I want to live so that my life cannot be ruined by a single phone call. Federico Fellini

I avoid using clichés, but here’s one that expresses exactly what I want to say: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Don’t place all your resources in one (or a few) person, thing, or place, or you could lose a lot with one bad turn of events.

Minimize exposure by spreading out your assets.

Diversify in many areas of life:


If you are overly dependent on one person and that person exits your life you may feel out of kilter. But multiple close relationships will ameliorate single losses.

Don’t expect any one person to meet all your needs. Have many friends. Don’t let one person control your sense of well-being. Don’t be co-dependent.

Financial resources

Don’t put all your financial resources into one instrument. Mary and I keep about 45% of our financial assets in the stock market (several different index funds), 35% in real estate (our home), and 20% in bonds, CDs, and cash.

Sources of engagement

Peter Drucker encouraged people to “live in more than one world.” He was a professor, management consultant, writer, expert in Japanese art, and more. It is an invigorating approach to life; it will make you a more interesting person—and if one area of your life falls apart you’ll have other areas to focus on.

Sources of income

Two-income families benefit from income diversity. I also recommend that individuals have multiple income streams. Find a hobby or develop a skill that you can monetize, or get a second job.


We set ourselves up for disappointment when we allow the various parts of our lives to “bleed over” into each other such that when one area is stressed, our entire system is strained. To a certain degree, this is to be expected because most areas of our lives do overlap and intertwine.

But it’s advantageous to compartmentalize your life such that one area will not inordinately affect all areas. For instance, if your entire life centers around your job and your job goes south, so does your life. But if your job is just one part of a multi-faceted life, you’ll not be unduly affected; you can be unhappy at work but overall happy in life.

Diversify and compartmentalize.

[reminder]What are your thoughts about this essay?[/reminder]

4 Replies to “Diversify”

  1. I completely agree that a many faceted life is a way of avoiding one loss overwhelming a person’s life, however, the counter balance is when a person does not focus on their paid job when they are at work. Employers do deserve to get a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Smart ‘phones have amplified this problem as staff can look at messages and emails without their employer being aware.

    1. Angela, you introduce a good thought. We should always be focused and undistracted when being paid for our time. The www has made it easier to be physically present but not mentally present. Don

  2. Diversity has two sides – one good and one not so good. I’d point out that we should NOT diversify when it comes to our ethics, values, faith, and trust. There is one straight and narrow path in the Kingdom of God.
    Thanks for your efforts.

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