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Invest From Abundance

For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he does have will be taken away. Matthew 25:29

Your attitude and outlook sway the quality of your investment decisions. Wealth and abundance are found within yourself; they are not a measure of your finances at a point in time. People who recognize their inner worth typically manifest financial abundance and can rise from the ashes of seeming financial ruin to again demonstrate prosperity. Those who have not found the value within them are more like the typical multimillion-dollar lottery winner who within a few years again suffers financial hardship.

Looking to the stock market to give you wealth, also known as an attitude of lack, opens the door to ego. Ego through greed, fear and pride distorts the view of reality. Contemplation of how the market affects you personally draws focus away from what actually influences the market.

Imagining how you will benefit or feel if an investment makes a gain is a hypothetical that replaces awareness of whether an investment is a good value or not. Imagining desired gains allows ego to filter out or disregard contradictory information. Ego is attracted to what has made strong, recent gains. Sometimes this leads to purchases near the top of a market cycle. An investor could start with a clear view of the market, but when the gains come then let ego’s desire or projection of more gains cloud the view. Any attachment to an investment position that brought gain can blind you to whether the position is still a good value.

Pride would cast you as the star in your own personal investment drama. As the hero you imagine making brilliant decisions. Attachment to the decision or investment position can grow strong. In the face of contrary information pride makes unrealistic defenses of the “brilliant” decision. Even if there is a limited acknowledgment that not everything is rosy, pride may say something like, “I am strong enough to weather this temporary setback.” The largest investment loss I ever experienced followed such a thought. Any thought about how an investment relates to you personally distracts focus from what matters and distorts the view of value and risk.

If you star in your own personal investment drama, ego or pride can get energized regardless of the roll you star in. You might be the conquering hero, or you might be the tragic, sympathy-deserving victim of unscrupulous financial agents. Perhaps you could be the brave protagonist with many wonderful virtues, but with one character flaw or blind spot that destines painful financial losses. Starring in the drama juices the ego but blinds you to the realities of the marketplace and the lessons that need to be learned.

Ego would have you ignore what you should most pay attention to and trust the very thing that should be questioned. Greed and its search for gain would have you take large risks while blinded as to whether the risk is prudent. Pride would have you feel complacent as contrary information mounts and would rather have you suffer a huge loss than admit a poor decision. If losses mount, fear of loss takes hold. The hypothetical contemplation of more losses undermining your future ability to survive may bring the fear of death. When fear dominates awareness, the pain can be intense and must be stopped at all cost. The position is sold or closed often close to the bottom. Fear has no attention to spare toward whether the investment is now a good value.

This is borne out in studies of mutual funds and their investors. Funds that had annualized retuning about 10% over a decade, had investors who only averaged annualizing 2% during the decade. Many of the investors lost money by buying after a fund had already run up and then panicked in a downturn only to chase the next hot fund.

In a sense the market is a mirror. If you start with a sense of wholeness and abundance the market generally reflects this back to you. If you come with a desire for gain, the market often reflects this sense of lack back to you. It is common for new day traders to lose their trading capital in a matter of months.

Money is good. Having money is good, but the lust for money leads to bad investment decisions and invites being the victim of con artists. It opens the door to greed, fear, pride and complacency.

Prosperity is a pattern of thought and linked with economy. As my great grandparents taught, “We have enough money to do whatever we need to do, but not a nickel to waste.”

Prosperity rejoices in gracious living, yet, feels no deprivation when cutting back consumption is prudent. Ego and pride revel in lavish consumption and risk disaster to maintain it. Debt may be built up. Illegal acts might be justified. A false sense of optimism may deny the approach of a financial storm.

Financial storms and economic downturns come. They should not be feared or denied. They are part of the cycle of increasing prosperity. Downturns clear the path for progress. The vanity that sometimes accompanies material success is humbled and thereby made ready to be more productive. Excessive debt and consumption are chastened with lessons learned. Resources and people employed in outdated industries or practices are liberated to be re-employed in businesses and industries of the future. Pain in a downturn comes mainly from stubbornness in learning the needed lesson, clinging to the past, fearing the future or from attachment to things that are not truly needed and are not currently affordable. Throughout history man has survived with a small fraction of what most think we “have” to have today.

Egoistic gain seeking may have fleeting pleasures, but can’t really be satisfied. It often leads to great loss. Inner wealth more reliably manifests outwardly when you think of yourself as a good steward rather than an owner.