be a good motivator, but not if it develops into investiphobia! If you think you suffer from investiphobia, you need to get the help of a qualified fee-based advisor or planner.

Back to Gail Marks Jarvis. She wrote another excellent column back in 2007. Here is a link, and I highly recommend this article! http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/chi-070709gail-column,0,1720366.column I particularly like the cockroach analogy, although it isn’t as appealing as my little squirrel! Gail’s column is now on my reading list and I have also ordered her book. I will let you know what I think in a few weeks. She maintains a website, and I recommend it to you. It is at www.gailmarksjarvis.com.


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