Are you a risk-taking chicken?

Risk-taking chicken … this phrase struck really struck me, sparked by a Facebook conversation about investing – or more specifically, NOT investing – with a fellow ELT-er who wasn’t ready to learn about it.

It really resonated with me because I think I’m both a chicken and a risk-taker too.

Before I had children, I never stayed in one country more than 3 years, and most of them I made it less than a year before skipping off somewhere else. I chose those countries and cities on whims, or vague mentions by people I barely knew. 

Three years in Istanbul came about because of a Hairy Bikers episode from Van in East Turkey that aired when I was writing my thesis for the MA in ELT. I’d taken that MA to ground me to A Sensible Life In The UK. I moved to Istanbul a few weeks after handing it in.

Most of those places worked out. Except Qatar where, 6 weeks after arriving, I fled on a midnight flight back to Istanbul (for a man actually, another big gamble), leaving my roomate to tell the school I’d gone. An interlude you won’t find on my CV!

When it comes to money, I’m much more of a chicken, having always been a saver rather than a splurger. 

My favoured approach to investing, and the one I teach on my chilled investor course, is passive investing where you take on a very small amount of risk in exchange for steady returns over time. It’s an approach that is the life equivalent of moving to a town a bus ride away from home but that has a better cinema and more job opportunities.

Risk-taking chicken fundamentals I teach, like building an emergency fund and other “boring” stuff, mean you insure yourself against doing anything truly risky. 

As one of my first students, Rachael Roberts, said, “I was a bit worried about what level of risk I would be expected to take. I now know that this was unfounded as one of the key things we learn is about how to work out risk and choose options that we’re comfortable with.”

The biggest risk to your financial security, both now and for the future, is NOT investing.

Investing is the only way to grow money beyond your own earning power. It took me 20 years to work that out. While I was boomeranging around the globe, taking risks with where I lived and what would happen to me when I got there, I was actually sleep-walking into a guaranteed fate. 

I wasn’t at risk of having no financial security, I was guaranteeing it.

I see the same thing happening to many people in the ELT industry and I’m hoping to change it, one chilled investor cohort at a time. Bookings will open soon for the next course (starting Oct 23) so check it out here and put down a deposit to secure your place.

If you’re a risk-taking chicken, it’s never too late to cross the road.

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