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Curbing my natural tendencies

August 29, 2018

This spring I read the Jason Zweig updated version of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor, the follow up to his more technical Security Analysis. The book is full of wisdom, but what I love most about it is how accessible it is.

I came away from that book with a different goal for investing. Instead of trying to beat the general market (something which I’m convinced takes a lot of skill and attention), I now just want enough.

Everyone’s going to have a different definition of what enough is, but when enough is the goal, it discourages frequent intervention.

As the saying goes:

“An investment portfolio is like a bar of soap: The more you touch/handle it, the smaller it gets”

The problem is that I want to tinker. Investing is a lot like a game. One that produces a few winners and a lot of losers.

To curb that desire, I followed one of Graham’s pieces of advice - sign an investment contract that governs when and what you’ll invest in. It’s a single page document and I keep it next to my bed, pulling it off the shelf as often as I need to remind me to stay the course.

(H/t to Rohan Rajiv for resurfacing the quote and Barry Popik for digging into the source)

P.S. For anyone who’s interested - here’s a PDF of the Investment Owner’s Contract you can print and sign for yourself.

Stephen Weiss

Written by Stephen Weiss who lives in Chicago with his wife, Kate, and dog, Finn. Follow him on Twitter!