Investment Success: Intellectual Foundation PLUS Psychological Mindset

Oct 2004 //
Optimism/Pessimism
Investing

Sometimes I like to…reinforce the intellectual arguments for investing in the manner that we do, and sometimes I prefer to discuss the importance of having the right psychological mindset for investment success.  I divide my emphasis between intellectual and psychological factors because investors simply will not succeed without the right intellectual foundation and the right mindset.  When making this very point, Warren Buffett has stressed that maintaining the right frame of mind is the harder thing to do.  Notice the use of the word “maintaining,” rather than “having.”  Many investors have the right psychological orientation most of the time.  After all, most people understand that a long-term outlook and the willingness to take advantage of emotionally-driven price swings are essential elements of investment success.  However, for many investors this intellectual knowledge fails them precisely when it is most needed—during unusually volatile markets.