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Q&A: An Alternative to Aggressive Investing

Make sure you're really investing and not gambling.

Question: Where could I invest $15,000 in a very aggressive way? If I were to lose it, it wouldn’t hurt me financially. I just want to have some fun with it and see if I could turn a big profit.

Ric: Instead of picking something that simply has a high level of volatility — which is how we usually define aggressive investing — you need to decide what is it that you believe is likely to outperform and then make your bet.

Because that’s what you’re doing — you’re making a bet. You’re not investing, you’re speculating.

I don’t recommend it, and we don’t do it for our clients. But given what you’ve told me — that you want to have fun, no harm if you fail but exciting if you succeed, as it would be if you won at a casino or horse track — you can certainly do it.

Choosing an investment that made lots of money in the past isn’t the way to go, because there’s no guarantee it will continue doing so.

You need to decide what stocks or market sectors suit your fancy. Don’t call a broker and ask for his advice, because he may merely tell you about the current “hot product” his firm is pushing. He’s as clueless as you are, and his motivations aren’t the same as yours. He doesn’t care whether you make money: He just wants to earn a commission.

So you must do your own research. Pay attention to the news, see what’s going on in popular culture, find out what’s happening on the Internet, notice what’s trending. What are people talking about? What’s hot? What’s not? Then throw your money into it and hope you’re right. But realize that you’re probably going to be wrong. Even if you are right, taxes and expenses will ding your profit.

My parting advice is this: If you want to make a really big bang with your investment, using money you truly don’t need, and you want to really enjoy a huge impact, do this: Donate the money to charity. Success is guaranteed.

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