King Solomon, the Bible’s most famous wise man, is said to have authored hundreds of proverbs about prudent and responsible living. And the King’s wise words dovetail nicely with Jason Hartman’s principles for prudent and responsible investing: get informed, seek appropriate help, but chart your own financial course.
“Look to the ant, o sluggard,” says Proverbs 6: 6-8. “Consider her ways, and learn wisdom. Which, although she hath no guide, nor master, nor captain, provideth her meat for herself in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Like parables, fables and other kinds of teaching stories, this, like many of Solomon’s proverbs, uses analogy – drawing a parallel between the natural world and human behavior – to make the point. In this case, the ant makes it work on her own, not looking to authority figures or outside guides to take care of her needs.
Jason Hartman makes the same point in his 10 Commandments of Successful Investing: keeping personal control of all aspects of the investment process is the way to financial independence. His second commandment, “thou shalt have a professional investment counselor, “ points out the need to select a qualified professional to act as the “point person” for all aspects of an investing venture. And his third, “thou shalt maintain control” of the investing process emphasizes the need to remain in charge as a direct investor, rather than turning over control to a brokerage house or other kind of investment company.
When starting a new venture it’s tempting to relinquish decision-making to “experts” who appear to know more than you do, and take their advice without question. But in investing, as in life, it’s essential to recognize your own power and avoid handing it over to investment counselors who may be either incompetent or unethical, or both.
That’s where Jason Hartman’s first commandment sets the stage for the rest. ”Thou shalt become educated” points out the need to learn, gather information, and become as much of an expert as possible on the kind of investment you’re interested in making. Armed with knowledge, you’ll be better able to evaluate the qualifications of the investment professionals you’re considering. And the knowledge you’ve gained will help you work with them over the course of your investing career.
If you’ve done your homework and used your knowledge to evaluate investment counselors, you should be able to establish a long-term working relationship with an individual who assists, rather than directs, your investing plans. In this way, you’ll be like the ant of Solomon’s proverb – providing for yourself, being your own guide, without giving up control of your investing plans to outside authorities. (Top image: Flickr | epSos.de)
The Solomon Success Team