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8 lessons about investing I learned while driving my car

pexels.com, 2019

I used to drive a lot! It got me thinking about how similar driving a car and investing can be.

Gregg Sneddon, financial planner - The Financial Coach

The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield interviewed personal finance expert Gregg Sneddon (The Financial Coach).

Sneddon shared some valuable investing lessons he learned by driving his car.

1. Short-term noise distracts. Keep your focus on long-term goals.

The robot is red so you stop.

There are cars all around you; six or seven of them in front of you.

The robot turns green, but before you get to the front it has turned red again.

If only there weren’t as many cars right around and in front of us – if only we didn’t focus on the short-term noise but kept the focus on our long-term goals – we’d get there! The robot turns green, but we get caught up with the cars in front of us; the short-term noise.

Gregg Sneddon, financial planner - The Financial Coach

2. Chopping and changing is costly and doesn't get you anywhere.

How often when you’re stuck in heavy traffic do you see some highly agitated driver changing lanes over and over in a desperate, yet futile, attempt at getting ahead?

While you stay put they go back and forth, in and out, yet 10 minutes later you pull up beside them.

This is a bit like how many investors behave. When a particular fund outperformed our own we chase that performance. We buy high and sell low. We chop and change. Yet all the research shows we’d be better off if we just stayed put and got the average.

Gregg Sneddon, financial planner - The Financial Coach

3. There are no second chances.

When you bump into another car you might, filled with regret, be thinking, “If only I had looked! If only I could get a second chance!"

This makes me think about things such as providing for retirement and getting insurance against disability. You don’t get a second chance!

Gregg Sneddon, financial planner - The Financial Coach

4. If you don’t service your car regularly it will break down.

The same applies to your financial plan.

5. You adjust your driving according to the conditions (e.g. rain, traffic, potholes, etc.).

In the same way, investments sometimes need rebalancing.

There are times when the market is cheap and there are times when the market is expensive. If you indicated a desire to be, say, 60% in shares and the market has run very hard, you might in time find yourself at, say, 70%. Then it’s time to cut back. The opposite can also happen; you need to adjust how you invest to the conditions.

Gregg Sneddon, financial planner - The Financial Coach

This is not chopping and changing such as in the example mentioned above.

This is staying the course; aligned to our long-term plan.

6. You need a map if you’re planning to go on a long, rewarding road trip.

Imagine tackling a road trip to a new and exciting place without a map (or help from Google Maps).

You’ll drive around in circles and it won’t be much fun.

The same applies to financial planning.

7. We all rate ourselves as above-average drivers.

Surveys show that about 90% of drivers consider themselves above-average drivers.

You don’t need to be a statistician to know that we’re deluding ourselves in this regard.

When it comes to investing you need to be consistently average. We need to use more passive investment funds!

Gregg Sneddon, financial planner - The Financial Coach

Markets may boom, causing you to think you’re an investment guru.

You almost certainly aren’t; the market has done all the work.

Passive funds are Gautrain of investing. It’s efficient, it works and it cuts down on costs. The savings are unbelievable if you can cut your costs by even 0.5% over a 10, 15 or 20 year period.

Gregg Sneddon, financial planner - The Financial Coach

8. Some people need bakkie, others a Kombi while a Polo Vivo should be fine for most.

One size does not fit all.

It’s 'personal' finance for a reason.

Gregg Sneddon, financial planner - The Financial Coach

For more detail, listen to the interview in the audio below.

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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 8 lessons about investing I learned while driving my car


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