THE MIDDLE of the pack is seldom the place to be, but there are exceptions to every rule, and the risk curve could be an important distribution where a midpoint is not all that bad.


Those who recommend a high-risk strategy point out its high reward. They are proud of the fact that they have had to restart from zero over and over again. They point this out while at the top of their game. Many who play their game do not rise from the ashes and, therefore, do not have the visibility to make credible reports from their depths.

Both high-risk and steady-as-she-goes strategies can arrive at the same place. One arrival is dramatic while the other usually is less heralded. If high risk works for you and you enjoy its ups and downs, you have that financial option. You can be high-risk tolerant and not pursue a high-risk strategy. This can allow you to vary your actions as situations dictate.

Going the low-risk road is a more common strategy and is more in tune with human nature and its need to survive. It still requires uncommon effort in self-discipline and tenacity. A mix of the two approaches puts you high on the curve. One trick used to master this strategic dilemma is to set goals above average so that if you come up a bit short you will still be in a pretty good place.

The art of financial planning dictates that you control high-risk impulses and attempt to rise above a low-risk comfort zone. Somewhere in there is where you ought to be. Where that is and how it changes is what we all are working on. How we attempt to get where we are going is a big part of getting there.

Jack Falvey is a frequent contributor to the Union Leader, Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal. He can be contacted at

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Tuesday, November 12, 2019