The Value of Value Investing

by | Nov 15, 2013 | Archives

There is great value in value investing.  Plus value investing is easy and fulfilling as well.

In 1995 Merri and I began writing about the benefits of Ecuador.  This was because on a journey there we spotted that Ecuador real estate offered great value.

Then in 2009 we began writing about the benefits of Mount Dora, Florida.

Last week USA Today featured great places in two articles….nine great places around the world. Two of the nine were Mount Dora and Ecuador!

If one didn’t know better it would seem like Merri and I are really extraordinary.

The reality is that it is our ordinariness… not anything special… that caused us to stumble on these two special opportunities.

An article in the Lake County Daily Commercial was entitled “News Mount Dora rated a top city for retirees.”

This article said:  Mount Dora was profiled in a story on Friday as one of four top cities in America for people looking to retire to a small town.

The story said many Baby Boomers are looking for small towns as they approach retirement.

“After battling the traffic and hassles of suburban living during their working days, the attractions of a Norman Rockwell-esque community can seem like a relaxing alternative,” the story said.

In addition Mount Dora, Old Saybrook, Conn., Port Townsend, Wash., and Beaufort, S.C. also were listed as top retirement locations.

“While you might not think of culture as a typical small-town draw, many towns offer the rich cultural life desired by Baby Boomers,” the story said. “Mount Dora has multiple cultural venues, with two theaters, including the Mount Dora Center for the Arts, plus many festivals and events on the Town Square.”

The city exudes a comfortable Southern charm and hospitality, the story noted.

“This central Florida lakefront community is nestled amid gentle hills, orange groves and Live Oak trees. Its elevation of 184 feet makes it Florida’s equivalent of a mountain-top town,” it said. “Laid out around a large square, the downtown has shopping, excellent antiquing and a rich cultural life with many festivals.”

The same week USA Today also featured an article “Where to find the best travel values in 2014” by Jayne Clark. This article featured  India, the Jersey Shore, Palm Springs, Europe’s rivers and Ecuador!

USA Today photo

Photo from USA Today captioned Tungurahua as an active volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes.

We were not extraordinary in making these choices years before they became the trend.  We were simply doing what we love and being sensitive to value.

In fact it is our truly ordinary nature that causes us to like the same thing as…  seventy-six million American children born between 1945 and 1964… the Baby Bloomers (formerly know as baby boomers). This is true because in the long run… value attracts.

Why wouldn’t we all think alike?  We grew up in the era of broadcast. We listened to the same music… watched the same TV and read the same books.  Our common desires have long been shaped by mass media.  Plus we all seek value.

We have put in over eight miles of roads on our farm in North Carolina.  Here are these paths shown in blue.

Usually the first question people ask when visiting is;  “This is so remote how did you find this place?”   The second question is “How did you figure out where to put the roads?”

My answer to the road question is simple.  “I didn’t need a surveyor or engineer.  We have a lot of deer on the farm. I simply followed the deer trails.”

Here is a nice buck I snapped sneaking though our woods.


The deer follow the path of least resistance so their trails produce roads that run as level as you can get.

Deer like humans live by a universal rule… “Follow the path of least resistance”.

See how to create a PIEC experience for wealth below.

Merri & I attribute most of the business successes we enjoy to the fact that we simply follow our passions and write about what we are doing.  This has worked because what we do has always been to have interesting, fulfilling and fun life… for us and others as well.

Pursuing a passion is the key to success.

Our passion goes way beyond just the short term money.  There is a great excitement that comes from being ahead of the curve and on the leading edge.

Warren Buffet, one of the world’s great investors, confirmed this fact when he shared some tips on how to invest. Here are the core points he shared:

  1. Do what you like
  2. Money isn’t everything
  3. Work only with people you like
  4. Buy businesses, not stocks
  5. Invest only in what you understand
  6. Don’t over diversify
  7. Keep looking for new opportunities
  8. Buy businesses you plan to keep for life
  9. Look for businesses that are available at a good price

PIEC Experience

This invaluable information describes perfectly the benefits of having what we call PIEC wealth.  PIEC is an acronym for “Personal Income Earning Corridor”.  This concept of financial prudence differs greatly from traditional approaches of accumulating wealth.

Traditionally people get jobs to create income. They work to live and support their lifestyle while attempting to spend less than they earn. Maybe the savings will bring, some time in the future, a lifestyle of doing something enjoyable without work.

PIEC investors reverse the priorities. Instead of working for money to save and invest. They focus their prime effort on doing something they enjoy right now. Then they learn how to enjoy the effort in some profitable way. They learn to create “Avenues of Abundance” that combine lifestyle with the necessary task of accumulating wealth.

For example, if a PIEC investor loves golf; instead of working six days a week, 50 weeks a year just to golf on Sundays and during short vacations, instead he’ll create a business in some aspect of the golfing trade.

In another example, a client of mine, who loved animals became a vet. But he learned that the vet’s lifestyle was not one he enjoyed. He wanted to travel and move around, which is difficult for a professional who needs to stay at his office and build a practice. So he built a business that prepares special animal foods for race horses. Now he travels globally visiting horse breeders and makes much more money as well.

PIEC investors combine money with time, energy and desires. They generate income doing something desired. Desire and fulfillment become at least as, if not more, important as the money.

Do What You Love!

The reason PIEC investing works well is that when we love to do something, we do it better, for longer and with greater enthusiasm.

These are wealth building attributes that cannot fail. Yet PIEC investing does not mean we should suddenly abandon our jobs and try becoming golf pros, when we have never been able to break 100. Smart PIECS often require a gradual approach.

For example, as a writer and lecturer, I was never fully satisfied sitting behind a desk or standing on a podium all day long, even though I was making over a million bucks a year. I’m the physical, outdoors type and yearned for exercise and the wilds of the deep woods. “What good’s the money if this isn’t fun?” I often asked myself.

Rather than quit writing and teaching, I looked for ways to combine these professions with the outdoor life. Through research I learned that many city folk like myself yearn to be in the primitive outdoors. So I bought an isolated farm high in the Blue Ridge Mountains and an Andean plantation high in Ecuador where we have developed seminar centers with charming but simple dwellings, set in rustic surroundings, with clean water and pure air. Now I can teach in a primitive setting and after I finish the writing or talking, I run up into the woods with an axe and clear another cabin site or something physical like that. I’ve combined my writing with physical work and have blended the life I want, with my readers’ needs in a way that makes great financial sense. The cabins are projected to bring more profits than most stocks or bonds could ever return.

The process took years to shift and we are far from finished. But while I’m doing what I love, who cares? This is one of the great benefits of PIEC investing. We can slow down and enjoy the work instead of always rushing ahead, looking for something more.

Those who work nine to five can start PIEC businesses part time if they are too uneasy to quit their jobs. Others, who like myself, already have a business can slowly shift their product or service in a sensible way and let it evolve toward their PIEC.

Where to start?

There is a seven step process we can all use whether we have our own careers, a business or even if we are retired (PIEC investing is especially good for retirees who have found the supposed good life flat or financially short).

The first step is to get a clear idea or vision of our dream. This is sometimes harder to achieve than it seems. We are so deluged with false ideals from Washington, Wall Street, Madison Avenue, etc. that we have to stop and really take stock.

There is a very practical economic reason to look inward for wealth. Warren Buffet recommends that we only invest in what we understand. What can we understand better than ourselves?

This inner search will lead us to an ideal that begins the second step which is gaining enthusiasm. How can we be anything but enthusiastic about finally fulfilling our deepest dreams? The enthusiasm leads to the third step; gaining an education.

We need to find out everything we can about our idea.  To succeed we must become real experts in the product or service we offer.

Fourth, this educational process allows us to develop an intelligent, focused business plan we can act upon and the action is the fifth step which brings us the experience. Experience gives us the sixth step, a financial loss or profit. Remember we always profit in increased knowledge which creates the seventh step, more ideas. Then the entire cycle starts all over again: Idea, Enthusiasm, Education, Action, Experience, Financial Profit and New Ideas.

This is a way to follow Warren Buffet’s advice to keep looking for new opportunities. Business is rarely static. It is an ever evolving process instead.

This seven step cycle may take days, weeks, months or years, but the moment you begin you’ll start moving into an avenue of affluence where you love your work so though money isn’t your main goal it comes more easily.

PIEC investing makes it easier to create and keep wealth. It enhances our lifestyles now, because it lets us make money being who we really are. It makes life more fulfilling and fun.  PIEC investing works because it is based on the most important values.


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Daily Commercial article on Mount Dora

USA Today on Five Best travel Values