Does the very thought of investing make you break out in a cold sweat?

Investment Education by Focused Investing

Focused Investing Dr Mike BarnardDoes the very thought of investing make you break out in a cold sweat? Like all things, fear can be pegged to lack of knowledge or (in many cases) bad experiences that sprung from repeated wrong and risky behavior. Are you ready to cast off the fear and move ahead with confidence? Good! Then you’re ready to check out Focused Investing.


Focused Investing specializes in investment education for the DIY investor. The owner, Dr. Thomas Mike Barnard, brings his years of study and practice to the forefront in programs for his clients. “I do not teach techniques that may come in and out of favor, that may work for some but not others,” he says. “I work with every person individually in the capacity of a coach to teach fundamentals and basics of business that have stood the test of time.”

Focus Investing’s educational programs are very hands-on.  “My clients go through a 3-month immersive program,” Dr. Barnard points out. “We meet once per week via Zoom conference and they trade virtual money on the stock market. We discuss their thought process, why they made decisions, how they can execute better, etc. They come out of the 3-month program with the confidence to make investing decisions without looking to others for approval or confirmation. You cannot get better results than others if you are approval seeking, which nearly all investors are. I also offer business consulting in regards to finance and strategy, business valuations, NPV calculations of projects, and other financial modeling.”


Learning how to investDr. Barnard has long nurtured a passion for business and specifically investing in businesses. “I read numerous investment newsletters in order to get into the minds of experts before starting college,” he says. “I invested money borrowed on a credit card with the goal of learning and not losing the money. I made hundreds of small investments, some good, some bad. After one year of breaking even, I learned how to limit risk (risk management techniques), time entry and exit (execution), and make high returns with low risk/asymmetric risk/return tradeoff.”


Focused Investing is grounded in the principles taught by Warren Buffett. “Invest in great businesses at fair prices,” Dr. Barnard says. “Put all of your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket. Spend your time doing due diligence before you invest, make confident decisions, and limit risk. “


Successful-Investment-Strategy-for-SuccessDr. Barnard enjoys working with clients who take responsibility for their own success. “My ideal client is driven to be above average and is willing to put in the work to achieve greatness and stop settling for average,” he says. “Many people either do not care or want to learn about investing. Others know just enough to think they do not need help. The obstacle is to get the customer to be open minded long enough to see the value of what I offer. There are many types of investing and many times people may attempt to invest and either lose money or get confused and give up, but they probably tried to invest in a way that is not suited to their personality. For this reason, I give a personality test in the beginning to understand the client’s personality and how they make decisions.”


In addition to personality, there is a “mindset” that investors learn to cultivate over time. Dr. Barnard says that fledgling investors need to take it one step at a time. “I work with people from complete beginners who do not know how to open a trading account to seasoned experts who want to continue to improve. They may want to learn about building financial models, getting intrinsic values, reading financial statements or stock charts. The mindset should be that it is okay to make mistakes, all investors lose money from the most experienced and knowledgeable to those who are extremely diversified. The focus should never be on never losing money or trying to get huge returns, it should be on optimizing the risk/return and continually improving your skills so that risk is minimized and returns are maximized for a given level of risk. “


Reduce-Financial-StressAre you risk averse due to prior bad experiences with the market? This is learned wrong behavior, and it can lead to fear or trepidation about future investments. According to Dr. Barnard, this fear is misunderstood. “Investors are not really afraid of investing, they are scared of losing money,” he says. “This is often because they lack the skills to perform proper due diligence, such as a thorough SWOT analysis, use Porter’s Five Forces, assess the market for the service or product including the level of competition, and finally value the business and industry. They will have these skills when they complete the program.”

Focused Investing offers three specific programs for customers. These are:

  • The Curious Investor
  • The Hungry Investor
  • The Determined Investor


Stock-and-Investment-Trading-Education“I should note that all training is specific to long term business investing,” Dr. Barnard says. “I do not teach day trading, commodities futures, options, or currency trading. The Curious Investor meets once per month to increase basic skills, terminology, etc. The Hungry Investor meets twice per month to increase their investing skills so they can take extra vacations, or afford life’s little luxuries. The Determined Investor understands that if they learn to invest well, they can replace their income from a job with income from investing and/or retire much earlier because the compound interest could easily amount to more than they could ever save by working, even if they saved huge portions of their checks.


Focused Investing works with clients in all phases of their lives, from young people just learning about the market to people approaching retirement. The needs are different for each type of client. For the older clients, there may be issues of trust that hold them back. “I cannot recommend any particular investment or strategy but I can offer to educate them around certain aspects of finance and answer questions in the capacity of an unbiased third party,” Dr. Barnard says. “Often times people are not sure whether they can trust a financial advisor and the option they have is to ask another financial advisor whom they also may not trust. Even if there is trust, their incentives may not be aligned and this causes unease. I may even be able to work alongside financial advisers who have clients that are on the fence. In any case, I provide education and I do not get paid from sales, so I may be able to leave them feeling better about their decisions and experiences. However, if someone is nearing retirement and they have not saved for it, there is not much they can do now to build wealth but if they have wealth (maybe in the form of a business) I may be able to help them find options for limiting risk.”


Minimize-Investment-risk-through-educationFor young people, the key is getting them educated correctly. “Young people have never been taught financial skills in school, and sadly most of what they learn from those around them is backwards and harmful. I give them skills and change their mindsets, so they can get out of their own way,” Dr. Barnard says.


Focused Investing is never a “hard sell” to prospective clients. All initial consultations are free and are never used as a sales pitch opportunity. “The consultation is an opportunity to get to know one another and see whether I can solve a problem,” Dr. Barnard says. “If I cannot, I will not attempt to sell services and 100% refunds are offered in many cases up to a certain point in the project. I am more concerned with adding value and building a reputation as someone who can help long term, than I am in making short term sales.”


Dr. Barnard has witnessed quite a few client success stories. One of his favorites involves someone who needed to save money for a wedding. “They wanted to save $20,000 in one year. We surpassed that goal by more than $10,000,” he says.


Engagement in Focused Investing’s programs is a sure way to cut through the “noise” associated with learning to invest in the market. “My investing clients could learn everything I teach on their own, but it would take substantially more time and money and be a far bumpier path as they get confused and learn from experiences,” Dr. Barnard says. “There is nowhere in the world that I am aware of where they can get this type of premium service at all, at any price, but my prices are far below services that are subpar to mine.”


Manage-my-own-MoneyBusiness clients have different needs than personal investors. “My business consulting clients probably have some of the skills that I have,” Dr. Barnard says. “They probably know how to make decisions on an intuitive level. Yet, they may be leaving money on the table if they could reduce costs further, grow their market, etc. It is up to me figure out how and I charge a fraction of the increased resulting profits if I can achieve them and nothing if I cannot find a way to help. My success is 100% dependent on my creating increased success for my clients. I take all the risk.”


So, if you have been straddling the fence about investing in the market, or thinking about taking the plunge, you owe it to yourself to speak to Dr. Barnard at Focused Investing. Start your journey off right, and learn to build a lifetime of satisfying investing experiences.


Focused Investing Dr Mike Barnard

Focused Investing



Dr. Thomas Mike Barnard







Focused Investing

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