We have written a lot about planning and investing. But there’s nothing quite as instructive as learning from mistakes. Learning from others’ mistakes is less painful than making our own mistakes.
This sets up an example of financial mistakes I learned about recently.
Sometimes the most surreal things happen. For example, anyone who remembers the 1980s’ tennis prodigy Boris Becker may be shocked to learn that last month, in a London courtroom, Becker was declared bankrupt.
After winning Wimbledon and countless other tournaments, Becker’s personal fortune was estimated to have reached $150 million. So how could this have happened? How could he have gone from $150 million to zero, and what can we learn from it?
Sports figures often find that they have developed “posses,” hangers-on who encourage extravagant lifestyles. Fame and fortune at an early age lead to a number of personal mistakes. These are often combined with poor investment decisions. In the case of Becker they include things like Nigerian oil companies, and “… a sports website, an organic food business, and more notably, a planned 19-story high-rise in Dubai called the Boris Becker Business Tower, whose backers went bust in 2011.”
This is a special problem for people who become wealthy in sports and entertainment. Too often they turn their financial lives over to agents who get them involved in complicated schemes that go sour.
The key to gaining wealth and – most especially – for keeping it is: keep it simple. During 30 plus years of investing the biggest mistakes I have seen made is people getting involved in complex deals, partnerships, and relationships that they don’t really understand.
We provide education for our clients on investment strategy and develop portfolios that allow people to keep what they have earned. Don’t be like Boris Becker.