No matter what kind of investor you are today, you can become a different investor tomorrow. The results you have today, no matter what they are, likely stem from a set of skills. If you want better or different results, you’re going to need different skills. Somewhere in the intersection between what you can control and what you can’t, there is the opportunity for you to develop the skills you need to get to the next level.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the investor types out there, but these are the most common ones I come across each week.
The Sporty Investor
Some people invest like it’s their favourite sport. They choose their team, they analyse the rules, and they take joy in the score. They invest to win, and the results aren’t nearly as important as how it makes them feel when they engage with it. It’s more than their hobby, but it’s not too dissimilar to one – they love sharing their victories, and they’re always preparing for the next big bet.
These investors are often attracted to high-risk, high-reward opportunities, such as trading, property flips, or crypto. They enjoy the thrill of the market and the challenge of beating the odds. They’re confident in their abilities and willing to take calculated risks. They may also have a competitive streak and a desire to prove themselves.
The sporty investor can benefit from having a clear strategy and a disciplined approach to risk management that involves regular input from others. They should also be aware of the potential pitfalls of emotional investing, such as overconfidence, greed, or fear.
The Obligated Investor
Next up we have the investors, who do it mostly out of a sense of obligation. They feel fortunate to have a surplus, but with it comes the sense that they really should be doing something good with it. Investing for these people is what they do, almost out of a sense of duty more than anything else. Considering the effort it took to accumulate the money, the last thing these people want to do is watch inflation erode the value over time. The obligation to invest comes sometimes from trying to take care of their kids, but can also happen to please parents, especially when this thing called an inheritance is involved.
These investors are often motivated by a sense of responsibility, security, or legacy. They want to preserve and grow their wealth for themselves and their loved ones. They may also feel guilty or pressured to invest by their family or society. They tend to be conservative and cautious in their investment choices, preferring low-risk, low-return options such as mortgage repayments or any type of fund with the name ‘balanced’ in it.
The obligated investor can benefit from having a clear purpose and long-term perspective. They should also be aware of the opportunity cost of not investing in higher-return assets, such property and shares.
The Builder Investor
Some investors are chronic builders. They see money as a tool—something to build something bigger with. Money sitting idle or available credit in a mortgage account drives them crazy. With these types of investors, often they’ll build with no strategy or boundaries whatsoever, and they risk too much of what they already have. Fortunately, investors who view money as a tool do build great things, and without their vision, some households wouldn’t have a chance at wealth.
These investors tend to be attracted to high-growth, high-potential opportunities, such as starting a business, investing in startups, or property development.
The builder investor can benefit from having a clear purpose, a solid plan, and a strong network. They should also seek feedback and advice from experts and mentors who can help them succeed.
The Comfort Investor
Then we have the money as a comfort people. These investors like to collect more than they like to deploy. They find it difficult to use money as a tool unless there’s a safety net. Often, growing up with parents who made mistakes with money reinforces the need to focus on the nest egg rather than the goose who can lay more eggs. These types of investors can really balance out the tool-based investors.
These investors are often influenced by a sense of security, stability, or peace of mind. They want to protect their money from loss or volatility. They may also have experienced financial hardship or trauma in the past that makes them wary of taking risks or trusting others with their money. They tend to favour safe and predictable investments that provide steady income or returns.
The comfort investor should be aware of the trade-off between risk and return and the impact of inflation on their purchasing power.
The Yard Sale Investor
Next up we have those who invest much like they’d shop at a yard sale. The only expectation is an average rate of return, because compounding returns gradually over time is what they trust in. Passive index funds all the way baby! It’s all about the lowest fee possible with these people, and why not? Sure, there’s more available for those willing to do more, but that’s not everyone’s gig.
The yard sale investor can benefit from thinking outside the box and acknowledging the impacts of being set in their ways. Average begets average yet the only way to get the edge, is to be edgy.
The Party Investor
Next up we have the Party today, but not tomorrow investors. Often, lifestyle moves are wrapped in a thin veneer of financialised logic to justify satisfying the wants of today over the needs of tomorrow. They’ll say they’re determined to build passive investment income for the future, but they’ll also travel overseas once a year. Again, why not? And who are you or I to judge? You never know when your numbers up after all!
These investors are often inspired by a sense of adventure, enjoyment, or freedom. They want to live in the moment and make the most of their money. They tend to splurge on discretionary expenses that enhance their lifestyle but should be aware of the consequences. Life involves trade-offs between financial goals, and lifestyle goals. I was never the life of the party so why start now – Come on party people: budget, budget, budget!
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There are a lot of investor personalities out there, and there’s no right or wrong way to go about this. Some focus only on their household, on the items they can control, yet others focus on the macro, and attempt to position for gains. It’s important to remember that there’s no right or wrong way to invest, and we all likely exhibit some of these traits at different stages.
However, it can be helpful to identify your dominant investor type and understand its strengths and weaknesses. This can help you improve your investing skills – If you improve your skills, you’ll improve your results.