The Greatest Beneficiary of a Passive Investing Strategy? Your Family

Last Updated Feb 3, 2011 3:12 PM EST

Yesterday, we discussed why a passive investing strategy not only helps you win in investing, but also in life. The following true story demonstrates these points better than a fictional story would.

Shortly after my first book, The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You'll Ever Need, was published in 1998, a doctor called and related this story. He had been in practice a few years and had a wife, a young child and one more on the way. Many of his friends had generated large profits from trading stocks and he became caught up in the euphoria of the bull market.

After putting in a long day at the office, he would come home not to his family, but to his computer. He spent hours studying charts, investment reports and financial newsletters. Within just a few months, he had turned his small initial investment into about $100,000.

Unfortunately, his wife no longer saw her husband and his child no longer had a father; the doctor was now "married" to his computer and his investments. His wife began to seriously question their marriage. Luckily, he lost all his profits within a few months.

Fortunately, the doctor recognized that he wasn't paying attention to the most important part of his life - his family. He also realized that his original gains were a result of luck, similar to a hot hand at the craps table. Someone suggested that he read my book. After doing so, he called to thank me. He told me he recognized his error, designed a portfolio of index funds and swore off active investing.

Knowing that I've been able to not only help people achieve their financial goals, but more importantly improve the quality of their lives is why I keep working at it. It's my way of giving something back. And I view it as fighting on the side of the angels.


Follow the series:
How to Avoid Financial Errors Don't Underperform Your Own Funds Don't Listen to Economic Forecasters Don't Lose Sight of What's Really Important The Greatest Beneficiary of a Passive Investment Strategy? Your Family
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Nouriel Roubini Talks, People Listen How to Build a Bond Portfolio With TIPS, Should You Buy, Hold or Sell? What Is the Investment Impact of Our Federal Deficit? Who's Smarter: Active or Passive Investors?
Hear Larry Swedroe discuss current investment trends and topics every Sunday at noon on 550 AM KTRS in St. Louis or streaming via the KTRS Web site. Can't catch the show? Download the podcast via www.investmentadvisornow.com or through the Buckingham Asset Management podcast page on iTunes.
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    Larry Swedroe is director of research for The BAM Alliance. He has authored or co-authored 13 books, including his most recent, Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett. His opinions and comments expressed on this site are his own and may not accurately reflect those of the firm.

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