Are your Investing Skills Current?
As a young boy I loved archery. I enjoyed watching the arrow fly towards the target and was obsessed with gaining as much control over its course as possible. At the age of thirteen I was attending a Boy Scout camp in Upper Canada where I was immediately drawn to the camp’s archery range. When it came my turn I was given five arrows and very quickly put the first three right into the bull’s eye. As I picked up the next arrow I noticed that everyone else had stopped to watch me. When the fourth one hit the target, I had broken the camp record and still had one arrow left. That small moment of glory stayed with me for a very long time.
Now let’s fast forward to a scouting activity I attended two months ago with my son. In one area was an archery range, so naturally I was drawn to it. After watching the boys struggling for a while I asked for a bow and told the boys I was going to demonstrate the proper technique. I slowly raised the bow and arrow into position, sighted my target, and let it fly. But fly it did not do. The arrow fell out of the string and dropped to the ground in front of me.
I am never at a loss for words but in that moment I just stood there, looking at the arrow on the ground, completely stunned, and extremely embarrassed. In the next few seconds time stood still as my mind went back to that moment of glory at the Haliburton Scout Reserve. I wondered what had happened to that amazing thirteen-year-old archer.
We say that practice makes perfect. By the same token, lack of practice causes a deterioration of past skills. It is not uncommon for me to find investors who in times past were amazing investors. They spent long hours researching various opportunities and in so doing became quite successful. As the years have gone by, and technology has evolved, many of these same people have not kept their skills current. Whether by neglect or simply a changing landscape, their ability to invest wisely has deteriorated. Like my archery experience, many have not noticed they are not the same as they once were. They assume that because they could break the camp record years ago, surely they can do it again.
Now, more than ever, investing takes a great deal of effort. The world changes quite quickly and the skills you exhibited years ago will not be sufficient today if you have not kept up. Whether making your own decisions, or following the advice of another, make sure that skills and knowledge are being kept current. In my recent archery disaster, the only thing I suffered was a bruised ego. In investing your life’s savings, the risk of an investor not being current in their skills can be significantly worse.