Why Being an Investor Isn’t an Ideal Career Path

This past Tuesday I wrote a post titled Why Being an Investor Is an Ideal Career Path. Now, I’m going to take the opposite stance, and explain the difficulties of being a full time, professional investor.

You’re fighting against yourself.

We all know the “buy when others are fearful, and sell when others are greedy” line. But how many of us can actually do it? Most can’t. It’s in our nature to be fearful when others are fearful, and greedy when others are greedy. Investing is all about fighting against yourself; your own weaknesses, your flaws, the things that deter you from success. No one likes to be proved wrong, hence are too stubborn to admit that they’re wrong. But as far as investing goes, stubborness is fatal. Hence, you’re fighting against your own nature. Most people lose this war, but the successful win.

The stress…. it’s killing me!

As a full time investor (even if you’re part time, but more-so if you’re full time), the stress is nerve wrecking. There will be nights when you can’t fall asleep, nights when you wake up in a startle, only to find that it’s still only 2:30 a.m. No pain, no gain. That’s why, my ultimate stress remedy is (drum roll please)…… Buddhism! Buddhism is more of a way of life than a religion. Many successful entrepreneurs, like Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs, are devout Buddhists. Buddhism forces you to calm your heart, clear your mind, release your stress, and focus on what really matters (in other words, get your life back in order).

You will be pissed off at yourself.

When you lose money off the markets, you will go through deep, deep pain. “How could I have been so stupid??” “Why is the market acting like this???” “There’s no way I should have been wrong!” “This is fucking retarded!” You will be mad at yourself for losing money, mad at the world, and just plain angry. You will obsessively, like a demented person, try to find a reason for your failure. Truth is, there is a reason (1 out of a million reasons), but most likely you won’t be able to find it. So if there’s something really bothering you, but you can’t find the answer to it, just let it go. Let it go. Seriously. If you don’t stop, you will drive yourself insane (literally). Investing is a soul punishing experience. Also, you can be mad at yourself for missing a profitable opportunity. “How could I have missed that!???” Once again, let it go.

It’s lonely.

Investing is a lonely occupation. It’s best not to work with others, or work the phone gossip all day, because it does nothing but distract your attention, and ruins your conviction. There’s really no one to talk to, because no one will understand your position. Also, if you’re a good investor, that means you’ll be ahead of the trend. So when everyone’s in bubble-mode, you’ll be bearish. As a result, your friends will think of you as a crazed professor of doom.

As you can see, my “Why You Shouldn’t” arguments aren’t as great as my “Why You Should” arguments. Also, as of today, I plan on including 1 infographic into every post. Why? Because I installed a great plugin on Investorz Blog titled Magic Magnify. Just hover your mouse over the image below, and watch the magic. Or, click here for the full size image.

13 thoughts on “Why Being an Investor Isn’t an Ideal Career Path”

  1. This really is true. I often have to cancel a nice meeting with my friends in the evening because my work is keeping me so busy. I’m trying to balance it as best as I can, but it’s really hard, when you want to be successful and moreoften I think we that we have to proof ourselves to us. But I have to agree with SB@ One Cent At A Time that everyone, who has a full time job, gets annoyed and thinks he can’t do it anymore. Sometimes we have to gather ourself, bite the teeth together and keep on going.

  2. i lost so much money this year. not only is it stressful losing money, i even get stressed when i make money because i’m thinking that i haven’t maximized the profits in the most profitable way. so i’m giving myself a little break so clear my head.

  3. I would think another reason that being an investor is not an ideal career path is because of cash flow. Every time you pull money out of your portfolio to live on, you are taking away cash that could still be growing your net worth. Pulling cash out will also make you “realize” income, which comes with the cost of taxes. Investments that are held for shorter time periods are taxed at higher tax rates.

    I am in total agreement with you – constantly battling yourself is definitely a big downside.

    1. That is why (if you’re married) your spouse needs to have a stable income to pay the bills, while you’re investing.

  4. I would never want to be a full time investor. I do not care to spend my day researching stocks/mutual funds. I do research periodically when I make a change, but I just do not have the interest for full time effort.

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