Alarm clock. Bed hair. Morning ritual. Off you go.
The time we spend preparing for getting to work and doing our work amounts to a mind boggling amount of hours. It’s half of our day. Sleep used to be an eight hour thing. Now it’s five, maybe six. Work used to be 9 to 5. Now it’s 7 to 7. Your time has enemies. Where does it end?
And here’s another stark reality: Your money has enemies.
Once you’ve earned it, any number of outside forces are out to take your money.
While your money has friends, too (your budget, your bank account, your portfolio, your retirement accounts, and so forth) there is a long line of enemies forming, a nasty coalition of forces that are determined to take your money.
There will always be con artists, of course. Street corner hustlers offering a $20 Rolex or some other too-good-to-be-true come on. Madison Ave, the con in the gray flannel suit, is always up your butt pitching something you couldn’t possibly live without. Politicians and bureaucrats always seem to take a bigger and bigger piece of your American dream, societal bait and switch in nightmarish proportions. And there’s Wall Street.
How many trillions have been collectively lost in the quest to beat the market. Hot tips, sure things, the next big thing, and other dead cats that didn’t bounce, These are enemies that telegraph their punches, so you must learn how to duck them if you are to win the war on your money.
Yet other enemies are more insidious. Stealthy. They wear masks and creep up on you like dusk. They are well armed contra rebels known by their names: Taxes, inflation, rising interest rates, hidden fees, undisclosed commissions and other sins of omission.
And then there is you.
As damaging as all these enemies can be, look no further than the bathroom mirror to see your money’s worst enemy, and worse, you often play the role of unindicted co-conspirator to all of your money’s other enemies,
Sadly, you will always be your money’s worst enemy unless and until you get a grip on your biases and behaviors that prevent you from being an emotionally intelligent investor. You have habits, biases, reflexes, attitudes, behaviors, prejudices, instincts, fears and frustrations, and all of them show up in your portfolio.
You are not weird, and you are not alone.
We don’t have access to Wall Street’s Super Duper Artificial Intelligence Smarty Pants Algorithmic Trading apparatus (which also gets it wrong). We, the little folk, have to rely on our ability to scrutinize and exercise self-control. Not only do we need to grow some thick skin, we need to learn the nuts and bolts of successfully managing the external foes, and deep dive into the internal antagonists, because you can’t fix the investment without first fixing the investor.