How To Succeed In Stocks: Why Self-Education, Training Are Aces In The Hole – Investor's Business Daily

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Pro golfer George Archer was a living example of how being an expert in one field in no way means you will be well versed, let alone an expert, in another.

XAutoplay: On | OffPut another way, you might be a master in medicine, an ace in engineering, or an eagle of law. But do not for a moment believe that stock investing, even in bullish times like 2017, will be easy-breezy.

Long-term trading and investing success in the stock market stems not from being born in a certain area code, or having the right contacts or friends.

It’s about learning how the market really works. It’s about understanding why fundamentals matter — from earnings and sales to profit margins and return on equity to a company’s standing within its industry — and how investor psychology drives major price trends. It’s about applying sound rules in both buying and selling to temper and tame one’s ego.

Back to Archer. The San Mateo High School grad began skipping basketball practice on Mondays so he could show up for caddie golf day at the Peninsula Golf & Country Club in northern California. The club pro at PG&CC, Bud Ward, gave him a few swing tips. Archer was hooked. And the rest was golfing history.

In 1969, five years after turning pro in the sport, the 6-foot-6 athlete towered over the field in Augusta National, winning the Masters championship with a one-stroke victory over Tom Weiskopf, Billy Casper and George Knudson.

“His deft putting stroke, developed by putting for quarters hour after hour on the Lincoln Park putting green, held up under The Masters pressure of the final few holes,” Mike Jamieson, PG&CC club historian, told IBD. “For the rest of his life he was considered to be one of the best putters in golf.”


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Archer went on to capture wins in 13 regular PGA events and 19 official victories on the newly formed PGA Senior Tour, now known as the PGA Champions Tour.

“He had stopped at 999 Tour starts because he thought it was cooler than 1,000,” Jamieson said.

In total, Archer (1939-2005) bagged 44 titles in his 40-year professional career before passing away in 2005. And yet the well-liked man never learned to read or write beyond 3rd grade level. Archer tried to improve. He bought and used instructional tapes and worked hard at it. But Archer could never get to an adult-reading level.

“He had navigated the world on a weekly basis, driving, flying, playing the Tour, and had hid his secret from everyone, even his closest friends,” Jamieson said. One reason: to avoid getting heckled by fans.

Clearly, a pro-level golfer can fix hitches in his swing or attain new techniques with the help of an instructor. No reading or writing necessary. But what if Archer could have read magazine articles on the sport? What if he could have picked up a copy of that 1957 classic, “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,” written by the winner of nine majors? Could Archer himself have bagged a few more majors?

Archer’s family pursues the cause of ending literacy. The George Archer Memorial Foundation for Literacy, founded by Archer’s wife Donna soon after his death, has raised nearly $750,000 in net proceeds that are used to help promote tutoring programs at local libraries in Northern California. This coming Monday, the foundation hosts its 10th annual pro-am golf tournament at PG&CC, the sole course designed by the legendary Donald Ross in California.

Every individual has a right to education, especially so in investing. Let IBD University be one of your stops to achieving true literacy on Wall Street. Go to your local newsstand or library and see if it carries IBD Weekly. (This weekly print edition is now sold at newsstands in Vancouver, Canada.) If not, request it. The more people know about the rules of stocks, the richer the potential for everyone.

(Please follow Saito-Chung on Twitter at @IBD_DChung and participate in upcoming Q&As conducted live, via the hashtag #IBDAMA. AMA: “Ask Me Anything.”)

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