When Push Comes to Shove 

Genetically… 

… we’re savers. 

Indians. 

Save. 

That’s a good thing. 

Since the ’00s though, our banks have started pushing loans as if there’s no tomorrow.

The motto seems to be : we don’t care who you are, just borrow. If we know who you are, here, borrow some more

That is dangerous policy. 

It sets the stage for a push comes to shove scenario. Savings are being lent further, and they might not come back. 

What counts when push comes to shove? 

Deposits in the bank? No. Gone. 

Real Estate? No. No buyers. No renters. Illiquid stuff just won’t move. 

Equities? No. Dumps. Good entry levels though. No resale value for a while. 

Bonds? Perhaps. Short duration ones, provided underlying doesn’t go under. 

Gold? Yes. Big. 

Trading? Yes. Options, forex, commodities, what have you. 

Cash? Yes. Provided there’s no hyperinflation. Use it for day to day life. Use surplus to acquire great bargains. 

Farmland? Yes. You’re then sorted as far as food and water are concerned. 

Use your imagination. 

Prepare for a push and shove scenario. 

It probably won’t happen. 

However, you’re prepared, just in case. 

The Department of no-frills 

Markets can be played in holes. 

No disrespect to the “hole”. 

Let’s put it this way. 

I trade the markets from a “bucket shop”. It’s actually a small brokerage. Parallels a bucket-shop, and all legit. 

There’s twenty odd people. 

Basic desktops. One gets to use them even with medium-sized accounts. A large account holder can walk into the manager’s office and get the manager to trade his or her strategy for him or her for the day. A three minute daily discussion is all it takes. This discussion can even happen on Whatsapp. 

If required, food comes from the street-vendors below, in newspapers and plastic cups. 

Welcome to the department of no-frills. 

No business-class travel or fancy-schmanzy wining-dining is required here. It’s sheer trading with no BS. 

Why? 

No overheads. 

No headaches. 

No constant terminal monitoring. Someone’s doing it for you.

Safety? Yes. Trust. Long-term relationship. Email and sms security measures. No nonsense. 

One doesn’t talk to the twenty odd people. 

One just trades. 

Trading for you isn’t really about building a consensus. You just trade. If then the market builds a consensus, that’s a different thing. You then trade the consensus. For or against is your call. 

This is as raw as it gets. 

You ask a question. 

You put your money where your mouth is. 

If your inquiry is in the correct direction, you get rewarded. If not, you lose a part of your money. 

Goes without saying, that overall, you try to win more than you lose. 

Department of no-frills cuts to the chase without useless paraphernalia. 

Making Friends with Poison

You’re thinking cruise control… 

… when life asks you to step in. 

What just happened? 

Is cruise control a myth? 

Life in the ’10s is about variables. 

Balance arrives, to become imbalance. 

Body-chemistry. 

Most of us are far away from equilibrium because of our inner and outer environments. 

We exist for the longest time in a poisonous state of pseudo-equilibrium.

It’s become a game of how well we cope with such state.  

What’s the fine line here? 

Shying away is not an option. 

To achieve, one delves deep into the world. 

One becomes habituated to body-chemistry being regularly out of whack. 

One makes friends with one’s poisonous state of non-equilibrium. 

One achieves. 

Simultaneously, one keeps killing accumulated toxins, or pumping them out. One doesn’t let them overflow. 

Exercise. Metabolizes toxins at a fast pace. 

Anti-oxidants. Straight-away attack and break-up cancer cells. 

Water. Dissolves water-soluble toxins and flushes them out. 

Smoothies. Micronutrients. 

Fruits. Micronutrients. 

Veggies. Micronutrients.

Sleep. Recuperation.

Meditation. Recuperation. 

Chanting. Recuperation. 

Family. Rejuvenation. 

Harmony. Rejuvenation. 

Recreation. Rejuvenation. 

Etcetera. 

Do what you’ve come to do. 

Make sure you do this stuff too. 

Cheers! 

🙂 

Monotony

Plan in motion? 

Let it play. 

Sure, monotonous. 

Monotony bores you, right? 

Boring monotony yielding acceptable results is a good outcome. Don’t spoil its party. 

Divert your attention. 

Try a stunt. 

Risk a little. 

Maybe one out of your ten stunts works out. 

Develop this one further. 

Still working. 

Scale it up slowly. 

Working. 

Auto-pilot. 

Monotony. 

Results still good. 

Stop looking. 

Let it play. 

Look elsewhere. 

Do something new with yourself. 

Soon, it’ll be time to go. 

Meanwhile, build a legacy to leave behind, in your memory, one that benefits many. 

Satisfaction

Satisfied?

No?

Why not?

Trading badly?

No.

Investing badly?

No.

Then what?

Can’t pinpoint.

I see. 

I’ll tell you what.

What?

I’ll tell you what I think it is.

How would you know?

It’s an educated guess. 

Ok, go ahead.

Are you doing what you’ve come to do?

Meaning?

You’re in finance, correct?

Correct.

Do you feel happy about being in finance?

Yes. 

In finance, how many things are you doing?

Many.

How many?

Nine. Maybe ten. 

What do you think is the reason for your dissatisfaction? It’s not results, you said. Look in the ten things. Is there one thing amongst them that you’ve come to do?

Yes. 

Are you doing enough of it?

No. 

Why not?

I’ve just started developing it. It’s risky. I’ve started slowly. 

When’re you going to scale up?

Over the next twenty years.

Huh?

Yeah, because sky’s the limit. I’m going to scale up very slowly, and always as a single digit percentage of my total networth.

So over the next ten years, will you have reached a substantial level.

Yes, of course. 

Do you think you’ll still be dissatisfied?

No. 

There you go. 

Market-maker

Manipulation. 

Recognition. 

Alignment. 

Trade. 

Spike. 

Out. 

How does one recognize manipulation? 

On the charts. 

After eyeballing many many charts, one gets a feel for it. 

Manipulated strike-points become pivot points. 

It’s a push from a fund-heavy conglomerate. Push becomes a cascade as traders join in. 

After the spike, the market-maker pulls out funds so cleverly that rates don’t fall. 

Funds are now ready for the next push. The same funds. 

Repeat. Same loop. 

Till strategy fails. 

Then, maker starts manipulating in opposite direction. 

Life’s busy for the maker. 

There’s trouble with the authorities. Ends on a compromise. Maker will step in when authorities need to prop the market. 

No maker – no market. 

Why do you think there’s always a quote to your underlying? 

Because of the maker. 

After a market has crossed critical mass, makers sit on their spikes. They roll-over on expiries, and enjoy the ride. 

Ride is not always smooth. 

Makers often get greedy and break their own rules. Functioning with no safeties, many makers get wiped out. To add to their woes, a large percentage functions on borrowed money. 

Makers have an electronic life, which loops from cellphone to terminal and back. It’s a life that’s punctuated by headaches, physical and mental. 

Don’t envy a maker. 

He or she is just doing his or her job. That’s all. 

Trade the maker. 

The Thing with Focus

Depth. 

Confidence. 

Proper entry. 

Decent exit, if required. 

Understanding. 

Lack of panic. 

Overall picture. 

These are some of the things that focus is capable of giving. 

Swagger? 

One-basket attitude. 

Over-depth. 

Narrow-mindedness. 

Loss of overall picture due to over-chewing one subject. 

Robotic mindset leading to freeze. 

Yeah, these too. Within the capabilities of focus. 

We want the former qualities. 

We’re discarding the latter ones. If they come knocking at our doorstep, we’re shooing them away. 

We spoke about diversified focus. 

Whatever we do in life, let’s do it well. 

We’ll have our many baskets. Why should we take the risk of having just one basket? 

And, into our many baskets, we’ll delve deep-deep-deep. 

Period. 

Sheer Moat Investing is not Antifragile 

There we go again. 

That word. 

It’s not going to leave us. 

Nicholas Nassim Taleb has coined together what is possibly the market-word of the century. 

Antifragile. 

We’re equity-people. 

We want to remain so. 

We don’t wish to desert equity just because it is a fragile asset-class by itself. 

No. 

We wish to make our equity-foray as antifragile as possible. 

First-up, we need to understand, that when panic sets in, everything falls. 

The fearful weak hand doesn’t differentiate between a gem and a donkey-stock. He or she just sells and sells alike. 

Second-up, we need to comprehend that this is the age of shocks. There will be shocks. Shock after shock after shock. Such are the times. Please acknowledge this, and digest it. 

To make our equity-play antifragile, we’ll need to incorporate solid strategies to account for above two facts. 

We love moats, right? 

No problem. 

We’ll keep our moats. 

Just wait for moat-stocks to show value. Then, we’ll pick them up. 

We go in during the aftermath of a shock. Otherwise, we don’t. 

We go in with small quanta. Time after time after time. 

Voila. 

We’re  already sufficiently antifragile. 

No magic. 

Just sheer common sense. 

We’re still buying quality stocks. 

We’re buying them when they’re not fragile, or lesser fragile. 

We’re going in each time with minute quanta such that the absence of these quanta (after they’ve gone in) doesn’t alter our financial lives. We’re saving the rest of our pickled corpus for the next shock, after which the gem-stock will be yet lesser fragile. 

Yes, we’re averaging down, only because we’re dealing with gems. We’ll never average down with donkey-stocks. We might trade these, averaging up. We won’t be investing in them. 

Thus, we asymptotically approach antifragility in a gem-stock. 

Over time, after many cycles, the antifragile bottom-level of the gem-stock should be moving significantly upwards. 

Gem-stock upon gem-stock upon gem-stock. 

We’re done already. 

The Thing with Sugar and Dairy

It’s common knowledge now. 

Cancer cells love sugar and dairy. 

In fact, they love them so much, that they grow ten (?) times faster in their presence. 

Just act as if the question mark isn’t there. 

I’ve put it there because I’m not sure whether the number should be eleven, or nine, or what have you. 

However, the numbers are deadly. 

Shocker, right?

Spent my childhood gobbling sugar and gulping dairy. Didn’t know any better. 

Now, only dairy going in (hopefully) is the good dairy. Yoghurt. 

Only sugar in diet is the good sugar. Honey. 

At least, that’s the goal. 

What makes these two “good”?

There’s something bio in them. 

Yoghurt’s got bacteria. They’re the good bacteria. They cleanse one’s system. Cancer cells don’t like them, because probiotic bacteria probably break them down. 

Honey’s got the saliva of bees, containing vital enzymes. These catalyse various biochemical and metabolic processes. Cancer cells don’t like them either. They like the sweetness of honey, but not these enzymes. So, honey’s a tad less dangerous.

The bio-portion saves the day. It’s for a good cause. It’s purpose is friendly, and positive. 

Cut to equity. 

Where does one look for terminal disease?

In balance-sheets and annual reports. 

Debt. 

Promoter ego.

Fraud. Scam. Manipulation. 

Creative accounting.

These are some of the things that can cause terminal disease. 

All of them might exist, at some level, in any given balance-sheet and / or annual report. 

What we need to gauge in our minds are the levels. 

Is any level alarming enough to cause terminal disease, or for that matter just disease?

Bearable debt leading to growth is even a good thing. It’s like a tonic. Unbearable debt leads to terminal disease. We need to stay away from a stock with unbearable debt on its balance-sheet.

Nothing functions without ego. I am. Therefore I do. However, an overbearing and overambitious ego leads to disastrous decisions that can cause terminal disease. We need to stay away from companies whose promoters have overbearing, self-promoting and overambitious egos. Such promoters don’t even realize when they’re functioning in self-destruct mode. Am not going to take any names here, but you get the gist. 

Frauds, scams and manipulations come under the category of “sheer disease that’s already terminal or just one step away from going terminal”. Upon finding them, needless to say, avoid the stock.  

Accounting. Sure, everyone’s busy getting creative here. We need to separate positive accounting from its negative counterpart. 

Accounting that leads to fund-availability at the time of need and results in value-creation for the shareholder is to be welcomed. This kind of accounting does not cause terminal disease. It creates a detour that strengthens the company overall in the long run. 

Such accounting whose sole purpose is to deceive the shareholder and benefit the promoter is a very big red flag. This kind of accounting leads to terminal disease.

While zeroing in on a quality stock, you’re simultaneously ensuring longevity-enhancing conditions. 

In the process, you’re automatically ensuring that your portfolio accumulates one gem after another. 

Wishing for you happy and successful investing. 

🙂

Looking for a Deal-Breaker

I look. 

Don’t find it. 

Look again. 

And again. 

Keep looking. 

Tired. 

Eyes ache. 

Sleepy. 

Stop. 

Resume next morning. 

Still nothing. 

So on and so forth. 

Few days. 

Absolutely nothing. 

Buy the stock.

Yes. 

That’s the chronology. 

After zeroing in on a stock…

…that’s the chronology. 

Am I happy the search was unsuccessful?

You bet!

Am I spent?

Yawn…yes. 

Was it worth it?

Of course. I now own a quality stock. 

What’s happened before?

Stockscreener. 

Stock pops up. One that appeals to me. 

Check it for value. 

Pass.

Check it for moat.

Pass. 

Look for deal-breaker. 

Yeah, final step. 

Takes the longest. 

It’s boiled down to a yes or no. 

One’s going to holding the stock for a long, long time. 

This is when one is asking every cell in one’s body. 

Yes or no?

No deal-breaker?

Fine. 

Going for it. 

It’s a yes. 

What to do with constant hunger? 

Hmmm… 

Is it a healthy state of being? 

No. 

What does it do for you? 

Gets you right up there. 

What’s the problem? 

You’re still hungry. 

Never satisfied. 

After three victories in a day, a miniscule here or there in a market-situation gets you down. 

Deplorable? 

Yes and no. 

You’re at peak-performance. 

That’s the good thing about constant hunger. 

However, you’re not happy. Yeah, still not happy. You want more, and more, and more. You don’t know where to stop. You’ve forgotten about happiness. 

Don’t get me wrong. 

Keep your hunger. 

Strive. 

Harder, higher. 

Then, celebrate a victory. 

Be in that space for a while. 

Forget about tomorrow for a while. 

Be happy for a while. 

Next time, be happy for a while longer. 

And even longer. 

Till it becomes a habit. 

It’s been twelve years in the marketplace. I have to keep reminding myself of this chronology every day.

The most basic things in life are also the most difficult to win back. 

We were born in a state of bliss. We were oblivious to almost everything. We were happy. We need to win that happiness back. 

There will always be a new target. 

The one just achieved deserves a happy adieu. 

🙂 

What’s the Advantage of “Out of Sight”?

Trigger-fingers?

We are.

At some stage or the other, in our market-life. 

Is it good?

No. 

Why?

When we are in this mode, we shoot. 

We don’t look too much. 

We just shoot.

Why?

Either we don’t know any better. 

Or, we’re not able to control the impulse. 

We want to do something. 

We want action. 

If we’re not getting it, we forcefully create it. 

Is this wrong?

You bet. 

How do we rectify it?

Simple. 

Huh?

Yeah, just use the “out of sight” principle. 

Pray what’s that?

Well, if funds hit your bank account, pick up your smart-device and transfer them online to your liquid fund account. 

Advantage?

Funds are not present in your feeder account. 

Try firing now.

Nothing happens. 

No funds. 

However, the funds are not far away. In fact they are just a few button-clicks away. 

These few button-clicks are activation-barrier enough. 

They make you stop and think. 

You do your proper due diligence before moving them out of your liquid mutual fund account back to your feeder account. 

You use them for proper investing opportunities. 

You’re not trigger-happy anymore. 

All it took was a simple trick. 

Use it. 

There’s no law against liquid mutual fund accounts. Probably never will be.

Those five or six button-clicks have converted you from trigger-fingers to duly diligent!

🙂