A client passed an interesting quote to me today:

"No matter what strategy investors opt to follow - whether it is buy-and-hold or some rapid-trading, momentum-driven methodology - the necessary personal ingredient for success is emotional discipline, the ability to stick it out.

C. Thomas Howard, director of research at AthenaInvest and author of "Behavioral Portfolio Management," told me recently that the biggest problem investors face comes in accepting an investment strategy and following it as it is; they pick a strategy that they understand and like, follow it easily during good times, but then have a tough time the moment they question a trade, a stock pick or the results in the market.

"You can't invest like a great investor if you're not investing just like that investor," Howard said. "You start to think you know better, or that there's just this one thing they are doing that you don't like, and suddenly you are changing. Now you are not following a successful system, you are modifying one; that may work out for you, or it may not."