Money… … …speaks

I almost landed a career in research.

Got offered a PhD seat, but turned it down, since I was homesick.

Upon returning home, I started teaching, but after eight years of doing so, it was time to move on.

Ultimately, I landed up in the markets.

Was this a better place?

It was actually quite cut-throat.

Ruthless was its other name.

Amidst the many negatives, there was one solid positive, though.

This positive made up for everything, and then some.

Recognition, or lack of it, was instant.

And, you knew it.

Furthermore, recognition, or lack of it, came directly from the market itself.

The feedback loop was such, that you reported to the market, and the market reported back to you, and it told you immediately, that it was recognizing you, or if it was not.

The language of the market…

…was money.

Money…

…spoke…

…and you knew where you stood.

In research, recognition was abstract.

It came from academia.

Academia had other issues, and some of these issues were pretty ugly.

Furthermore, academia had a huge ego.

In academia, one didn’t really know where one stood, until something exceptionally huge came along. Mostly, it doesn’t.

In academia, one was left hanging, mostly.

I didn’t like being left hanging. I was actually quite happy about not being in academia.

Teaching at school level was a different form of academia.

Recognition came from students. I got my share, and it felt good.

Bottom-line didn’t look that happening, however. Teacher salaries were okayish.

For some reason, I wanted to be elsewhere.

I wanted action, challenge and knowledge about where I stood.

Entry into the markets became an ideal option for me.

In the markets, I didn’t have to look to anyone.

It was just me, and the market.

Face to face.

If I listened well, and followed accordingly, we were friends. If not, well, my account statement reflected this.

I liked straight-forwardness.

I liked being in the markets.

It thus became a long-term thing.

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Allowance to Sit

Your behaviour tells it all. 

How do you feel about being in the markets?

Is money on the line making you jump?

Is it giving you sleepless nights?

Are you tense?

Emotional?

On a roller-coaster?

Unhappy?

Or…

…are you comfortable sitting on your long-term position?

One needs to earn this comfort. 

It does not come for free.

How does one earn it?

By behaving appropriately.

What is appropriate behaviour?

Buying with margin of safety…

…and maintaining a small entry quantum…

…such that one is always liquid…

…and ready for next entry…

…waiting for price to give an inch. 

That’s one example of appropriate behaviour. 

Also, that’s my example. 

How do I know it’s appropriate?

I’m comfortable. 

Not tense. 

Sleep well.

Not on a roller-coaster. 

There’s no emotion here, it’s business.

I’m sitting on the long-term stuff, and I’m happy going about all other activities in and facets of life.

That’s why I know that my behaviour has been appropriate, and hopefully, will continue to be so, if I want to continue being comfortable. 

Fall?

Let it go down to zero.

If the stocks that one’s picking have sound fundmentals, price falls are actually a blessing, because one can pick up more. 

Small entry quantum, remember?

We can go on buying, on and on. Many, many small entries. That’s the strategy. Our stocks are fundamentally sound, and peoples’ perception about their pricing is not going to change that. 

We’re not betting the farm, and money going in is not going to make us feel constrained. We’ve sorted family funds and emergency money. We are going in to the markets in a stable and comfortable condition already.

And, the way we are going in is going to maintain this comfort and stability.

Forever. 

The Stand-Out Price

You’re ready with your small entry quantum,…

…looking to add on to you portfolio. 

You’re always liquid,…

…owing to your small entry quantum strategy. 

Where do you enter?

This is not a difficult question.

Why is this question not difficult?

That’s because the stocks in your portfolio are fundamentally tested, and have been found to be sound by you.  

Fundamental soundness is a bombastic plus. 

Now comes the next question.

Where is margin of safety being offered to you?

Is it enough margin of safety for you?

Are more stocks offering this kind of margin of safety?

What, then, is a stand-out price?

You will enter there. 

A stand-out price hits you in the eye. 

It is unusual. 

It speaks of a large fall such that the level of the price draws your attention within milliseconds. 

When you see a stand-out price on the way down like this, you ask the next questions. 

Why is the price where it is? 

What has happened?

Whatever that has happened, is it a one-time thing?

Is the momentum of the fall subsiding, or mid-way, or what?

Ask as many questions as you may want. 

The answer you want to drive at is yes or no.

Yes as in you would like to use your small entry quantum to pick up the stock in question. 

No as in you would like to wait for more clarification. 

If you pick up, you’re done for the day, if you follow a one-entry per day strategy, that is. 

If not, you look for another stand-out price. 

Making Equity Antifragile

Yeps, Taleb’s the famous one. 

Moi, je ne suis pas célèbre.

Néanmoins, j’aime le terme “antifragile” de Taleb.

Also, Taleb has termed equity as robust.

I do equity. 

I’d like my interaction and future with equity to be antifragile.

Let’s first look at Taleb’s definition for antifragile.

He says that anything that has more upside than downside from random events (or certain shocks), is antifragile; the reverse is fragile.

Robust equity will eventually crack when subjected to shock.

We are aware of that.

What do we do now?

Firstly, we take time, and put it in infinity mode. Meaning, that we stay invested, for a long, long, long time. 

We’re now allowing equity amply sufficient time to recover from not one shock, but many shocks.

Also, each time there is a shock, and equity tanks, we go in and buy some more.

How can we do this?

We are sufficiently liquid, all the time

Our small entry quantum approach is ensuring that. 

Also, we’ve chosen such equity first-up that is minimally susceptible to cracking. That’s the best we can do. 

We have either avoided debt altogether or chosen debt-levels that are adding value to the stock and can be easily taken care of in the short-term

We have chosen equity with decent quick and current ratios

We have chosen adaptable managements that function as optimal human capital, fighting inflation, showering shareholder-friendliness and adding value at all times

However, crack they do, eventually, and we keep picking up more. 

Since we’ve kept ourselves “infinitely” liquid as per our small entry quantum approach, we are then also “infinitely”poised to benefit from the cracks

As we keep getting more and more opportunities to buy with meaningful margins of safety, markets show us more upside than downside

Thus, antifragility comes to us as a function of falling price, given that the underlying has sound fundamentals, low to nil debt and benevolent, versatile and diligent management

Now, let the shocks come. 

In fact, let 20 shocks come. 

We want shocks to come…

…so that we can continue to buy at rock-bottom prices, which work in an antifragile manner for us, because of the characteristics of the equity and management we have chosen

Profiting from shocks?

More upside than downside? Owing to the effects of a shock?

What kind of behaviour is that?

That’s antifragile behaviour.

Negating Promoter Greed

You like a stock. 

You’ve checked it out. 

Fundamentals are under control. 

You find the management reasonable.

They’re shareholder-friendly. 

They have high salaries though, specifically those connected to the promoter-group. 

Now, you need to answer some questions.

Are you ok with high salaries for the top staff?

What is your definition of high?

Are salaries performance-driven?

Do the company’s number justify what promoter-connected management is taking home?

Ok. 

You’ve answered these questions. 

You still want the stock, despite the fact that an answer to two could be an outlier. 

That’s fine. 

One won’t find perfection anywhere. 

If one finds it, the stock will probably already be overpriced. 

So, you’re ok with mild imperfection, as long as your basic needs are met. 

You decide to purchase the stock. 

Here’s how you can negate promoter greed. 

The fancy cars, the family dish outs, the pushed-in lunch bills, the first class travel, you get the drift. 

Who doesn’t do it, given the opportunity?

Your promoter is human, and will surround him- or herself with comforts, at the company’s expense. 

That is the norm. Get used to it. 

Here’s how you are not letting this affect you. 

You buy in a staggered fashion. 

You buy with margin of safety. 

Because you’re sure of fundamentals, you average down. 

Each time your holding average touches a new low, you’ve secured yourself against promoter greed just a tad more. 

Because of sound fundamentals, ultimately, the stock will start to rise. 

That’s the time your low holding average will show a stellar profit for you. 

Perhaps your holding average is better than that of the promoter.

If that is the case, rise in price has given you more profit than it has to the promoter. 

Therefore, while the promoter got to live in the lap of luxury at the cost of the company, you were busy raking in a better result owing to the price rise.

Successive margin of safety buying amounting to averaging down after convincing oneself of intact fundamentals has been the key for you. 

Use this key, but do so wisely, and safely. 

Remember, that averaging down only works well in the case of diligent, research-based long-term investing. Averaging down is a strict no-no for short-term traders, however. 

Wishing you happy and fruitful investing!

🙂

Own Crypto?

Own any Crypto?

You’re a target.

Period. 

Are you ok being a target?

The tension doesn’t get you down?

You take it in your stride?

Fine. 

You’re probably good for the game. 

I am not. 

I don’t like the tension. 

I don’t want any crypto on any of my devices, alone because of the tension element. 

I don’t wish to be a target. 

I don’t like the History, with exchanges going bust et al, cryptojackings, and what have you. 

I don’t like the bubble-chart. 

Governments are pushing against it. 

Top banks dissuade. They’re not willing to hold it in their cyber-lockers, for then, they become targets. 

Then, just too many cousins. Which cousins are the black sheep? Which one will go all the way? Who knows?

Let’s talk volatility now. 

Bought some crypto? Down 20% since? Now what?

I don’t want to be faced with these questions on a daily basis. 

Terrorist push. They move it with crypto. 

I don’t want to be moving it like terrorists do. 

Russian servers? Bulgarian IP? 

Already getting the jitters. 

I don’t comprehend blockchain.

Multiple people saying something is something doesn’t make that something something. 

Is someone making a very big fool of a lot of people, and getting away with it too?

Too many “I don’ts”.

Too many red flags.

Next, you’re telling me that I’m a target too. 

Fine. 

However, for whatever I’m a target, for that thing the criminal will need to accost me physically, on the road, or in my house. 

Are you getting it?

The robber will have to rob my house physically. 

Not so the case with you, crypto-owner. 

The hacker can hack from any corner of the globe. 

Criminals don’t wish to be cracking safes when they can steal from computers thousands of miles away. 

So,…

…careful. 

Time your Friend or Time your Enemy?

This one depends…

…on you.

How is time treated in your curriculum with regard to the markets?

Are you in a hurry…

…or is your motto “hurry spoils the curry”?

One can make any market action an extremely difficult one if one squeezes time. 

On the other hand, the same market action yields great results when time is stretched to infinity. 

One can understand this in the predicament of the trader.

Expiry is due. 

Trades are in loss. 

It seems that trades are not going to make it to break-even by expiry.

They would probably be showing a profit after expiry. 

However, time-span for validity of the trades has been squeezed to expiry. 

Hence, the trader faces loss. 

The investor, on the other hand, is invested in the stock of the same underlying, and doesn’t dabble in the derivative. 

For the investor, time has been expanded to infinity. 

The investor doesn’t feel pain from a time-window that’s about to close.

Now, let’s look at the cons for the investor, and the pros for the trader. 

The price for making time one’s friend is the principal being locked-in for that much time. 

The investor is comfortable with that. 

If not, the investor feels pain from the lock-in, and may make a detrimental move that works against long-term investing philosophy, as in cutting a sound investment at its bottom-most point during a long drawn-out correction. 

Investors need to fulfil the comfort condition before committing to infinity. 

After a small loss, the trader moves on with the bulk of his or her funds. 

Traders needs to take a loss in stride. 

If not, future trades get affected. 

The advantage of committing funds for short periods, in trades, is that one can utilize the same funds many times over. 

The price for using short periods of time to one’s advantage, however, is tension. 

One is glued to the market, and is not really able to use the same time productively, elsewhere. 

Friendship with one aspect of time works adversely with regard to another aspect of time. 

The investor is not glued to market movements. He or she can utilize his or time for multiple purposes while being invested simultaneously and then forgetting temporarily about the long-term investment. 

It is easier to forget temporarily about an investment than it is to forget about a trade. 

Over the years, I have found it difficult to combine trading and long-term investing, specifically in the same market.

However, I do take occasional trades, apart from being invested for the long term. 

This works for me when the markets in question are different, as in Forex and Equity.