The other day I was introduced to someone and he asked what I did for a living. I gave a short answer and said "retirement planning". He asked for additional details. I said I worked with people who were 55 and older and who needed to begin to figure out how their collection of investments could generate a reliable source of retirement income for them.
And you know what he said next?
He said something like "Well, I've heard natural gas is booming and that there are a lot of companies drilling for natural gas and involved in the production and transportation of it. I'm trying to find some of these young private companies to invest in so I can get in on the ground floor of this type of investment. Do you know how I can go about this?"
I bit my tongue and out came only one word, "No."
My internal commentator however went on a tirade that went about like this,
"Dude, when you asked me what I did for a living, what did you hear? Did I say I go find speculative investments that may or may not deliver any return at all? Did I say I had some secret insight into the natural gas world and could find ground-floor opportunities; a few of which might certainly be capable of squandering away every penny you put into them? No, no, I didn't say that. I said I find people investments that generate reliable sources of retirement income. Do you think these private companies involved in speculative drilling deliver reliable income? I mean, who knows, they might. Or they might not. Good luck buddy."
How is it people think investment advisors have some "in" to extra lucrative investments? Please, don't believe anyone who says they do.
Bottom line: a good investment is one that matches your goals and objectives. If your goal is to invest speculatively, than looking for private opportunities and start-up companies may be just the thing. There is nothing wrong with that. Just don't associate that type of investment with the word reliable.