How do I know?

Seriously, how do I know the “money,” the digital data on my electronic bank statement, is there? I mean, can I touch it or visit it on the weekend like a relative in jail? How do I know my check to invest life savings isn’t going straight to an account in the Cayman Islands? How do I know when I send a check to a charity that some round fella in a white suit and cowboy hat (think Boss Hogg) won’t spend my money on cigars and imported barbecue sauce? 

The foundation of our economy and financial system is 100 percent based on risk and trust. Our forefathers and mothers set out across the vast wilderness that is now interstates and Waffle Houses not knowing what they would find. Sure, they knew a little, and they trusted they’d overcome what they didn’t know. Sometimes they were right; oftentimes they were buried along the way. 

In short, they didn’t know. They didn’t know what they would find. They didn’t know if they would even live to try to find whatever “it” was. 

“Knowing” is overrated. Classically defined, a “risk offset” is the difference between the risk you take and the skill you have. Me trying to box Mike Tyson is a huge (and likely pointless) risk to take when one considers my skill level. Me trying to make veggie lasagna from a recipe is a risk if I don’t successfully combine the ingredients. (I may end up at RusTeak or Gabriel’s for dinner, which sounds more like a reward …) 

Knowing is no fun. We know going to the bank and buying a certificate of deposit will earn a crummy rate of return. We know by never leaving the house we reduce our risk of being run over by a bus or eaten by a tiger. We know if we don’t befriend someone they can never disappoint us or do us harm. Yes, we know these things. 

For my money and yours, knowing is a waste of time, and it’s generally unprofitable. 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t investigate and measure the risk you are taking compared to what you know about an endeavor. Whether we’re talking relationships or travel or investments (we are talking investments still, right?), we can do a level of risk offsetting: Learn as much as you can about the individual, destination or investment. 

Then, at some point, you must decide. The decision usually boils down to one thing — trust. Do I trust the romantic interest, the travel agent or financial person? Do I trust my instincts, my education or my intuition? 

In my experience, the biggest mistake folks often make is born not of bad decisions but of no decision. 

Trust me … on that. 


Scott Brown, Financial Advisor 

Keiron Partners, an independent office 

Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC 

720 Rugby Street, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32804, 407-648-1881 


Keiron Partners is not a registered broker/dealer, nor is it affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services. Securities are offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Advisors, Inc. Opinions expressed are those of Scott Brown and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. 

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