A friend of mine and fellow financial blogger,James Molet, recently interviewed me for his blog RetirementSavvy. James provides good information and advice over his blog. He is also the author of Rendezvous With Retirement. Here is a portion of the Interview:
What was the catalyst that started you on the road to fiscal fitness?
As the beneficiary of an industrial engineering degree and a unique 2-year training program on Wall Street, I was able to grasp the importance of financial matters early in my career. By age 35, I had founded several publicly traded companies, primarily in the oil & gas industry, providing me with a high 6-figure income and a net worth in excess of $10 million. In the oil bust of the early 1980s, I lost everything, declaring personal bankruptcy as a consequence.
Realizing that the acquisition (or loss) of wealth was a consequence of luck as well as effort and intelligence, I determined that knowing when to sell was just as important as the decision to buy, especially if you dealt in volatile investments. As Kenny Rogers sang in his song The Gambler, “You got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.”
Those experiences forced me to examine my investment practices and realize that there are no guarantees in life or investments. It is, as Warren Buffett famously claims, the first Rule of Investing: Don’t Lose Money. Today, I always analyze the downside possibilities before I consider an investment.
What is the one personal finance concept you believe someone seeking financial freedom should understand and practice?
While a cliché, every investor should realize that the path to financial freedom is a marathon, not a sprint. Chasing immediate rewards requires assuming inordinate risks and increases the possibility and probability of loss. Wealth is built by the constant application of tested financial principles: consistent savings, diversification, tax minimization, and expense control.
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