What’s exciting about a 3% return? Sleep. Sweet glorious sleep.
We all take risks at some point in our lives. Some of us do quite well from it. But almost all of us get burned by it at some point too. The different outcomes we experience from the risks we take shape us into who we become and influence how we behave later in our life.
The ubiquitous investment disclaimer line ‘consider whether this investment is appropriate for you’ speaks directly to that, but few of us ever really give it all that much thought.
Someone who has given it a lot of thought is Gaby Rosenberg. So much thought that she built Blossom — an app that targets 3% returns by bringing bond investing, usually available only to large investors, to everyday people.
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While Blossom may not offer its customers excitement or hype, its product provides an endless amount of free sleep — sweet, glorious sleep! For many people, that’s more exciting than investing in crypto. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them feeling that way, because each has a unique story about how they came to feel it.
My parents, who are comfortably wealthy now, had one of the wildest journeys of risk related highs and lows you could imagine.
They sold their business in 2007 after years of very hard and unrewarding work and they went from being of below average wealth to above it almost overnight. Their retirement was sorted and they were set to coast through and enjoy their later life. Most of the payment they received was in the form of shares in a listed company and the shares were flying.
But then 2008 happened. Their $1.10 shares went to 1.8 cents. They arrived at far below average wealth almost overnight, far worse off than when they’d started because now they had fewer years with which to work and recover from it. They’d gone from hard work paying off to losing the life-changing benefit. It was one extreme to the other, it was violent and it hit them hard.
It cost them money, but worse, it cost them sleep. That put pressure on their happiness and led them to face to challenges they’d not been expecting to confront at that stage of their lives.
They recovered, largely because of lady luck, and they’re doing just fine now. But the experience completely obliterated their appetite for risk. Not surprisingly, my parents now have the most conservative investment strategy imaginable. It’s also one of the lowest performing strategies.
Many would be disappointed with their current returns; but not them. For them it’s perfect. It lets them live the life they want and means they sleep soundly after years of struggling to do that.
Some people, many people, don’t want risk. They don’t want uncertainty, they don’t want sleepless nights. The hype-style investors don’t talk about them and the journalists don’t cover them because they’re ‘boring’. Nobody would click the headline ‘3% return improves sleep’ or ‘The 37 year old teacher who made 3% in 12 months from her bedroom’. Perhaps that’s why we have a generation of investors who have no idea about risk and believe, wrongly, that you can always and will always make 300% a year in crypto. Having lost on crypto, I can attest it’s not the case at all.
You might be retired and have seen enough risk in your lifetime, or you might be young and slowly but steadily saving for a modest house that you’ve been dreaming of. Buying it might bring you joy and provide you a sense of comfort and security you’ve always longed for. Good for you. Go you (you’re the unsung heroes in 2022). Or, you might have enormous levels of risk in other areas of your life (like me, by running a startup) and the idea of adding risk to the small amount of money you do have is just not something you can handle.
For you, for me, 3% a year is the sound of snoring; the feeling of waking up happy and relieved. For many many people, 3% is exciting because it provides comfort, security and predictability.
These aren’t boring people, there’s nothing at all wrong with them, they just have a different focus in their life than trying to make (and probably losing) copious amounts of money overnight. In many respects they are the quiet achievers, committed to doing things right, properly, slowly, responsibly. In my opinion, that’s much more impressive than we give credit for.
After downloading Blossom, I felt compelled to leave a review. I gave it five stars.
“Finally, a sleep app that works!!!”