Invest with Discipline and Efficiency

I was raised in a family of 11 kids. I heard a weight loss expert once say that if you eat slower you will eat less. Growing up with 10 brothers and sisters I already understood that principle very well.

My parents believed the best way to keep that many kids out of trouble was to keep them busy, so they taught us to work. My Dad owned a factory and so he offered us the chance to work there every Saturday when the regular employees with off. Since his shop was in the industrial sector of Los Angeles, we used to keep the company shutters closed just in case a child labor inspector came passing by. My dad believed that child labor was a great way to teach good principles regardless of how the authorities may have felt about it.

His offer to us was simple. No one was required to accept the job, but if we did, we needed to commit to being at work every Saturday. There were four of us that took him up on the offer so each Saturday morning we would be found working on the assembly line packaging product. The pay was great too. I earned a whopping 50 cents an hour. I can remember like it was yesterday, sitting on my bed holding up my very first five-dollar bill. I turned it over and over and just couldn’t believe how lucky I was. I knew that day that work and I were going to be getting along quite well.

On the assembly line my Dad would assign us each very specific tasks and teach us the most efficient way to accomplish them. As we worked along he would come by and make minor adjustments in the way we moved our hands in order to shave just a few seconds off the repetitive process. He was a true production manager who made sure that no action was ever wasted, no hand movement being any longer than it had to be.

I did not understand at first his obsession with efficiency, but learned in time that small adjustments to our repetitive movements resulted in greater output on the assembly line. As our production increased, so did our wages, and we all understood that very well. My siblings and I were very fortunate to have a Father who taught us the long-term benefits of making short term, small improvements in our work. At a very young age we earned pretty healthy incomes by learning to work consistently and as efficiently as possible.

If I could help younger investors in just one area it would be to understand the long-term benefits of the small things they do today. A pattern of consistent investing, a practice of making small but regular adjustments as needed, and the discipline of living within a carefully planned budget yield tremendous benefits in later years.

I must have also learned some of these principles from my mom since she had 11 kids in just 17 years. I guess efficiency runs in the family.