Monday, August 14, 2006

Principle #9 - Be Passionate

Most of the people I know who do well financially are passionate about investing but not about individual investments.

Building your financial net worth takes time and dedication. You need to have a passion for saving and investing money over a long period of time (usually decades) if you want to become wealthy or simply to avoid poverty in your old age. This does not equate to having a love of money (although I do know plenty of people who I suspect do so). It means making managing your financial affairs a part of your life, a hobby if you like, that you enjoy. It means thinking about ways to increase your savings or to improve your investment return on a regular, if not constant, basis. It means being prepared to sacrifice time and short term gratification in order to achieve a longer term goal. It means reading books on investing and on line resources on a regular basis not because you feel you have to but because you enjoy reading them.

Being passionate about investing does not equate to having a passion for individual investments. Quite the opposite. As investors we cannot afford to fall in love with any of our investments. Falling in love with an investment is an obstacle to correctly managing that investment and, when the time comes, disposing of it. Falling in love with individual investments has the potential to be harmful to your investments as a whole.

As a final point, there is a fine line between passion and obsession. Building wealth is not meaningful if it comes at the expense of other important parts of our lives. I know people who are obsessed with building their wealth. They may end up being truely wealthy. They may also end up with rather bland and empty lives.

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