David Gardner — co-founder of The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial services company — likens what he does to baseball.
“In good and bad times, getting in the batter’s box, taking a swing and doing the best you can is the best way to invest,” Gardner said.
Gardner, a UNC alumnus from the class of 1988 and a Morehead Scholar, spoke Monday night to more than 100 people on “What I Wished I’d Learned as an Undergraduate.”
The Carolina Economics Club presented the event. UNC Student Congress funded the event, but club leaders did not know the final cost as of Monday.
Building on his personal theory that everything starts with thoughts, Gardner presented a series of key lessons that he wish he had learned as a student at UNC.
Gardner began with the advice to “start investing yesterday.” He said the earlier people get started, the better off they’re going to be.
He said it’s better to invest less money over a longer period of time as opposed to more money over a shorter period of time.
“The big dynamic is time, the difference is massive,” he said.
His next piece of advice was about the importance of putting your money not where your mouth is, but where your life is by investing in things that are relevant to you.
“You can look at what someone reads and learn a lot about them,” Gardner said.
“The same should be true of your investment profile.”
He went on to discuss the importance of thinking and acting long-term, which he said is easy to say but much harder to do.
“It’s a long-term view in a short-term world, but if you can play long-term, you’re giving yourself a competitive advantage,” Gardner said.
“Wealth is made over time by finding the great stuff and by planting yourself in it.”
Suraj Shah, co-president of the Carolina Economics Club, said he hoped students would gain advice on what path to take in college and how Gardner’s early decisions led to where he is today.
On that note, Gardner also provided common sense tips on how to land a job after graduation.
Gardner said traditional qualifications aren’t going to differentiate applicants much.
“It’s about who you are and how you have already been spending your time,” he said.
In his final point of the lecture, Gardner urged students to resist the known and embrace the unknown.
“What we don’t know we fear, and that’s one of the sad things about (investment),” he said.
April Lee, co-president of the club, said she didn’t expect such a large turnout.
The lecture in Hanes Hall was crowded, with people sitting on the floor, lining the walls and standing in the doorways.
“It really speaks volumes to what people care about,” Lee said.
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