When did you first learn about the stock market? And what did you learn? From an early age many Americans are taught to trade stocks or pick the right stocks. Our school children are put into groups and given a hypothetical dollar amount and told to invest the money in the stock market. After a short period of time, perhaps as little as three months the winning group is given an award, an ‘A’.
This is contest or assignment is teaching our children to gamble and speculate with their investment dollars. They are taught that if they can pick the right stocks it will be a short cut to financial success. The media continually sends this message to everyone. Find the right stock(s) or real estate deal or hot asset class and focus all your resources on this and you will be able to buy anything you want.
The media tells us every day that someone is striking it rich by investing in the next great product or idea. If it happens to them it can happen to you. This message neglects to say that there is no correlation between past performance and future results. Not everyone strikes it rich even if they follow the same path exactly. Circumstances change, conditions are never exactly the same, the sequence of the events are seldom, if ever, the same,
There is no short cut to success, whether financial or career. It takes a solid plan and discipline to succeed long term. Granted some will ‘strike’ it rich but this is luck and not skill. For most of us it requires hard work and dedication.
During conversations with people I continue to hear questions like,
- “is this a good time to invest in the stock market?”
- “what is the hot stock or asset class right now?”
- “Isn’t real estate a better choice than stocks?”
- “What if I invest in the stock market and it goes down?”
- “What stock will double over the next three months?”
- “Didn’t (insert expert) say get out of the market?”
These are all questions which really are asking I want a short cut to my financial goals. I heard of someone who struck it rich over night and why not me. I do not want to save for retirement because I can strike it rich over night. These questions are looking for someone to predict the future.
Although it is possible for this to occur, this outcome is highly unlikely.
There is no short cut to success. It takes work and discipline to achieve anything worthwhile. There will be times when your strategy will look like a bad idea. You will question whether remaining disciplined is the right answer for YOU right now. Your emotions may get the best of you.
The media and the financial institutions will feed your fears.
For most of us it will require the assistance of an investor coach or fiduciary adviser. This coach will help you develop the right strategy for YOU. And most importantly will coach you through the ‘tough’ times to keep you disciplined and focused on the long term.
You need someone to help you protect the future you from the current you.
To succeed long term requires you to:
- Own equities and fixed income in the right mix for you.
- Globally diversify
Remember there is no short cut to success.