The phrase 'one person's meat is another person's poison' is spot on when we're talking about investing. A young person with no dependants can afford to take all kinds of wild and exciting risks on small companies and recovery stocks that a middle-aged person contemplating retirement really shouldn't touch with a disinfected bargepole. And tax issues can mean that one sort of investment really doesn't suit some people at all
So it's horses for courses.
Professional investment advisers talk about 'asset allocation' – which is just a fancy way of saying that you need to get the right balance between your dead-safe investments and your wild-ride, get-rich-quick schemes. Often, that means taking a long, cool look at your life and figuring out where you are and where you want to be in ten years' time.
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. How long do you intend to carry on working before you retire? Ten, twenty, forty years? Are you at your earnings peak right now, or is your income likely to fall away? How's your health?
And how about your liabilities? Are you footloose and fancy-free, or do you have young children you need to support through school and then perhaps university?
At a more immediate level, are you likely to want to get at your cash in the next five years? If so, how much of it? If you need to replace your car tomorrow or move to a new area because of your job, how ...