Teacher To Student: “It’s Better To Be Lazy”
I’ll admit that I wasn’t a hard-working student, when I was a kid.
Life was meant to be lived, I figured, rather than spent hunched over a desk, amidst books, and listening to the drone of a dull teacher.
That lazy 11th grade Andrew Hallam would have been tempted to sign a pact with the devil if Satan himself had offered this proposal:
“There are 30 kids in each of your classes. I can promise that you will rank number 3 or number 4 in every one of your courses, and you won’t have to lift a finger: no homework to do, no tests to take, no classes to attend!”
As an adult, if you were offered the privilege of having your investment returns rank #3 or #4 out of a batch of 30 professional investors, would that interest you?
Think about it.
Each year, a couple of the professionals would beat your investment returns. But those who beat you during one time period, wouldn’t likely be the same professional investors beating you in another time period. And your investment returns would continue to rank 3rd or 4th out of 30 investment professionals, decade in and decade out.
As a school teacher, I want to pass this along: You can manage your money yourself, on less than an hour a year, and beat the vast majority of professional investors. It’s better to be lazy, as an investor. And you don’t have to sign a deal with the devil.
Paul Farrell sums it up nicely in his book: The Lazy Person’s Guide To Investing
And he would agree with the investment decision that I made this month.
My portfolio is split three ways: 40% bonds/30% U.S. stock index/30% International stock index.
I just got paid yesterday, so I took a look at my portfolio to figure out what I was going to invest in.
My international stock index has outperformed both my bond index and my U.S. stock index over the past 30 days.
Currently, I have 40% in bonds/29% U.S. stock index/31% International index.
So what do you think I’ll be buying this month?
It’s not rocket science. By simply purchasing the lagging index every month, I will beat the vast majority of investment professionals who watch the markets, the economy, read The Wall Street Journal daily, and who (in many cases) sacrifice real living for “investment watching”
I can kick their butts without going to class. And the devil knows that.
By indexing your personal investments, you can do the same.