One of my favorite quotes is from Thoreau: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you imagined." 

It has always reminded me that to live the life that you want, it's up to you...and only you!  To accomplish this, I'm a risk taker at times.  My friends and family sometimes think my decisions are outrageous...like quitting a fabulous job to go back to grad school or moving across the ocean to Ireland for the sake of a relationship.  Those moves were bold, and while the outcomes may have turned out differently than I had originally anticipated, if I could turn back time and make the decision again, I would choose the "risk" all over again.  I had amazing experiences that I would never have had if I'd taken the safe route. 

This supports my thinking that you regret most the risks in life that you DON'T take.  I'm not advocating taking a risk without thoroughly assessing the pros, cons, and potential outcomes; but, I am all for taking a chance after thinking things through.  No one ever knows for sure whether success will come out of every decision, but that shouldn't be a barrier to taking a leap.  You learn in the leaping. 

Whether it's your career, your relationships, or your personal finances, take an INTELLIGENT risk if it's something you feel confident about.  For example, when it comes to your finances, why not invest in a few higher-risk stock options, especially if you are young?!  I'm not saying invest all of your money in a start-up company that your crazy friend is opening, but take a few smaller risks.   

Or maybe you yourself have been thinking of starting your own company on the side... or going back for your MBA.  Perhaps you have an opportunity to interview for a job that might be several levels higher than your current role.  Go for it!!   

You still need to examine and weigh the probability of success versus failure -- along with the rewards and consequences -- to determine the right amount of risk to take.  At the very least, research the risk.  One of the most consistent rules you find in investing, personal finance...and life in general...is that, generally, the higher the risk, the higher the reward. 

But that's just my two cents!  What do YOU think?

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Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Investment Risk Tolerance Quiz 

How to Think Smarter About Risk

Kristen Peterson

Kristen is a Communications Specialist for CareOne.  She is a contributing author for the Single and Settling in blog where she shares her experiences with managing her finances as a single gal!