Do you really need play money?

When people talk to a financial advisor, they want someone to help them manage their money; give them advice on how to make it grow so they have enough money to continue to enjoy their life and help out their loved ones. Using an advisor adds an element of accountability as now there is someone who will question any investment decisions they are making and they may get told they are mad. Some want to hold onto some of of their money as play money. But do you really need it?

Money I am prepared to lose

When I talk about play money, this is money that you will hold onto and invest yourself. It will make up a small percentage of your overall wealth but you can invest it where ever you want. “Money I am prepared to lose” is the term I tend to hear.

Should you really be prepared to lose all of your play money in the search to invest in the next hot stock? How much research are you going to do into what companies are up and coming and might become the next Amazon or Google? Or are you more likely going to buy Irish bank shares and hope they return to their former glory?

Studies have shown us that negative feeling from losing money is greater than positive feeling we get from making it. So are we kidding ourselves if we say it is money we are prepared to lose?

Set up a fake investment account

If you want to invest in risky investments, why not set up a fake account? Companies like or TD Ameritrade let you set up fake trading accounts where you can place without investing real money. You can go mad without having actually having any real money in the game. The money is just numbers on the screen, so if you invest €20,000 in some penny stock and it continues to be a penny stock, you don’t have to suffer the losses if the company goes bust.

Is there anything better to do?

You can can accept that it takes time to make money, and by investing in quality, your money will go up and down in value in the short term but will grow over time. It is boring, but there is nothing boring about making money in the long term.

Or you could spend the money flying business class to Las Vagas and stay in the Bellagio (less than €10,000 for 4 nights) You can catch a few shows and gamble all night long. At least it’d be a better story than saying you lost it all on Irish bank shares!

If you have any questions, drop me an email at