Investing Works Without Huge Wins

How many impressive skills do you need to be a good investor? According to many of the most successful, you don’t need great skills. Average or better will work in many cases.

Three things you need are:

Objectivity. The ability to follow reality as it presents itself. Avoid what you don’t understand.

Patience. The ability to wait. Most people who find a situation they believe in expect the outside world to conform to that immediately. Peter Lynch has pointed out that some of his best investments doubled in 90 days after lying dormant for more than three years.

Adaptability. Things do not remain the same for very long. TV financial commentator Louis Rukeyser makes this point, “Not only is this time different, but every time is different – the most successful investors can adjust to this unorthodox reality” Louis Rukeyser.

Other advantages

Other skills would be nice, and you should cultivate those as you have the opportunity.

  1. Ability to understand financial statements.
  2. Time and skill to dig deeper into potential investments. Market analysis, management stability and skill, regular and growing dividends, and reputation within the financial community.
  3. Ability to value a corporation as a business.
  4. A clear understanding of how the stock market values securities.

Eventually, people begin to look for cash flow. Earnings are opinion, cash flow is more solid.

The bit to take away.

Investing to get acceptable results is more about making fewer poor decisions than making big scores. You can do that with common sense.


I build strategic, fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways to achieve spending and estate distribution goals. In the past, I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning. I have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.

Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email at don.shaughnessy@gmail.com.

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