When talk turns to longevity, it invariable turns to diet and exercise. But there is more to it than that.
Yes, a low-calorie, plant-based diet, such as that consumed in the Greek islands, will likely extend longevity. Vigorous exercise is well-proven in its ability to amplify the benefits of the healthful diet. When combined, both can counter bad genetics.
That said, I'm convinced your brain plays an important role in your longevity as well. Your level of optimism, your willingness to embrace the future, and your ability to forestall gratification are important factors. Your brain demands a reason to hang around until tomorrow.
Investing gives you that reason.
When you invest, you sacrifice current consumption for future consumption. In essence, you've made a commitment to the future. This commitment gives you a reason to embrace the future; it gives you a reason to look ahead.
I know investing has heightened my curiosity to see how tomorrow will unfold, so naturally I want to be around for tomorrow.
There is empirical evidence to back my hypothesis. Some of the greatest investors lived well into their 90s … and beyond. Walter Schloss, Jack Dreyfus, John Templeton, and Paul Cabot all lived to age 95. Philip Fisher lived to age 96. Philip Carret lived to 101, and Roy Neuberger made it to 109.
Even today, many of the great living investors are also older: Warren Buffett is 82, T. Boone Pickens is 84, Charlie Munger is 89, Kirk Kerkorian is 95. The longest-lived of them all, Irving Kahn, is 107.
Just as important, these great investors continue to work and continue to invest (even Kahn). They embrace the future. They give themselves a reason to get up in the morning.
The fact that investing is also a great brain exercise helps. Exercising your brain daily is important to maintaining cognitive ability into old age.
I consider the High Yield Wealth newsletter to be brain work … for both you and me.
I obviously must analyze the stock recommendations I present each month. That exercises my brain; your brain is exercised by having to contemplate the analysis I provide. Are you familiar with the precepts? Does the logic make sense? Does the investment work in a portfolio context? Curiosity and the willingness to seek answers also stimulate the brain.
In addition, investing for income – and all the investments in the High Yield Wealth portfolio pay dividends or interest in regular installments – requires patience, and so it is a commitment to the future. Time is required for cash payments to accumulate and for asset prices to appreciate.
Both you and I have to hang in there for the long term. Both you and I are given at least one more reason (though I'm sure you have other reasons as well) to hang around.
There is also a metaphysical aspect to the process.
Over time, investing instills a sense of equanimity, which I believe also contributes to longevity. Investing can be frustrating; price appreciation rarely materializes as expected. But the longer you invest, and the more you factor in the importance of time and patience, the less frustrated you become.
My investing experience has taught me to look past today, and I hope yours does too. I'm rarely frustrated by an investment. As long as it continues to distribute cash at a market-beating rate or raise payouts annually, I know that price appreciation will eventually materialize.
Sacrifice is also part of the equation, but that's good for your brain too. Scientists have shown that we actually experience more satisfaction working toward a goal than achieving it.
This makes perfect sense. Consider Christmas Day: The days leading up to Christmas Day really are more pleasurable than the day itself when you think about it. In fact the day itself is, in many ways, anti-climactic.
I experience the same anti-climactic feeling when selling an investment. Analyzing an investment, watching the investment grow my cash account and anticipating price appreciation are much more rewarding than selling the investment to book a gain.
When investing is viewed as a continual process – which I believe is the correct view – there is no end, so an investor is always interested in tomorrow. My goal for you and me and me is that we both have at least one more reason to experience many more tomorrows.
And by that, I mean many more profitable tomorrows.
Editor's note: When I first considered a high-yield investing strategy, my goal was to devise a portfolio that yielded between 6% and 8% annually. To be sure, that's a worthy starting point. But years from now, I should expect to own a portfolio that yields 25%, 50% and even 100% on the cost basis of many of the investments in that portfolio.
If you would like to learn how you can boost the yield of your portfolio… and earn bigger monthly payouts… then consider taking a free, 30-day trial to our income service, High Yield Wealth. You'll discover exactly how we are built our cash-cranking portfolio and get access to every special report and investment recommendation. Click here to try High Yield Wealth, free.