My name is Erik Conley, and for 24 years I was a professional equity trader and money manager. I retired in 2001 and became a personal investor and investment coach. When I left the business I was responsible for over $90 Billion dollars in client assets.
There are thousands of people out there claiming they can help you get rich in the market. Why should you listen to me? Because everything I teach about investing comes from my direct experience in managing the investments for multi-millionaire clients. Almost NO regular investor will EVER have access to the type of industry understanding that I have.
Take a look at my background to see what I’m talking about:
At that point I realized that no amount of money would replace what I’d long-suspected was missing:
In 2001 I decided that the only way I could offer the same level of advice and support for those without multi-million dollar accounts was to start my own firm. This is the founding principle of ZenInvestor.org.
ZenInvestor.org exists to help you discover the investment strategy that best fits your personality and goals. I know from experience that you can’t just push the same strategy on everyone – even if their goals are the same. Understanding factors like learning style, attitude towards risk, and the amount of time you’re willing to spend on managing your investments are crucial to customizing a strategy that works for you. What works beautifully for your brother-in-law might not work at all for you. If your natural tendency is to take a long-term view of investing, then you should probably not try to dabble in day-trading.
I’ve developed an array of powerful, customizable tools for exactly this purpose, which has proven successful time and time again. This means not just MAKING money in the stock market, but KEEPING IT. This is not a miracle trading system or a get-rich-quick scheme. I’ve never promised anyone they would get rich quick.
I want you to understand who you are as an investor.
I want you to re-examine your portfolio to build something that has low expenses, high diversification, and is right for your goals.
Lastly, I want you to know how to take defensive steps before a disastrous economic event strikes.
That last part is the MOST important part of your investing strategy. Being diversified with low fees will certainly help, but getting wiped out like everyone else during a crash makes that all irrelevant.
The biggest and longest-lasting bear markets always begin just before a recession hits the economy. The tools I’ve personally developed enable me to warn my clients when a recession is imminent. In the last 40 years there have been 7 recessions, and my model has correctly predicted all of them, with no false signals.
Sometimes the market tanks without the economy tipping over. These non-recession bear markets can cause a lot of damage, but they don’t last as long at recession-linked bears. My success rate for calling these interim moves is a little over 80%. The last call I made was in April of 2011 – just days before the market began a 20% decline.
Because of a previous call I made, my clients were able to get out of the market before the crash of 2008, saving themselves from the pain of a 38% market decline.
The Zen in Zen Investing is both a mindset and an attitude. It’s the ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos. It’s having a defined strategy, a methodology for following through on the strategy, and an ecosystem of checks, balances, triggers, and alerts that will help you remain true to your stated goals and objectives.
Zen investors still have the full range of emotions that all other investors have, it’s just that they have a fully-formed process in place for dealing with adversity and crisis. Zen investors are always prepared, always vigilant, and always clear about what steps to take when the market begins to misbehave.
The origin of ZenInvestor is from my early days as an equity trader. I had learned how to do Zen meditation, and I found the trading environment so chaotic and stressful that I would deliberately slip into a meditative state while I was on the trading desk. This led the other traders to make up nicknames for me, like “little Buddha, the Maharishi, and The Zen Trader. When it became apparent that my profit numbers were consistently better than the other traders, one by one they began to mimic my meditative style. When I began my website, I kept the Zen theme because I think it’s important to teach Zen as a way to combat fear and panic that lead to big mistakes.
Zen Investing is about balance. The market swings between the emotional extremes of fear and greed. Investment decisions made near either end of these extremes will probably not be successful. A successful investor needs to follow a middle emotional path. This is the essence of Zen Investing.
If you are investing because you to believe you are going to get rich, you are too close to the greed end of the spectrum. If you feel sick when you see the value of your portfolio declining, you are too close to the fear end.
Many experts will tell you to buy stocks and hold them for a very long time. Warren Buffett once said that his favorite holding period is forever. This is generally good advice, but there are times when it’s better to sell a bad stock and move on. Some stocks drop in price and never recover.
Sometimes you need to bite the bullet and deliberately sell a stock at a loss. What’s the advantage? While the stock you sold for a loss might recover in five to 10 years, some stocks never recover. If you sell the stock, you will free up some cash to invest in something more promising. You can write off your loss on your income taxes.
Many books have been written about investing mistakes. I have personally made most of them. If I have learned anything, it is to practice the Zen of investing. I try not to become too emotionally excited when my stocks go up. I try not to dwell on the disappointment when they go down. I practice patience and equanimity as a trader and as an investor.
I look at my gains and losses as just numbers, the way I look at my blood pressure or my cholesterol count. I am surprised myself at how much better I feel, and how much better I perform as an investor, when I follow the middle emotional path of Zen Investing.”