Samuel A. Kiburz, who serves as Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout Troop in Punta Gorda and Portfolio Manager at Charlotte State Bank & Trust, sees several similarities between the two callings. He described those parallels in a column he wrote after taking his troop to a summer camp in the Ocala National Forest.
“During our trip, I taught them the Camping, Cooking, and Hiking merit badges,” he writes. “In between classes, they swam in the various springs and had the opportunity to hike and explore pristine parts of the Florida Trail that works its way through the forest.”
While working on the hiking merit, the troop focused on the Scout motto “Be Prepared,” defined by Boy Scouts founder Lord Baden Powell as “having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.”
Being prepared is the principal correlation between hiking and investing, as Samuel sees it.
“While on a hike, to be prepared, we teach the following: carry a compass, have a map, don’t carry too much weight, prepare for changes in the weather and bring enough food and water,” he notes.
Many have been on the “investment trail” for many years are not prepared, Samuel writes, describing this as “the most tragic part of my job.” These investors carry too much weight in the form of extra expenses and underperformance that slows them down. They are not prepared for the storms by having the wrong investments, and they don’t bring enough food and water so they have to sell when the market is down.
They don’t have a compass and are not aware that their investments are taking them in the wrong direction. They don’t have a map, so they go down random trails with untested investments that not only make the trip longer, but never allow them to make the end of the trail.
”As a Portfolio Manager, I see myself as a guide, the one who has the map, compass, and the knowledge of how much weight, food, and water to carry,” he writes. “I plan ahead and keep our clients on the right trail, so they won’t stray into uncharted or unbeaten paths that make the journey longer or lead them in the wrong direction. In the end, we do this by being prepared before we start and by being there and helping along the way so they can easily and safely navigate the trail.”
Samuel advises anyone wandering aimlessly in the wilderness or on the wrong trail in the investment world to find an experienced guide to help them “be prepared.”
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