Kim Snider
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May 08, 2007

.2(S) + .8(M) = FS

There are two formulas that I apply to financial success. One is E + S + I = FS and the other is .2(S) + .8(M) = FS. For those of you who don't like math, I can picture your eyes starting to glaze over now, but stick with me. I am not about to get all nerdy on you.

 

The first is a formulaic expression of something you have heard me say many times before. Financial success comes from thinking like an entrepreneur (E), saving prodigiously (S), and investing wisely (I). Hence, E + S + I = FS. This basic formula for financial success is the subject of my first book, which I have finally started to make headway on after three years of swearing I was going to get it done!

 

The second refers to my belief that financial success is only 20% skill-set (S) and 80% mindset (M). That is true at the broad level and it applies to each of the three areas of financial success mentioned above.

 

When I say think like an entrepreneur, you don't have to have years of management experience to benefit from that perspective. You just need to be educated on some basic management tools, like personal financial statements. That is the easy part. Anyone can learn those. The hard part is the mind set side of the equation.

 

The traits of successful entrepreneurs are the same traits you should bring to your personal finances in order to be successful. Those are 1) commitment and determination; 2) creativity, self-reliance and the ability to adapt; and 3) believing in yourself and that you are worthy of financial success.

 

Saving money doesn't take all that much knowledge. I think it is fair to say anyone can do it. With proper financial literacy education, like that provided by Money Camp, even kids can grasp the concept of saving for what you want and different wallets for spending, saving and charitable contributions.

 

Having the discipline to save is another matter altogether. It has been said, "The reason most people fail instead of succeed is they trade what they want most for what they want at that moment."

 

I know in my own life, if left to my unconscious, I tend to be a spender rather than a saver. I didn't really become a saver until I met my husband, who is a natural saver. But once I started doing it, I realized I got a lot of satisfaction from seeing my net worth grow. Who knew the number on the bottom of personal balance sheet could bring more deep and lasting satisfaction than some gee-gaw I bought?

 

Don’t get me wrong. I still like nice things. But now whether I spend or save is a very conscious decision rather than an unconscious one.

 

Finally, you have investing. No where is my 80%/20% formula more pronounced than here. When it comes to skill set, it helps to understand that many of the most powerful concepts in investing are the simplest ones. It does not take complex investment strategies to build wealth through investing. In fact, the opposite is true. The more time you spend on it, and the more complicated your investment schemes, the less likely you are to get your desired result.

 

For years now, women who have just completed the Snider Investment Method™ workshop come up to me with incredulous voices and say, "I can do this!" In my mind I think, "Well, duh!"

 

Often they will say something like, "My husband has always taken care of our money", or "I am an artist. I didn't think I would understand investing", or "I didn't know anything about investing when I walked in and I was sure I would be totally lost."

 

(By the way - I am pretty sure there are men who think the same thing but I just don't think they are as willing to admit it to me!)

 

Anyone can learn to invest. It has nothing to do with whether you are an artist or an engineer. In fact, academic research says it has nothing to do with how smart you are.

 

Jay Zagorsky, a researcher from Ohio State University has studied the relationship between IQ and wealth. "Smarter people tend to get paid more on the job, but there's no relationship between intelligence and net worth when holding other factors constant," says Zagorsky, whose report was published in the journal, Intelligence.

 

(Just as another aside, we have scheduled an interview with Jay Zagorsky. So listen for my interview with him in the coming weeks on my radio show, Saturdays at noon CT on 1080 AM KRLD in the Dallas Fort Worth area and in our Financial Success Coaching podcast available from iTunes, Odeo and right here on the Kimmunications blog.)

 

So what does account for your ability to build net worth through investing? It is your ability to control your emotional responses to meaningless, short term price movements. It is your ability to avoid extreme states of fear or greed. It is your ability to do the right thing every single day even though it often feels wrong.

 

In short, investing is almost totally a mind game. That is why hedge funds hire psychologists to work with their traders in the same way professional sports team hire sports psychologists to work with athletes. I know because one of them was one of my mentors. Investing is 20% skill and 80% in your head. That is one of the very first things he said to me when we started working together and I know it is as true as the sky is blue.

 

That is why the way I invest my own money is a system that tells me what to do in every single circumstance. It leaves nothing to my discretion because I worked it all out based on probabilities beforehand. Then I follow it religiously to take the game out of my head and make it all about knowledge. That is a game I can win and in my opinion the only way you can win it.

 

So follow my convoluted algebra here. If E + S + I = FS and .2(S) + .8(M) = FS then E + S + I = .2(S) + .8(M). In other words, in order to achieve financial success, you must be educated on the nuts and bolts. That is important. But more important is your mental approach to money.

 

If that is true, then doesn't it also follow that the people you need to surround yourself with are not just salesmen who make their living by selling you annuities and mutual funds, but rather a mentor who will help you with both sides of the equation?

 

Kim Snider, Kim Snider Financial Communications, Chronim Investments and/or Snider Advisors make no representation that the information and opinions expressed are accurate, complete or current. The opinions expressed should not be construed as financial, legal, tax, or other advice and are provided for informational purposes only. Call 866-952-0100 to request the Snider Investment Method™ Owner's Manual, which includes a description of the Snider Investment Method, investment objectives, risks, suitability and other information. Please read and consider carefully before investing. All investments are subject to risk including possible loss of principal.

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Kim Snider is an author, speaker and host of Financial Success Coaching, Saturdays at noon, on KRLD Newsradio 1080, Dallas - Fort Worth. This blog is primarily devoted to empowering individual investors with information to help them be good stewards of their money. Above all, it is about achieving true financial success. Kim's book, How To Be the Family CFO: Four Simple Steps to Put Your Financial House in Order is in bookstores now. Order yours from Amazon or other fine booksellers today.

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