Hard Choices The path to success is rarely a smooth one
By Robert Safian/Managing Editor

(MONEY Magazine) – Robert Belcher, a retired mailman in Fort Myers, Fla., recently wrote to tell me about his successful investing career. Now 80, Belcher began what he calls his "self-education" through "reading and study and trial and error." Today, thanks to what he's learned about picking small-company stocks, Belcher says he's earned positive returns for 20 straight years.

How many mailmen master portfolio building as their second career? How many instead turn away from opportunities because the road seems too demanding to traverse?

Success comes only from hard work and hard choices, as this month's cover story amply demonstrates. ("How I Made It!" begins on page 42.) In the package, editors Glenn Coleman, Suzanne Woolley and Peter Carbonara pulled together stories of 20 people who have achieved financial success; they are not all rich, but they have all reached some goal that is important to them. The paths they took were varied, but none of their dreams would have come to fruition without sacrifice, vision and difficult trade-offs.

To make your road easier, we're pleased to report that MONEY readers now have an exclusive new tool: Editor-at-large Michael Sivy--whose investing regimen has helped millions of MONEY readers build wealth over the years--will be providing tips on stock picking and updates on the Sivy 70, his list of America's best stocks, on our website money.com; you can also sign up at the site for his semiweekly e-mail newsletter. Combined with Michael's monthly magazine column ("It's Called a Correction," page 119), this bonus coverage offers the consistent guidance that investors need.

After 6 1/2 years as MONEY's Managing Editor, I have one more hard choice to relate: This will be my last issue. Overseeing MONEY has been a privilege, one that I relinquish with mixed feelings. (I'm moving to our sister publication Time.) Fortunately, the magazine will be in capable hands: Eric Schurenberg, a 13-year MONEY veteran who was most recently the deputy editor of Business 2.0, takes the helm next month. To all of MONEY's readers and the magazine's terrific staff, thank you for your support over the years. It's been a blast.