Investment, Asset, and Portfolio

Investment

1. the investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value; or

2. a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy, etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something

Asset

items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill, fixtures, machinery, or real estate

Portfolio 

the total holdings of the securities, commercial paper, etc., of a financial institution or private investor

– Dictionary.com

Recently among friends, a debate arose for a distinction between investing and gambling. I proposed that there is indeed a fine line between the two, but different people choose differently where to position the line. For example, I may want to leave 90% of my asset in well-managed brokerage or retirement accounts, considering that as an investment, but use the remaining 10% to “gamble” on the stock market. Another person may do the reverse. For most of us, the likely scenario is mostly the former. Assuming this was the case, the 10% gambling would create the most “fun” and will require most of his/her emotional engagement to “beat the market”. However, the overall impact of this potential “win” to one’s total financial asset will be limited by definition to around 10%. This over-proportional effort to a limited return is just not logical to me. Therefore, I choose not to even do the 10% “gambling”.

Rather, I choose to have an investment strategy that is aimed to strike for a balance between effort and return, which requires a well-balanced portfolio of all my assets.

The question then becomes: what are my assets?

It certainly includes my finance. I would argue though it also includes my physical health, my relationship to my kids, my spouse, my friends, my colleagues, so on and so forth. Think a bit even bigger, it should include my ability to influence and make a positive difference to those that surrounding me. Then how about the society as a whole? Does my asset include my place within? I would say, why not!

My portfolio now includes all of the above assets that I need to manage within my waking time every day for the goal of achieving a well-balanced outcome during my able life time, which needs to be “re-balanced” over the life time:

In a way, one’s “portfolio” defines who he or she is.

The question now becomes, what is your portfolio?

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