The pandemic has nearly made me forget what it was like to listen to a live band.
Previously, as a regular at Wala Wala at Holland Village, I would marvel at the skill of Reverie, a talented band, who would belt out 80s classics such as Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody or Guns N Roses’ 90s rock ballad, November Rain.
It’s hard to miss the amazing finger work of the bass guitarist and the smooth, silky sounds of the band’s saxophone.
But it’s easy to overlook the hours of hard work that the band members put in, behind the scenes, for a single song that lasts a few minutes.
As it turns out, Reverie spends countless weekdays practicing together, all in an effort to ensure their act is near flawless when their moment on stage arrives.
Investing works the same way as well.
Practice makes perfect
Investing is the same. Like music, it also involves careful study and practice.
When I was learning the guitar, there was once I hurt my fingers during a practice session. And stopped practicing for a long time after that.
The analogy here is that an investor who has been burnt by the stock market may also feel the pain and stop investing.
But practice makes perfect, and if you can overcome your initial trepidation, investing can do wonders for your wealth.
Admittedly, the tough part is not just in getting started, but sustaining the momentum.
Take heart that the pain of early losses can be replaced by the joy of a better retirement.
Back to the band in question.
I noticed how effortless it was for the band members to play their respective instruments, as though they were guided by an unseen force.
The bass player was almost lost in a world of his own as he strums his guitar to the beat of the music.
We refer to this natural ease as “muscle memory” — a product of many months or years of practice that trains the brain so that a particular activity becomes almost second nature.
And that’s exactly what we are trying to achieve with investing.
By practising regularly and honing your skills, you start to achieve muscle memory.
No doubt, the initial learning curve will be steep.
I’ve experienced that personally too when I first started a couple of decades ago.
Reading through stacks of annual reports was tough in the beginning.
But as time went by and I learnt more on investing, these efforts paid off.
The popular companies back then included Kingsmen Creatives Limited (SGX: 5MZ) and Design Studio Group Ltd (SGX: D11), but these ended up not doing great over the long-term.
As you build up competence, knowledge and experience in investing, it starts getting easier and the learning curve flattens.
Eventually, you end up being faster and more efficient in filtering out the great investments from the bad or mediocre ones.
Achieving this level of muscle memory admittedly takes time, but it’s well worth the effort.
Now, my portfolio contains a mix of growth companies like Adobe Inc (NASDAQ: ADBE), dividend-paying REITs such as Keppel DC REIT (SGX: AJBU), and blue-chip income generating stocks such as DBS Group (SGX: D05) and Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX: S68).
As your effort compounds, your wealth will start to compound as well.
Get Smart: A worthwhile endeavour
Both investing and music will always remain a part of my life.
While not all of us will become Warren Buffett (or the great musicians on stage), we can still enjoy the sweet rewards from owning a portfolio of great stocks.
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Disclaimer: Royston Yang owns shares of Singapore Exchange Limited, Adobe Inc, DBS Group and Keppel DC REIT.