Arbor Wealth: Yogi-isms for the modern investor
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” — Yogi Berra
My husband, one of the last true baseball fans, tells me that Yogi Berra was one of the most underrated and versatile players in the history of the sport. While the nation mourned his death by trotting out his famous one-liners, we talked over dinner about Berra as one of the game’s all-time greats.
Berra played in more World Series games (75) than any player in history and garnered more hits (71) in the October Classic than any other player. Even I understand how good those numbers are. I have to if I want dinner conversation. Just kidding.
Few know that Berra, at age 19, was part of a six-man crew in a naval rocket boat firing at German defenses at Normandy’s Omaha Beach on D-Day. Fewer still are aware that he was an astute and shrewd businessman. Berra was known as one of the few Yankees willing to demand his market worth before free agency and big money came to athletes. And his post playing career advertising and appearance contracts were impressive.
For me, Berra’s life and witticisms serve as a common sense guidepost for investors. Here are a couple of relevant themes:
• It ain’t over ‘til it’s over … This oft-repeated phrase coincides perfectly with the importance of an investor establishing and understanding a timeline. Markets fluctuate, sometimes with extensive volatility, and investment efficacy cannot be judged in a year or even two years. A three- to five-year timeline is really a minimum outlook.
• Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded … Berra was referring to a particular restaurant which he and his teammates frequented before it became popular. But he could have well been discussing the trend that some investors have of following the crowd in buying securities. If an investor buys a security only after it becomes a hot stock and is bid up in price by others, it’s difficult to succeed. Buying during a downturn, when a good company is temporarily beaten down, is the way to go.
• Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel … Berra’s financial priorities obviously lay with those who allocate their resources to the things that are important. Ask any successful retiree about sacrifices he/she has made over the years and you’ll likely get a long list. Simply stated, every dollar you don’t spend is a dollar you can save or invest. Make saving and budgeting a habit.
• A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore … The insidious impact of inflation on investment accounts cannot be ignored. Inflation is currently low, but the grocery stores haven’t heard the news. Purchasing securities that pay rising dividends and yields provide a good hedge against inflation.
Margaret R. McDowell, ChFC, AIF, a syndicated economic columnist, is the founder of Arbor Wealth Management, LLC, (850-608-6121 — www.arborwealth.net), a “fee-only” registered investment advisory firm located near Sandestin. This column should not be considered personalized investment advice and provides no assurance that any specific strategy or investment will be suitable or profitable for an investor.