Tom Scollon
Tom Scollon
Chief Editor
Last weekend I presented the share market section of what I thought was a very high powered three-day Investment Seminar. The key note presenter was a most impressive speaker and also a very successful investor in his own right. The two are not incompatible! I thought I knew how to be a smart investor but the seminar brought home to me how essential it is to keep updating one’s information, tools and skills.
Between presentations he was telling me something of the US investment seminar scene which is a huge industry over there. One can take the cynical view that the only people who make money out of such seminars are the presenters themselves. That could well be partially true but there are also many many seminars that offer great value. In the US it is common for presenters to attend seminars put on by friend and foe. The US mentality is educate, educate , educate.

In Australia we do take a cynical view of non-mainstream education and whilst the view may be justified at times we generally do forgoe opportunities in wealth creation by not attending. Perhaps also we are a little too proud to listen to others.

We also think that we can learn it in a book. Books are great starting places but it does not end there and you cannot beat the “incubation” effect of a highly concentrated seminar or workshop. You are forced to take it in, to absorb, to be challenged, in effect to complete the book in a set time - that is the period of the workshop. We Australians also tend to reject the hype of the US style seminar but I think again we can be a little too quick to do so. It can also be a smart educating technique.

The other impact the seminar had on me was the importance of setting goals. Yes I have spoken about these topics myself but we all need reminding. Committing goals to paper, believing in yourself and really going hard to achieve our goals is a sure way of excelling.

I see many people who so called trade the markets but they do so without real purpose, a plan or discipline. This "auto pilot" approach is setting oneself up for failure. I see even seasoned investors constantly being hit by the markets. They can avoid this - there is another way.

Next time you see a seminar that you believe will improve your skill then do yourself a favour – register and go for it – I am sure you will improve your chances of being a better trader.

This recent seminar made me raise my goals a notch or two – are you maybe too modest and setting your hurdle just a little too low?

Enjoy the ride!

Tom Scollon