Is it ok to gamble from time to time?

Is it ever acceptable to gamble if you're trying to build wealth?

The strict answer is no! Never. Surely it would be madness to risk any of your capital whilst you're trying to build wealth?

However, the full answer is a little more nuanced. There are strong arguments to suggest that investing and building serious wealth requires an element of gambling.

Whenever you decide not to invest in pure cash and bonds but in property or stocks or funds you are gambling. You are taking on additional risk for the potential promise of a higher return. The odds may not appear as risky as those found on a betting website but do not be fooled - they are risky. You may argue that with property, stocks and funds you make an educated assessment of the risks versus rewards and invest over a long-time horizon mitigating the risk. However, the risk is ever present, and what is risk but a synonym for a gamble. 

Risk with spare cash

Don't worry though. It's fine to make money whilst risking it. It is the very essence of what business and entrepreneurialism is. Capital/ investment is put to work with the potential that it could be lost. To really thrive in business, you must be willing to gamble. If you read autobiographies of business leaders there are times in their lives, particularly in the early years when they have taken a bit of a gamble with their life saving or with their property and it has paid off.

You see - to really make it, there are times when the big gamble is required. The question is: do you have the courage?

Save your savings for investing, not gambling

Personally, I don't think I could risk my life savings or my flat for the possibility of making a fortune. However, I do enjoy an online casino every now and again. Note that I am not referring to my regular stock investments at this point. I am referring directly to betting (bookies and casinos).

Every now and again I see the odds for a sporting event or a political outcome that appear attractive and I have a little flutter. The key is to only risk what you could absolutely live without. I would absolutely ban the use of regular employment income or savings to be used to gamble with. Instead, use some passive income. This was the income from the return on your investments or side businesses. It is money that you wouldn't normally have had you only relied on your job for income. The bonus is that if the gable pays off then you've risked money you could easily afford to lose, and you could grow that passive income money even faster.

But maybe I'm being ridiculous. Maybe you would argue that you should never gamble any money. In which case, what do you call gambling? Investing in index funds - is this gambling? If not, then why not and what makes something a gamble?

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