In traditional Eastern spiritual practice, it is said that there are two paths to enlightenment.
One path is Devotion, the other is Awareness.
Devotion means to devote oneself entirely to a set of teachings and practices.
For example, if the Guru say meditate, the student must meditate. Eat vege? Be sure to EAT VEGE.
There is no room to do otherwise as any conflict might jeopardise the outcome.
By devoting oneself to the spiritual practice entirely, enlightenment will come.
Awareness on the otherhand, means to open up one’s awareness to seek answers.
The Guru will not give direct instructions, the student must train the awareness to ask the right questions and understand the answers.
It is said that this path is slower and more troublesome but the progress will be noticable.
By practicing awareness, enlightenment will come.
In investment wise, there is also something like a devotion path and an awareness path.
For the devotion investment, there is something called a “managed portfolio” in Malaysia.
It is a bit like “robo-investing” in the sense that you just have to follow the directions to save monthly,
let the Guru do the necessary, and retire years later with the desired amount.
By devoting entirely to this practice, financial freedom will come.
For the awareness investment, there is “advisor-assisted portfolio”.
The investment portfolio comes with advisory on how, when and why to rebalance, restructure, profit take, reinvest and the economic stituation.
There will be gradual learning process.
There is an awareness that will lead to financial freedom.
So how does one chooses which path to go with?
First of all, either paths would require a Guru and when I use the word Guru, it is in the traditional sense of one who dispels the darkness.
So it is important that an investment Guru dispels darkness and confusion surrounding investment for us.
This means that:
We should not choose a Guru based on their investment track record or their strength of conviction.
We should not choose a Guru based on how many latest investment buzzwords or catchphrases they can use in a single sentence.
We should choose a Guru based on how well they can explain with clear simple language, investment realities which the we can also verify for ourselves.
We should avoid choosing an investment ‘expert’ who can only try their hardest to convince us using difficult to understand technical jargons and require us to “believe”.
In “belief”, one only trades one set of illusion for another. Only in clarity can we dispel the illusion.
This may make the devoted path slightly risky as we are required to surrender ourselves completely, but I have seen cases where fortunately blind devotion to an investment Guru actually resulted in financial freedom.