Valentine's Message: Invest from the Heart

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It seems apropos on this St. Valentine’s Day to share a little about investing from the heart. I got a call just last week from an old friend in the medical field. He’s done rather well for himself and, while his focus has mostly been on his private practice and a bit of intermittent teaching, at times he also dabbles in some sound investing that has, over the years, proved amply rewarding for him.

From time to time we’ve chatted about some of his ventures, which I’ve always understood to be generally solid, low-risk investments that appear poised for reasonable returns.

This time, however, my friend was giddier and more talkative about writing his check than I ever remember him being. That’s because this time around my friend had chosen to put a five-figure lump sum into a Broadway show.

I wasn’t entirely surprised, as it was something he’d mentioned in passing before, having a relationship with a producer through his practice who had approached him about it on at least one occasion.

But what I found particularly interesting was the almost childlike fervor with which my friend was, in essence, ‘giving’ his money away in an extremely high-risk venture.

In my limited understanding of Broadway investment, the return can be significant but that’s in a best-case scenario. Most of the time—as much as 80 percent of the time—all your money is going to be lost, along with the many millions that are burned trying to get a new show off the ground. And even when a show proves to achieve some success, that’s not a guarantee it’s going to bring a return to investors, as sometimes the ongoing production costs can be exorbitant.

Needless to say, my friend’s enthusiasm concerned me a bit at first. It wasn’t that he couldn’t afford the gamble, but I certainly didn’t want to see him squandering his money on a manic lark.

But as he continued to share about it, it dawned on me that in a way this was a great investment. As he described the thrill it would be for him to attend opening night, getting a chance to watch rehearsals, and even meeting some well-known performers, I started to understand that for him, this was more than an investment, it was a passion.

It just isn’t my passion and that’s okay. I, likewise, have my passions when it comes to investing—areas like sustainability, biotechnology and of course commercial real estate. These sectors intrigue and excite me and make my heart beat just a little faster when I’m involved with them.

By the time I hung up the phone I remembered that at least one small part of investing should relate to your heart, if at all possible. Whatever I’m putting my money into, I’d like it to be something I can care about, if at all possible.

When my passions are in sync with my portfolio, investing becomes a true labor of love.