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An investor’s view: Teaching our daughters to be brave

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

Reshma Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani advocates for raising our daughters to be Brave, Not Perfect. This is also the name of her book. She observes:

“Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We're taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A's. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars, and then just jump off headfirst.”

You may be wondering how a boy “swinging high,” as Ms. Saujani suggests, relates to a well-informed risk worth taking? At first blush, this may seem like a dumb risk. Not so! “Swinging high,” like many traditional “boy” learning activities, is certainly a worthy well-informed risk. Allow me to explain. First, consider "swinging high" as a tradeable transaction. That is, we have a certain amount of time to teach our children. We are trading this time between "swinging high" and some other activity, like reading a book.

When we put on our risk management hat, we may evaluate the trade via key risk controls:

Frequency risk management - (reducing the chance of something bad happening):

  • The swing set is likely anchored in the ground,

  • The swings are likely sturdy and secure,

  • The child has likely been taught to hold and sit properly in the swing, and

  • A parent is likely monitoring.

Severity risk management - (if something bad happens, reducing the impact):

  • In the event the child falls off the swing, the ground is likely cushioned.

  • Children’s bodies are incredibly resilient with pliable soft tissue to absorb impact.

  • Even if they get a bump or bruise, children are super fast and fulsome healers.

As such, the "swinging high" transaction is almost fully hedged, indeed, a well-informed risk. Beyond an almost fully hedged risk position, these high swinging boys are earning an investment return. They are learning, as Theodore Roosevelt encourages, to be “In The Arena.” In other words, they are learning to take well-informed risks to drive success.

This seems like an amazing risk/return trade to me! AND a trade worthy of our daughters.....


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