You do realize that you will be investing for as long as you live, well almost. Sometimes people don’t register this fact. And this could mean decades for most and even half a century for some. We are reminded quite often that we will be working for this long, but we don’t think much about this. In my final interview with the HR Director of Hindustan Lever in 1983, I remember distinctly he asked me, if I was ready to work with them for 38 years because “most Management Trainees retired from the company”. I was at my over-smart best and told him that I was going to work one day at a time. I got the job. This conversation stayed with me over the years. And though I left HUL a little after 3 years, in 2021 I completed 38 years of working and let me tell you time flies and really fast when you are fully engaged in living. If you don’t watch out you will miss doing a few things and regret it later in life. So, let me ask you, are you ready to invest for multiple decades? And what will it take to answer this with a YES?
In the last 40 years the world has changed dramatically and it will change even more in the years to come. The rate of change is increasing and there will be some major upheavals along the way. How will you ensure that the way you invest you will not just survive through this but thrive and reach financial freedom?
Most people I ask this question tell me they will need to keep learning and that is correct. But learning what in the context of investing? Most people think it acquiring new knowledge and skills about investing and the more experienced ones mention investing behaviours. It’s a good answer but only partly correct because it does not define what is really acquired by acquiring these things. I found the answer in Peter Senge famous book The Fifth Discipline where he defines Learning Organization. If you keep the organization aside, you get the real definition of learning as increasing the capacity to do things that you care about. So, no increase in your capacity to do things that matter to you, means you are not learning. What you need is to manage your learning so that you increase your capacity to invest successfully and reach your goals despite the changes happening in the external environment. Is it really possible and how do you manage your learning?