You don’t need 10,000 hours to be a great investor. Try 10 hours.

Why the 10,000 hour is most false for investing, and where the time should be spent instead.

written by oz chen

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How much skill do you need to learn investing? How much time do you need to commit?

Malcom Gladwell of Outliers made famous the number: 10,000 hours.

This is the minimum number of hours that you’d need to become world class at something.

The competitive tennis player, the chess champ, the Pulitzer winning writer.

Easily at least 10,000 hours. Their output, practice, and consistency are admirable.

But if you want to build wealth, you want to start today. 10,000 is way too long. In fact, it’s unnecessary.

Investing is a weird domain that’s surprisingly democratic.

  • Someone without much finance “expertise” could invest consistently and become a millionaire.
  • On the flipside, even seasoned professionals who spend their lives analyzing stocks regularly underperform the stock market. (Just look at famous “stock picker” Jim Cramer’s abysmal results)

Anyone can learn to be a great investor in much less time:

You’d need much less than 10,000 hours.
1,000 hours is excessive.
100 hours is overkill.
Try 10 hours.

How can I make such a bold claim?

Investing is a passive skill that’s more about having the right beliefs with money, and then executing on that belief.

If your belief system is set up sufficiently, then the road to financial freedom is straightforward.

Example: Earn more, spend less, and invest into passive index funds that don’t require active management.

That’s the whole formula. No 10,000 hours needed.

While I’m saying that this is “simple,” I’m not saying that it’s easy.

Where the real 10,000 hours of work should go

Losing weight is as “simple” as eating less and exercising more.
Having a good romantic life can be as “simple” as loving yourself first.

Yet these goals, like investing, could take a forever to get right.

What stands in the way? Beliefs and habits.

Most of the work is spent unwinding the 10,000+ hours that were built up in beliefs about money, that you now have to rewrite.

Beliefs like…

  • The stock market is a scam
  • I’m not good with money
  • Being rich is immoral

(Check out my full list of beliefs that stop people from investing).

Someone could balk at my claim that investing could be learned in 10 hours, because they:

  • Live paycheck to paycheck
  • Have suffered financial trauma
  • Are regularly spending more than they earn

That’s all valid.

And yet, investing and early retirement could be as simple as buying index funds every month until your investments are big enough to retire you.

You just need to believe that things could be that simple, and that this is supposed to be hard.

Then do it anyway.

No 10,000 hours needed.

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