SCOTT REED: Boerner’s life teaches us to be better

By Scott Reed

A lot of my business is centered on finding great assets. Once I find one, I want to hold on to it as long as it is performing like a great asset. There is nothing more disappointing than losing a great asset before its job is done. North Mississippi recently lost a great asset in Hank Boerner.
He was a privilege to know and a close friend. He was an outdoorsman and a community activist. We paddled rivers together and served on many committees. Hank had a great job as the leader of our Wellness Center, but he had a second job as well: He would volunteer for any project that he thought would help our community and our kids. I have no doubt he’s in a better place; however, it will be enormously difficult to replace him in our community.
I have realized that his life is a wonderful example for this column.
Hank was frugal. He never threw away anything, and, much to the disappointment of the retail world, didn’t like to buy new things. He believed in recycling everything, not just trash. So many investors these days want to spend their money now without investing in their future. Instead of cutting back and investing more, they pretend their returns will be higher than reasonable people would expect and, like Congress, kick things down the road.
Hank was a realist and an optimist. He always expected things to be better, but was realistic about how that could happen and how long it would take. Most investors, by nature, are investing for a better day. They have hope for the future. Success in investing comes from setting realistic goals and sticking to your plan.
It is critical for investors to have realistic goals. Hank had a job he loved, a family he loved and a community he loved. He was smart enough and talented enough to make more money doing other things. But making money, I think, wasn’t ever his main goal. His goals had to do with the quality of his life, not the quantity.
He couldn’t care less about what other people might think about how he lived his life. His life was his and he didn’t compare his life to anyone else’s. I think one of the biggest obstacles to successful investing is worrying what others may think. That’s why so many investors chase the next hot thing, no matter the price.
The Hank Boerner I know was unaffected by so many of the unattractive traits that seem to hold many of us back from reaching our potential. He was a man who danced to his own beat. He was a man of integrity, passion, intelligence, and compassion. He used those qualities to make this a better place. There is much to learn from how he lived his life that can make us all better investors and, most of all, better people.
Scott Reed is CEO of investment advisory firm Hardy Reed in Tupelo. Contact him at (662) 823-4722 or sreed@hardyreed.com.