Years ago I read an article on golf magazine where the writer maintained described two main types of professional golfers Steady Eddy and the Gunslinger. Both types were very capable of winning tourneys, but both types played with different mindsets.
Steady Eddy was the type of golfer that would consistently shoot good rounds with minimal variance from high to low of their scoring. A Steady is the conservative player playing to the center of the green on most occasions and not attacking tucked away pins behind sand traps. Steady would play to the fairway so he would always have a good lie for a second shot, and Steady would usually stay away from low percentage shots. Steady would usually float around the upper rankings on the golf tour with consistent earnings.
The Gunslinger was quite the opposite of Steady. The Gunslinger would attack all green pins, and would attempt low percentage shots to gain an edge. The Gunslinger’s scores could have large variations from high to low. When the Gunslinger was firing on all cylinders they could shoot ridiculously low scores to put them well ahead of the competition to win the tournament. The Gunslinger would find himself at the top of the tour rankings one year, and not in the top twenty the next year.
In my opinion the consistent leaders or legends on the golf tour are the players that emphasized one style, but also learned how to incorporate the other style into their game at the appropriate times. As an example, the Steady Eddy, when appropriate, would attack a green flagstick on occasion to gain an edge, or the Gunslinger would hold back and play to the center of the fairway in order to have a better angle to attack the pin from.
As in golf, investing has the Steady Eddy and Gunslinger behaviors. The Steady Eddy type investor tends to favor passive styled investments that produce relatively tight ranged consistent type gains on a long term basis. Steady doesn’t want to be a stock picker and likes the characteristics that some fixed income investments may have.
The Gunslinger investor on the other hand is exactly opposite. The Gunslinger investor wants to find the next big winner. The Gunslinger’s dream is to own enough stock in a startup like Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway, or Walmart where they can make a fortune and end up financially free. In the Gunslinger’s mind owning a fixed income investment would only be appropriate when they are retired, and owning a passive index fund is pointless.
Embracing Steady Eddy and the Gunslinger
Like the top leaders on the golf tour, being able to mix your investments to where you have an exposure to both styles of the Steady Eddy and the Gunslinger is a good way to go. Developing a Steady Eddy core, so an investor can wait out the years of growth it will take a Gunslinger styled stock pick to happen is a good idea. Generally, the big winners take years to develop, and could have major up and down swings that will be larger than the market. This is why it is important to have a strategic plan that you can stick to.
Learning how to manage both styles within your investing will give you a good chance of success. Some books to consider for both of these styles would be for the Steady Eddy “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing,” by Jack Bogle which delves into the basics of index fund investing. For the Gunslinger “100 Baggers,” by Christopher Mayer and “Rule #1 Investing,” by Phil Town are two good books to put into your bag.
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