Scores of articles have been written on this topic, what does it take to be a Successful Investor. A quick search on Google will give you results which include Fundamental Analysis, Technical Analysis, Economic data Analysis, Understanding the business of company, Timing the markets, monitoring Currency movements, and the list goes on and on. Then, what is the Most Essential Factor for a Successful Investor?
This one word overrides all other factors.
Discipline to stick to one's investment plan.
Discipline to continue to contribute for one's goals.
Discipline to book profits and re-allocate based on one's Asset Allocation.
DISCIPLINE PAYS OFF
Studies have shown that more than 90% of the returns earned by an investor can be explained by Asset Allocation. That means, right Asset Allocation (for example, Debt or Equity) is more important than the selection of the actual instrument (say an HDFC Fund scheme or a Reliance Fund scheme). And it requires DISCIPLINE to maintain the Asset Allocation as time passes and as markets fluctuate.
Investors reaped enormous profits when the markets reached new peaks in January, 2008. This was followed by the famed crash in September, 2008 all across the globe. This led to panic redemptions on part of many many investors. Unexpectedly, the markets recovered quickly to reach the 2008 highs in November, 2010.
Investors who stayed invested were the ones' who reaped maximum returns on the systematic investments made in the dips. Investors who exited in 2008 out of panic have only themselves to blame for missing out on the rally.
Again, the longer you stay invested in the equity markets, lesser is the probability of getting negative returns. A study of the Sensex returns for the past 30 years have shown that, if you were invested in the index for any period of 14 years or more, there is zero probability of earning negative returns. As one of the Investment gurus rightly said, "Time in the market is more important than timing the market".
Successful investors from around the world swear by only one thing...DISCIPLINE. A Financial Plan helps you initiate and maintain that Discipline.