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Mark Dampier?s new book ? Effective Investing

Cover of Effective Investing by Mark Dampier Our Head of Research, Mark Dampier, has helped thousands of investors in a career spanning over 30 years. In his first ever book he brings together everything he has learnt from grilling fund managers, weighing up investments and prospering through dramatic ups and downs.

Listen to Mark Dampier on his new book in our latest podcast

In this podcast Danny Cox talks to Mark Dampier, Research Director about his new book ?Effective Investing?.

Mark explains what prompted him to write the book, gives his views on investing in property and recalls how after his first ever investment yielded a 75% return he was hooked.

Below we have reproduced an extract from the book, where Mark reveals how he started in the investment industry, and what he feels is the main reason to start investing.

A ski bum?s guide to investing

The reason I know that anyone can become a successful investor without any prior knowledge is that I have travelled the full length of that road myself. The little I knew about investing on the day I started [in 1983] was hardly worth knowing.

I did have a degree, but it was in a subject - law - that I found stultifyingly dull. After going to Law College, I soon decided that spending 40 years doing conveyancing work, which seems to be the fate awaiting most lawyers of my ability, had little appeal. I was on the lookout for something more interesting. Investment turned out to be the answer, and it is a career choice I have never regretted.

Mind you, in those early years I knew what I most wanted to do, which was to spend as much time as possible on the ski slopes. Skiing was my main interest. On my CV, it says I took a ?double gap year? as a ski bum (because, to be frank, I enjoyed the first one so much). I had two years of pure pleasure and irresponsibility, something I think every youngster should be encouraged to try before getting down to serious career work. But all good things must come to an end, and after two seasons on the slopes and having recently become engaged, I was under pressure from both sets of parents to find a ?proper job?. In this book I hope to convince you that, while there are no short-cuts to investment success, making the effort can be rewarding. If a former ski bum like me can do it, so can you.

I can?t afford to save (but I do like to buy a fancy coffee every morning)

What is the objective of investing? Most people tend to say something like, ?To make as much money as possible?. My answer is different. As I see it, the objective of investing is to improve your quality of life. What you are doing when you start investing is making a conscious decision to put a certain amount of money aside in the reasoned belief that it will be worth more in the future ? a little sacrifice today for a lot more gain tomorrow.

Successful investing is, therefore, a passport to a better life for your family. It is worth emphasising that you don?t need to have huge sums ready and waiting. What you need is the discipline to save a little regularly. Over the years I have often been told that it is pointless to save small amounts each month ? they could never amount to anything. But that is the first and biggest mistake you can make about investing.

Time can do wonders for the value of investments, no matter how small they start out. People are frequently surprised to discover exactly how much money they spend on transitory lifestyle items. Having a coffee at Starbucks every day, for example, can easily cost you more than £600 a year. Evaluate how many of the things you spend money on today are ones you might be willing or able to give up in order to have more wealth and security in the future.
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