Why Would A Former Investment Adviser Be Long the Dong?

This is a true story about a former investment adviser and how he came to be, “long the Vietnamese Dong.” That guy is me. And what I’m about to tell you is a bit silly, by design, because it’s great example of how not to invest money and take risk.

The Dong to which I refer is actually the currency of Vietnam. And from 1991 through most of 2002 I worked as a financial planner and investment adviser for one of the world’s largest investment management and brokerage firms in the world.

Today, I am not a investment adviser. I am a small business owner, writer, editor, publisher, speaker and founder of And I’m on a mission to help millions of other people to create the retirement plan, income and life of their dreams.

Why The Dong?

I own the Vietnamese Dong and I have no intention of traveling there anytime soon. So why would an otherwise reasonably smart guy, with massive amounts of experience investing his and other people’s money, own the Vietnamese Dong – 23 million of them roughly? (I honestly forget and it’s too painful to count the bills.)

It’s my lottery ticket.

It’s that simple. It’s my way of gambling and reminding myself how risky it is for me to invest in alternative investments, any investment, outside those that can be converted to cash, fast, and entail little risk of losing principle.

I don’t like to gamble with money. I don’t play cards. I stink at playing poker because sitting still and losing money are two of my worst nightmares, combined.

But I bought the Vietnamese Dong because if I’m ever tempted to make a really stupid, risky, gambling-like investment, I think of the Dong.


It’s true. I am an intentional sucker. I did this on purpose.

Here’s how it happened. A few years ago when a friend of mine told me about his great and completely unfathomable story that, “one day soon the global governments who have been meeting behind closed doors will unleash a ‘currency reset’ and all the insiders privy to this secret plan will become overnight millionaires.”

I kind of believed him. The truth is this guy is really smart and has created a lot of wealth. In other words, he is a very sharp, friendly guy. Sure, I hope he is right, but again, this is a complete flyer. While my friend may be a very credible guy, the story is seems conspiracy than real. This story falls in line with another online conspiracy-type theory related to Iran’s currency, the Rial.

I don’t bank on the Dong being reset. But if it happens it sure will be fun. Even it doesn’t happen, thinking about it entertains my magnificent, magnifying mind.

Self Talk

I justified this far-too-risky, flyer of an investment by telling myself, “Self. You hate gambling and you’ve taken way too much risk in the past with your private, alternative and small business investments. It’s time to smarten up and take less risk with your investments. So go ahead, believe in this guy enough to buy $1,000 worth of Vietnamese Dong, tell your wife it’s like a lottery ticket, only better, and use it to never make another stupid, risky investment again.”

It has worked so far with one exception; a $25,000 investment in a tech start up I have already begun to regret. But every time I think of investing money in another start up, limited partnership, or any other risky deal with huge upside, I think of my Dong.

I remind myself that my #1 priority is taking less investment risk as I grow wiser. Why take the risk if it keeps me up at night? Risk awareness through painful investment losses, compels me to be wiser, even if it seems insane to go long 23 million Vietnamese Dong.

The Dong is way better than any lottery ticket I could every buy. My Dong will never expire like a lottery ticket. It feels good to be, “richer, on paper.”

Here’s a snapshot of how what my Dong is worth today …


True Wealth

Does owning the Dong really make me rich? No. It’s just a little over what I paid for it – $1,000. If I converted all my Dong back to the U.S. dollar, I’d end up with about the same thing, maybe less if you look at this chart, because of the exchange costs.

Wealth is more than money for purposeful people. Having deep meaning and purpose every day when you wake up is true wealth. So is your excellent mental and physical health, your friends, family and perhaps your art.

This is when we we write or teach about money in The Purposeful Retirement Planning Course, we do so in the context of living, working and retiring purpose. Because people who have no money, no paper wealth, no small business or anything else, if they have purpose, they are happy. How much is your happiness worth? That’s what this is all about!

My story today is a bit of a whimsical flyer for me. I use to illustrate that will always be a fun, entertaining place to visit, read, learn and network with other purposeful people.

We’re 100% committed to helping you learn how to manage your investments and money in line with your goals for retirement! We all need income to live, work and retire on purpose. We need to keep learning, earning, saving and investing.

You, like me, have to own your purposeful retirement plan and do your part to manage your income, assets and investments. Retirement planning includes investment, income, tax, estate and other kinds of family, work, health and other issues that affect our happiness and quality of life. But it’s all driven by your purpose, vision and goals.

Risk, It’s Relative

The next time you think about making a risky investment, think about my story of the Vietnamese Dong. Take a long, hard look at any alternative investment you make with your money. Work with your advisers, do your homework and make decisions with which you can sleep well at night. This may not include investments like the Dong.

It’s been said the biggest risk of all is outliving your money, dying with many regrets, trading your health for wealth and many other urban legends that relate to money, investments, taxes, insurance and more. Yes, this may all be true. The Dong is risky too.

But isn’t the greatest risk of all living without purpose? I believe it is. So when you talk with your investment adviser, or look in the mirror because you are the investment adviser, factor for your happiness and “being on purpose” when you are calculating the equations that lead you to take risk with money and investments.

Got a comment, question or inquiry? We always appreciate it when you post a comment here at You can also contact us here.


About the author


Founder and publisher of "Let us help you create the retirement plan, income and life of your dreams."