risk tolerance

4 Questions To Improve Your Life And Marriage (Hint: Start With Your Risk Tolerance)

Not everyone likes to take risks. Some people see risks as a great way to ruin a good thing, while others feel like their day is ruined without some risk. Those differing viewpoints can be a challenge when you’re married. If you spouse doesn’t have any risk tolerance and you get all fired up by finding “the next great idea” you may want to invest in a kickboxing class or Advil.

Scott and I differ in our level of risk tolerance. Quite a bit! But we have devised a healthy way to honor both of our natural instincts. Understanding our Money Personalities was a game-changer for our marriage.

If you’re one of the 350,000 people who’ve taken our online Money Personality Assessment, you know your Primary and Secondary Money Personality. (If not, take it HERE.) You also know one of the five Money Personalities is Risk Taker. And I (Bethany) am a Secondary Risk Taker. Scott’s Secondary is the exact opposite, Security Seeker.

Sound like fun? It actually is!

I loved that I ran across a Forbes article lately that totally reinforced the value of taking risks. So, of course, I showed it to Scott and he loved the article too. Not every financial expert will celebrate the value of risk-taking. Most financial people want to praise the Savers and shame the Risk Takers. Not us.

How many inventions or businesses exist because someone played it safe? We love Risk Takers!

The Forbes article entitled, Take A Risk: The Odds Are Better Than You Think, shares various studies that show how your life (and we think, marriage) can be improved by living life a little more “on the edge”.

We know Risk Takers – and their spouse – profit by learning from successes and almost-successes. (We don’t call them “failures”.)

Also, we encourage each other and you to think of those risks that didn’t quite go as planned as valuable. You learn from them and you didn’t limit your ability to succeed by not trying at all.

We love how the Take A Risk article offered,

Questions to ask yourself to get yourself ready to take a risk:

  1. What would I do if I were being more courageous?
  2. How will inaction cost me one year from now if I do nothing?
  3. Where is my fear of failure causing me to overestimate the size of the risk?
  4. Am I underestimating myself and holding back from taking risks?

What’s the worst that could happen? That is a great question too.

When presented with an opportunity (or risk) ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” If total devastation is a realistic answer then reconsider, otherwise be honest about the size and effect of a possible success or almost-success.

When we were first married my desire to take risks made Scott crazy. It scared him and caused him to worry. And every time I came up with an idea that he shot down out of fear, it frustrated me. We knew we needed to honor both of our natural personalities and identifying our Money Personalities helped us do that.

One great example is the time I heard about a hedge fund manager selling his Dunkin Donuts franchise. It, not only, was a profitable, busy location, but it baked donuts for the surrounding franchises too. The one small hitch? It was in Estonia.

I couldn’t wait to tell Scott about this great opportunity.

Now, I won’t say his face didn’t show his concern, BUT to his credit, he saw my excitement and vowed to do some research (a Security Seeker’s strength) on the opportunity so we could really evaluate it.

Instead of saying, “No,” he went on a research hunt. He called and talked to them and scoured maps of the area. He crunched the numbers and told me how fascinating the whole process was for him. Now, we didn’t end up moving forward with the opportunity because our boys were little at the time and it was going to require a lot of travel. It was a viable business, but not good for us.

What I loved about it was Scott overcame his fear of failure and jumped into research mode. He didn’t just shut it down or try to shut me down. We both enjoyed that process. And because of that our relationship is better.

Daniel Kahneman wrote inThinking,  Fast and Slowwhen assessing risk, potential losses tend to loom larger than potential gains. That is, we tend to focus more on what might go wrong – what we might lose or sacrifice – than what might go right. Because what we focus on tends to magnify in our imaginations, it causes us to misjudge (and over-estimate) the likelihood of it occurring. Yet the reality is that the risk of something not working out is often not near as high as we estimate and the odds of it working out well, are often far better.”

What one thing can you do, or encourage your spouse to do, to take more risks and live life a little more “on the edge”? We’d love to hear about it.

Make it happen!

Scott & Bethany Palmer

The Money Couple

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