The Law of Investing — “Investigate before you invest.” This is one of the most important of all the laws of money.
You should spend at least as much time studying a particular investment as you do earning the money to put into that particular investment.
Never let yourself be rushed into parting with money. You have worked too hard to earn it and taken too long to accumulate it. Investigate every aspect of the investment well before you make any commitment. Ask for full and complete disclosure of every detail. Demand honest, accurate and adequate information on any investment of any kind. If you have any doubt or misgivings at all, you will probably be better off keeping your money in the bank or in a money market investment account than you would be speculating or taking the risk of losing it.
The first corollary of the Law of Investing is this: “The only thing easy about money is losing it.”
It is hard to make money in a competitive market, but losing it is one of the easiest things you can ever do. A Japanese proverb says, “Making money is like digging with a nail, while losing money is like pouring water on the sand.”
The second corollary of this law comes from a self-made billionaire, Marvin Davis, who was asked about his rules for making money in an interview in Forbes Magazine. He said that he has one simple rule: “Don’t lose money.”
He said that if there is a possibility you will lose your money, don’t part with it in the first place. This principle is so important that you should write it down and put it where you can see it. Read it and reread it, over and over.
Think of your money as if it were a piece of your life. You have to exchange a certain number of hours, weeks and even years of your time in order to generate a certain amount of money for savings or investment. That time is irreplaceable. It is a part of your precious life that is gone forever. If all you do is hold on to the money, rather than losing it, that alone can ensure that you achieve financial security. Don’t lose money.
The third corollary of the Law of Investing is this: “If you think you can afford to lose a little, you’re going to end up losing a lot.”
There is something about the attitude of a person who feels he has enough money that he can afford to risk losing a little. You remember the old saying, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” There’s another saying, “When a man with experience meets a man with money, the man with the money is going to end up with the experience and the man with the experience is going to end up with the money.”
Always ask yourself what would happen if you lost 100 percent of your money in a prospective investment. Could you handle that? If you could not, don’t make the investment in the first place.
Now, here are two things you can do to apply this law immediately.
First, think back over the various financial mistakes you have made in your life. What did they have in common? What can you learn from them? Accurate diagnosis is half the cure.
Second, invest only in things that you fully understand and believe in. Take investment advice only from people who are financially successful from taking their own advice. Play it safe. It’s better to hold onto your money rather than to take a chance of losing it, along with all the time it took you to earn it.