Brilliant Investment Strategy #2: Forgive

by Fred Martin

“Without forgiveness, innovation is impossible.” -Doug Lennick, Think2Perform

The concept of forgiveness might seem, on its surface, to be unrelated to investing. Forgiveness is an emotionally-charged, maybe even an emotionally-daunting, word. Connecting it to investing might seem too abstract to make sense. Shouldn’t investing be neutral and concrete? Shouldn’t it be free from emotion or impulse and be completely guided by trusted data?

Investing is not neutral and concrete, because investors are people, and people make mistakes. They act impulsively. They are blinded by ambitions and fears and they’re motivated by different things.

Decisions are not made without emotion, no matter what’s being decided upon.

Forgiveness, then, is vital.

If You Have Regrets

If you are an investor who made some bad decisions with your money in the past, you must be willing to learn from it, forgive yourself, and “get back out there” into the world of investing. It also means you release yourself from making that lost money back…no matter how much you lost. That frees you to really learn. If you can’t forgive yourself, you can’t be an effective investor again.

If You’re a Late-Comer

If you’re late to the investing conversation, and the gray in your hair makes you think you missed your window, you need to practice forgiveness. I tell people all the time that the absolute best time to start investing was 20 years ago. The second best time? Today. You can’t be frozen in regret so much that you don’t take active steps forward with investing. No matter how old you are, it’s time to forgive yourself for not starting sooner. And it’s time to start.

If You’re a Rookie

Some people carry shame because they just don’t understand investing. Some seem to just be wired to make money. It’s a gift they have. For others, it’s like learning a foreign language, and it takes a very long time to ever feel comfortable. For rookies, learning is possible. You don’t have to have perfect investing knowledge to take some good steps forward. But you have to accept that you don’t have to be a financial genius. You can learn what’s most important…and then learn something else…and then something else.

Doug Lennick, one of our speakers at last year’s Objective Measure Conference and a speaker this year as well, defines forgiveness as “giving up the hope for a better past.” The most effective investors I’ve worked with over the many years I’ve been in this industry have all had to learn the art of forgiveness. From first investors to seasoned old guys like me, we all have to forgive ourselves for the humanness in our investing.


If you’re looking for practical help and inspiring direction, consider joining me at the Objective Measure Conference this October. We’re helping people align their money with their lives.