By J.P. Dahdah, CEO of Vantage Self-Directed IRAs
Money is personal. Unfortunately, most financial institutions have led us to believe that it is all about them…their research, their investment philosophy, their advice and most importantly, their products. Their message goes something like this: “We are experienced investment gurus. You aren’t. We know the market. You don’t. If you follow our advice and invest in our well diversified asset allocation strategies, you will be financially successful.”
Recent market performance has certainly made us re-evaluate this premise, hasn’t it? When investment professionals are paid big commissions for products that don’t perform as illustrated and are based on historical returns that “don’t guarantee future results”, we get angry. When the reality of those future results ends up being a substantial decrease in your retirement savings, we get even angrier. To add insult to injury, many of the companies some of you have paid to lose your money, have been bailed out by the U.S. Government with, once again, your money (i.e. taxes). Anger no longer expresses how most Americans feel today. You feel that your trust has been immensely violated.
As with most things in life which are built on trust, once it is broken, they can’t go back to how they were before. One lesson my nineteen year financial career has taught me is that the only way to have financial success is to Trust Thyself. To be able to Trust Thyself, you must Know thyself and be honest about your current level of knowledge about money. You must also Educate thyself. You must learn before you can earn. You must Discipline thyself, which translates to not risking money you can’t afford to lose and not spending money you don’t have. Lastly, you must Commit thyself. Only direct your IRA money into real estate investment strategies you fully understand and feel comfortable with.
It’s your money. It’s your financial future. Stop believing that someone else will care more about those two things that you will, they won’t (no matter how much you pay them). Is it easy? No, it’s very hard. Are there short cuts? No, there aren’t. Can you be successful? Yes, but you will have failures along the way. Get up quickly, learn from your mistakes and avoid making them again.
I’ll close by sharing one of my personal investing mantras, which I hope you apply in your financial life: “If I lose money, I don’t want there to be anyone else to blame but myself.”