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July 22, 2010 by David Gillaspie


Financial advisors come in all shapes and sizes.  Not all find the same audience, good advice or bad.

Who will you listen to, the guy on the bus, or the guy on television?  If money talks, then someone paid to say the right thing is more believable than someone answering questions you haven’t asked.

Is Ben Stein the right guy to tell you where to spend and save?  He’s got the track record that’s right for some.  

When he says spend or don’t spend, people listen, but what makes a good investment? 

Start with the main goals?

A good investment brings good returns, dividends, which in turn gives a sense of security.  You spend money now to earn money in the future, like whole life. 

That’s about you; now take it to the market.

A good investment helps others.  Think of Blue Chip stocks and the people who use the services those corporations provide.  Starbucks?  JetBlue?  Time Warner?  

People love to travel, drink coffee, and watch movies.  And those stocks are listed as bargains.

Invest in bargains and increase your return.  It sounds like buy low, sell high because it is buy low, sell high.

Strategy is always a part of goal setting.  Make a plan.

When you see someone sleeping in a downtown doorway, know that they didn’t plan on sleeping there ten years earlier.

That’s not part of anyone’s plan.

Maybe your goal is having a good life, and you don’t care after that.  That’s not a plan either, but at least it’s a place to start.

If you take your goal and break it down, you’ll see that your ability to focus on doing the things that make a life good is special.  Look around the world.  There’s some bad places with not enough good.  They need what you have.

How do you get it there?  More important, if you’re not there, where do you start?  You want to invest? 

Start with yourself.  Who has invested in you?  Your parents?  Your friends?  Co-workers?  Neighbors?  All good choices,  but dig deeper.

What have you invested in yourself?  Education?  Skills?  Attitude? 

If you can use what you’ve learned, then you’re on the right track.  Read good books.  See interesting things.  Do things that stretch your abilities.

But what about attitude?  You can’t buy attitude.  You can fake it, but the real you eventually comes out.

The proper attitude holds things in perspective.  The highs and lows of everyday life don’t swing off the chart.  The success and disappointments of one moment don’t ruin the next.  If you don’t feel like doing something, but said you would, you do it anyway.

Where do you learn attitude?  The best place is the wrestling room.

The hardships are real, if temporary.  The pain and suffering of competing against tough opposition is relative to your willingness to engage.  The relief of finishing a match, win or lose, lasts until the next match.

If life is like a wrestling tournament, and it is, then you know certain things.  You have a general idea of when you’ll be called to wrestle.  The whole environment demands manners and sportsmanship.  Once the whistle blows, and its you and another wrestler, you have a chance to bring everything you’ve ever learned into play. 

You might win.

You might lose.

You will learn the difference and what it takes to move from one to the other.

Now look at your wallet.  Is there a driver’s license in there?  Maybe a student body card?  How much cash?  If you’re like me, there’s room for more cash.  Imagine your wallet loaded with hundred dollar bills, thousand dollar bills, and you have a sack of money at your feet.

With that much dough you can buy something that makes you look smart and feel special.  Others will look at you and your purchases and wish they could be you; smart and special.  You probably know people like this.

Just remember, all the money in the world cannot buy attitude.  There’s no such thing as an ‘attitude broker’ or an ‘attitude advisor.’  You have to make up your own mind, or follow the herd.

Unless you are covered in fleece and walk on all fours, you are not sheep.  You don’t have to follow the herd.  Does the herd go to the wrestling room?  Does the herd put themselves through the most difficult practices in any sport? 

Is any other flock tended by Dan Gable, the winningest shepard ever?

The herd invests in safety.  Look at any football team at any level.  Look at any sport with team competition.  They need special courts and fields.  They need facilities that sparkle and shine.  Walk into any big time college stadium and you’ll see huge investments. 

Then look at wrestling.  A mat.  Shoes.  A singlet.  You can’t get anymore low tech than that.  Wrestling screams green, as if any college is listening before they drop their program.

The biggest investment in wrestling isn’t from some sports tycoon like Phil Knight and Nike, or a corporate raider like T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State.  The biggest investment in wrestling is what the sport puts in you, the seeds it plants.

Wrestling enriches your soul and builds a strong body.  It develops a keen sense of fairness.  The biggest payoff from a wrestling investment is a renewed sense of time.  You learn what it means to prepare and train, and you know what happens when the ref blows his whistle.

Check your personal portfolio.  See what’s up and what’s down.  Adjust your risk levels.  Then snap your headgear and wait for the investors. 


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