August 4, 2012


The government can't tax the growth that's compounding inside youWelcome new readers (and hello to regulars).

Maybe you found me from The Globe and Mail article actuary invests in himself, which Larry Macdonald wrote in the Me And My Money feature. Thanks for dropping by.


I was pleasantly surprised to get published. Someone interviewed me in 2008 but my answers were too boring to print (see how an actuary invests).

Larry MacDonald is a former economist who now manages his own portfolio and writes on investment topics. He is the author of several business books, including corporate biographies of Nortel and Bombardier. Larry MacDonald writes Me and My Money, blogs and tweets. He asked a list of standard questions about investing. As I answered, I realized that my biggest investment was in a nonfinancial asset: me.

Dare I give unconventional investment advice?

I did. Larry asked probing questions for clarification and wrote an article that’s much better than my raw answers. I hope you'll see the merit of improving your skills to increase your earning potential and employability.

Why You?

The financial sector is messed up and remains the least trusted in the world (Edelman 2012 Trust Barometer). We keep seeing why

In the two months post-IPO, Facebook has dropped to half the price and now admits to some 83 million fake accounts (Irish Independent). The Libor scandal has cost Barclays $451 million for interest rate manipulations (Bloomberg). HSBC is facing $2 billion in penalties for money laundering ($700 million) and mis-selling financial products ($1.3 billion) (The Guardian). In Canada, mutual funds have high investment expenses.

We have concerns but can’t do much about them. Keep investing but also look at what Stephen Covey calls your circle of influence.

When you invest in yourself, you've got complete control. You can learn for free online. How can you possibly lose when you’re improving your skills and apply them where others can see?
An Example
Opportunity prefers the prepared.

In my case, blogging made a huge difference in finding newer and bigger revenue streams. Actuaries aren’t trained to communicate but I decided to learn. That lead to speaking opportunities (see YouTube), media attention and clients. Getting nominated for a 2011 Business Excellence Award from the Toronto Board of Trade doesn’t hurt either.

All this arose from investing in myself. Your mileage may vary.

My Story

I’ve worked exclusively in the world of life and health insurance. I designed products (10 years) and then helped advisors sell them (5 years). I saw --- maybe you do too --- that advisors vary immensely in
  • their skill to do the work 
  • their will to put your interests first
Who was protecting you? How could you spot a great advisor?

I thought advisors could  demonstrate their skill and commitment to serving you by blogging regularly. To show them how, I started Riscario Insider in Feb 2007 when blogging was relatively novel in the financial sector. Years have passed. Where is your advisor’s blog?
Readers started asking me to review and fix their life and health insurance coverage. That’s the sole focus of Taxevity, launched in 2009.

Selected Posts

You may like the most-read posts of last year. Here are some from this year:
  1. The word advisors imply but dare not say
  2. The lure of “exclusive” financial strategies
  3. How to spot biased referrals
  4. The new prescription for trust
  5. Looking beyond TD Bank and the Rothstein Ponzi scam
  6. The perils of multilevel marketing and whole life insurance
  7. The new list of best/worst jobs
  8. Three powerful protectors against corporate misconduct
  9. Keeping promises when no one’s watching
  10. Why insurance advisors also sell investments
  11. Why advisors become advisors
  12. How to repay a nonfinancial debt
  13. When your advisor is on vacation
  14. How your brain works against you

Other Resources

If you like what's here, you’ll find @riscario on Twitter and the podcast on iTunes. You can also subscribe to the free newsletter.

If you're interested in marketing, check out the Marketing Actuary blog and @mActuary. The current post is bad business lessons from the Olympics.

If you care about trust, follow @trustandyou --- all trust, all the time. You'll find more about me on LinkedIn and at

Finally, if you're looking for an independent review of your life and health protection, join others and visit Taxevity.

Podcast 180

direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes

PS Investing in yourself is also a risk-free form of leverage.

1 comment:

Liza Baker said...

That can be perceived as real good investment for an actuary. Cool.