Reaching the Top (Part 3)

How do you achieve your goals?

Ed Viesturs didn’t just decide to climb the world’s highest mountains one day and get on a plane for Nepal the next. Scaling these summits took years of preparation. Only a superbly conditioned athlete can climb above 25,000 feet—7,600 meters—without supplemental oxygen. It took time, energy, and lots of planning to reach his goal.

It’s like this with many things in life. A runner doesn’t hop from jogging around the block to running a marathon without a clear plan. Surgeons need to undertake decades of preparation before they’re ready to operate. Achievement is like an iceberg: one-fifth execution, four-fifths preparation, under the surface, only visible to those who understand the process.

Attaining your financial goals is no different. The most important part of any portfolio is the financial plan that underlies it. It’s not enough to own stocks that double in a year. Anyone can get a two-for-one payout if they buy enough lottery tickets. But getting lucky is not a plan. In the mountains that attitude gets you killed; and investors get poor.

Climbing mountains requires planning, patience, and knowing when to advance or retreat. Investors need to take a similar approach. Because sometimes the most important investment is the one you don’t purchase.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA

Chief Investment Officer

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