I was having a discussion the other day about property investing versus share investing and people often think one is better than the other based on anecdotal evidence “my uncle did very well owning property – he’s owns a few houses and they have gone up from $70,000 in 1994 when he bought them to about [insert large figure here] now” or “my grandfather bought lots of commonwealth bank shares when they floated and kept buying more and reinvesting the dividends and now his portfolio is [insert large figure here]”
We often get caught up in worrying about which asset class produces superior returns and overlook the common trait these people have.
In virtually every case, these people would have owned thier investments for a VERY LONG period of time. They remain disciplined throughout an ever changing world around them. It’s easy to look backwards and see the start point to now and think it’s easy, but not so easy when you are on that journey and there is so much noise in life, the media and the world around you.
The other trait of successful investors that I notice is they are thrifty. You might call it cheap. They probably wear older clothes, take cheaper holidays, go to every effort to minimise general expenditure like buying specials or reduced to clear items or not buying brand name groceries. Maybe thier TV is older and saller. Not buying a new car regularly and when they do buy a car, they do so with saved money. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. What it looks like exactly does vary because some people earn a lot more than others, but the comminality is that they make sure they spend less than they earn and do so regularly.
Sure, we want to invest in assets that are going to produce the best return over the period we are going to own them, but some things are out of our control – so focus more on the things we can control. Being disciplined and investing for the long term, spending less than you earn and invest the difference and make sure you remove risks where you can like being diversified.