Do we care more about risks to our money or safety?
There is a tendency for people to think they have control over the money that they earn, save, invest and spend. Do we? We may give away more control over our money than we realize when we spend it and invest it.
When we hand over our money to creditors to buy goods or services on credit, we are giving away control. Does buying on credit have risks? Yes. We now have an obligation to pay a debt with interest unless we pay the full balance owed by the due date. For many people, the risk is too high and they begin to carry the debt over a long period of time, accruing interest and more debt.
When we hand over our money to invest it, we are giving away control. Investing your money in stocks, bonds or a startup business provides you with an opportunity to increase your wealth. Do these investments have risks? Absolutely. We put our trust in someone else’s expertise, honesty and integrity. We believe that the expert will determine the facts and make wise choices on our behalf. As we have learned, that leap of faith could lead to financial loss.
Not long ago, Madoff and Stanford swindled money from investors via fraudulent Ponzi schemes with devastating financial consequences, essentially hitting at the heart of an individual’s trust and wealth.
This is not the risk that you are expected to take when you invest your money.
When we invest our money, we risk losing it through poor decisions on when and where to invest based on market trends.
This is the risk that you are expected to take when you invest your money.
In essence, our whole society is based on safety from cradle to grave. When it comes to safety, people think that someone other than themselves will protect them including parents, teachers and Federal, State and local government and agencies.
Ideally, as children, our parents create a safe environment for us. Then, our teachers and our school administrators extend that feeling of security.
Could our feeling of safety be jeopardized in the school environment? Yes. The most recent shooting at a Washington state high school, is the 11th planned mass shooting at a school since the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012 in Newton, Connecticut.
Yet, we expect teachers, school administrators and law enforcement agencies to protect us.
Do we reach a point where we take responsibility for our own safety? If so, how? Some circumstances may tip the balance.
Are we experiencing hyper-vigilance when it comes to the Ebola scare? No, we are simply making adjustments after missteps surrounding Thomas Eric Duncan, now deceased, and the healthcare workers exposed to him or his blood in the lab.
In the US, we’ve treated nine patients with Ebola and only one has died.
Nurse Nina Pham, now cured from Ebola, who treated Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, received a hug from President Obama this week before returning home to Dallas.
Once someone has survived Ebola, they are not contagious and are immune and can become caretakers for Ebola patients who need their help.
Doctors Without Borders is working hard in West Africa to try to stop Ebola at its source. The US is encouraging this work to continue despite the risks.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a voluntary policy of quarantine. Dr. Craig Spencer, who worked with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa, returned to the US and traveled around New York City for six days. Then, he developed symptoms and Ebola. He was not contagious until he spiked a fever, so the CDC believes that their policy worked. He and his fiancé are under quarantine.
New Jersey and New York now have tighter mandatory quarantine rules than the CDC requiring anyone returning from the infected countries to remain in quarantine for 21 days.
Under these new rules, a healthcare worker returning from West Africa was quarantined in New Jersey due to a fever but does not have Ebola.
Can we become complacent or fatigued by too much news on a particular risk? Yes. We seem to be experiencing data breach fatigue.
Is a data breach a money risk or a safety risk? Both, depending on one’s perspective, making it a hybrid risk.
The company being hacked will have a huge expenditure to resolve the data breach. The individuals who are hacked have minimal expenditure but some fear their security (financial or safety) is threatened due to their personally identifiable information being in the hands of an unauthorized hacker.
What about the recent news that a particular malware may be at the center of recent retail data breaches?
Based on shopping trends indicating very little downturn and share prices remaining strong, it appears that people are not concerned about the post-Target data breaches at Home Depot, Dairy Queen or even JP Morgan Chase.
After the data breach at JP Morgan Chase this summer, the bank suffered very little in terms of share price. Hackers did not obtain financial or account information but did obtain contact information for over 200 million Americans, which means that that will face the risk of:
- Phishing emails that mimic the bank’s official messages, leading users to websites to obtain login credentials.
- Direct mail luring customers to reward programs that extract personal information.
- Phone solicitation from criminals impersonating bank officials.
Financial concerns including data breaches and safety concerns including school shootings and Ebola are now a part of our daily news.
Despite the negative news coverage, many people are not aware of risks. Concerns about money are higher despite fatigue over hearing about the increase in reported data breaches. Concerns about safety are lower but that could change with more school shootings or more Ebola patients in the US.
Do you agree that money wins?