Our first investment principle is “Discipline is Everything”.

The words remind me of my high school English teacher, who dropped a syllabus on our desk the first day of class and explained how skipping more than one of her classes would result in failure. It’s possible that I’m embellishing, but I remember her smacking a ruler in her hand and threatening summer school.

She needed to lay down the rules immediately. It was second semester of senior year: college applications had been submitted, scholarships had been applied for, and the only thing between me and graduation was her state-required class. Success was such a given that my self-discipline – well let’s just say – was easily compromised without much consequence.

My English teacher delivered a simple ultimatum of discipline. Failure to respond had major consequences.

For almost two years now, the market has been a lazy, senior during second semester. The market’s recovery from initial drops after COVID created all sorts of stories about investors who threw discipline to the wind, chased a shiny star, and found great rewards.

I believe that it’s time to sit down with the syllabus again and review the strategies that help long-term investors reach their goals. So today, I’m whipping out the ruler and reminding everyone that it’s going to take discipline to graduate.

It may be time to get your plan together or perhaps it’s worth adding the following to your reading list:

I went to college on a full academic scholarship that was dependent on my grade point average. The first day of every class, I used the syllabus to determine exactly what I needed to do to keep that scholarship – just like my English teacher did the first day of class.

Discipline is everything and developing and sticking to a strategy can make all the difference.

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