The Heroic Investor

Can investors be heroes?

The early epics are sometimes called heroic literature. They start and finish with a singular character. The Illiad, Odyssey, and Aeneid are epic poems that focus on Achilles, Odysseus, and Aeneas respectively, with their particular character qualities. Generations of readers have heard or read of Achilles’ strength, Odysseus’ cunning, or Aeneas’ leadership through these works. Each one of them uses his particular ability to accomplish his mission. But they must also overcome distractions or obstacles would keep them from reaching their goals.

In the same way, investors should focus on their own particular strengths and avoid getting sidetracked. All of us has something we’re good at–whether it’s on the job, or a hobby, or just some area that fascinates us. These particular skills or interests can give us insight into a business or company. For example, if you like to go fishing, you may know which companies make the best-selling boats, tackle, and beer-coolers. You can use that information when you invest.

At the same time, each of us knows why we want to invest—what our objectives are. In fact, we’re the only ones who do. It’s crucial that we articulate what we want in order to get where we need to go. A written investment policy is a good start.

The Greek and Roman heroes had special skills but also had special trials to overcome. Investors should try to understand and adapt to their own strengths and weaknesses as they try to get where they’re going.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA

Chief Investment Officer

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