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Making the moves that make a significant difference

I would have never guessed that Tiki Barber, running back for the New York Giants, would become an inspiration for my financial column. I have a lot of respect for Tiki.

In a world where professional athletes automatically assume the role model position for our youth, Tiki stands out as someone you would actually like your children to emulate. Nevertheless, I watch football to escape from the financial world; not because there are a lot of common denominators.

A few weeks ago, while watching the Giants get beat by Seattle, I saw a commercial for a luxury car. In the car was Tiki Barber, and he was talking about his career. He said that he spent most of his career in the early days as a backup running back, waiting for a chance to prove himself. One day the man starting in front of him got hurt, and Tiki got the nod. He had a great game and the coach gave him a chance to start again the next week…and the next….and the next. He has been a starter ever since.

In the commercial, Tiki says that you have to be ready to step up when the time comes. And you never know when the time will come. You have to practice every day as if your time to step up is just around the corner because one day, you’ll be right.

That’s not much different from the investing world. If you do it right you spend a lot of time getting ready to make a move and very little time actually moving your money from investment to investment. Just like all the highlight shows that relive every exciting play of the day, the stock market shows tell you about every mover and shaker in the market every day of the week. It makes you feel like you should be doing something all the time just to stay ahead of the game.

The boring truth is that you do have to be doing something all the time, but it isn’t moving your investments around. It is studying and understanding what you are doing. It is preparing for the day when making a move is the right thing to do. There is a lot to do to make sure you recognize the opportunity. It is not glamorous or sexy; it’s just plain hard work.

That’s why so many people aren’t willing to pay the price.
How many football players could have been great if they had just paid the price during practice? Four more wind sprints, 10 more passes, 20 more minutes in the weight room. We all know what it takes, but few are willing to pay the price.

Many investors would rather take a tip from a friend at a cocktail party than do the hours of research it may take to find the next most appropriate investment for their portfolio. In almost all of those cases, the friend doesn’t have a clue what is the next most appropriate investment for you, but they have saved you a lot of time and given you something to feel excited about by telling you what their next most appropriate investment will be.

If you want to succeed in the investment world, you need to be more like Tiki Barber. In an investment plan, there are usually just a few, very crucial times when making a move in your portfolio can make a significant difference in how well you meet your goals. You have to stick to your plan, stay the course, and be ready and willing to make those moves when they present themselves. It’s not that easy to do, but it can mean the difference between being a player — or a starter.

Scott Reed, CIMA, AIF, is CEO of Hardy Reed Capital Advisors, LLC, in Tupelo. He writes regularly for the Mississippi Business Journal. Please send questions or comments about this column to mbj@msbusiness.com. Information in this column is for general information purposes only. Nothing contained herein should be construed as a solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities. Readers should consult appropriate professionals for specific advice for their own situations. Venture Publications Inc. does not guarantee accuracy or accept liability for errors and/or omissions.

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