This article was published on LifeHack.org by Life Hacker Tina Chen. Check out Tina and her other articles at LifeHack.org.
When people think of investments, they usually associate the word with investment banking or the stock market. In this information age, there are boundless vehicles for building long-term wealth, like real-estate, information marketing, venture capitalism, business ownership, franchise, and network marketing, to name a few.
With pensions on the decline, and with governments less and less able to support their aging population, a comfortable retirement is increasingly becoming an individual’s personal responsibility. It’s now time, more important than ever, for us to sharpen our investment skills to secure our own financial future and security. While we’re at it, why not go for gold and secure our financial freedom too?
Here are 9 must-have skills to invest like a pro:
1. Delay Your Gratification
A study gave children two marshmallows. The young participants were promised two more if they waited 15 minutes and didn’t eat the marshmallows. The ones who delayed their gratification were much more likely to succeed in life than the children who caved to instant gratification. Pro investors don’t eat the marshmallow. They practice patience and invest up front to reap long-term rewards.
2. Distinguish Myth from Truth
Pro investors don’t believe everything they hear in the News. They base their decisions on advice from mentors who they know have walked theirtalk. They base their real-estate decisions on economic fundamentals, their online business decisions on client feedback, and their stock investments on trends – not spikes. They don’t panic about looming bubbles, bursts, or crashes.
3. Become Financial Literate
Financial literacy is not a talent reserved exclusively for math geniuses. As Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, teaches: financial literacy is educating yourself on the relationship between income (what comes in), expenses (what goes out), assets (what you own), and liabilities (what you owe).
Pro investors work on their business, not in their business. Pro investors also own assets that work for them, rather than them working for money.
4. Leverage Your Time
Pro investors work smart, not hard. They leverage time by investing earlyand for the long-term. They leverage other people by hiring them for their time and expertise. They leverage money by using other people’s money to create more money (via mortgages, venture capital, etc.).
Delegating tasks is essential to maximizing profits, a la Tim Ferriss – a pro investor who works The 4 Hour Work Week.
5. Discipline Yourself
In this age of social media, there are shiny distractions everywhere. To succeed in building long-term wealth, pro investors practice daily self-discipline. They “wax on” and “wax off” consistently and persistently on their daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals.
They don’t get side-tracked by people who are not on track. They prepare their day the night before. They also conquer one big important task, first thing in the morning beforethey ever open their inbox.
6. Master Your Emotions
I.Q. (intelligence quotient) has taken a backstage to E.Q. (emotional quotient), says Daniel Goleman. E.Q. is a measure of emotional intelligence: the ability to stay calm under stress, think creatively under pressure, and recover quickly under failure. Pro investors don’t have knee-jerk reactions to external circumstances. They pause, quickly weigh their options, and respond in a way that creates the outcome they want.
7. Just Decide
From the pages of Think and Grow Rich, the premier guide to wealth and business success, pro investors are decisive. They trust their intuition, decide promptly, and course-correct along the way. They don’t fall into the Black Hole of analysis paralysis. Most people follow the ready, aim, fire motto. Pro investors follow the ready, fire, re-aim motto.
Pro investors plan their work and work their plan – even when they don’t feel like it. Once they’ve chosen their investment vehicle, they go deep, not wide. They become experts in their business or investment vehicle. They maintain enthusiasm between highs and lows, wins and failures. They learn and feed those lessons back into their next action step.
9. Lead Yourself, Lead the Team
Pro investors know who they are, leverage their strengths, outsource their weaknesses, and know why they invest. They have a massive vision for their impact in the world, in their community, and in their families. They seek to create meaning through their investment vehicles. They serve others. True leaders don’t just create followers, they create other leaders.
Are you operating like a professional investor?
How many of these skills do you currently have? How many of these skills do you want to master? Let’s face it, everyone is busy now-a-days. When you ask them what they’re busy with, they don’t always know. Don’t fall prey to busy-ness! Choose a skill that you’d like to sharpen. Every day, take one small step in that direction.
Remember, we all crawl before we walk.