Being a financial adviser isn’t just a job; I also consider it to be a lifestyle. It’s an occupation that requires one to be a technician and also to have the skills to interact with people. For me, it’s a badge I carry proudly and enjoy thoroughly.
I periodically attend education conferences that help me stay current
with investment trends, economic forecasts, and the onslaught of new and
constantly changing rules and regulations. There’s no question that the
variety of classes is valuable, but what I find even more valuable is
what I learn from my peers from other parts of the country and from the
featured speakers from outside our profession.
My most recent seminar was in Nashville. It featured two outstanding
speakers: Marcus Luttrell and Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Lutrell was a
Navy Seal from Texas who survived Operation Red Wings on the slopes of
Sawtalo Sar, a mountain in Afghanistan. He was the only survivor of the
mission and his book, “Lone Survivor,” was made into a movie. His talk
was intense and from the heart.
Sullenberger, the other featured speaker, was also quite newsworthy. He
was the pilot who landed his passenger jet on the Hudson River when it
lost all engines due to a bird strike shortly after takeoff. His ability
to bring the aircraft down safely was truly incredible and witnessed as
it happened on national television. Sully spoke with the eloquence of a
In many ways the speakers were complete opposites. Marcus was a fairly
young man with young children. Sully, on the other hand, has grown
children and was near the end of his career when he piloted the aircraft
to a safe landing. They were total opposites in their backgrounds and
So why mention these guys in a financial column? Because of what they
shared in common, something of value to all people, including investors.
Years and years of training that helped them survive.
For Marcus, it was physical Navy Seal training that pushed his body to
the limits. For Sully, it was the technical training of a pilot. Sully
pointed out that flight simulators didn’t have water landings, but his
many years of training simply kicked in during the time of crisis.
As investors, we may not need the physical toughness of a Navy Seal, but
we do need to have the mental training. For example, you can mentally
train yourself to be a saver. And maintain that mindset regardless of
the financial circumstances.
A person that deposits a dollar in a piggybank every day is a simple
example. So is someone that contributes every payday into his or her
It’s easy to find a reason not to save. But with strong financial
discipline and the ability to keep emotions in check, anyone can do it.
You just have to train yourself to act that way.
If either Marcus or Sully had panicked in their situations, they would
not have survived. I have written many times that investors need to keep
their emotions at bay. In most instances, if you panic and make
emotional decisions with your money, you lose.
As an investor, you need to be mentally tough and keep your emotions in check. All it takes is the proper training.