5 Habits of Savvy Investors-Part 5

  by Shelley Seagler

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Steal From the Best

When you’re headed to a destination you’ve never been and you’ve got no road map, the easiest way to ensure you arrive at the right place is to simply follow the person ahead of you who lives there and is

headed there now! Novel idea, right?

So then, if you apply too-good-to-be-true, get-rich-quick strategies that are hailed by Johnny-come-lately ‘gurus,’ you’re likely following the lead of those who don’t know what they’re doing, or worse, wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. The road these unproven “leaders” trek leads to poverty, frustration, and broken dreams.

When it comes to investing, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. History proves that while people always search for a short-cut to riches, these short-cuts usually lead to destruction; not the desired destination. So making investments you don’t clearly understand and using strategies that seem to contradict common sense along with everything you’ve learned from renowned investment authorities and professionals is your big red flag that you’re crashing through that ‘do not enter’ gate and headed off course.

On the other hand, applying the sound wisdom of simply following the heroes of investing will lead you to a greater chance of success. Indeed, in this 5 part investment series, you’ve learned some of the habits of the world’s most iconic investors so you might, quite simply, ‘steal’ all of their best strategies, habits, and philosophy. Following their lead will guide you safely to the shores of financial security and a better retirement.

Buffet’s Unlikely Secret to Success

Warren Buffet once said that the best thing he did was choose the right heroes. I love this, especially coming from Warren, because he learned so much of his winning investment philosophy and strategy by following Benjamin Graham.  Buffet exclaimed that his life changed the moment he read Grahams book, “The Intelligent Investor.”

You should put the pieces of your puzzle to wealth creation together by following, closely, the lead of those who have what you want. You’ll have to then adapt everything you learn to your personal needs and suitability.

Choose YOUR Investment Heroes

If Warren Buffet says that one of the best things he did to get where he is was choosing the right heroes, then you should do the same. However, just as Buffet cautions, you should carefully select your heroes. You shouldn’t just follow those who are appealing because of the wealth and success, but those who operate in a way that resonates with you.

Ask yourself:

  • What type of investment philosophy do they have?
  • How do they make decisions on what to buy, when to buy, when to sell, etc?
  • What does their day and life look like in order to invest this way?

For instance, you may know of a super-rich speculative investor, much like George Soros. Though he’s ultra successful he doesn’t make a good hero for the person who’s risk-averse and is more interested in uncovering the underlying value of a company regardless of chart swings.

Select investment heroes who invest and achieve success using tools, reasoning, strategies and resources in a way that deeply resonates with the way you operate.

Leaders are Still Readers

One of the best ways you can learn to invest like your ‘hero’ is by reading, reading, and reading some more! Warren Buffet said he reads between 600 and 1,000 pages every day.

In fact, last year, a study came out that evaluated 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people and it found that what these people have in common is that they all list reading as a pastime.

But don’t just read anything. Be highly selective – the goal is to be educated, not just entertained.  The good news is that there are a million books available about investing. If you want to own them you can get them on the cheap at Amazon or book resale stores.

However, I like to ‘shop’ at the library! You can go to the library and stack up 20 of the best books and audio-books on investing and absorb all the wisdom held within those pages for free. Then, if you’re not done by the time they’re due back at the library, simply renew the ones nobody else needs and keep reading! That way you can vet and test-drive books before you buy them. I buy only the best ones that are more like reference guides that I want to refer back to from time to time.

If you prefer to buy them right off the bat, you can investigate their quality with online reviews before you buy them. Also, find blogs of people you want to learn from and read those – and the good news is that blogs are free. But the point is that by being a voracious reader, you will continually learn greater insights and refine your skills and mindset for investing.

Take Inventory of Your Investment History

The next step is to take inventory of your investing history.  Look back over your previous investments and take stock of your winners and losers.

  • What accounts do you have and how do you plan to use them?
  • What strategies have you employed that worked and which didn’t?
  • More specifically, do you have a 401(k), an IRA, and other investments?

You need to get crystal clear about where you stand so that you can ensure that the path, principles and people you’ve been following are leading you towards your desired destination.

Proceed With Conviction and Patience

Finally, as you implement all you’ve ‘stolen’ from your investment heroes, teachers, and mentors, move forward with decisiveness and patience. These two virtues are not contradictory. It’s easy to confuse patience with indecision – but the key here is to move into action with an understanding that investing rarely shows you instantaneous results. So as we discussed in Habit 4, stay the course.

We’re supposed to learn from our elders – those with wisdom, those with a legacy of success, and those who’ve been where we want to go. So it stands to reason that learning, meditating on, and adopting their habits will lead us to a destination similar to their own.

Learning what to do is always the easiest part of any worthy pursuit. The daily journey of implementation is always the hardest part. That’s why it’s worth encouraging you as much as possible to choose the right course to take for your financial future and simply stay the course.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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