I remember attending an Investment Analysis class in graduate school at Vanderbilt where Warren Buffet was the surprise guest speaker. He spoke on common themes, but what stuck out most to me was this: He said that the most important quality to do well is a temperament that would promote the control of fear and greed which have ruined many. It is a quote that he is known by, but that was the first time I had ever heard him say it.
It must be noted that high income is not the same thing as wealth. Investors may look at their total income and realize that quite a bit of money passes through their fingers in a year, but that does not mean that everyone would qualify as wealthy.
For those who have wealth, the idea is to keep that wealth for the long-term. Unfortunately, for many, staying wealthy is more difficult than it might seem. An extreme example is lottery winners. Around 70% of lottery winners end up broke within a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.
When a person has “enough” wealth, why do they not stop there instead of risking it all for more? How can one be wealthy, maintain that wealth, and preserve it for the future without taking unnecessary risks? The answers are almost common sense.
It is tempting to let go of diversification in lieu of what seems to be the constant winner of the last few years, but diversification is essential for the long-term investor.
2. Understand and research your investments.
Unnecessary risks are just that- unnecessary. Smart millionaires won’t put their money into something they don’t understand. Researching investments as well as seeking a knowledgeable professional may help in making intelligent choices.
3. Stay wise in choosing who to trust.
Generally, any schemes from snazzy salesmen are not to be trusted. “Get rich quick” is not a good tagline. Yes, it is tempting to trust someone who is “guaranteeing” results, but nothing is guaranteed in investing. Wisely stick with what is known to work. One must remember that where an investor is in life does change the amount of risks that should be taken.
4. Don’t let pride get in the way of prudent investing.
Everyone is different and everyone’s needs are different. Just because the guy next door brags about how well his portfolio or investments are doing should not make someone else feel insecure about their own investments. Allowing emotion to drive our investing can lead to regret. Wealthy investors have a strategy they stick to and they stay focused.
Fear and greed are often two of the biggest emotional drivers when it comes to losing wealth. Exercising control and restraint can help reign those in. Trust in the (sometimes) boring investment strategies and maintain discipline so that in the end, the wealth that was worked so hard for will be preserved.