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How to take calculated risks with your spare cash

The ability to take calculated risks is often the key difference between ordinary people and wildly successful ones. Entrepreneurs, professionals, and athletes build a life around a series of well-calculated risks that have a lopsided payoff. In other words, they do things that others wouldn’t consider to gain an edge.

This skill is critical to financial management. Much of personal finance and investment advice is based on the asymmetry of risk and return. In other words, the simple formula to managing money is to cut the downside and maximize the upside of any decision.

Here’s how you can spend your extra cash wisely without wasting another opportunity:

Invest in yourself

There’s no better investment than one in yourself. Traditional education might seem overpriced, but that’s not the only way to learn and gain new skills. Online courses, premium webinars, eBooks, and workshops are all great ways to sharpen your talents and boost your potential long-term. The downside is limited, since even the most frivolous course or useless certificate can help you meet new people and develop a fresh perspective.

Look for a group experience

The intangible value of group experiences can add a lot of value to your life. Taking part in activities with others can help ensure a healthy work-life balance, and help you create new relationships, generate new opportunities, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are many ways to do this, such as joining local fitness clubs, going on a networking cruise within your industry, or even online via gaming and casino sites.

Start a side venture

Not all businesses are complicated or time-consuming. Some just require an upfront investment and a little ongoing maintenance to generate a considerable return. The ‘Buy-to-Let’ boom was a good example of how ordinary people with regular jobs could generate wealth by taking advantage of a clear arbitrage opportunity. A small down payment coupled with a mortgage at an attractive rate and a property in a high-yield area could generate a passive return for years.

Now with the property market fading, there are other opportunities to create similar passive returns. You could consider crowdfunding a startup on sites like Crowdcube or Seedrs, investing in P2P loans, helping your friend set up an online shop, or selling digital goods through your own website. According to some estimates, nearly a third of all workers in America have a side hustle. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume the figures are similar in other developed economies. With the technology and access available today, it’s easier than ever to invest in different streams of passive income.

Spare cash is an opportunity to take some calculated risks that can have an outsized payoff. Consider spending the money on bets that won’t have an impact on your financial circumstances if they don’t work out, but could give you a considerable advantage if they do.

Claire Preece

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