4 Habits of Successful Investors

19th century American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote "It's not the destination, it's the journey" and while this saying has ties to many parts of life it doesn't relate to investing. The destination matters.
· 5 min read
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Sure, investors may make mistakes and will seek to learn from them but investing at its core is about reaching an objective, a goal, a destination and not what happened on our way there.

All investors will have different destinations, with some looking closer to home than others; an overseas holiday, an upgrade to the family car, or renovating the kitchen, for example.

Others may require a longer commute; buying your first home or investment property, transitioning to a comfortable retirement or creating meaningful intergenerational wealth.

We are grateful to be a trusted partner in achieving these goals with our Professionally Managed Account (PMA) investors, but what are the habits of successful investors that help them not only get started but arrive on time?

1. What is the destination?

Sitting down on your own or with your partner to discuss and list what you want to achieve with your investment portfolio is the very first step. Review these goals over time to ensure they remain relevant.

2. When are we getting there?

For each objective consider a realistic timeframe for when you wish to achieve it, updating it as time passes. For example:

  • Overseas Holiday – 3 Years
  • Deposit for a Property – 6 Years
  • Transitioning to Retirement – 25 Years

3. How are we getting there?

Great investment portfolios are built with a combination of growth and defensive assets. Deciding on what percentage should be applied to each usually relates back to the timeframe available and directly impacts the level of risk or potential volatility you must accept before you reach your goal.

Here are the suggested timeframes for our portfolios, click on their name to see how they have been built by our team as a guide.

Portfolio Conservative Balanced Growth High Growth
Timeframe 0-3 Years 3-5 Years 5-7 Years 7 Years

While it can be tempting to pick an investment that is more aggressive and has higher historical returns, it may not be the surest way to reach your destination; you wouldn’t take a flight to grab bread and milk at Woolies.

4. Book your tickets

Putting your plan into action is the last step and often the biggest mental hurdle to conquer.

Fear, and let’s face it, a little greed can impact your decision to get started.

Yes, there will be periods where your portfolio may go down just as there will be periods when it goes up. If you have chosen the right investment to match your timeframe and features an appropriate mix of assets, then you are well placed to arrive on time and in one piece.

Wouldn’t you accept some turbulence enroute to a beach in Hawaii or the alps in France than not going at all?

If you would like to talk to our friendly team about portfolio structures, goal setting or even our InvestSMART Portfolios please feel free to contact us at

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Mitchell Datson
Mitchell Datson
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