Retirement 2009: Are You Afraid of Losing or Are You Hoping to Win?

The fear of losing is often greater than the desire to win.  Protecting what we have is a powerful human instinct, so powerful that it can keep us from what we really want.  Las Vegas reduces the fear of losing by making winning so attractive; no bells go off in the casino when someone loses, only when they win.

The news today is awash with dramatic stories of loss.  People are losing their jobs and retirement savings are sinking.  We are uncertain of what to do given the loss of our retirement security.  What can we do to protect ourselves as our finances fall?  The consensus is that you should hunker down, stay alert and wait for the eventual recovery.  All good advice.

I would add that you should also feel hopeful.  Hope is a well used word nowadays and for good reason.  It connotes a basic optimism that we need to keep us going.  Hope allows us to look at today’s realties and to understand what we can do to improve our situation.  Fear can stop us by overwhelming the hope we have as we worry about losing what we have.  We guarantee loss when we do not try to improve.  The only way to win is to plan and to act.

Before you buy your plane ticket to Las Vegas to win, consider that positive action does not always mean doing something; action can be as simple as waiting for the economy to recover.  How you act, what you do or not do, is best managed by your plan for getting what you want.  Take action based on what you want and not on what you fear.  It’s better to walk toward what you want than to run away from what scares you.  Action based on fear is easily swayed by unreliable emotions and impulses.  Take a cue from other successful people and base your actions on what you want, what is meaningful and what will work.  Remember what Mark Twain said: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.”

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Filed under Financial, Personal, Physical, Retirement, Retirement Tips, Social

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