Skip to Content
The Short Answer

Speculate Without Losing Your Shirt

You can put "mad money" to work without getting burned.

Sometimes we just can't help ourselves from doing dumb things. And it's not really our fault.

In his recent book, Your Money & Your Brain, author Jason Zweig discusses why we're motivated by the prospect of reward, whether it comes in the form of money, food, drink, or other primal, feel-good desires. Our brains reflexively light up when we're presented with the possibility of big financial gains, regardless of the odds. (Zweig--who will be speaking at this year's Morningstar Investment Conference--humorously points out that the brain scans of someone high on cocaine and someone who's thinking about making money look identical.) And if you hit it big, even just once, you'll still keep trying to strike gold again. That explains why people buy lottery tickets and why jackpot winners keep buying more.

You may not play the lottery or gamble otherwise, but if you've taken a flier on a red-hot sector fund or bought a stock with iffy prospects, you probably were motivated by some of the same biological impulses. If you're like most people, though, letting your base instincts rule probably won't lead to successful results. Just ask the folks who poured billions of dollars into technology funds in 2000, lured by the gaudy gains they posted in 1999, only to lose most of their money in the ensuing bear market. When you take a roll of the dice, don't be surprised when your number doesn't come up.

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.