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Live The Life You Love

Romance in Finance: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Posted by kdadmin on June 26th, 2015.

Romance in Finance: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

When I was forced to participate in organized sports as an twelve year old child, I was consistently told to keep my eye on the ball. I was told to obsess on it because (from my Machiavellian perspective) it housed the sole opportunity to score and triumph over my enemies.

Little did my coaches know that I had a natural tendency to obsess on a key metric and stop at nothing to dominate it. I can’t tell you how many lectures I got about “fair play” and “good sportsmanship” when I “kept my eye on the ball” by ruthlessly exploiting every opportunity it gave me. It didn’t help that I had watched the Conan movies a billion times and would freely recite Conan’s definition of happiness upon my triumph. Remember what he said when asked, “What is happiness, Conan?” Conan said, “To crush my enemies completely, to see them fleeing before me, and to hear the lamentations of their women.”

Apparently, I was NOT a team player …

But when I switched to individualized sports (skiing, running, kiteboarding), I discovered that not being a team player was a HUGE asset. It meant that I was not predisposed to lemming behavior. Instead of agonizing about doing something different than the herd, it was usually my first instinct. Others would spend years overcoming their herd mentality. I never had one to begin with.

The same is true of investments, financial planning, and being able to live the live you love. But here it’s often called, contrarion theory. This typically means that a person does what everyone else isn’t doing.

Take our choice to get out of the market. We’ve been mostly in cash for months. Last Tuesday, billionaire investor, Carl Icahn, warned of an overheated market and predicted doom. Glad we’re on the same page, Carl. Now, maybe this gives me more credibility. But, honestly, I don’t really care. I’ve done my research. I’ve hired my statisticians and economists. I’ve weighed the risks. I’ve evaluated my clients’ goals. I’ve made my choices. Carl Icahn is not the voice of investment God. He’s a nice reference point, but that’s all. Kind of like a mile marker on the side of the road. You think you’ve gone 100 miles in the right direction, and the marker gives you a nice little validation, but it doesn’t predict the future. It’s only telling you where you are right now. It’s up to you to plan for the future.

Actionable Steps. I write these Friday blogs to give you something that resonates with the goal we all share. Namely, to Live the Life You Love. Take at look at the picture above. It was taken in at the Sea Castle in St Malo, France, near the coast of Normandy. My wife was laughing at my technical frustration (the tide was coming in faster than I had planned), while we shared a romantic moment. Frankly, the picture was washed out (overcast skies), but twenty minutes with a new program’s hue settings, Pixelmator, gave me something that a drunken impressionist (redundant) would paint. Excellent.

I chose this shot because it encapsulates how to actually keep your eye on the ball. And the right ball, at that. Sure, I could buy an expensive home, fill it full of stuff, throw lavish parties and drive expensive cars in an attempt to be a team player. But, then I would have to spend all my time making the huge money necessary to support and manage that level of stuff. OR, I could spend my time finding places like this to share a romantic moment with the love of my life.

Moments like these are as much about the planning it took to get to the experience, as they are about the actual experience itself. It takes planning, tenacity, and skill to build a financial life that can support your intimate, romantic endeavors. When you find yourself able to live the life you love, capture the moment. Prove to yourself that all the work was worth it. Prove that there is romance in finance.

So, this weekend, I encourage you to carve out an intimate moment. A bit of time to share with a loved one. Take a picture that will resonate as you look back over your life. If you’re game, email it to me and tell me your story. I’d love to hear about, and learn from, your successes.

If you need inspiration, check out my video, French Connection: Only Love Nourishes

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