Posted on September 8, 2017 by Zaharah Sheriff Imagine you are on vacation in China. You are having a good time. You have seen the sights, gone shopping and explored the local cuisine. The food was such a shock compared to the “Chinese” you have been eating in India! Your local tour guides taught you a few words to help you get around. So you have enjoyed chatting up with locals in your broken Mandarin as well. The more you practise the better your Mandarin seems to get. And then suddenly you become unwell. Things get worse to the point that it becomes a medical emergency and you find yourself in hospital. The doctors and nurses on duty in ER only speak Mandarin; one of them has come to explain the surgical procedure you are about to undergo. You are nervous; you have so many questions. Your limited Mandarin isn’t helping here at all. You are scared and worried about what is about to happen to you. And then, you hear some English! You look in the direction of the sound. The translator introduces herself and asks you if you would like to retain her services during your stay at the hospital. Would you accept her offer? I know I would! Relying on incomplete, superficial knowledge in such a critical situation seems unwise, if not life threatening! The anchors and journalists on television channels, business newspapers etc. are like the Chinese tour guides. Just like he speaks to the locals in Mandarin, they seem to be conversing with investment professionals in a foreign language while you observe and hear. Over time, you will pick up a lot of the words they speak. Your increasing vocabulary may lull you into thinking that you have learned the language of investing. Making investment decisions for yourself and loved ones is a very critical matter. The immediate pressure or dire consequences that accompany a medical emergency may be missing. But your choices will impact your life for decades. Financial decisions that were not thoughtfully made could manifest into financial emergencies years later. Maybe you will have to downgrade the standard of living you are now accustomed to. Your children may not be able to study as much as they would like due to lack of funds. You could be putting yourself and your family at risk. Just as in a medical emergency, with your financial future too, you need to fully understand the implications of your decisions. Superficial knowledge can be very harmful. Moral of the story: There is more to learning a language than just knowing the words. It is important to know the grammar and some nuance of the culture as well, else you will not be able to communicate effectively. The same holds true for the world of investing. “Jargon” is just a fancy word for vocabulary; words that make up the language of investing. It takes a lot more than just knowing the jargon to invest well. Business media may teach you the words but not the language of investing. If you want to learn the language, get a teacher. Read books, sign up for courses, follow experienced experts and give yourself time to learn. Else don’t put your financial life at risk. Get a translator instead by seeking an advisor with atleast a decade’s experience in investing to help you on your journey.