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从攀珠峰学到的五大投资经验

从攀珠峰学到的五大投资经验

Jean Chatzky 2014年01月27日
艾莉森•李维完成了探险大满贯,登上了全球七大洲所有的最高峰,而且登珠峰时走的是堪称死亡线路的孔布冰川线。她说,登顶珠峰让她学会了5条重要的投资经验和人生经验。

    艾莉森•李维远比外表看上去要强悍。不过,如果让你从人堆里找出一个来挑战所谓的“探险大满贯”,你绝不会挑中身高5尺4英寸、体重110磅的艾莉森。探险大满贯要登上全球七大洲的所有最高峰,还要滑雪前往北极和南极。奥斯卡提名影片《华尔街之狼》(The Wolf of Wall Street )在大银幕上描绘的华尔街生活光鲜亮丽,但事实上投资也远比看上去更具挑战。有意思的是,两者的相似处之多可能也超乎你的想象。李维在新书《边缘:高影响领导力艺术》(On The Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership)中列出了一系列登山经验,这些经验既可用于管理金钱,也可用于管理职业或人生。下面是她最为推崇、也是我最认同的五条经验:

    了解你自己的风险承受力与疼痛临界点。李维解释说,登山时你必须要清楚自己愿意冒多大的风险,然后据此规划线路。“登珠峰的过程中最危险的一段是孔布冰川。这段冰川总是在移动,随时可能会被一大块从天而落的冰砸扁,也随时可能从梯子上掉下来。”很多人选择从珠峰北面登山,避开了上面说的这条线路。而这条线李维走了两次。同样地,如果你清楚自己不能承受全部投入化为乌有,你可能希望回避那些波动特别大的投资。而拒绝承担这些风险则意味着可能必须增加早期的储蓄。

    恐惧不是问题。停步不前可能丧命。还是回到冰川。李维解释说,身处冰川,心生恐惧是自然而然的事情。这是必然的。不可以有的是停步不前。如果停步不前,一大块冰压扁你的概率会大大增加。金融投资也是这样。对于市场感到有些不安,这是非常正常的,市场本来就难以预料。但任由这种不安驱使你停步不前【比如,不参加401(k),当市场大涨导致股票超配时不及时进行再平衡,等等】,结果就会丧失取得投资成功的机会,最糟甚至可能连衣服都会输光。

    不需要等到一切都明了才向前迈步。李维第一次爬珠峰时距离登顶只有几百英尺,一场暴风暴袭来。雪下得很大。能见度极低。她做了一个极其痛苦的决定——后撤。八年后当她身处同样的位置时,同样的事情又发生了。天气恶化,她什么也看不见。这一次,她走出了帐篷,一脚挨着一脚向前,登上了峰顶。除了“了却了2002年的一桩憾事,我对于自己的风险承受力以及疼痛临界点有了更多的了解”,她还学到了就算看不清前方的路,自己也可以继续前行。每一天,每位投资者或许都深有同感。关键是做好足够的功课,有备而来。

    前进,并不意味着直线前行。为了登珠峰,你可能需要花上10个或11个晚上,才能到达大本营。到达大本营后的第二天,攀登至1号营地过夜。第三天,返回大本营。第四天,攀登至1号营地过夜,然后再攀登至2号营地。第五天,全程返回大本营。这样日复一日的循环往复。上上下下。最后到达3号营地,4号营地,以及最后的登顶。这样做的目的是为了“逐渐适应”。李维解释称:必须让身体适应高海拔。如果不是这样一个过程,而是用一架直升机将你放在珠峰山顶,你马上就会丢了性命。当然,震荡的市场不会要了你的命。但很重要的一点是,必须要意识到持续的投资习惯(不管是通过持续的薪资代扣计划向养老金账户投资,还是每月向你的券商寄一张支票)就是保持前行。就算股市表现欠佳的年份,你仍然会买入更多公司的更多股票,这些股票可能会在未来值更多钱。过去五年就是一个很好的例子。

    Alison Levine is tougher than she looks. At 5'4", 110 lbs, she's not the person you'd pull out of a crowd if you were looking for someone who's tackled the so-called Adventure Grand Slam, which consists of climbing the highest peaks on all seven continents as well as skiing to both the North and South Poles. Investing -- despite the big-screen bacchanal portrayed in the Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street -- is also tougher than it looks.Interestingly, the two intersect in more ways than you might imagine. In Levine's new book, On The Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership, she lays out a series of lessons that apply to managing your money just as much as they do to managing your career, or your life. A few of her -- and my -- favorites:

    Know your risk tolerance and threshold for pain. On the mountain, Levine explains, you have to know how much risk you're willing to take and plan your route accordingly. "The riskiest part of Mt. Everest is the Khumbu Icefall. The Icefall is in constant motion and there is always a risk that you could be crushed by a giant piece of ice from overhead or fall off a ladder." Many people choose to climb from the north side of the mountain to avoid this route. Levine tackled it twice. By the same token, you may want to avoid particularly volatile investments if you know you can't stomach losing what you put in. Just recognize that you may have to save more on the front end to accommodate for risks not taken.

    Fear is okay. Complacency will kill you. Let's go back to that Icefall for a second. When you're on it, Levine explains, fear is natural. It's a given. What you can't be is complacent. If you stop moving, there is a much greater chance that one of those giant slabs of ice is going to crush you. The same is true of finance. It's perfectly normal to feel some sense of unease with markets, which are unpredictable by nature. But allowing that unease to drive you to a halt (whereby you're not participating in your 401(k), not rebalancing when a roaring market has you overweighted in stocks and so on) is a recipe for losing out on financial success at best, losing your shirt at worst.

    You don't need total clarity to put one foot in front of the other. The first time Levine climbed Everest, she was just hundreds of feet from the summit when a storm rolled in. Snow was coming down hard. Visibility was terrible. She made the painful decision to retreat. Eight years later, she found herself at the same place, and the same thing happened. The weather turned for the worse. She couldn't see a thing. This time, she got out of her tent, put one foot in front of the other and made it to the top. What she learned -- besides "that having had the snot kicked out of me in 2002, I knew more about my risk tolerance and my threshold for pain," was that she could continue to move forward without being able to see precisely where she was going. Every investor lives that truth every day. The key is to do enough homework that you are operating with as much of a net as possible.

    Making progress doesn't mean moving in a straight line. When you climb Everest, you spend 10 or 11 nights climbing before you even get to basecamp. The next day, you climb to camp one, spend the night. The next day, you're back to basecamp. The day after that, it's back to camp one, where you spend a night, before climbing to camp two. The following day, it's all the way back to basecamp. And so it continues, day after day. Up and down. Finally making it to camp three. Camp four. And the summit. The reason for this is called "acclimatization." Levine explains: Your body has to get used to the altitude. If a helicopter dropped you at the top of the mountain without having gone through this process you'd die. Granted, a rock-and-roll market isn't going to kill you. But recognizing that a habit of continuous investing -- whether you do it through a series of paycheck withdrawals into a work-based retirement plan, or by sending a monthly check to your brokerage firm -- is moving forward is an important thing to wrap your brain around. Even when stocks don't have a particularly strong year, you're still buying more shares of more companies that will likely be worth more in the future. The last five years are a primary example of this.

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