Stoic & Wealthy #2: On fear

stoic and wealthy - fear

This is the second of four essays I’m publishing every Thursday, leading up to the launch of my book, The Stoic Path to Wealth.

Over the course of these four essays, we will uncover why Stoic wisdom can make you wealthy. If you missed the previous edition, read it here.

Get over the fear of losing money so you can make money

Money and fear. For so many of us, they go hand in hand.

  •  Some people fear losing the money they have
  • Other people fear that they won’t be able to make money again in the future

It’s natural to fear loss. I’ve been there. I lost close to two-thirds of my money within a year when I first started investing. 

It’s painful to lose a significant amount of money. And that fear of loss has affected me so badly in the past that I became afraid of getting back into investing.

This same fear makes many people avoid the stock market. But if we let this fear control us, we will never take any risk.

Just like in any other aspect of life, there will always be risks involved when it comes to wealth building. Whether that’s in the stock market, real estate, or starting a business – you can always lose money.

But the problem is that we often get too fearful. And as a result, we never even invest. If we do invest, we don’t invest nearly enough.

End result: You leave a lot of money on the table.

Look, we’ve all hear the same old story of, “Many of the richest people in the world built their wealth with stocks.”

Think of Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk. All their wealth is created through the stock market.

We also can invest in stocks. But for some reason, we get fearful.

  • “What if I lose my money?”
  • “What if there’s a recession?”
  • “What if the dollar collapses?”
  • “What if there’s another war or pandemic?”

I get it. I’ve had those thoughts too. Especially if you spend some time on social media, you think the world is about to end.

But just look at the past 100 years. We’ve dealt with world wars, natural disasters, recessions, pandemics, currency issues, elections, social unrest… and yet, the stock market has gone up through everything.

What’s going to stop it if those things can’t stop it?

We need to overcome the fear of loss if we want to build long-term wealth. After all, when it comes to passive investing, losses are only temporary. 

Marcus Aurelius said this about time:

“Time is like a river made up of the events which happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place, and this will be carried away too.” 

In a similar way, the stock market is also like a river, which keeps flowing no matter what’s going on in the world. Sometimes the current is faster or wilder than other times. But the river always flows in the same direction.

The stock market experiences its ups and downs, but on the whole, it keeps going up.

Those ups and downs are natural. Something temporary. 

Acceptance of this nature takes away our fear of investing. When we zoom out and stop looking at the day to day moves, we realize that it’s more costly to not invest.

The main takeaway from the Stoics is this: Never fear something that’s natural.

Next week, we’ll see how we can combine the skill of managing both fear and greed to become a more consistent investor.

All the best.


Meditate on this…

In my book, The Stoic Path to Wealth, I share stoic quotes related to investing. The stoics’ ancient wisdom is still highly relevant and applicable today.

“The wise man is neither raised up by prosperity nor cast down by adversity; for always he has striven to rely predominantly on himself, and to derive all joy from himself” – Seneca

We can neutralize our fear of losing money if we trust in our own ability to build sustainable wealth. 

Everything starts with learning, which ultimately results in more confidence.

Order The Stoic Path to Wealth

My new book, The Stoic Path to Wealth (Portfolio / Penguin), is out now.

If you order before the week ends, you will instantly get free access to 4 products, worth over $500.

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