At this time of year, we celebrate Labour Day, a celebration of the Canadian worker. And there’s a lot to celebrate, because our workers have accomplished great things and, in the process, demonstrated a variety of impressive character traits – many of which also can be useful to investors.
For example …
… Perseverance – Have you ever read about an inventor who failed dozens of times before finally hitting on a winner? Or a scientist who studied the same problem for decades before discovering a revolutionary solution? All kinds of workers display this type of perseverance, in one form or another. As an investor, you, too, will need this “stick-to-itiveness” because you will face challenges. Markets will drop, individual investments may disappoint, tax laws may change, and so on. But if you’re patient, and you follow a long-term strategy that’s based on your needs, risk tolerance and time horizon, you can overcome those obstacles that may be blocking progress toward your goals.
… Inquisitiveness – During your own work, you’ve probably found that you can improve your effectiveness simply by asking a few questions or otherwise learning a little more about your tasks at hand. As an investor, you’ll also find that knowledge is power – because the more you know about investing and investments, the better prepared you can be when making decisions. Sometimes, this knowledge can help you look past the so-called experts who are touting the “next hot stock.” Other times, your curiosity may lead you to find new opportunities. In any case, learn as much as you can, and if you work with a financial professional, ask questions – as many as necessary. The investment world is fascinating, and it can be complex – but it is also understandable to those who make the effort.
… Flexibility – When situations change, you may need to try another approach. Successful workers know this – and so do successful investors. As life changes occur, you may need to take a step back and re-evaluate your approach. By reviewing your portfolio regularly with an advisor, you can adjust your strategy as necessary. That’s flexibility – and that’s a great attribute for investors.
… Vision – Good workers have a clear picture of what they want to accomplish – and they know what they must do reach their goal. As an investor, you also need to establish a vision of where you want to go and how you can get there. So when contemplating your retirement, try to foresee the lifestyle you hope to lead – will you travel the world or stay close to home, pursuing your hobbies? Then, use this vision to help guide your actions, such as increasing your contributions to your RRSP or TFSA, or changing the investment mix within these accounts.
Transferring what you learn from the working world to the investment arena can help make investing a less labourious – and potentially more enjoyable – process. So put that knowledge to good use.
Jodi Nastor, CFP
390 McNabb Street Unit 2