Five habits of the very best investors

I read this article on MarketWatch.com and I loved it so I’m sharing with you. Learn the traits and habits of the successful investors.
As written By Paul Merriman (MarketWatch.com):
Most investors spend most of their time and energy thinking about what they can get from their investments. That makes perfect sense.
But there’s more than that to investment success.
A few investors are lucky enough to be successful primarily because they were born into wealth and abundance. But the vast majority of us have to rely on hard work and … what else?
If you can put your finger on that elusive “what else” factor that leads to success, you can change your life — and your family’s life — for the better. So what is it?
As I researched my 2011 book “Financial Fitness Forever,” I posed exactly that question in a series of extended interviews with nine seasoned investment advisers I respect and admire.
One thing that emerged was deceptively simple. Aristotle said it this way: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence comes not from our actions but from our habits.”
Again and again these nine advisers identified some key habits that seemed to be ingrained in the most successful people among the thousands of clients they have worked with. Pretty soon we realized that successful investors’ most effective “secrets of success” were neither secret nor mysterious.
If I had to boil down what we found to just one sentence, I would say that the “perfect investor,” if such a person really exists, is somebody who plans for the future and is patient and deliberate in carrying out those plans.
I could boil it down to three words: Planning, perspective and patience.
Or just two words: Good habits.
Habits govern our behavior in the background and let us move through life without requiring us to think about the same issue again and again.

Here are five habits that can help you be a better investor:

1: Setting goals

Successful investors know where they are going and set goals for getting there. Investors who lack clearly articulated and measurable goals tend to dabble in various investment options, hoping they’ll find something that works.
But once you set some fixed goals, your investment choices and actions acquire an entirely new meaning. Like a casual traveler who has been handed a road map and a destination, you can suddenly know what you should do. 

2: Create a plan — and stick to it
Successful investors make concrete plans to achieve their goals, and then follow the plans. They periodically re-examine those goals, too. In real life, our needs change, circumstances change, knowledge evolves. Rethinking your goals and working to achieve them can become a regular part of your life. I recommend you make this a once-a-year habit.

3: Save regularly

Successful investors save regularly and routinely. In my roundtable discussions among advisers, this was the very first trait that emerged. Every adviser I talked to agreed that this is an absolutely essential ingredient for successful investing. After all, you can’t invest money unless you have it; and unless you save it, you probably won’t have it.
The best investors find ways to add to their savings automatically. These days, that is pretty easy through payroll deductions and regularly scheduled online transfers. If you want to be among the best, set this habit on automatic.

4: Live on less

Successful investors habitually delay gratification and live below their means. This, of course, is essential to save money. If you know from experience that you can live on less when you need to, then you’ve laid an important piece of groundwork for a successful retirement.
Some very successful investors take pleasure in demonstrating that they can live on less and still be happy. They’re among the people who are most likely to enjoy retirement, since they have deliberately cut the emotional cord between how much money they spend and how happy they are.
5: Stay in the game
Successful investors expect setbacks and stay in the game anyway. I remember opening a retirement account some years back for a woman who had inherited some money. I did my best to let this woman know that she would experience some temporary losses along the way, and she assured me that she was fine with that idea.
A month later, she closed her account after losing about 1% of her portfolio.
I called her, and she told me she remembered my promise that she would experience temporary losses along the way. And she remembered her promise to stick with it when that happened.
“Then why are you closing your account after only a month?” I asked. I’ve never forgotten her reply: “I thought that we would make some money first before I lost it.”
Had this woman remained invested, her portfolio would have gone up nearly 10% in the following eight months. But by quitting prematurely, she locked in her loss and gave up a perfectly sensible game plan.
Is this a habit? I think it is. The best investors are those who can habitually stay the course despite the setbacks they inevitably encounter. This is resilience — another very valuable trait — in action.
Doing all these things may seem like a pretty tough assignment, and in a way it is. If you want to be outstandingly successful, you’ve got to do what most other people don’t do.
The good news is that your habits are within your control.
Here’s one piece of parting advice: Don’t expect perfection, either from yourself or from the world. We are only humans living in an imperfect world. I haven’t lived my life perfectly, and you won’t live yours perfectly. What you know, what you expect and what you do will sometimes let you down.

But if you do your best and keep putting yourself back in the game, you’ll be the best investor that you can be. That’s a good habit to nurture.

Richard Buck contributed to this article.

Courtesy: Marketwatch.com

Lessons from Young Investor #5, Alex Titriku

Name: Alex Titriku

Age: 24

Twitter/ Instagram: @kurusoo

My investment colleague and great friend Alex, is a trained Engineer currently pursuing graduate studies in the field of Analog and Mixed Signal Integrated Circuits and he is also currently researching into Optical Transceivers. … 🙂. Let’s now find out about his investment life. 

When did he start investing? What was the drive?
He opened his first investment account just about when he got to College, largely due to the fact that he needed to be 18 to solely own one. But before opening his account, his parents had made investments on his behalf. These were mainly treasury bills and some stock investments. The idea of making money work for you was a fascinating one, According to Alex. “At the time I opened my first investment account which was a mutual fund; I was a rookie when it came not only to investment but the financial world. My initial draw to the world of investing was my sister since she worked in an investment firm and I was quite interested in what she was doing. But since then I have been driven by plenteous opportunities available to make returns that will be seed for various future projects,” He said.
His current investment portfolio is mainly split between two instruments: Mutual funds and stock investments.

Ok boss, so now, why the above instruments?
His answer was; “Mutual funds have always been a safe haven for low risk and amateur investors, but they still hold potential for some medium term goals. Even though my comprehension of the nitty gritties of investment has appreciated, I still keep mutual funds as an investment strategy since it takes off some of the work from my shoulder and places them on the fund managers, not for free though. I would also rather buy a mutual fund than keep my money in a savings account with low returns. Stock investments are much more captivating and require more work from the investor. Actively trading on the stock market comes with a lot of risk, but it holds greater prospects. You learn to make wise and responsible decisions and it helps keep your greed in check.” …… BAAM!!! That’s what I’m talking about. This guy is sharp. 🙂 🙂
Now I feel like probing more and to know approximately how much his portfolio was worth and how regular he invests, and before I finished the question, he smiled and said, “My investment worth is in the thousands of cedis. Be on the lookout for the next Forbes or Wall Street journal, there will be feature on my current net worth.”
Prior to embarking on his graduate school adventure, he invested regularly on a monthly basis but that frequency has reduced due to certain difficulties. Roughly, Alex has been investing for 5 years.

Mistakes from his investing experience
One of the major mistakes he made as a newbie in stock investing was his excitement over IPO’s. Any time he heard of an IPO he will get overly excited and jump straight into it. “I’ve been burned a couple of times.” He said. Another common mistake is making investment decisions based on emotions or without a thorough analysis of the value of the stock or the company. 
Finally when he started investing, he really didn’t have a goal or a target and then realized  his returns were limited because he didn’t put much thought into it.
“It’s an ever learning process, but my lessons can be summarized into three simple phrase – have a goal, do your homework (avoid speculations) and don’t be greedy!” – Alex said to me

His Investment Mentor
His number one mentor is the Holy Spirit. It might sound strange to many but he is inviting you to give it a try. “The Lord not only directs our steps in spiritual matters but all other matters. In human personalities, I draw a lot of inspiration from Warren Buffet and John Rockefeller.” He said. “My investment friends, including you, Patrick, have been instrumental in shaping my investment ideologies. He added quickly.

A message to the investment community and other young investors;
“My advice to many is it’s never too small or too late to start investing. And as you begin to make gains, don’t forget to be generous to others. The giver will always be greater than the receiver.” Alex T.
He end with one of the famous quotes of Mr. Buffett- “Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”

Alex uses one phrase to describe himself and that is, “I am a love child of a love God”. He has a passion for winning souls and raising leaders. And also loves to code when he gets the time.

Lessons from Young Investor #4, Benjamin Kofi Nyarko

Name: Benjamin Kofi Nyarko

Age: 26

Twitter: @bennyarko

My good friend, Benjamin and a big dreamer like myself, aims at being the first Black benevolent richest man in the world. He started investing in the year 2004 and the drive was to be his ‘own Boss’ in the near future. “I dream of starting companies and listing them on the Ghana Stock Exchange”, He told me. He also attributes his drive to invest and attain his dreams to Robert Kiyosaki and Mike Murdock.
Benjamin chose to invest 60% of his portfolio in Stocks, 30% in Government Securities and 10% in Mutual Funds.  


Why the above instruments?

Stocks – Ben chose to invest 60% of his money in stocks because he loves to take risk and maximize his gains. He is also ‘future-oriented’ and believes in saving for the future.

Government Securities – “I started investing in Government securities because I saw it as an avenue to diversify my portfolio, minimize any losses that may arise as a result trading in shares and also use it as a benchmark to evaluate how well have I performed from trading on the stock market.”  – He said to me.

Mutual Funds – In conversing with him, he told me he went into mutual funds to serve as his personal investment for his third tier SNNIT. He also said, “It also serves as a benchmark for me on my performance of with the other Investments I have.
I later found out that, my good friend has been investing in the; stock market for the past 9 years ; Mutual funds for the past 2 years ; Government Securities for the past 1 year.
Mistakes from his investing experience
One mistake that he will never forget occurredwhen he was buying his first stock. He mistakenly asked for information about what stock to invest in from a lay man and right after he bought it, the price of that share fell by almost 60% by the next week. “It almost discouraged me from investing into shares.” – He said.

Lessons
One lesson he has learnt is to thoroughly research into the stock he wants to buy and closely monitor it until the right time to purchase that stock.
He quickly added, “I have also resorted to buying undervalued shares that have encouraging performance.”
Books he reads include;
Rich Dad Poor Dad, Richest Man in Babylon, Security Analysis, The Wealth of Nations, The intelligent Investor, & The Cash flow Quadrant
In Conclusion, what he has to say is “Never be afraid to make mistakes because the lessons you learn from mistakes stick better than what you learn from books. We all came to this world to make an impact, it will therefore be a tragedy to have lived in this world and not be remembered for making any good impact. ” 

Benjamin Kofi Nyarko is an Investment Analyst, Entrepreneur, Cost /Management Accountant. He speaks and writes two (2) international languages (English and French). He has a BSc. Accounting, Partly Qualified ACCA, Diploma in French Language and other certificates in investment from the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Lessons from Young Investor #3, Ernest Addae

Name:Ernest Addae
Twitter:  @earnaddae
When you meet someone with a background in Human Biology and names his son after Warren Buffett, you should know what he is most passionate about.  Ernest Addae, a Senior Research Assistant at the University of Cape of Coast School of Medical Sciences happens to be one of the greatest followers and fan of Warren Buffett and his Investment strategy.

Ernest Addae
Senior Research Assistant
 UCC School of Medical Sciences 

Executive Director –
 Medical Education Consult
He started learning about investing after reading Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” in 2011. “That was when I first read a brief on Warren Buffett. However, the defining moment was when I read his biography on Wikipedia.” – He said to me. And so he took the rest of 2011 and early part of 2012 to learn about investing in stocks and study the investment strategies of Warren Buffett.

In March 2012, he started an investment partnership with a friend to invest in stocks listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange. It wasn’t that serious until April 2013, when he started an investment club with his colleagues at work.
Ernest’s Investment portfolio and that of his club’s are growing really fast. Unlike many investors, he only invests when opportunities present themselves.

Talking about investment instruments, he said his choice of investment is inspired by Warren Buffett who always says that “as long as you’re in a hurry to get rich, stock investing is still the way to create wealth although the road may get bumpy sometimes.”-Warren Buffett.  “Also, personally I believe in long-term investment vehicles like stocks.”- Ernest said

Mistakes from his investing experience
In his own words; “There are different valuation models in analyzing assets, specifically stocks. I made a mistake of sticking to one model without giving it a careful thought and this makes me feel I’ve over paid for a stock.”
And to me, personally, I think this is what brings growth in investing – Making mistakes and learning from your mistakes. We make mistakes early with little cash and learn from them as quick as we can then make lots of profit with a lot of cash.
Lessons

In life, mistakes are bound to happen and as long as you don’t make a lot of stupid ones, learn quickly from them and move on. Life is too short, so don’t spend so much time crying over spilled milk.”
The essence of what he is saying is that, when investing whether in securities, business or any instrument don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and when you do make them, learn from them and move on. People lose money when they start investing. Others do not but whatever the case, keep moving forward, never stop letting your money work for you.

Role Model and What he reads

Obviously, Ernest role model is Warren Buffett and although many investors like Warren, he has taking it to the next level. Ernest is a voracious reader and has read a lot of books on investing, but really obsessed with Buffett and so has read almost every great book on him and his strategies.  Some of these books are;
  • Buffett: The Making of American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein
  • The New Buffettology by Mary Buffett and David Clark
  • The Warren Buffett Way  by Robert Hagstrom
  • Annual Letters of Berkshire Hathaway by Warren Bufett
  • The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
  • Personal Finance: Turning Money into Wealth by Arthur Keown

Ernest’s last word to the next generation of investors is a quote from Charlie Munger “Understanding both the power of compound interest and the difficulty of getting it is the heart and soul of understanding a lot of things.”
Ernest Addae read Human Biology at the University of Cape Coast and graduated with an excellent class. He possesses online certificates in Finance specifically Personal Finance. Also he is the Executive Director of Medical Education Consult (http://medusult.com) a study abroad consulting firm. A husband to an exceptional woman and have a wonderful boy called Warren.
He writes a blog on investing at www.docinvestor.wordpress.comand another on coding at www.earnestcoding.wordpress.com.
He is proficient in HTML, CSS and WordPress and enrolled in an online school to learn programming in JavaScript, Ruby and Python, also, how to use Ruby on Rails and Django frameworks. 

Lessons from Young Investor #2, Kwabena Amo-Mensah

Today I’m featuring my second young investor in Ghana. Do check out the first and the rest.

Name: Kwabena Amo-Mensah

Age: 24

Kwabena Amo-Mensah is a good friend and a promising investment professional with extensive knowledge in securities and financial markets. Any time I speak to him, I go to read more, because he always uses investment jargons that forces me to expand my scope. He is the President of SFIC, a private equity  start-up group, deputy finance director at “Heart For Children Africa” a registered NGO that reaches out to children in deprived communities, an investment coach and forex trader.  He has a background in accounting and finance and currently at the final stages of ICA Ghana.
Kwabena Amo-Mensah
President of SFIC (Private Equity Group)
Deputy Finance Director at
“Heart For Children Africa”

He started investing in 2008 after reading Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. Unlike many young people, he invests in Equity and fixed income securities (financial assets).

When I asked him how much his portfolio is worth, His answer was, “I am in the five figures and still growing fast because I invest on monthly basis.Showing me the figure, he said, “Patrick, You can’t tell people how much I’m worth, I don’t want to turn into a loan company”.. lol

In finding out more about why he invests in Equity and fixed income securities, I noticed that he chose those investment instruments because it quite easy for him to monitor them. He also said, “I feel it is better to have your money work for you without putting in much effort”.

Mistakes from his investing experience?
  1. He bought some shares because “everybody” was buying. In his own words; “I didn’t really understand why I was buying that particular stock. I was disappointed by the performance of that stock. This happened in 2008”. That brings me the great statement, do not follow the crowd.
  2.  Investing all his money on the stock market: During his “amateur” periods, he said he invested almost all his monies on the bourse with little or nothing in savings (emergency fund). “This forces me to sell my stake anytime I need money to settle emergency situations.” – Kwabena said  
  3.  Coming out of the market too quickly: With reference to the second mistake, he said coming out of the market at the time he didn’t plan to come out was a big mistake.

Lessons from Investing
  1. Stock market investing is for those who are patient. “There are many occasion I regretted coming out of the market”. – He said.
  2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  3. Don’t rely on relationship officers’ advice, talk to the right people. (You should read this to understand him better: Not all relationship managers are brokers)
  4. Be an expert or get some investment knowledge. 

In conclusion, I found out that, he got his inspiration to invest from reading books like The intelligent  investor”, “Rich Dad poor dad”, and “Richest man in Babylon”.
His final words to me were; “Investing in investment knowledge pays the best returns. Never invest in a business or financial asset you don’t understand. Invest consistently – wealth is not acquired in a day; it is acquired daily”.

Lessons from Young Investor #1, M.D. Avor

Name: David Mawutor Avor

Age: 25

Twitter: @MD_Avor


My good friend and business partner, M.D. Avor, as he likes to be called, is a Chartered Insurer, a founding member of Fortune Hunters Investment Club (now FHI Group) and currently the head of the e-Business Unit at Vanguard Assurance Company Limited.
He began his investment Journey after turning 18 and purchased GHc 50 worth of EPACK shares. “It’s been almost 7 years since then and I have not for once regretted my decision.” – He said to me.
M. D. Avor
Chartered Insurer,
Head of e-Buisness Unit-
(Vanguard Assurance)


He invests mainly in 3 general classes of instruments:

1. Treasury bills
2. Mutual Funds: He has done Epack, B’fund, iFund and M’fund. Currently, Heritage Fund and Fortune Fund are his favorites. He also contributes regularly to his investment group – Fortune Hunters, which he considers as a form of Mutual Fund.
3. Shares: “I have invested in quite a few shares, mainly the financial stocks.” He said to me.

Why the above Investment instruments?
As can be seen from my investment instruments, I do not have any particular preferences. I am an active investor and I move my money dependent on prevailing market conditions. For example, for the mutual funds, I have moved money from some because I felt they were over-priced; others because it was cumbersome getting regular information on the performance of my investment (and I hate “to be in the dark”); and still others because of poor returns.”

Mistakes from His Investing Experience
1. He blindly followed the “IPO mania”: To him, IPOs (Initial Public Offers) are in themselves not a bad thing but, the few he has witnessed in Ghana in his investing experience has taught him some lessons. Firstly, the time lag between the completion of the IPO and when the shares start active trading is normally too long! “With my knowledge now, I would rather invest my money in a short-term fund and wait to get the share on the open market when it starts trading,” he said. Though when one does that one might the shares at a price slightly higher than the IPO price, his experience taught him that he will still be far better off with this strategy. Secondly, most of our IPOs tend to be over-priced! “It looks as if some of the owners of companies which get listed on the stock exchange usually want to cash out at the expense of the unsuspecting public.” David said and I nodded in agreement.

2. He failed to give price limits when placing a sales order: This is something I share with all my investor friends and I think you should take note of this when placing orders. According to David, one of the worst mistakes he has ever made was to offer his shares in a company for sale through a broker without giving a limit at which the shares should not be sold. To his surprise, the shares were sold far lower than the prevailing market price. “This is a mistake I will never repeat.”- David said with certainty.

3. He failed to buy enough when the market crashed: In the year 2009, the GSE witnessed one of its worst years, share prices fell drastically. To David, He should have bought more stocks at this time. “I even saw GCB shares going for as low as 50 pesewas per share (unbelievable!)”. Instead of finding some more money to purchase more shares, my inexperience got the better part of me and I also panicked with the crowd. Surprisingly he eagerly looks forward to the next crush; and when others start selling off, he would be busily buying. J

Lessons Learnt investing
1.Have an investment plan: According to David, before you begin investing or decide to purchase any investment instrument, be clear in your mind what your plan is. By plan, he means what the guiding principles of your investment would be. Give them an example David. “OK. for example, personally, I have as part of my plan the rule that once T’Bill rates go below 20% per annum, I stop my roll-over instructions and move my T’Bill funds elsewhere.” And Why? “I will explain later but the point is, set some parameters right from inception.” – He said.

2. Invest regularly but don’t get attached to any particular investment vehicle: Just as an employee gets fired for non-performance, don’t hesitate to change an investment vehicle if it is not meeting your performance indicators (but of course, your indicators must be realistic). According to David, remember their names, there are just “vehicles” to get you to your destination; change them if they are not doing that well enough.

3. Know when to “cash out” and when to “cut your losses”: “Investing is an emotional thing. I have seen people hold an investment for too long refusing to sell when the price peaked and waited until the share’s price began to tumble.” He said depicting his style of investing. He then added that on the other side are those who obviously made a wrong investment in a company which is “going nowhere soon.” Instead of cutting their losses quickly and moving on to the next vehicle, they hold on; somehow expecting some miracle. Know when to cut your losses.

In concluding with my friend and business partner, David, I noticed he picked most of his in investment lessons from Robert Kiyosaki’s “Guide to Investing” and some from Aawoenam Amevor’s book – “Investment: How to Create Wealth on the Stock Market.”


David considers Investing as a game; it can be fun and you can either win or lose. However, the more knowledge and experience you get, the fewer your losses become and the bigger and more consistent your wins become. “Trust me, the reward for winning this game of Investing is really worth it – Cash!” – David Avor.

David possesses a strong academic background – BSc. Administration (Insurance Option) from the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS); a Chartered Insurer and an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute, U.K; and is currently undertaking his MBA in Finance from UGBS.

His personal life mantra is: “I climb; I pull up; I push up!”. Simply meaning, he develops himself, mentors others to come to his level and also helps others attain heights which he himself cannot.

Read about the Second Young Investor…..

Great Investment Lessons from Five (5) Young Investors in Ghana

This week, I want to profile some young and enthusiastic investors in Ghana and their investment journey. They have been investing in securities in the Ghanaian markets and have been doing this regularly.
They have great experiences. Some failed in one way or the other, learnt from the failures and still put their money to work.  The time has come for us to know How they started, what they do and what mistakes they made and their advice to the young investment public in Ghana.

1. David Mawutor Avor


  Age: 25

M. D. Avor
Chartered Insurer,
Head of e-Buisness Unit-
(Vanguard Assurance)

My good friend and business partner, M.D. Avor, as he likes to be called, is a founding member of Fortune Hunters Investment Club (now FHI Group) and currently the head of the e-Business Unit at Vanguard Assurance Company Limited.


He began his investment Journey after turning 18 and purchased GHc 50 worth of EPACK shares. “It’s been almost 7 years since then and I have not for once regretted my decision.” – He said to me. …….
Click to Read More

2. Name: Kwabena Amo-Mensah


   Age: 24

Kwabena Amo-Mensah
President of SFIC (Private Equity Group)
Deputy Finance Director at
“Heart For Children Africa”

Kwabena Amo-Mensah is a good friend and a promising investment professional with extensive knowledge in securities and financial markets. Any time I speak to him, I go to read more, because he always uses investment jargons that forces me to expand my scope. He is the President of SFIC, a private equity  start-up group, deputy finance director at “Heart For Children Africa” a registered NGO that reaches out to children in deprived communities, an investment coach and forex trader.  He has a background in accounting and finance and currently at the final stages of ICA Ghana.

He started investing in 2008 after reading Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. ……Click to Read More



3. Name: Ernest Addae

   Twitter: @earnaddae
Ernest Addae
Senior Research Assistant
 UCC School of Medical Sciences

 Executive Director of
 Medical Education Consult

When you meet someone with a background in Human Biology and named his son after Warren Buffett, you should know what he is most passionate about.  Ernest Addae, a Senior Research Assistant at the University of Cape of Coast School of Medical Sciences happens to be one of the greatest followers and fan of Warren Buffett and his Investment strategy. ….. CLICK TO READ MORE


4. Name: Benjamin Kofi Nyarko


      Age: 26

Investment Analyst,
Entrepreneur,
Cost /Management Accountant

My good friend, Benjamin and a big dreamer like myself, aims at being the first Black benevolent richest man in the world. He started investing in the year 2004 and the drive was to be his ‘own Boss’ in the near future. “I dream of starting companies and listing them on the Ghana Stock Exchange”, He told me. He also attributes his drive to invest and attain his dreams to Robert Kiyosaki and Mike Murdock.

Benjamin chose to invest 60% of his portfolio in Stocks, 30% in Government Securities and 10% in Mutual Funds.  
Click to read more

5. Name: Alex Titriku

  Age: 24

Twitter/ Instagram: @kurusoo

My investment colleague and great friend Alex, is a trained Engineer currently pursuing graduate studies in the field of Analog and Mixed Signal Integrated Circuits and he is also currently researching into Optical Transceivers. … 🙂. Let’s now find out about his investment life.