I like using the metaphor of a temple for investing because it pictorially represents all of the necessary components to successful investing, including preparation, planning, construction & maintenance. The 4 components of a basic temple - the foundation, the columns, the entablature (the structure above the columns) and the tympanon (the triangular roof).
(As you can see, I'm not much of an artist....but you get the point)
Now, to successfully construct a temple (disclosure: I've never actually built a real temple - but then I don't suspect this surprises you!), one first needs knowledge, tools, designs and a construction plan. I use the temple's foundation to represent these critical must-haves. In the real world of investing, the foundation would represent everything from investment strategy to portfolio asset allocation to financial information. As with a house, a temple or with your real-world portfolio, the foundation is the most important part of the structure.
The columns are meant to represent investment products that you use to achieve your strategy and I use the entablature to represent patience & discipline and finally, the tympanon as your long term investment goals. In other words, you need the foundation, columns and entablature in order to achieve the tympanon. I dig into this concept a little deeper when we look at each component in more detail.
With the prominent use of an ancient temple metaphor, I find it only appropriate to throw in some good ole fashion philosophy to emphasize my approach. Philosophy that isn't so much Greek in origin but rather a combination of investment return maximization with cost effectiveness. In short, you need to do this yourself (check out Wall Street vs. Main Street for more on this).
I am the ultimate DIYer of managing my own money and I suggest that you become that as well. Why? Well, just as Albert Einstein is thought to have coined one of the most of the famous comments related to finance – “compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe”; or the alternative version “compound interest is the greatest invention in human history”; or even my own personal favorite version “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it”. The point is that we all should be using it to our advantage. For a fun story on how & why this is true, click here to read about a wise daughter and a procrastinating son. The Investment Temple focuses of both elements of Einstein’s simple message: namely, the importance of receiving compound interest but, critically, also ensuring you are receiving the maximum amount of this investment elixir (i.e., investment returns) by minimizing what you are paying to others!
Now, let's take a closer look into these temple components.