Why BotherI was studying the latest edition of Marcus Today whilst on holiday when my son asked what I was reading. Then came the question, “why do you bother?” Why not invest in some EFTs or in a managed fund and save yourself a lot of time and worry? I’ve been asked that question before and have given it quite a bit of thought. The truth is I enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge and as one Marcus Today member wrote to me in an email recently it’s a hobby. It’s a bit like my sailing, I don’t expect to win but I do well enough to make it worthwhile and I enjoy it. I don’t expect to be the best investor ever but if I can keep up with the game I’m happy. It would be wonderful to shoot the lights out with a 100% gain in a year but that’s not realistic. Investing is a hobby for many but unlike most hobbies it needs to be profitable. It has a real purpose; our monthly pension rides on it. That just gives impetus to the whole process. It’s not like Bingo or Tatts Lotto though with Donald Trump’s unpredictable tweets, there are times where in starts to look that way. Just like my sailing It requires skill, effort, knowledge and ongoing training. It’s hard to do all that on your own, you need a sounding board at least. Some form of club is a great help and for me that’s where Marcus Today comes in. The new Marcus Today discussion group looks like a great addition too. Looking back the aspect of my investing I have really enjoyed most is learning about all the companies, particularly the new technologies. In discussion with friends, usually younger ones, I have often been asked “how do you know about that?” The answer is probably that I read it in Marcus Today. How else would I have known about the technology behind Promedicus or about the advanced medical technology being developed by Nanosonics. It’s not just the advanced technology companies which provide interest. Reading that Rio Tinto have given up on coal and sold all their coal assets, understanding more about the way our banks work, or should work, and even that you can run a publically listed pizza shop. There is so much which would have passed me by had I not become involved in investment. The only interest I would have in an EFT is seeing if it went up or down. The solid investments like the banks, TCL, ASX and Sydney Airport are a bit boring but any retirement folio needs them to provide a solid base for income. The enjoyment is in finding the upstarts, the disrupters, the new companies which will be tomorrow’s CSL or BHP. There’s plenty of disappointment in that area but get one right and let it run and it makes up for a lot that don’t make it. PME is currently running for me. It was a Henry recommendation way back for the small stock portfolio and I stuck with it. It’s now in the ASX200. My only regret is that I took some profit too early when I was up 100% and should have held on. I’m now up 200%. That’s a lot of money left behind but that’s investing. As we age we all need brain activity to keep us on the ball and what better than competing in the great investment race. I would get bored regularly doing exercises to keep my brain in tune. I need a purpose to my activity, motivation to keep me interested and exercising regularly. My form of brain exercise is regularly reading Marcus Today and at times that’s quite demanding. I don’t read it all and I don’t always understand all the terminology and acronyms even after several years reading but I can look them all up and learn. We have recognized that as we grow older we may not be capable of managing the process and making all the decisions. We invested in the Marcus Today SMA at the launch so that we understand the process just in case we need to move more or all of our fund that way. One advantage of the SMA is that we can still keep an interest in the process. We can look up our holdings on the Praemium SMA web site and see what’s going on. In the SMA we also have the shares in our name, which is very important to me. I don’t think I will ever forget the people who lost all their retirement funds in the GFC by trusting the wrong people. We have had the Royal Commission which has exposed malpractice at all levels and eradicated some of it but the opportunity is still there for the unscrupulous. Using the brain to manage investments is one thing, but we also need the brain to make sure we don’t get caught up in any of those clever little tricks which come persistently through the email, or the tempting offers which still persist in the market. Had I taken them up I could be wealthy beyond imagination complete with two young Russian brides and a half share in a Swiss bank, but maybe it wouldn’t have worked out that way.