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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

Thanks for reading! My name's Stephen Weiss. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn.
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