May 4, 2010

Personal Finances and Productivity

There is an inverse relationship between time spent on personal finances and both productivity and investment returns.  Have your cake and eat it too!

Most everyone has heard that people spent a lot of time at work goofing around.  The number one time killer to no ones surprise is technology.  Time wasted surfing the Internet, etc.  But the number two time killer in the workplace is a surprise to most and that is the time employees spend on their personal finances. This can be time chatting with a friend about a hot stock, trading stocks online, filling out a mortgage application, debt consolidation, etc. I have even seen studies showing some people rebalance their 401k everyday!

Studies show that people spend as much as 30-45 minutes a day on their personal finances, thats as much as half a work day each week!  Everyone understands that you have to have a life and that sometimes, personal stuff has to be done during normal work hours however few employers are ok with you trading stocks during the day.

The irony is that the more time spent trading, rebalancing your retirement accounts and talking to a stockbroker are all detrimental to your fiscal health.  Every study on the subject conclusively proves that passive investing beats active investing. In the book, How The Investment Business Really Works and in my workshops, I go into much greater detail as to exactly what people should be doing and more importantly, what they shouldn't be doing.

Moral of the story is to place your investable assets in the lowest fee possible index fund and leave it alone.  With that simple strategy, you will beat over 90% of the 'professional' money managers AND you will be more productive at work in addition to having less stress!

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