Investing is a team sport

One of the biggest issues with the conventional schools is the tendency to groom individual stars. Students are graded based on their ability to perform individually. If you collaborate in the exam hall, you are penalised. The closest to teamwork I have ever experienced in school was in my final year in a design course, which was an open book exam. You are allowed to bring everything that you think can help into the exam hall. There were no right answers. Your ability to think creatively was what the lecturer was looking for. I am not in any way condoning cheating. The issue is a school system that prepares students for a world that no longer exists.
This solo mentality is carried into the corporate world. While management and Human Resources mouth the right words as regards teamwork and diversity, employees are appraised based on how they performed individually. Hence, you can see a high performing manager leading a team of average performers. In effect, it means the manager did all the work while his subordinates watched. Such managers are indispensable and cannot be promoted as no one under him is capable of taking over. Much of the turf fights; territorial protection and operating in silos arise from a solo mentality. You want to look good while the company is suffering. Such companies do well until a sleek competitor who understands teamwork and lean organisation eats up their market share.

While being an individual star may work in school and in some corporate environments, it is not so in the world of investing. The consequences hit your pockets directly. Investing is a team sport. The better a team player you are, the brighter your chances of success. Investing is such a huge field that you cannot be an expert in every market or field. You need a team. A good team will beat an individual no matter how good the individual is. You have a lawyer, broker, banker and other professionals depending on the market you play in. At the beginning, you may not be able to have dedicated resources. You can bring them in on part-time pay until you can afford a permanent team. Your bank assigns an account officer to you. It is your job to befriend your account officer and bring her on your team. She will educate you and give you information free of charge – 24/7 – based on the level of relationship you have cultivated.

Charity begins at home

The starting point is the family – that is the husband and wife playing as a team. Many people miss the point from here. I have come across husbands who hide financial matters from their wives. The wife has no clue how much the husband earns, what investments he is into or where the money goes. Some wives do not know that the family owes until the creditor knocks on the door. One common excuse I hear is that if the wife knows how much he earns, she will demand more. Many feel the wife will be upset if she gets to know how much he is helping his family financially. Another reason for secrecy is when the husband has other romantic relationships outside. There are also women who hide their finances from their husbands.

I cannot tell a couple how to run their lives but if you want to succeed financially, you need to have integrity – oneness. Your words must match your actions. You cannot get the best from a team that keeps secrets. We all know what happens when security services do not share intelligence among themselves. Attackers can slip through the defences of the most powerful nations when the team is not united. An average team that is united can beat a star-studded disorganised team.



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