Who Breathes Easier – The Investor or the Trader?

Sure…

…asset-light…

…going with the flow…

…can strike both ways…

…care-free almost…

…that’s the image that lures one to the trading world.

Especially when the investor’s world has turned upside down, the investor starts wishing that he or she were a trader instead.

Stop.

Get your investing basics right. Your world will not turn upside down once you invest small quanta into quality coupled with margin of safety, again and again and again.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the trader’s world.

No baggage?

Sure baggage.

Emotional baggage for starters.

Cash baggage.

This one will always be there.

The trader will always have one eye on the cash component.

It needs to be safe.

It is a cause of…

…tension.

Reason is, the safest of havens for this cash component, i.e. sovereign debt, is volatile enough to disturb those who are averse to volatility when it comes to one’s cash component.

So, not asset-light.

Cash component is also an asset. It’s not light.

Sure, go with the flow. Strike both ways.

Can one say that this is a recipe for making higher returns?

NO.

Investors strike in one direction.

Investors are perennial bulls.

At least they know where they are going.

Small entry quanta make market falls work in favour of investors, over many, many entries into an underlying, over the long-term.

Do the math. You’ll see.

When one is focused on one direction, i.e. upwards here, chances of capitalising on runs are higher. The trader’s mind is always bi-polar in this regard, and game-changing runs are missed out on, upon corrections larger than the concerned stop-loss.

Care-free?

Who’s watching the screen all day?

The trader.

The investor watches the screen only upon requirement. There are investors who don’t watch the screen at all.

Images are deceptive.

Don’t go by images.

Whatever one chooses, it should ignite one’s passion.

Nothing else counts.

Let’s say you’re an investor, and you feel that you’re missing something by not trading.

Fine. Fill the gap. Sort out the basic folio, and then dabble in trading with small amounts, that don’t throw you out of whack. Do it for the thrill, if nothing else. As long as one is clear that this is not one’s A-game, and expectations are not as high as they are from one’s A-game, one might even enjoy the ride.

Let’s say you are a trader and need an avenue to park.

Yes, Equity is a serious avenue for parking.

Use it.

With one caveat.

This is not a trade.

Trading rules don’t apply to parking.

In fact, trading rules are inverse to investing rules.

You’ll need to figure this one out before moving your bulk into Equity for parking.

The investor is able to take trading with small amounts casually, and use it as an avenue for amusement.

When the trader explores the avenue of Equity for parking, its serious business, and spells doom for the trader if basics of investing are not understood.

So, who breathes easier?

One would know this by now.

Secret Ingredients in Times like Corona

Hi,

It’s been a while.

Unprecedented times call for every iota of resilience that’s inherent.

Whatever we’ve learnt in the markets is being tested to beyond all levels. 

If our learning is solid, we will emerge victorious.

If there are vital chinks in our armour, we will be broken. 

Such are the market forces that are prevailing. 

Have we learn’t to sit?

Meaning, over all these years, when over-valuation ruled the roost, did we sit?

Did we accumulate funds?

Did we create a sizeable liquid corpus?

If we did, we are kings in this scenario. 

One of the main characteristics of a small entry quantum strategy is that it renders us liquidity, almost through and through. 

If we are amply liquid in the times of mayhem, there is absent from our armour the debilitating chink of illiquidity.

Illiquidity at the wrong time makes one make drastic mistakes by succumbing to panic. 

We’re not succumbing to any panic. 

Why?

Because our minds are focused on the bargains available.

The bargains are so mouth-watering, that they are entirely taking away our focus from existing panic.

To twist our psychology into the correct trajectory in a time like Corona, the secret ingredient that’s required is called (ample) liquidity. This secret ingredient is a direct result of the small entry quantum strategy, which we follow. 

Then, let’s address the other potential chink, and just sheer do away with it. 

Having access to ample liquidity, are we now greedy?

What does greed mean?

It’s not greedy to buy when there’s blood on the street, no, it’s actually outright courageous. 

Greed Is defined here as per the quantum of buying. 

Are we buying disproportionately vis-à-vis our liquidity-size and our risk-profile?

Yes?

Greedy.

No?

Not greedy.

How will we know the answer without any doubt in our mind that we have the correct answer to this question, since it is vital to our learning curve to answer this question correctly?

The answer will make itself felt.

Are we able to sit optimally even if markets crash another double-digit percentage from here?

50% from here?

No? Greedy. We have bought in a manner that doesn’t gel with our risk-profile. Our liquidity is exhausting, and focus shifts from bargains to panic. Ensuing tension amidst further fall will very probably cause us to commit a grave blunder, with this happening very probably at the bottom of the market. We are poised to lose in the markets like this. 

Yes? Not greedy. We have bought and continue to buy as per our risk-profile. We will win…

…in the markets.

The secret ingredient that locks in great prices and continues to do so as the market keeps falling, is called quantum-control as per the tolerance level of our risk-profile towards further fall. This secret ingredient ensures that liquidity outlasts a longish fall, keeping our focus on the bargains and not on the panic. This secret ingredient provides for the basic mechanism of our small entry quantum strategy.

 

The One Big Thing That Sticks

We try many things…

…in the markets.

For many years do we labour. 

Strategies come, and they go. 

Some stick. 

After running through many, many plays, we find a handful sticking. 

We take them. 

Some still wither away. 

Others get bigger. 

Eventually, one is the biggest. 

Why?

You enjoy it.

You’re good at it.

It comes naturally. 

Others aren’t fun. 

You’re tense with others. 

This one, oh, this one’s another ball game. 

It just flows. 

And so do you. 

You start to scale it up, unknowingly, at first. 

Eventually, realization sinks in.

This one thing that’s sticking so well…

…yeah, this is your life’s work. 

It’s your one big thing. 

You’ve already scaled it up to a point of no return…

…and that’s ok…

…because you don’t want to turn back. 

You’re now going to toil to make your life’s big work reach its logical conclusion. 

That’s the least that it deserves, and you’re just going to enjoy the ride…

…apart from using its proceeds to see your lot and others soundly through life, and then some.

Sometimes, you don’t like it

Sure.

Like now.

Bloodbath in small-caps.

Alleged suicide.

NPAs.

Witch-hunt.

Did you choose Equity as an area of expertise?

Ok, then deal with it.

First up, India’s History is laden with scams.

We are where we are despite these.

Secondly, there’s growth. In other parts of the world, there is not much growth.

India is an emotionally volatile nation.

So are its markets.

Since this is where we act, let’s get used to things.

If you’ve been following the small entry quantum strategy, well, then you’ve got ammunition…

…at a time, when the value of this ammunition is immense…

…because lots of stuff has started to go for a song.

You do feel the pinch though…

… because whatever’s already in, is bleeding.

You don’t like it.

It’s normal.

Going in at a time like this, you will feel pathetic.

However, for your money, you are getting quality at cheap multiples. This will translate into immense long term wealth. Quality at cheap multiples multiplies fast.

Here are a few reasons you should feel ok about going in.

The small entry quantum strategy has rendered you liquid…

…after sorting out your basic family life, income-planning and what have you.

You are going in with money you don’t require for a longish time.

Muster up the courage.

Get over your pinch.

Engage.

Buy quality.

Debt-free-ness.

Shareholder-friendliness.

Generated free cashflow.

Transparency.

Diligent managements.

Product-profile that’s going to be around.

Less dependency on water.

Versatility.

Adaptibility.

Make your own list.

Use the stuff above.

Wishing you lucrative investing with no tears and with lots of smiles.

Control

Who’s in control?

You?

Market?

Does the market control you?

Do you control yourself?

How do you answer this?

Why are these questions relevant?

Control is pivotal. 

It sets the tone for market life, and its overhang affects normal life too. 

That’s why it is essential to have such control in one’s hands, and not hand it over to Mrs. Market. 

So, how does one answer this question?

What triggers you to open your terminal?

The market?

Or you yourself, at a time and place of your own choosing?

If your answer is the former, the market controls how you act.

However, if you decide when and where to let market forces into your life, and for how much time, well, then you’ve not handed over such control. 

Bravo!

How did you position yourself to achieve this?

Primary income not from the markets? 

Not.

Don’t listen to tips?

Don’t.

Have a set time for work?

True.

Have a set place for work?

Roger.

Have a set system that’s implemented?

Affirmative.

Watch market TV?

Nope. 

Read financial news online, or in print?

Only while researching a company.

Do your own solid research?

Do.

‘K, you’ve not handed over control all right.

Sure. Hand over control and the next thing you know it’s your life you’re handing over. 

Listening to Time

Market work…

…has some eccentricities.

One can’t work in the markets all the time.

That’s normal, right?

Well, yes and no. 

At a place of work, one should be able to work. 

Markets don’t always allow work.

So don’t other work places, sure. 

At other times, you don’t feel like doing market work. 

Aha. 

This happens multiple time a year. 

What do we do here?

We create an environment that incorporates this eventuality seamlessly. 

First up, why is this incorporation essential?

Let’s assume that we need to work in the markets all the time. 

When we don’t feel like, and we have to, well, then, we are likely to make mistakes. 

Read mistakes as losses. 

Mistakes in the market translate into losses. 

(Amongst other things), we are in the markets to …

… minimize losses. 

Therefore, when we don’t feel like doing market work …

… we just sheer don’t do it. 

So, back to square one, how do we incorporate this seamlessly?

By making market work our secondary source of income.

Our basic income needs to be sorted through our primary source. 

Now, we can shut off the markets at will without this affecting our basic income. Whether we can also emotionally detach is a discussion for another day. 

There are times when one just doesn’t feel like opening up the terminal. 

Listen to such times. 

Shut out the markets at will…

…only to open them up again when they’re a go for you.

We’re still at step 1, which you’ve just cleared for yourself. 

Now we try and gauge whether times are such that markets allow work.

Listen to such times. 

When you feel like working and markets allow you to work, go all out. Exhaust existing work potential. 

When you feel like working, and markets don’t allow work, do other stuff. Get your research ready. Become poised. 

Sooner than later, your action criteria will be met…

…and you will be able to act. 

It has to be a Dunk

When I shoot…

… it has to be a dunk.

If I’m not getting a dunk in…

… I’m not shooting.

What are the implications?

Imagine only taking market dunks for multiple decades in a row.

Where do you think that’s going to leave you?

Most of the time, though, one’s not shooting.

That’s because, most of the time, dunk trajectoires are not available.

When one is not shooting, does it become boring?

Only if you let it.

Yeah, just don’t let it.

No action is a good thing.

It saves resources.

Then, when opportunity is available, one might get twenty dunk days in a row.

Things can get so active, that one wants activity to normalize again, if not stop for a while.

Actually, not a challenge.

I’ll tell you what is a challenge…

… for me.

Dunk opportunity…

… and travel.

I don’t like this combination.

How do I deal with it?

First up, what don’t I like about it?

Distraction.

Not doing full justice to the trip.

Not doing full justice to the investing opportunity either, as in distracted due diligence.

Hmmm.

What do we do here?

Sure, you’ll argue, today one carries one’s terminal where one goes.

Does one also carry one’s zone, you know, the magical frame of mind, from within which one takes magic decisions?

Very probably not.

When one takes an investment decision, is it not better to be in this magical zone?

Therefore, unless the opportunity is just too pressing, such that it makes me open my terminal even during travel, …

…, yeah, my terminal mostly stays shut when I’m on the move, …

…, because then it’s time to do other things. Yayyyyy!

😀

What are your Millions Worth?

Sure, today they’re worth…

…millions.

Nobody’s taking that away from you.

However, tomorrow is a different story.

What will be the shape of your wealth in the far future?

In what form will it be stored?

Identify that now.

Why?

Because you can start pickling away in that form, little by little, right away.

Moving a chunk in one shot is tricky.

You don’t do it unless you’re absolutely sure.

You don’t bet the farm – on anything – period.

You need to move things quantum by quantum, over decades perhaps.

Final destination needs to tally with your risk-profile.

If it doesn’t, you’ll end up being jumpy and uncomfortable, and you’ll make a mistake.

When it’s about your life-savings, there’s no margin for error.

Why has one taken such a large chunk of time into the equation?

You see, when time is expanded long enough, difficult problems becomes easy to solve, because one ends up actually taking time (read pressure) out of the equation. Time is quasi infinite, so one doesn’t worry about it anymore. One has TIME to think things over and decide at leisure.

Also, over the course of a large chunk of time, you might realize that your risk-profile has changed, and that you are not comfortable with the final destination anymore.

That’s fine.

Change the final destination.

You define the rules, remember.

The bottom-line is that in whatever shape and form your wealth is stored in the end, that shape and form needs to address everything you wish that wealth to do and be.

There’s a lot of thinking that needs to go into this.

Do that thinking now.

It pays to be financially literate.

Nobody really teaches you financial literacy in school or college. Bookish knowledge is not financial literacy. Field knowledge is.

You’ve got two options.

Get financially literate on your own by playing the field, making mistakes, and learning, or…

…find someone who is already financially literate, and learn from him or her, from his or her mistakes.

Whatever you do…

…do it now…

…to ensure that your wealth not only remains intact…

…but also continues to grow.

Boiling Down to Unity

What is unity?

Oneness.

The thing everything has boiled down to.

That, which emerges after all the dust of everything has settled.

Yes, that.

Not the one as in being united, not that unity.

The one-resultant-vector unity.

The equation-being-solved-unanimously unity.

The one big solution for everything that’s bothering you – that unity.

Why are we talking about unity?

Because it is the answer.

What is the question?

Or, what are the questions?

“It’s the question that drives you, doesn’t it, Neo?”

There are many questions.

Each has different questions.

Each strives for a unique unity.

Each must find his or her unique point of peace.

Till then, mind will be restless, something will always be missing, and peace will be elusive.

Are we even talking about money?

You bet.

We strive in a million ways to garner money and make it grow.

We try different methods. Lots of strategies. People. Planning.

What is it boiling down to?

Have we recognised it?

In what form do we wish to see our money ultimately?

Do we have that kind of vision?

Are we standing on the mountain with that bird-eye view?

If yes, our strategies start culminating towards the final goal.

Why?

Because we know where we are going.

How did we know where we were going?

We asked the question.

Then we followed our mind. It led us to the answer.

Took some time, didn’t it?

At least we got there.

That’s huge.

Going for the Jugular

It’s time.

Why…is it time?

And, time for what?

It’s time to go for the jugular.

Meaning?

There comes a time, when, after working hard, struggling, doing the whole jig, the rigmarole, you achieve your basics. 

Well done. Pat on your back. 

Then you secure these basics. 

Forever. 

If you can. 

Wonderful. More pats.

Worry factor is now out of the equation. 

Your family is secure. 

Food, safety, education, all basics intact.

Fantastic. You deserve an award. Not that anyone’s going to give you one. Frankly, nobody could care less. Never mind. You know in your mind that you’ve achieved a milestone, and that’s enough for you. 

Whats the next step…

…for you?

Jugular. 

What is this jugular?

Multiplier.

X-factor.

Call it what you will.

What does this mysterious thing do?

Better question is, what is it capable of?

You’re looking to multiply your networth. 

Isn’t everyone?

This is different.

Why?

Because it is coming as a logical conclusion, and not as a first-step with no experience and no secure basics. 

You’re keeping your head-earned basics secure. 

Nothing is touching these. You’ll be surprised at the kind of courage secure basics give you to act further. 

Next, you’ve identified an area where your skill-set can be leveraged into huge profits with minimal risk. 

Specifically in the market, these areas are abundant. 

So what exactly will you be doing?

Playing on a minuscule portion of your net worth. Let’s say not more than 2 %.

Leverage.

Stoploss.

Profit-run.

Position-sizing. Scaling up upon profits. Scaling down upon losses. 

Overcoming your demons. 

Fear.

Worry.

Hypertension.

Exuberance.

Hubris.

Complaecency. 

Going beyond. 

Multiplying.

Going for the jugular. 

Does your Exit hurt you?

Good. 

Good? 

Yeah. Good. 

A proper exit – hurts. 

Huh? 

What about exiting on a high? 

Sure. 

Go ahead. 

Exit on your high.

Who’s stopping you? 

However… 

… who’s to say that the high won’t become higher? 

Exactly. 

No one knows. 

So, while the uncertainty about the high becoming higher is still out there – smarty – why are we going to not let it play out? 

Exactly. 

We are going to let it play out. 

Purpose? 

A new high might be posted. We then make more profit. 

Or, trade starts going against us, and we start to lose some of what we’ve gained. 

Hurt starts. 

When you can’t stand this hurt anymore – exit. 

That’s a proper exit. 

It’s leaving a bad taste in your mouth in the end. That’s when you know it’s a proper exit. 

You’ve stomped out the possibility of a new high. 

You’ve taken what the trade has to give. 

You’ve let the hurt set in. 

You’ve let the trade arrive at its logical conclusion. 

Now, you are exiting. 

Congratulations, you are exiting properly. 

Continue like this and you’ll become a great trader. 

What, have I let the cat out of the bag? 

Don’t worry, one can say it a million times and 99% of all traders will still continue to exit improperly. 

It’s human nature. 

Human nature works against the mindset of a winning trader.

Nath on Equity – make that a hundred

Long-term equity is 81). brought low.

The idea is to, if required, 82). sell it high.

Otherwise, 83). it is sold when you no longer believe in the stock concerned, for strong fundamental reasons. Or, it is sold when something more interesting comes along, and your magic number is capped. Then you sell the stock you’re least interested in and replace it with the new one.

84). Attitudes of managements can change with changing CEOs. Does a new management still hold your ideology-line?

Is the annual report flashy, wasteful, rhetorical and more of an eyewash? Or, 85). is it to the point with no BS? Same scrutiny is required for company website.

Your winners 86). try to entice you to sell them and book profits. Don’t sell them without an overwhelming reason.

Your mind will 87). try and play tricks on you to hold on to a now-turned-loser that is not giving you a single good reason to hold anymore.

If you’re not able to overcome your mind on 87)., 88). at least don’t average-down to add more of the loser to your folio.

89). High-rating bonds give negative returns in most countries, adjusted for inflation.

The same 90). goes for fixed deposits.

Take the parallel economy out of 91). real estate, and long-term returns are inferior to equity, adjusted for inflation.

92). Gold’s got storage and theft issues.

Apart from that, 93). it’s yielded 1% compounded since inception, adjusted for inflation.

Storage with equity is 94). electronic, time-tested-safe and hassle-free.

Equity’s something for you 95). with little paperwork, and, if you so wish it, no middlemen. In other words, there’s minimal nag-value.

Brokerage and taxes added together 96). make for a small and bearable procurement fees. Procurement is far more highly priced in other asset-classes.

One can delve into the nervous system of a publicly traded company. Equity is 97). transparent, with maximal company-data required to be online.

As a retail player in equity, 98). you are at a considerable advantage to institutions, who are not allowed to trade many, many stocks because of size discrepancies.

All you require to play equity is 99). an internet connection and a trinity account with a financial institution.

If you’re looking to create wealth, 100). there’s no avenue like long-term equity!

🙂

Nath on Equity – almost there

Market being down 61). should not pinch you. If such condition does pinch you, you might react accordingly, and do something painful. 

You make market-downs not pinch you by being 62). miniscually committed at any given time. 

Also, 63). you continue committing your miniscule quanta during market downs. 

That’s because 64). you’ve made sure you have lots more to commit, by defining such an approach for yourself. 

You are 65). happy that the market is down, because it is giving you an opportunity to enter. 

You 66). switch off market TV. You don’t wanna know from them, because they themselves don’t know what works for you. 

All 67). useless emails and smses are put on block. 

That’s because 68). information overload is your nemesis. 

You 69). learn from everything you experience. 

However, you 70). don’t follow any market-person. 

That’s because 71). you are unique. Only you can benefit yourself, ultimately. 

You are going to 72). teach yourself to become a strong hand

Thus, you will 73). not get affected by the behaviour of weak hands, ie. the masses.

Instead, you will teach yourself to 74). take advantage of the behaviour of weak hands. 

Market players 75). commit the same blunders again, and again and again. 

That’s because 76). every few years, a whole new batch of market players starts behaving unreasonably. 

This proves to us 77). that the only real learning comes first hand from market-play, to you and you alone, and only from your market-play.

This also pretty darn well insinuates that 78). theoretical learning from books or universities has zilch value in the markets.

You’re lucky 79). if the market knocks you around during your first seven years of market-play, when the kitty is small. 

That’s because 80). exactly that learning from 79). is going to earn you big as the kitty increases during your meat-years of market-play. 

Nath on Equity – Some more DooDats 

Yawn, the story goes on… 

Let’s 21). not think about our folio at night. 

We’re also 22). only going to connect to the market on a need-to basis, no more. 

If there’s a 23). doubt, wait. 

24). Clarify doubt. If it goes away, proceed with market action. If not, discard action. 

Don’t spread 25). too wide. 75+ stocks means you’re running a mutual fund. 

Don’t spread 26). too thin either. Just 5 stocks in the folio means that risk is not adequately spread out. Choose your magic number, one that you’re comfortable with. 

Once this number is crossed, 27). start discarding the worst performer upon every new addition. 

28). Rarely look at folio performance. Only do so to fine-tune folio. 

Don’t give 29). tips. Don’t ask for them either. 

You are you. 30). Don’t compare your folio to another. 

Due diligence will require 31). brass tacks. Don’t be afraid to plunge into annual reports and balance sheets. 

32). Read between the lines. 

Look 33). how much the promoters personally earn annually from the underlying . Some promoters take home an unjustified number. That’s precisely the underlying to avoid. Avoid a greedy promoter as if you were avoiding disease. 

Is 34). zero-debt really zero-debt?  Look closely. 

Are the 35). promoters shareholder-friendly? Do they regularly create value for the shareholder? 

Are 36). strong reserves present? 

Are the 37). promoters capable of eating up these instead of using them to create value? 

Is the 38). underlying liquid enough to function on a daily basis? Look at the basic ratios. 

Is any 39). wheeling-dealing going on with exceptional items and what have you? 

40). Is the company likely to be around in ten years time? 

Yeah, things in the equity world need to be thorough. 

We’re getting there. 

🙂 

Nath on Equity – Yardsticks, Measures and Rules

Peeps, these are my rules, measures and yardsticks. 

They might or might not work for you. 

If they do, it makes me happy, and please do feel free to use them. 

Ok, here goes. 

I like to do my homework well. 1). DUE DILIGENCE. 

I like to write out my rationale for entry. 2). DIARY entry.

I do not enter if I don’t see 3). VALUE.

I like to see 4). MOAT also. 

I don’t commit in one shot. 5). Staggered entry.

I can afford to 6). average down, because my fundamentals are clear. 

My 7). defined entry quantum unit per shot is minuscule compared to networth. 

I only enter 8). one underlying on a day, max. If a second underlying awaits entry, it will not be entered into on the same day something else has been purchased. 

I’ve left 9). reentry options open to unlimited. 

I enter for 10). ten years plus. 

Funds committed are classified as 11). lockable for ten years plus. 

For reentry, 12). stock must give me a reason to rebuy. 

If the reason is good enough, I don’t mind 13). averaging up. 

Exits are 14). overshadowed by lack of repurchase. 

I love 15). honest managements. 

I detest 16). debt. 

I like 17). free cashflow. 

My margin of safety 18). allows me to sit. 

I pray for 19). patience for a pick to turn into a multibagger.

I keep my long-term portfolio 20). well cordoned off from bias, discussion, opinion, or review by any other person. 

There’s more, but it’ll come another day. 

🙂

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! 

🙂 

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. 

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. 

What is an Antifragile approach to Equity?

Taleb’s term “antifragile” is here to stay.

If my understanding is correct, an asset class that shows more upside than downside upon the onset of shock in this age of shocks – is termed as antifragile.

So what’s going to happen to us Equity people?

Is Equity a fragile asset class?

Let’s turn above question upon its head.

What about our approach?

Yes, our approach can make Equity antifragile for us.

We don’t need to pack our bags and switch to another asset class.

We just approach Equity in an antifragile fashion. Period.

Well, aren’t we already? Margin of safety and all that.

Sure. We’ll just refine what we’ve already got, add a bit of stuff, and come out with the antifragile strategy.

So, quality.

Management.

Applicability to the times.

Scalability.

Value.

Fundamentals.

Blah blah blah.

You’ve done all your research.

You’ve found a plum stock.

You’re getting margin of safety.

Lovely.

What’s missing?

Entry.

Right.

You don’t enter with a bang.

You enter at various times, again and again, in small quanta.

What are these times?

You enter in the aftermath of shocks.

There will be many shocks.

This is the age of shocks.

You enter when the stock is at its antifragile-most. For that time period. It is showing maximal upside. Minimal downside. Fundamentals are plum. Shock’s beaten it down. You enter, slightly. Put yourself in a position to enter many, many times, over many years, upon shock after shock. This automatically means that entry quantum is small. This also means you’re doing an SIP where the S stands for your own system (with the I being for investment and the P for plan).

Now let’s fine-fine-tune.

Don’t put more than 0.5% of your networth into any one stock, ever. Adjust this figure for yourself. Then adjust entry quantum for yourself.

Don’t enter into more than 20-30 stocks. Again, adjust to comfort level.

Remain doable.

If you’re full up, and something comes along which you need to enter at all costs, discard a stock you’re liking the least.

Have your focus-diversified portfolio (FDP) going on the side, apart from Equity.

Congratulations, you just made Equity antifragile for yourself.

🙂

Focused Diversification : Mantra for all Times

I’m more into focus.

One can focus on one thing at a time.

Agreed.

What if after that one thing starts running, it doesn’t require any more focus?

Wow.

Then I focus on another thing.

Get it running.

Then another.

Till my focus window is full.

Let me tell you about my focus window.

I focus on cash, debt, equity, forex, gold, real-estate, arbitrage, and options.

With that, my professional focus in finance is full full full.

I get something running.

That’s it.

Then I don’t need to be with it. Mostly.

Let me run you through.

1). Cash – Bind it in a worry-free and accessible manner. Done.

2). Debt – Study the underlying very thoroughly. Reject 10 underlyings. Take up the 11th which passes all criteria. Be happy with a slightly better than FD-return. Done.

3). Equity – Invest for life. Study till you drop the stock or take it up. Only invest in what meets all criteria and offers margin of safety at time of investing. On top of that – SIP (systematic investment plan). Done.

4). Forex – Get a software robot to trade it for you. Or some human-capital. All available online. Requires a bit of fine-tuning. Keep tuning till you start making a return. Done.

5). Gold – Buy physical gold. Research your source. Needs to be impeccable. Bullion. Coins. SIP. Accessible. No jewellery. Done.

6). Real-estate – Make your real-estate yield you an income. Regular income? Done.

7). Arbitrage – Understand what this is, and why it gives you a tax benefit. Get an online MF account going with Kotak MF or DWS. Divert some funds into their arbitrage MF, either or. I prefer Kotak. Monthly dividend payout option. Done.

8). Options – Get the option-strategy going. You don’t require a desktop. Mobile is sufficient. All you now need to do is take care of square-off. On mobile. This means a slightly higher level of engagement than the above avenues. Only slightly. Are you ok with that? Fine. Done.

In a flow, it’s all doable.

And, you remain focused.

Why all this?

Times demand it. You never know what might come in handy, and when.

Yeah, times are tough.

However, you are tougher.

To use Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s terminology, you are antifragile.