Seems like a strange question doesn’t it? A relationship to my investments!?! Whatever! Yet we have observed some interesting behaviors when it comes to managing investment portfolios. Some of them are not productive to overall wealth management success.
Some treat their portfolio and investments as a “toy”. Fun to play with, the object is to win every game. For these individuals it is a competitive exercise. Who has the best gain is the only game to play for them. This often leads to taking excessive risk. Yes, there are some “wins” but the losses tend to be huge as they seek maximum gain at any costs.
The Cocktail Party Wizards
I think virtually everyone has met this personality. The conversation ultimately turns to “my return on ABC was unbelievable!! I got a return of XXX%”. Truth be told, every one of these I’ve heard, and believe me I’ve heard plenty, if you find out more about their overall experience this was the “winner” and you are unlikely to hear about the “rest of the portfolio”. They need to be the “stars of the moment” and are less likely to achieve the overall long term success they seem to communicate to the ones around them.
Yes, there are still others who find the whole subject of money distasteful and uncomfortable. They have some “œmoney issues” and tell themselves and others that money is not important and avoid any discussion to how a portfolio can meet their long-term needs. They like the simplicity of a checking account. Don’t need to be bothered with that interest stuff.
Some pay a lot of attention to their portfolio for a short time, then leave, for other interests. Later they come back and take an active interest again only to be distracted again and again. This leads to a great portfolio for a time but like any neglectful situation, the results are not likely to provide a long term satisfying result. An investment professional can often date the portfolio, much like an archeologist does, by looking at the holdings. By looking back when these securities were popular one can come very close to the date attention was last paid.
The maniac-depressive reacts constantly to the short-term noise of the market. Good news they bubble with enthusiasm and make wildly optimistic assumptions about how this stock, fund or sector is the “best new thing”. They share some tendencies with the “toy” and “cocktail party wizards” in that they will often concentrate large positions believing they are absolutely, totally right and they tend to believe that somehow they have information others do not have and that they can successfully time their purchases and sells more successfully than full time professionals. We have not seen anyone who has done this. If we did we would offer them a really well paying job!
The Pragmatic Realist
The pragmatic realist has their longer terms goals as the prime objective when it comes to investing. They will listen politely at the cocktail party but will not be overly influenced by it. They heard many of these stories and they recognize that this is history and that they have stories too, maybe even better ones, like their entire portfolio is on track to meet the big picture objectives like financial independence and overall financial security. They either regularly review their portfolio or they have selected professional advisors as mentors, guides and implementers of a sound overall strategy. They understand that over confidence in a concentrated strategy can pay handsome rewards but also exposes the portfolio to excessive risk. They appreciate that their portfolio came via hard work and skill and its preservation is important. Diversification and sound economic reasoning are much more important that a sexy story to the Pragmatic Realist. Getting there fast is neat but getting there, meeting the longer term goals, is the over-riding concern at all times.
Successful investing is the product of disciplined, hard work. Crazy times like now test our patience but pragmatic long term views win the wealth management strategy race. The easy route will always be tempting but the road will be bumpy and occasionally ends unexpectedly following the perceived short cuts.