This is the continuation of a five-part series dealing with motivation and differentiation between needs and wants. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is referenced to help understand why we are motivated to make certain choices.
Let’s move on to the second level—safety needs. Sure, we have a need to be free from physical and psychological harm. Certainly, there are innumerable threats within our contemporary environment. We are reminded in all forms of the media to be vigilant at all times. Of course, that is a good starting point. However, being aware of one’s surroundings may not be enough. There are far too many environmental factors. Where you are, when you are there, and what you are doing at a given time. Wrong time, wrong place, can all be a bad mix.
After two years of decline, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased from 2015 to 2016 and again from 2016 to 2018. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2018, among U.S. residents age 12 or older, the number of violent-crime victims rose from 2.7 million in 2015 to 3.3 million in 2018, an increase of 600,000 victims.
Other safety issues relating to an individual’s risk tolerance. Some people have a higher risk tolerance for certain activities. For example, a young person is more likely to invest with a desire for a high rate of return, whereas someone nearing retirement is likely to be risk–averse, thus choosing a more conservative approach to investing. Assuming all is congruent with life expectancy statistics, this is the best choice, if for no other reason than the older investor does not have as many years left to recover from any losses with investments. Just for the record, according to the June 2019 National Vital Statistics report, life expectancy is 78.6 years.
Consider safety concerns in terms of investing as expressed in a letter to the authors from “Unlucky Eddy.”
What’s luck got to do with it? Maybe a lot. The cloud of doom seems to follow me.
I’ve invested in the stock market and lost. I bought real estate that I can’t sell, because two years after the purchase it was designated a wetland. I loaned money to a friend to start a “can’t lose” business, and it did. What the heck?! I went into debt with all of this.
So how do I pick up the pieces, regroup, and change my luck? I have a six-figure income, and I feel like I’m bleeding money from a thousand cuts.
Indeed, the cloud of doom. Who knows about luck? Good, bad, or indifferent, it happens.
Calculated risk is key. Unfortunately, no infallible crystal ball exists. Many people have lost money in the stock market, and yet many people have made money too. Obviously, the market can be a wild roller coaster ride given uncertain economic conditions. Real estate has, in general, been an asset that appreciates in value over time. But, as you point out, unforeseen things happen. A failed business always causes collateral damage. Not sure to what extent you went into debt for your investments or what age group you are in. Hopefully, you have sufficient time before retirement to make a financial recovery.
Very careful research is a prudent course of action. In order to regroup, you need to assess where you stand financially after your run of bad luck. Prepare your current balance sheet. Assuming you have liquid assets, where will you invest? Always be on guard when you hear the words “can’t lose.” Do you use a competent financial advisor? Did you purchase your real estate through a licensed agent/broker? Did you research zoning, pending legislation, etc.? Keep in mind that the higher the expected return, the higher the risk. What is your risk tolerance and how close are you to retirement? These are critical questions when considering safety factors.
Clearly, you can regroup since you have a six-figure income—assuming your living costs are reasonable—but as you move forward, vigilantly research your investment choices and carefully vet your advisors. Remember, due diligence tends to enhance luck.
Assuredly, there are many products and services that will offer the promise of exceptional satisfaction to fill any of our safety needs. Personal and home protection, automobile features, financial protection, identity theft protection… the possibilities are vast.
Remember, safety should always be a very high priority and safety concerns relate to almost everything in life. Marketers are readily available to offer a variety of solutions for every concern. It is up to the consumer to decide on the most appropriate balance of need and want in any circumstance.
Part 3 in this series addresses fulfilling our Social Needs.
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