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Learning to invest, on the beach



It looks like we may have a Covid free summer! Time to make holiday plans.

I love a vacation at the beach. Sun, sea, sand … what a great perspective. My wife and I have already booked a cottage at the seaside for this summer. You can also learn a lot about investing … on the beach!


1. Can I afford it?

When planning a vacation at the beach, the first step is to see if I have enough money to spend on my desired location. Can I pay the airfare, the hotel or the cottage?

The first principle of investing is to make a good budget, to make sure that I have enough money to pay for the travel and accommodation, without having to borrow or to suffer when I get back home!See Luke 12:42


2. Make sure the basics are in order.

I can't just go to the beach. Important work has to be done to make sure we don't have to go back earlier than planned. Has the accommodation been arranged? Is there extra money to cover unexpected expenses?

In order to have peace of mind during my trip, these tedious preparations have to be done first. The same goes for the financial basics, such as paying all the bills, and making sure you have enough in the bank to live off, before embarking on a grand and potentially risky investment adventure.

On holiday, you never know what’s going to happen. Hopefully, not much, but it is better to be prepared. The second principle of investing is building up a reserve for unexpected expenses. See Proverbs 27:12.


3. Are you in shape?

Winter clothes cover a multitude of sins! When out on the beach the ‘covid kilo’s’ become very apparent! Getting rid of the burdensome overweight is not easy, but you’ll love it when you start sunbathing! Getting rid of over-indebtedness is also not easy but getting rid of that extra financial burden of debt is essential. This will make you fitter to be able to do more with your money. Investing in reducing debt is probably the most lucrative investment. No investment will yield more.

The thirst principle of investing is to become free of all consumer debt, as quickly as you can! See Proverbs 22:7

4. Planning your route and stick to it.

That includes setting up my GPS so I know which way to travel. Leaving on time. Driving carefully. And no unplanned detours. The goal is to arrive safely and on time. I look at my retirement goals in a similar way. I gladly trade an exciting trip for a safe and timely arrival!

The fourth principle of investing is to make a long-term investment plan (together with your spouse if married.) This included getting godly advice to help you plan and make wise choices. See Proverbs 11:14


5. Try different beaches.

The outlook on the various beaches gives variety and helps avoid crowds and potential dangers of rip-tides, currents, jelly fish, flies and other unwanted phenomena. Do some research before you go! The fifth principle of investing is to diversify to spread the risk around various types of investments. See Ecclesiastes 11:2.

6. Be patient if you want to get a tan.

Don't go for risky, 'get a tan quickly strategies. It's far too easy to burn. Keep your 'tanning strategy' simple. Reading magazines, seminars, websites, and TV programmes by experts about getting a tan can be very confusing. Getting a tan, and making investments, is not complicated. If you follow the basics and don't want to do too much too fast, you can't go wrong.

The sixth principle of investing is to keep your investment plan as simple as possible, so it can easily be managed. See Proverbs 13:11

7. Ignore short-term wave patterns.

I love reading on the beach, with my chair right on the waterline. The trick is to move my chair from time to time so that I don't get wet from the incoming waves. There is a trend, but I have learned that you cannot predict what a particular incoming wave will do. I might think it will stay a metre away but then get soaking wet. In the short term, waves are completely unpredictable, but in the longer term, they are predictable. In the short term, the waves are completely unpredictable, but in the longer term, they are predictable. So, learn to base your movements based on the tide charts (and financial trends) and what has worked in the past, not on what the waves are doing at the moment. The seventh principle of investing is to be patient and have a long-term perspective. See Ecclesiastes 7:8.

8. Don't compare yourself to others.

This is sometimes quite difficult. I am not a very impressive figure on the beach. It would be great to look like some of the other men I see there. But then I remind myself that my beach diet and training strategy is tailored to who I am: an older man trying to balance his beach life with family, work, etc.

The eighth principle of investing is to maintain a plan which is tailored for you and your family – not others! It would be a mistake for me to trade in my moderate, unhurried strategy for a much more aggressive plan designed for a younger man. I would only be hurting myself. See James 3:14-16.


9. Count on a few days of rain.

If we spend two weeks at the beach, we can count on one or two summer showers. But even if a heavy thunderstorm breaks out, we don't drop everything to go back home. Knowing in advance that this could happen, we plan for it. That is why we bring plenty of books and board games. We are committed to the full two weeks. We don't panic thinking that the storm is the start of the next Great Flood. Instead, we sit back, enjoy the board games and look forward to the next sunny day.

The ninth principle is to be patient if the (financial-) weather changes – better days will come. See James 1:2-4.


10. Bring friends along!

Sharing is multiplying! When having a great time, it is even better when shared with friends. How about being generous and investing in the lives of others? Enjoying meals together, gong on excursions to see the sights in the area cements and deepens friendships.

The tenth principle of investing, and probably the most important, in God’s eyes, is to invest in people – to introduce them to Jesus and to grow as disciples.

Some old wisdom says that if you want …“a one year return on your investment, plant grain; a ten year return on your investment, plant a tree; an eternal return on your investment, plant people.” See Luke 16:9.


Proverbs 21:5 tells us, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty." Diligence, whether it's preparing for a holiday or a lifetime of investing, brings its own rewards.

If you want more in-depth investment insights, think about your beach holiday. You might be surprised by what you can learn there.

(With thanks to our good friend, Austyn Prior for the inspiration.)

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