I talk to a lot of people, and get to see what financial decisions they make. Why they did this, why did they do that, and what their failures are, among other things. Unfortunately, a huge number of people make decisions based on a process that comes down to an emotion. Typically, they don’t make financial decisions based on education and logic, but rather on what decision the person felt was right. More often than not, this does not lead to successful investing.
When that happens, it’s never going to end up well. Now you may gain through your investments, but what is that going to do to your behavior? You are going to associate anything that you gain in the future financially with risk and gambling. The idea behind investing is if you’re not all in on something, not passionate, and you’re not going to go and study to the nines, then should you really have any of your money invested there? The secret is that successful investing takes EFFORT.
I was once on a flight sitting next to a surgeon who was on his way to a conference. During our conversation, he pretty much gave his CV to me. He’s going through all his accolades and everything he has done, and was very, very proud of how smart he was. I wasn’t able to get my headphones on fast enough, so I sat and listened to him throughout the whole flight.
With about 15 minutes left on the flight, he ran out of things to say, turned to me and asked, “What do you do?” So I talked to him a little bit about education and teaching investing. He then says, “Just give it to me. Tell me in one or two sentences where to put my money.” And I thought to myself, this guy is passionate about surgery and if I were to say hey, you know what? I was thinking about doing a bypass on myself tonight. You got any pointers? It wouldn’t work!
I think financial education gets disrespected. The amount of dedication, the amount of effort, the amount of passion that goes into it is actually quite substantial. It drives me crazy after a while if people say, “If you had 10,000 dollars, what would you do with it? Should I go buy gold, or should I buy silver?” Should I invest in oil, real estate, or buy xyz stock?” If I say yes or no then we haven’t become any smarter.
Is gold a good investment? What do you know about gold? Do you have passion about gold? Do you know the ins and outs of gold? There are life skills, and there are skills for hire. Tying your shoes is a life skill. Driving your car is a life skill. Investing is a life skill, and yet we’ve made it one of those skills for hire, so it’s becoming an advice culture rather than a knowledge culture.
People are passionate about rewards, but they’re not necessarily passionate about the process. I really believe that the people who do well like to practice. If you want to be good at the piano, you enjoy piano practice. The day you don’t like doing it anymore is the day you stop doing it. A lot of people look at education as going to the dentist office to get a root canal so they can have a nice smile later.
What’s the big takeaway? It’s a question. Am I in it for rewards only, or am I going to find something that I’m really passionate about? Entrepreneurship, stock market investing, real estate investing, commodities investing. What lights you up? You might discover that it’s not just the championship that you won, it was the journey. Going to practice every day, sweating and bleeding with your teammates, forging those relationships. The journey is an amazing thing. Most people, all they want is reward and they’re not passionate about the effort. People say no reward without work, but they might fail to realize some work could be very rewarding, and it could be very fun. The reality is that successful investing takes effort.
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