January 12, 2007 – Today, even though every Friday blog is usually reserved for martial arts musings and how that relates to investing, since we’ve been talking about the remarkable effectiveness of the long tail of investing and investment strategies, I’m going to take the liberty today to write about Bob Marley, a legend that resided in the long tail of music. At a time when speaking about politics in music equaled death for commercial music success, Bob made it chic to be political in music. His songs became anthems for revolutions in Zimbabwe, they incorporated speeches from the emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, into songs of defiance, and they encouraged people that he called the “downpressed” to stand up against their imperialistic oppressors.
When Bob tragically died of cancer at a very young age, he unfortunately died before leaving a will. This left the vultures of the lawyer world to swoop in and try to claim his millions in assets and cut out his children from the equation. When this happened, his son Ziggy, disgusted with the greedy, parasitic behavior of these lawyers, proclaimed,
Let them have it (his father’s estate). I can make my own way.
In this, there is an important lesson. Even though Ziggy should have inherited a good deal of money from his father, when faced with the amoral behavior of lawyers in a fight he grew weary of, he decided to rely on himself. And today, Ziggy is rich, having built his own way.
Self-reliance is truly the best way to build wealth, though everyone always looks for a shortcut in life. People see movie stars emerge from nowhere and assume that they never paid their dues with years of struggle, when this is far more often the case than a rags to riches story. People see pop stars emerge seemingly out of nowhere and assume the same thing. And in investing and building wealth it is no different. There are millionaires today that have defrauded hundreds of thousands of people by catering to the lowest common denominator — greed and a low price. Pay just $99 for a “Get Rich at Home” scheme that has about a 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of making you rich, yet has a price just low enough to convince most people to give it a shot because it is marketed properly to the “no work, get rich” desires of the masses.
The only problem with this is the “get rich with no work” scheme only exists in Alice’s fantasy wonderland but not in real life. The principles that Ziggy Marley realized — self-reliance — for your own financial wealth — is one that fully 90% or more of investors refuse to adopt. Investors would much rather hand their money over to someone else rather than learn how to do invest themselves. They would much rather put their hard-earned savings in to the hands of salesmen and saleswomen pretending to be financial gurus at large investment firms rather than learn how to invest themselves and give themselves a real opportunity to really build wealth.
I know that J.S. plans to blog much more extensively on how to identify a superior financial consultant and the importance of self-reliance in building wealth in future blogs, so I’ll keep this one short. Until next week…