What are some life lessons that we can learn from investing?
TIME IS MONEY, BUT MONEY IS ALSO TIME
They say time is money. The equation goes the other way to: Money = Time. Now, other things equal, the point of money is to have financial freedom, more financial freedom derived is really just more time.
Time is on the side of a continuously improving company. Time is also on the side of a person who’s consistently improving. Make every moment count.
DON’T PREDICT YOUR FUTURE, MAKE IT
A great company can’t predict the future, but it can make it. You might not be able to know what happens in a few years, but you can control what you do today, keep your long term goals in the crosshair and day by day, struggle by struggle, you’ll get there, sooner or later.
SEEK VALUE: DON’T BE TOO QUICK TO JUDGE OTHERS
Behind every stock is a company. Most people just look at the ticker price and judge whether or not it will go up or down. Instead, read the balance sheet, look for intrinsic value, margin of safety,learn about the company. Don’t be too quick to judge a stock based on just it’s price; don’t be too quick to judge people upon first sight.
Sometimes great companies will experience turmoil, unforeseen events can shake up even the greatest companies. Just like some individuals can be shaken by events, sometimes it just takes time to see the value in someone.
In the early 1990s, aerospace company General Dynamics was in bad condition. To be precise, $600 million in debt, negative cash flow and on the verge of bankruptcy. To the surprise of many investors, it made the impossible turnaround and long story short, is one of the leading aerospace companies today.
Sometimes people are in these rough times in life, perhaps they went on a bad breakup, lost their job or are just having a bad week at work, they may seem mad or irritated at first glance, but there can always be more to the story. We’ve all experienced bad times and made mistakes and through those mistakes we learned something or two.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH WINNERS
Ideally, in our investment portfolio, we want to hold winning positions (great companies); ride your winners and let go of your losers. In life, surround yourself with people whom you value and admire, they will better your self-development. Toxic individuals may weigh you down and slow personal growth; thats the last thing we want.
SORRY ISN’T ENOUGH
The greatest investors have made billion dollar investment mistakes; but they adjusted and learned from it. Sometimes you’re greatest stock picks will turn out to be a mistake. Don’t just be sorry. Learn from it. In life, when you make a mistake, be quick to admit it, learn from it and work on ways to improve from it. The importance here is the actions taken to correct the mistake and to prevent it from happening again.
“There’s no shame in losing money on a stock. Everyone does it. What is shameful is to hold onto a stock, or even worse, to buy more when the fundamentals are deteriorating”.
– Peter Lynch
EMOTIONS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS INTELLIGENCE
Regarding long-term investing, Peter Lynch says: “Everyone has brainpower. But not everyone has the stomach for it”. The stock market is a wild animal, and Mr. Market is often moody, euphoric and irrational. Some days he’s very optimistic, others, he’s incredibly pessimistic. Intelligence may help you detect a great stock, but emotional intelligence and disciplined temperament will give you the gut to ride the rollercoaster that is the stock market.
Intelligence will no doubt allow you to strive in learning, applying and information processing, but emotional discipline will allow you to keep your head in when everyone else is losing theirs. It can help you control your anger and save you from irrational actions. Pair these two together, you have a winning combination, in investing and in life.
All in all, time is the greatest asset of a great person, a great company, but for a human life, time is limited. Making money will allow you to have financial freedom, but the goal of financial freedom is ultimately to have more time. Time to spend with your loved ones, your friends, to travel and explore the essential part of life that isn’t investing. Of course, do continue to pursue your financial goals and knowledge, but don’t forget the endgame.
As always, JMO (just my opinion). Cheers.