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Vail Valley investing: Are you an Olympic-class investor?

Charlie Wick and Tina DeWitt
Vail, CO, Colorado

Skiers, skaters, hockey players and other athletes are in Vancouver for the Winter Olympic Games. As spectators, most of us can only dream of duplicating the feats of these world-class athletes – but as investors, we can learn quite a bit from the traits that distinguish these Olympians.

Here are a few of these winning characteristics:

Discipline: To reach the top of their sports, Olympians train diligently for years. Along the way, they also train themselves to ignore distractions and avoid negative behaviors that could detract from their performance. As an investor, you too, need the discipline to avoid those emotional decisions – such as taking a time out from investing when the market is down or chasing after today’s hot stocks – to help you reach your goals.

Long-term focus: Many years ago, skaters, skiers, bobsledders and other athletes started training, while keeping their eyes on the prize – the 2010 Olympic Games. As an investor, you may also want to focus on a distant goal – such as a comfortable retirement – to guide your daily, monthly and yearly investment decisions.

Ability to overcome obstacles: Most Olympic athletes had to overcome obstacles at one time or another. But whether it was a series of bad performances or a career-threatening injury, they persevered. When you invest for decades, you will also encounter obstacles along the way, such as market downturns, recessions and investments that just don’t pan out. But if you’re resilient enough to bounce back from these setbacks, you can keep progressing toward your financial objectives.

Willingness to take reasonable risks: When you watch ski jumpers at the Olympics, you might think that they are taking incredible risks with their lives and limbs. Yet, because they have practiced so many times, have studied the angle of the jump, have mastered the position of their bodies in the air and taken all other factors into account, they have substantially reduced the risk associated with their jumps. If they were to eliminate all risk, they’d have no sport.

As an investor, you also need to incur some risks. But like the ski jumpers, you can help control risks. How? By familiarizing yourself with all aspects of your investment choices and by building a portfolio mix that reflects your individual risk tolerance, time horizon and long-term goals.

Confidence: Above all else, Olympians must have self-confidence. They must believe that they can succeed. And when you invest, you need confidence in yourself and in your decision-making. While you can’t control the movements of the financial markets, you can control your response to them. You can avoid panic when prices are down and you can avoid complacency when things are going well. You can structure your investment portfolio to meet your needs and you can make changes when necessary.

By believing in your ability to succeed, you will free yourself to act in your best interests.

You may never stand on the victor’s platform at the Olympic Games. But emulating the best qualities of the Olympic athletes can help you reach your investment goals.

Charlie Wick and Tina DeWitt are financial advisers with Edward Jones Investments. They can be reached in Eagle at 970-328-4959 or in Edwards at 970-926-1728.


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