As I have noted in several blog posts, before I was an investment advisor, I imported wine, olive, and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar that I imported was produced by a friend of a friend in Modena, Italy. His name is Massimo Bottura. Massimo is a chef, and his restaurant in Modena has been awarded three stars by Michelin for the past few years. Massimo has become quite a famous chef and recently published a book called Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef.
Massimo turned me on to a growing movement in Europe at the time called “Slow Food,” which caught on here in the United States many years ago. Slow food was a reaction in Europe to the rising number of American fast food chains then spreading across the Continent. The tipping point came when McDonald’s opened a store at the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome.
Slow food is a state of mind; it’s about eating food that is fresh and healthy, food that is pesticide and chemical free and accessed in a way that is beneficial to all.Slow food is also a lifestyle choice; it’s about slowing down and enjoying the proverbial roses.
I view investing in a similar fashion. Like the Slow Food movement, it’s organic, and it needs time. Wealth is created slowly, by saving and riding out the ups and downs. Investing should be boring.
When Warren Buffet was once asked how the average person gets rich, he answered: “Spend less than you make, always be saving something. Put it into a tax-deferred account. Over time it will amount to something. This is such a no brainer.” I love Buffet’s mantra, “Boring is beautiful.”
It is hard for me to believe that the man I was driving around Emilia-Romagna with tasting balsamic vinegar is now one of the world’s most famous chefs. In the last few weeks he has been on Charlie Rose and Jimmy Kimmel. He even created a special hamburger for Shake Shack. When interviewed by Charlie Rose, Massimo spoke of the concept of “making simple the difficult thing.” As a purist and true believer in simplicity, I love that idea. Whether we are talking about food, wine, life, or investing—keeping it boring and simple, that is the road to success.