My blog is ready for primary school. By that I don’t mean that I’ve simplified personal finance to the level that could be understood by a typical grade 1 learner, but rather my blog actually turned 6 years old now.
And due to my metronomic consistency in getting a blog post out at exactly sometime during the first two weeks of every month, maybe, and my cunning linguistic mastery of the English language, I’ve actually generated a following of at least 9 readers. It’s gotten so popular that nearly every month my wife has a client who mentions they’ve read my blog. Sometimes she hears from a suffering wife about her husband who has a bro-crush, to which I apologise profusely.
More recently some people in my office stumbled onto this site randomly, and even started reading it. Apparently it was a hit, because for the last couple of months some of the posts have been forwarded around to other colleagues, and now there are literally some emails being sent with snippets from my little website highlighted in yellow. I’ve made yellow!
This should make me very happy because it means people are finally starting to get their finances in order, but it’s had some very serious side effects. The worst one is that people now seem to think I might like to talk about finance or business, or things they think are finance or business but really aren’t, and that really isn’t the case. If I’m sitting next to you at a dinner table and you start asking me about forex, bitcoin or CFDs or any other topic considered to be hugely important by anyone who pretends to understand it, I might just stab you in the thigh with my salad fork.
If for some reason that doesn’t stop you I’ll reach for the candle and try clog my ears up with candle wax to avoid the topic, because, and this might be hard to believe, I really find it boring.
Even when it comes to my own investments, I find talking, and even thinking about them, insanely dull. And that’s a good thing, because successful investing is supposed to be dull. It’s like growing a tree:
- Buy seeds
- Plant them
- Come back in 20 years and look at your pretty trees
If you want excitement take up skydiving, mountain biking or paragliding. If you want to be a successful investor make your investments so boring that people invent excuses to get away from you when you talk about them. And then stop talking about them.
And now to try and answer all the same questions I get once people hear I write a finance blog, I’ve made a quick FAQ. That’s internet geek speak for frequently asked questions.
So here we go, what the FAQ do you want to know?
- How should I invest? As boringly as possible. Buy the whole world then take a nap.
- Okay then, how do I do that? Follow these three easy steps.
- What do you think of (insert share name here)? Literally nothing.
- My financial adviser told me to put my money into (literally any) unit trust, was it a good choice? Only idiots own unit trusts.
- But he’s super smart. All the investment stuff he told me was seriously complicated and he understood it like a pro. He’s a pro in at least one area, emptying your wallet.
- Do you think I should buy bitcoin? No.
- What about blueberry trees/cows/coins/tulips/other fad investment ideas? No, your goal is for investments to be dull, not stupid.
- And gold? You can’t invest in gold, only speculate.
- What about solar panels? If you’re going to live in the same place for 5 years they might actually be a good investment.
- How much time should I spend working on my portfolio? Just enough so you can reinvest your dividends and fill in your tax form.
- Speaking of dividends, what do you think of (insert dividend strategy here)? It’s far too exciting a strategy for me.
- What about investing in property? Only if you want poor returns with huge, exciting risks.
- The stock market is super high right now, isn’t that a problem? Who knows, who cares, and what are you going to do about it anyway, send it to rehab?
- I’ve just inherited/won the lottery/been bribed by Bosasa and now have so much money, what should I do with it? See boring answer #1.
- But it’s a huge amount, should I invest it all now or in little pieces? Some wonderfully boring maths says you should go all in, then have another nap.
- My friend put his money into (insert investment that has recently skyrocked). I once won 1TB external hard drive in a raffle I don’t remember entering.
- What do you think of my new car? It’s the prettiest million dollars I’ve seen in years.
- It’s too late for me to save enough to retire early, I’m in my 40s. If you save 50% of your salary for 17 years you’re done. Sure it would have been nice if you’d started that 17 years ago, but if you think of this moment in 17 years time, won’t you be glad you started today?
- So let’s say I do this and then one day I’m rich, how do I make sure I stay that way? Spend 4% of your net worth every year, or if you’re flexible you can try 5%.
- Do you have any other tips? Don’t blog about jokes at your wife’s expense, no matter how funny you think they are.
If I’ve missed any questions feel free to post them in the comments.