Have you ever watched any successful, veteran investor talk?
Be it a TV interview or an article or a podcast, maybe even a book; all the successful investors have one common secret.
But almost nobody seems to notice. To point one’s finger and say this is what makes them successful investors.
No one does!
What do you think is this secret of ace investors?
Continue reading to find out.
Table of Contents
1. A Reality Check
2. Discipline Investing With Investment Checklist
3. The Power of Investment Checklist!
4. A Powerless Investment Checklist?
5. My Personalised Investment Checklist
6. Investment Checklist For Mutual Fund SIP
7. Investment Checklist For Investment Success
A Reality Check
Now let’s pause for a moment; and come to the present.
Look around you. The world is busy—too much drama in search of financial security. Some achieve their financial goals; for some, it a pipe dream.
Now, think about your financial goals and investments. What happens when you think about investing?
What if you have to invest ₹1 lakh right now?
On one side, there is flash news about how the market is doing every minute.
On the other side, a chart or a report from an “expert” on TV.
“NEWS FLASH! Do you know the latest hot investment news?” a suggestion or some seemingly shocking info from all the sides. Unfortunately, we’re very sensitive, receptive, and reactive to “financial information” in any form.
We involuntarily begin to churn all those information in our minds. We pursue one after other, trying to figure out a way to make them beneficial to us.
Isn’t it confusing to know which one to address first?
Pushed by the adrenaline rush, you’ll make an investment decision. Sooner or later, you’ll realise that it wasn’t your best decision. But you have to keep going, so you rationalise and move on.
All this while, the real issue remains the same. Next time something similar comes up, you will still be at the mercy of chance. It will stop you from becoming a successful investor, ever.
So how can you become a successful investor?
What is this secret in plain sight to become a successful investor?
It is Process and Consistency in following one’s process. Nothing more, nothing less.
Not much of a secret, is it?
It may be why they are not taken seriously by average investors.
To evolve as a successful investor, consider creating a process and following it diligently. There is no better way of creating an Investment process than creating an Investment Checklist.
It is the building block of the investment process you can rely on.
Why wait anymore? Let’s jump into it!
Discipline Investing With Investment Checklist
Discipline and Consistency go hand in hand.
It is necessary to maintain discipline while making your investment choices and decisions.
The best way to start working on a methodology is to keep a workable investing checklist. Creating an investment checklist will inherently create and support investment discipline with minimal room for error.
Create a method and streamline the process when you make an investment decision. It could be while exploring a new investment model or while researching a particular product. Regardless of the differences in the objectives, it benefits the investors the same.
The great investor Peter Kaufman advises the investors to use an investing checklist in his book “Poor Charlie’s Almanac.” He calls his investing checklist: the investing principles checklist.
You create your investing checklist and use it to make any investment decision.
But why an investment checklist? Why not something else?
We have already seen the purpose of creating an investment checklist. But you can assume and attach a purpose to anything, right?
For example: a readymade retirement plan product. It is, of course, an investment instrument—or a tool in this context. This product will virtually makes all the investment decisions for you. Whether it succeeds in serving its purpose or not only comes secondary to it.
Unless it has a holistic view to make you a successful investor, it’s just another weed in the garden. The purpose you attach to it wouldn’t matter.
It is where an investment checklist outshines other things. It has several power-packed advantages to make you a successful investor.
The Power of Investment Checklist!
Be it investment choices or life decisions: we struggle because we do not know where to start.
Having a detailed investing checklist will save you from this struggle by initiating the process.
Beyond that, your investment checklist helps you put all the essential factors in one place to give you the big picture. It is something no investor would notice otherwise.
In short, the Investment Checklist is a tool employing the First Principles Method to make a better investment decision every single time.
From Polymath like Aristotle to Geniuses like Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla to Billionaire and “real-life Ironman” Elon Musk use the First Principles Method.
The First Principles Method breaks down even the biggest challenge to their fundamental elements and a create solution from the ground up.
Because of this principle, an ‘Investment Checklist’ is its own support system with several advantages including,
1. You achieve a long term investment success. By having an investing checklist, you consider all the key-factors like risks, prospects and do detailed research.
2. Step-by-step investing checklist gives you step-up-step guidance to approach your investment models.
3. You do not miss out on any key-step that is necessary to lower the risk. For example, with work pressure, we often forget to monitor the performance. We miss out on an excellent opportunity to invest more or sell it. But when you have an investing checklist, it reminds you to do it without fail.
4. You always do what you are supposed to do without deviating from the procedure you have detailed in the investing checklist.
5. You get the opportunities to make changes or modify the decisions on time. Thus you will have an evolving ‘investing checklist.’
6. You get the opportunities to relook the way you have been investing in case of poor performance. You can then tweak your investing checklist and improvise the investment process based on your experience.
7. Anxiety, tension, stress, and other emotional factor rule the way we make decisions. Having an investing checklist helps you to make the right decision without any influence of such emotions.
If you could notice, these aren’t just random advantages of creating a checklist.
Each of these points that a checklist is a self-evolving mechanism that will fine-tune your investment decisions one after the other.
But let’s be honest, claiming something will fix all your problems is the proof that something is wrong with it.
An investment checklist as a tool has its shortcoming. But if you could find a way to identify and work around it, you have got a winner.
So what is it?
A Powerless Investment Checklist?
As powerful as an investment checklist can be, there is one scenario where your investment checklist can become ineffective.
It is if you are an absolute beginner investor. The ‘Investing checklist’ may not help when you are a starter.
Why does that happen, though?
As a beginner investor, you come across tons of new information every day. The significance of each financial information will be super-blurred. It could cause you to micromanage your every little decision, even remotely connected to investment decisions.
Moreover, as a beginner, you are yet to explore your natural investment style. You will still be testing the waters. There will be a lot of growth, along with it, a lot of change.
Fixating on your investment checklist at that time can make your process to conflict with your real investment interest. It could slow you down significantly and crumble eventually.
Even though it isn’t factually possible, there may be many other scenarios where you feel your investment checklist is powerless later on.
You may feel something is missing in your investing checklist that may create panic.
Doubts begin to cloud your mind and make you question your entire investment process.
It is why reason Consistency is an absolute necessity to become a successful investor. Doubts and fear happens to even the best of us. The right thing to do is acknowledge them and believe in your process.
When in doubt, check the fundamentals of your investment checklist or consult an investment advisor to do it for you.
On the other hand, sometimes you get a false satisfaction of security. If you have built your investing checklist based on wrong information about the performance of the market. But you have to remember the saying,
If you ever feel over-confident about your investment decision, pause for a moment. Check if the fundamentals of your investment checklist are solid.
At times, it ok to be sceptical about your investment checklist in a healthy way. However, it is not a reason to discard your investment checklist. Since it is the best way to create an investment process, be sure to stick to the basics and proceed from there.
Unfortunately, not everybody does that—sticking to the basics.
It may sound funny or silly to read, but some investors do not like having an investment checklist. And some investors stop following their investment checklist, even if they had one in the first place. Because otherwise, they lose the opportunity to blame the market or other factors if they fail. It is a classic sign of denial and rationalisation. The truth is, it promotes reckless investing and stunts your growth as an investor.
Keep in mind: that an investment checklist is to become a successful investor; that is your only objective.
My Personalised Investment Checklist
The Investing checklist is not like our grocery list that we create on a particular day.
It should be concise and highly personalised. Above all, it should make you aware of your strengths and weaknesses. It will enable you to make an informed investment decision at all times.
It reminds me of how event managers operate.
Have you ever worked with wedding planners or event managers?
Of course, it has no relation to investments in any way. But they do deal with uncertain factors as much as an investor, if not more. And they do it consistently throughout the year.
So how do they do it?
You’re right! It is the checklist. They are professionals, and they have created a process using the checklist method.
They keep a checklist for each occasion an event or a wedding consists. They tweak it according to the number of people attending, budget, and other factors.
Likewise, keep an investing checklist while making different investment decisions.Think of yourself as a professional, have the intent to create a process with your investments. Consider the fact that you are going to follow and improvise on that process for years, decades.
Keep a step-by-step investing checklist for each action that you take while making any investment decision; be it small or big.
While creating your personalised investment checklist, consider:
1. Financial Strengths
2. Financial Weaknesses
3. Investment Time Horizon
4. Risk tolerance (Financial & Behavioural)
5. The Risk-Reward Ratio
6. The Possibility of becoming a liability (taxation & illiquidity)
Your investment checklist should include all these factors that are fundamental to check before investing. But as I said earlier, your investment checklist should enable you to create a process. You must tweak your investment checklist as you go on and learn from your previous investment decisions.
With these fundamentals in place, proceed and take your investment decisions. Continue to add and modify your investment checklist as you understand and improvise your investment process.
Investment Checklist for Mutual Fund SIP
In the previous section, we have seen the significance of investment checklist in creating an investment process.
We have also seen the different factors your investment checklist should consider and include in it.
However, when it comes to the actual creation of an investment checklist, you may feel lost or don’t know where to begin. The unsaid rule is that you should always start with your strength. In other words, start with how well you are financially.
For example, the checklist for investing in SIPs must have the answers to the following questions.
Some or all of the above questions can be useful while making any investment decisions. If you are making a different kind of investment, you may alter this investment checklist as required.
For example: Investments like mutual fund Lumpsum investment, stock purchases, real estate, gold may not rightly fit with this checklist. Tweak these questions to match your investment objective and prepare a customised investing -checklist.
The objective is to create an investment process through this and be consistent with it. If you can do that, everything else will fall in the right place—even if things don’t seem to go in your way.
And at all times, remember, your investing checklist must be simple to do, not a ‘do it yourself’ manual.
Investment Checklist for Investment Success
It is the intent and the drive to become and be a successful investor that matters. Anyone who has that drive will find the right tools that will help them become a successful investor.
It looks like you have found yours—and you are on the right path.
As the investing checklist helps research and monitor your investment performance, you see how the other instruments are working. Become a successful investor and build wealth by investing through process, not advertisements.
If you can do this, you are subliminally in the process of creating your customised financial plan.
But if you want to streamline this process—have the certified professionals assist and create a customised financial plan; for you.
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