Is Cost-Free-Ness the Holy Grail?

There is…

…a Holy Grail…

…mentioned in the Holy Bible. 

Also, …

… human capital

… pursues excellence.

I…

… am no exception.

Having stumbled upon…

…cost-free-ness…

…after many knocks in all possible markets, …

… and having developed the concept a tad, …

… I do say to you this.

I say to you, …

… , that cost-free-ness…

… is no holy grail. 

In its pursuit, money does get stuck. And, …

… upon its generation, money does flow, at times, into expensive, “uncatchable” material.

These are the two main mentionable “nuances” associated with the pursuit of cost-free-ness, that one needs to be aware of. 

Money getting stuck? Hmmmm.

If we’re afraid of money getting stuck, we should exit from the market. Any market. Period. 

Don’t be in the game if you can’t take the heat. 

It’s ok. 

Play another game, where you can. 

Perfectly fine.

Now let’s tackle the other one. 

Purists are jumping, I know. 

I can hear them yelling “EXPENSIVE!”

Sure.

Extremely high quality…

…will be expensive. 

One legitimate entry opportunity every ten years can be possible in such underlyings.

When it comes, and if one is having a bad hair week, one can even miss the window.

When it comes, we’ll enter big.

That’s a larger game, non-cost-free initially, and we’ve played it well in March 2020, entering non-cost-free, entering big (because of the available margin of safety), and generating vast amounts of cost-free-ness within a few months, to then ultimately be sitting on large, extremely high-quality & completely cost-free portfolios, perhaps for life.

However, such timelines are anomalies. We’ll pounce upon such chronologies when they happen. Meanwhile, …

…our bread and butter is to generate small amounts of cost-free-ness on a regular basis, day-in-day-out, all year round, …

… and it’s ok to enter extremely high quality with one’s freshly generated small amounts of cost-free-ness, right here right now, at the expensive price. 

Why?

Firstly, it’s not costing you. 

Secondly, when we deploy cost-free-ness into extremely high quality in a long-term-growth-promising market like India’s, it’s probably for life. 

Seen from a perspective of a decade or two, or perhaps three, the currently expensive cost-free entry is legitimate. 

Please do the 10, 20 or 30 year math for India, and you should come to the same conclusion.

Why do we wish to deploy immediately?

Out of sight, out of mind. 

Money has idiosyncrasies. 

The biggest one is that it is spent, in the blink of an eye. 

Better, deploy it, specifically also because your mathematics is okaying a legit entry for the extremely long-term.

And, pray, have you wondered why you will be able to sit on your investment for so long?

Primarily because your entry is cost-free. 

There is no other singular, more overwhelming reason. 

Cost-free-ness overwhelms the mind into sitting on extremely long holds. Try it out for yourself.

That takes care of the second point, …

… and I say to you this, that…

… cost-free-ness, …

… though not the holy grail, …

… could well be the next best market concept available to mankind, for long-term success in the markets.

Wishing you lucrative & highly successful cost-free investing!

🙂

Is it just me?

Is it just me or does anybody
feel the way that I feel?
they’re just not being real
tell me, is it just me or is anybody
thinking all the same shit?
they’re just not saying it
or is it just me?
– Sasha Sloan (also quoted below)

Waiting for…

…the rock to fall…

…is tiring.

One moves beyond.

Things happening around…

…are enough

…to make one…

…throw up.

Is it just me…

…who’s becoming numb…

…to the apathy…

…prevailing?

Does such apathy…

…deserve investment adulation?

Are we…

…even worth it?

Do those coming in…

…with funds…

…feel the way…

…that I feel…

…and are not saying it…

…because they are…

…making money?

Tell me…

…you don’t know…

…that markets can stay over-inflated…

…long enough to bankrupt nay-sayers.

Am I…

…just high…

…or am I…

…kinda right…

…?

Is it…

…just me?

Are you Positioned?

What’s our biggest enemy in the markets?

This one’s invariably…

…our Self.

Cut to ’07.

Fancy hotel banquet room, snacks and drinks, chief investment officer of JP Morgan is talking…

…and we’re listening.

My friend and I…

…sitting on profits…

…feeling smug about ourselves…

…young guns…

…ready to conquer the world…

…nothing can stop us now.

Or can it?

“There will always be a correction…”. These words catch my ear.

I raise my hand.

“Yes? The gentleman with the lime-green tie has a question?”

I stand up, and before I know it, I ask the deadly question.

“Don’t you think there’s been a paradigm-shift with regard to India, and that India has decoupled from the rest of the world?”

“How old are you, Sir?”

“37”.

This was ’07, remember?

“I’m going to excuse your question, because you’re young, and have probably experienced the markets for…?”

“3 years”.

“Exactly. That’s why I’ll only answer your question with a smile.”

How controlled.

“You see, globalization is a reality, and decoupling is a myth”.

Myth, really?

“It’s fancy phrases like “paradigm-shift” that catch the inexperienced investor’s imagination, leading to huge market mistakes”.

In these few sentences, my entire comprehension of markets was blown up and thrown out the window.

And that would have been a good thing…

…had I listened.

Such is the arrogance of “youth”, that “youth” doesn’t listen.

Soon, the ’08 crash happened.

I lost big time.

Was humbled.

Took me a long time to get back and stabilize.

I remember my stomach churning and my unwillingness to meet people as markets crashed to lower and lower levels.

I almost couldn’t take it.

We are our worst enemies.

What’s it going to be this market high?

We’ve learnt, and are positioned.

However, there will be newbies (like we were) who are going to go through this chain of events.

What buzz-words or phrases will catch their imagination?

BitCoin?

Liquidity?

Vaccine?

Quantitative Easing?

FIIs?

Pending rally in small-caps?

There’s a new cocktail doing the rounds this time around.

This cocktail will ensnare.

Even the topmost analysts are beginning to feel that a correction could take some time coming.

Some weeks ago, most felt that a correction could happen anytime now.

Player psychology is set for the cocktail to do its work.

Then one needs a pinprick.

In ’08 this was perhaps Lehman on the world scale and the Reliance Power IPO in India.

What’s it going to be this time?

It doesn’t matter.

Remember? There will always be a correction.

Are you positioned?

Positioned

By now…

…, we are positioned.

The persistence of high price-levels…

…has led us to take appropriate action.

One after another, we are washing our market mistakes clean.

What remains, is cost-free-ness, in high-quality holdings.

We’ve then also helped our relatives and friends attain the same state of market-being.

MFs?

Now cost-free

ULIPs?

Gotten them to money-market.

Debt market holdings?

No more debt market for a while.

Bond-yields are rising.

There’ve been blow-ups. Boys @ FT and Nippon take a bow.

Parking where?

Fixed deposits.

Why?

Not in it for returns.

Just to park, safely.

We’re sticklers for parking safely.

Loss of interest will be made up within days of opportunity, into which funds then flow, and then some.

One can now say…

,…safely…

,…that we’re positioned.

What happens from this point onwards?

How many days has the main sensory index spent at PEs of 35+ within the last 5000 days?

Yeah, right?

Small-cap rally still due?

That’s what everyone feels, right?

That’s the point.

Leave the masses hanging onto something they’re expecting.

If it doesn’t happen, they’re what?

Left hanging. Devil takes the hind-most.

Please do your math, and please position yourself too, appropriately.

What if markets go on rising?

Sure, that’s a possibility, perhaps for a while.

Simple rule.

No level, no entry.

We know how to sit.

On our holdings, and then…

…on our cost-free-ness.

Now, capital will only move…

…upon opportunity.

And the pipe-line’s ample, our positioning has seen to that.

Come something like March ’20, and we’ll blast the flow of our pipeline.

Oh, another thing.

Notice the speed of moves, nowadays?

It’s fast, isn’t it?

As in markets are efficient, till they’re not, and then they’re efficient again, and then they’re not, back and forth, to and fro, all very fast.

Meaning what?

Meaning, that there will be ample opportunities, more sooner than later, and that till there are inefficiencies on the down-side,…

…we sit tight…

…to maximize the impact of our positioning.

Supremacy of Cost-Free-Ness makes itself felt in Equity alone

The impact of cost-free-ness stretches across all asset-classes…

… that are long-term-holdable.

Equity, Gold, Real-Estate, etc., …

… with perhaps bonds being a question mark with regard to applicability.

Why is cost-free-ness not that valid a concept for short-term-holds?

That’s because multibagger appreciation of a short-term-hold is not realistically expectable.

Then, with gold and real-estate, there are certain nuances, which need to be mentioned.

Gold doesn’t adjust itself for inflation. The 100-year appreciation in Gold is 1% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation. We can make some Gold cost-free, and then hold the cost-free Gold for the long-term. However, to expect it to burgeon into a multibagger is too much. There’s no human capital behind Gold, no intelligently thinking minds. Also, Gold is commodity-cyclic in nature. Forget about all these technical arguments. Sheer 100-year History has taught us not to think in multibagger terms with regard to Gold. Let’s say we held it for the touted 100 years. Well, then, 1 x 1.01 ^ 100 = 2.70. We’re then holding a 2.7 bagger after 100 years. Safety risk too. Naehhh, not interested.

What’s the deal with real-estate? No human capital behind it, again. Thus, the asset-class doesn’t auto-adjust for inflation. Also, we’re not taking any cash-component into consideration. What does that make real-estate behave like, in the long-term, in a regime like now? Perhaps like a glorified fixed-deposit. Or, even, perhaps, like a high single-digit yielding bond. Now minus inflation. Hmmm, after the math, real-estate becomes an asset-class that yields 2-3% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation, let’s say 2.5%. Minus the half percent for its management (which is a hassle, btw). Well, then, 1 x 1.02 ^ 100 = 7.24. We’re left holding a 7-bagger after 100 years. With hassle in the equation, 100 years is too much effort for a 7-bagger. Not interested either.

Now let’s look at Equity. Human capital is behind it. Equity is hassle-free with regard to its management. Equity auto-adjusts for inflation. All Equity that ever existed, including companies that have gone bust, has shown a return of 6% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation. Taking companies out that don’t exist anymore, Equity has given a return of 11% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation, over the long-term. Intelligently chosen Equity, with proper due diligence, is extremely capable of giving a return in the range of 15% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation, in the long-term. Let’s do the numbers. 1 x 1.06 ^ 100 = 339.30; 1 x 1.11 ^ 100 = 34,064.28; 1 x 1.15 ^ 100 = 11,74,313.45.

These numbers don’t need crunching.

It’s pretty clear, that the supremacy of cost-free-ness makes itself felt in long-term held, cost-free Equity.

I wish for you happy, long-term cost-free-ness!

🙂

Washing a Stock “Sin-Free” with Cost-Free-Ness

Each stock has sins on the balance-sheet.

Many sins don’t show up even, on the balance-sheet.

You see, they’ve been swiped under the rug.

One’ll never know the whole story, unless one is the promoter oneself.

Some stocks have nothing noteworthy to hide, though.

Others have a side they don’t want you to see.

Still others are brimming with skeletons in their cupboard.

It doesn’t matter what you’re holding, …

… when you make the stock cost-free, …

… for you, the stock just became sin-free.

Congratulations.

You’re done already.

That’s the beauty of cost-free-ness.

Yeah, in cost-free-ness, …

… one has a universal balsam…

…that rinses the underlying completely clean to hold, like, forever.

Cost-free-ness is like a magic potion that turns around the whole story, …

… any story.

So, …

… what’s the motivation…

—in making the wholesome effort…

…of creating cost-free-ness?

Multibaggers, developing within our high quality, and now cost-free, holdings.

And how could one classify our feat of cost-free-ness, in another, very meaningful and currently “hot, happening and insider” way?

Nothing’s happening to one if markets go down even to zero, as far as one’s cost-free holding is concerned, since one has pulled out all the principal. Since one is not incurring any loss whatsoever from the holding, even upon market-reversal, for one, this cost-free holding, if I’ve understood Mr. Taleb (coiner and first-user of the phrase “antifragile”) correctly, is antifragile in nature, also then because, price contraction in the cost-free holding is a good thing for us, in that more purchase of the high-quality holding can subsequently happen, with the goal of making more and more holding cost-free, as markets swing back upwards. Market reversal after cost-free-ness is setting us up for a larger cost-free holding in the future. Seen from our initial sweet-spot of cost-free-ness, since market reversal betters our poise and increases our potential to make our cost-free holding grow in units (and size), that would be the last tick mark, required and now ticked, which makes our cost-free and high-quality holding, also, antifragile.

Being Cost-Free is like having 100% Margin-of-Safety

What allows us to sit?

It’s margin-of-safety.

When we buy without margin-of-safety, we are not able to sit for the long term.

Long-term investing fails for us if we don’t know how to sit.

Extrapolating this logic further, what would allow us to sit on high-quality holdings, like, forever, allowing for multibaggers to develop in our portfolio?

It’s cost-free-ness.

Being cost-free in a stock is equivalent to having 100% margin-of-safety on the holding.

Such a state of being allows us to freely sit on the holding, like, forever.

A range of other benefits open up for us, and about these we have spoken in detail earlier.

For example, we become fearless with regard to our cost-free holding. Then, we experience full freedom of focus on future play, while simultaneously forgetting that we even have this other cost-free holding that we own! Like I said, we’ve discussed all this thoroughly in previous pieces.

Bottom-line is, that we understand explicitly following extrapolation : Buying with margin-of-safety translates into sitting-ability for us, leading to creation of cost-free-ness upon appropriate appreciation, and such cost-free-ness in turn equates to 100% margin of safety in the held underlying, which then allows us to sit indefinitely on our high quality holding.

We’ve thus set the stage for holding many multibaggers in our ‘folio, by the time we reach retirement age.

🙂

However, Cost-Free-Ness does afford us full Freedom of Focus

Markets crashing?

Is one cost-free?

Yes?

No worries.

Markets can crash.

Technically speaking, one’s money is not on the line anymore.

This makes crashing markets a good thing for one.

Why?

Because of the lucrative entries coming up ahead, that’s why.

Is one able to focus?

You bet.

Somehow, magically, one’s focus is not on one’s existing Equity in the markets. Anymore.

Why?

Because it’s cost-free.

Earlier, falling markets would hamper full focus, which was supposed to be on fresh and lucrative entries coming one’s way.

With great difficulty, and lots of practice, one did manage to shift one’s gaze though, in the end.

Now, with complete cost-free-ness in the picture, focus is a breeze.

Yeah, one is fully focused on entry levels that might crop up in the stocks one is looking to enter into.

Without appropriate entry levels, one’s funds aren’t going to move. Period.

For that, one needs focus.

And it’s there.

Cost-Free-Ness completely does away with Fear

When nothing from your end is invested, but you still have a holding in the markets,…

…you have created for yourself the state of cost-free-ness.

Cost-free-ness carries with itself a feeling of intense satisfaction…

…because of the sheer magnitude of the feat.

Well, congratulations.

With cost-free-ness comes absence of fear with regard to one’s cost-free holding.

When it’s not costing us, we’re not bothered.

Markets can go anywhere.

They can come down to zero, for all we care.

Fine.

Still unshaken?

Yes.

Why?

If markets comes down to zero, we can look to enter en-masse.

We’ve got principal, remember? Took it out, to create cost-free-ness, tu te souviens?

When markets come down to zero, owing to absence of fear, …

… our focus is not on our (cost-free) holding.

Instead, our focus is on the lucrative entries coming our way.

After markets come down to zero, if they do, they’ll soon reverse.

Then, our new entries will start becoming cost-free, as prices climb.

Soon, we’ll pull principal out again, and will have have new cost-free holdings, which we can transfer to our consolidated cost-free holding account.

Fear is nowhere in the equation.

How Big is your Win?

Assuming you cruise…

…cost-free in the markets now…,

…how big exactly is your win?

Have you stopped to ponder over this fundamental point.

Let’s go over it together.

The question you need to be asking is, …

… “What will happen to my cost-free-ness from this point onwards?”

Well, what’s going to happen solely depends upon your behaviour.

We’ll just study a best-case scenario.

Let’s assume you leave your hard-earned cost-free-ness be, in the markets, for the next 25 years.

What would become of it?

First-up, let’s understand the very nature of your cost-free-ness.

It’s high-quality.

It urges you to hold onto itself, forever.

The fact that you can’t let go of it despite such highs speaks of it as being the essence of your struggle, in terms of quality, if you know what I mean.

High quality material would typically compound at 15% per annum, over the long run, adjusted for inflation.

The figure of 15% per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation, is very achievable for your high-quality material – let’s put it like that – in a market like India’s.

Let’s do the math.

1 * (1.15) ^ 25 = 32.91

There you have it.

Your cost-free portfolio is slated to increase almost 33-fold in the 25 years to come.

That’s 3300% in 25 years when seen as pure appreciation, making 132% per year simple appreciation (not compounded).

That’s how big your win is.

Yes, staying invested with your cost-free-ness will make your cost-free-ness typically burgeon almost 33-fold over the next 25 years.

Go figure.

🙂

Bookability

Booking?

Understandable. 

Don’t book your basics though.

What are these basics?

Stuff you’re convinced about.

We’re long beyond due diligence here.

These underlyings are running. These are your right calls. 

They are not to be booked – as long as your conviction persists.

Any price?

Hmmm – this question brings in the concept of “Bookability”.

Save the booking angle here – for now. 

We’ll just try and answer above question about price. 

Sell everything else, as in any low-conviction holdings,…

…bit by bit,…

as markets tread higher and higher. 

Ultimately, it’ll all be gone. 

You’ll have done very well, and will have made good profits. 

You’re also left with your high-conviction holdings. 

As a bull market persists, these will start quoting at…

…ridiculous prices.

Is something a hold at…

…any price?

If you wish to be holding a multi-multi-bagger, well, then, yes, with a caveat.

When you can’t hold your trigger-fingers any longer, take your principal off the table. 

There.

Happy?

Now, what’s on the table for you, are high-conviction holdings, with principal off the table – aha – so these holding are free of cost for you.

When these high-conviction holdings are free of cost for you, the urge to sell can only persist because of two things. 

You could need the money. 

Fine.

Or,…

…because of an unfounded urge to book, as in “Score!”… .

Not fine. 

Tell your urge to sell that you want to make much, much more, by allowing an underlying to grow to 100x, for example. 

Urge to sell will subside.

What’s causing such urge?

Fear of a correction. 

When you’re holding free stuff, fear of a correction is unfounded. 

This needs to be instilled into our DNA.

With that, we’re done already!

Dynamics of a Right Call

India is in a long-term bull market.

Sure, there will be corrections.

We can easily have a big-time correction, but still be in the long-term bull market.

Putting things in a twenty year perspective, 2008 hasn’t done away with direction.

Sure, ideally one needed to be equity – light by Jan 14, 2008, which most of us weren’t.

Question is, will be be relatively equity-lighter on Jan 14, 2021?

Yeah, I will be.

Lighter.

That’s about it.

Won’t be selling a single share of my core-portfolio.

However, hopefully, will have sold everything else before an interim market peak.

You see, for every right call, we make umpteen wrong calls.

These are the ones that we discard on interim market highs.

We don’t discard core-portfolio inhabitants.

These we allow to compound into multi-baggers.

It’s OK to make wrong calls.

Without these, we won’t get to make the right ones.

We won’t make the next mistakes though.

We won’t discard wrong calls without it being an interim market high.

Also, we won’t discard a right call as long as we keep feeling it’s a right call.

The best calls remain right…

… like…

… almost forever.

We’re talking Buffet and Coke.

Or, for example, RJ and Titan.

List goes on.

Point is, when we’ve made the right call, we need to follow up with right actions that allow maximum mileage.

Allowance for compounding.

Increase of position upon interim lows.

Patience.

No trigger-fingers.

You get the drift.

Over time, then, we are left with right calls which have developed into multi-baggers. Wrong calls have been discarded over many interim cycles.

The multi-baggers in our folio are, at this time, generating enough dividend to sustain us.

This is where we want to be.

It’s OK to dream.

Without the right dreams, we won’t arrive at the sweet-spot mentioned above.

Happy long-term investing! 🙂

Walking the Walk

Hey,

… just made a decision…

… and am going to share it with you. 🙂

From this point onwards,…

…, I’ll exclusively be working with underlyings,…

…, with whom I’m walking the walk with.

So, what does that mean?

As per my understanding, there are two ways of getting to know an underlying, for example a stock.

We can see what it’s done,…

…, landmarks that have been established,…

…, track record,…

…, lineage,…

… etc.

Sure, we can take in the fundamentals ad-nauseam, and that’s absolutely fine.

No one’s investing without appropriate fundamentals in place.

That’s not it all, though.

Will be walking with the stock too.

Where does it go?

What does it do there?

How does it behave?

Is the behaviour off?

We want to know.

And we’ll know…

… by getting a feel for the stock’s movement.

Why all this?

What are we doing with such stocks?

Investing in them, yes.

However, stocks aren’t always in an investing zone.

Then we’ll generate income from the same stocks.

Why from this category?

Why not choose specific trading stocks to trade?

That’s because they’ll contaminate investment mindset.

Trading investment grade stocks that make one’s cut, when these stocks are in a trading zone, is a pursuit with multi-faceted advantages.

Income generation.

Pinpointed stock-specific knowledge, which gets deeper and deeper.

Insurance when stuck. You’re a holder, so do the math.

Huge time-saving in the long run, as patterns become clear.

Minimal tension.

If we wish to mimimize tension further, we can take time out of the equation (meaning, we won’t do derivatives in this case).

We won’t be Johny-on-the-spot with this strategy, probably.

We’ll make money, though.

There’ll be peace of mind.

Enjoyment.

Over time, this strategy can go to the max. Meaning, we’ll outdo all Johnies from their spots with regard to income and wealth generation.

Why?

We’re walking the walk, remember ?

Over time, we’ll become masters of our territory.

We don’t want more.

We’re done already.

Giving In

I’ve been guilty of giving in…

…to the urge to sell.

However, having kept basic tenets alive, vital underlyings are still a hold…

…for me…

…for as long as they remain vital.

Have been getting rid of stuff I don’t want.

Restructuring / reorganizing.

Consolidating.

These are the activities of choice, when markets are on a roll.

Sure, one’s been buying too, but not in the investing account.

Trading accounts are very active.

These are trading prices.

What’s the definition of a (successful) trade?

Buy high, and sell higher. Or, sell low, and buy back lower.

As opposed to an investment, where one buys low, to sell higher, later.

Are these low prices?

No.

How long has the index remained, percentage-wise, in its History, at 30+ PEs?

Very low single (%age) digits, of the time under consideration.

Thus, times will change.

Nobody knows when.

However, who cares?

Let it roll.

We’ll just go on consolidating, till we can’t consolidate anymore.

That’s the sweet spot we want to be in, before conditions change, where one can’t consolidate anymore.

And, we’ll just sheer go on trading.

That’s what we do with trading prices.

Gauging the Crowd

What was it about winning?

Someone did observe, that 12% of market players win in Equity markets.

In Forex, the number is much lower, something like 5%, I believe. 

If these numbers are to be believed, what’s the obvious takeaway for us?

Behaving like the crowd will not make us…

…win.

Or, in other words, to win, we need to behave in a manner which is not exhibited by the crowd. 

This makes us gauge crowd behaviour…

…almost all the time. 

For example, what does everyone want to do just now?

What did everyone want to do in March?

Did we do the opposite?

If so, we are winning now.

It’s not that one can switch one’s buttons just like that.

It takes experience, solid research, conviction and will-power to go against normal market behaviour.

It doesn’t just come. 

One works towards it, and the only learning comes from mistakes made with one’s money on the line.

That’s the price of tuition in the markets. Unfortunately, books probably won’t teach you this one.

Those who don’t pay this tution-price early, when their ticket-size is still small, well, they can eventually end up doing so later, at a much larger ticket-size.

Just make your mistakes, as many as you can, as early as possible. 

Don’t repeat a mistake.

Great. You’re done already!

How does one gauge the crowd?

Let’s listen in. What are people saying? How many tips are circulating? What’s the quality of these tips? What’s the level of enthusiasm? Is the doorman talking stocks? Folks going all-in at the top?

Or, does no one want to have to do anything with the market? Are you getting calls asking whether one should stop one’s SIP? Is your close relative aghast that you have your money in stocks? Is he or she alerting you to the possibility of an absurd-looking bottom?

The human being is an emotional entity. Blessed be us Indians, we take the cake in being emotional. Not for nothing are our markets correspondingly volatile. And that’s great news for Equity players.

Why?

You’ll see wild swings in the playing fields.

Our indices roller-coast hugely, perhaps the most in the investable world.

We get fantastic bottoms to enter…

…and amazing tops to exit.

Question is, do we leave ourselves in a position to take advantage of this?

Are we continuously gauging the crowd?

Are we continuously behaving like the crowd?

Or, have we made it a habit…

…to win?

Making Time Our Friend

Hurry…

…spoils the curry.

Specifically with regard to Equity…

…one should never, never be in a hurry. 

You see…

…there will always be a correction.

You will get an entry. 

Wait for the right entry. 

You will, eventually, get a prime exit. 

Wait for the time. 

Make time your friend. 

How?

Simple.

Take it out of the equation.

Simple?

In the small entry quantum strategy, time is, by default, taken out of the equation. 

It loses its urgency as a defining factor, for us, psychologically.

We don’t have any immediate timelines. 

We go with…

…the flow. 

When opportunities appear…

…we act.

When they don’t…

…we don’t act.

Most of the time…

…we don’t act.

Then there are black swans, and we act many times in a row. Like now.

Action, or lack of it, depends on what’s happening. 

We don’t force action.

Why?

Because we have all the time in the world. We’ve made it our friend, remember.

We know that we’ll get action…

…eventually. 

We conserve liquidity and energy for when action comes.

You see, when the pressure of a time-line is gone, quality of judgement shoots up.

We make superior calls. 

Of course we make numerous mistakes too. 

However, the quantum going into the mistake is small. This is the small entry quantum strategy, remember. 

Once we’ve made a selection mistake in an underlying, and have realised this, we don’t shoot another quantum chasing our error. Instead we let it be, and wait for a prime exit from our error. It will come. 

We keep going into identified underlyings not falling into the error category, with small quanta. 

Many, many times, we make a price-error. Price going against us after entry is a price-error, because the market is always right. It’s us who are wrong when things go against us. 

Never mind. After a price-error, we enter the same underlying with another quantum, and this time we get a better price. Once gain one observes the friendliness of time, even after price has gone against us, all because of our small entry quantum strategy.

When price is going in our favour, we might not enter after a level. Though we’re not getting further entries in the underlying, appreciation is working in our favour. 

It’s a win-win on both sides of the timeline for us…

…because we’ve made time our friend.

Rewiring 3.0.3

We grow up, being taught to win.

Slowly, we learn to expect shocks, but only sometimes, in sparing intervals.

We prepare fancy resumés. 

Life must look five star plus all the time, that’s the standard. 

We see this standard all around us. It encompasses us. We become it, in our minds.

It’s not like that in the markets.

Markets are a world, where loss is our second nature. 

If we’re not accustomed to loss, we die a thousand deaths, in the markets. 

What kind of loss are we taking about?

Small…

…loss. 

Your stock holding going down to 0…

…is a small loss…

…when compared to another holding multiplying 1000x over 10 years. 

Both these scenarios are very possible in the markets. They’ve happened. They will happen again. 

How do we react?

Our stock going down to zero mortifies us. We do something drastic. Some of us quit. 

When our potential 1000x candidate is at a healthy 10x, yeah, we cut it. 

Then we quickly post the win on our resumé. 

We must look great to the world, at any cost. 

We keep reacting like this…

…and, like this, we’ll perish in the markets with very high probability.

We can’t take a hit, and are nipping our saving graces in the bud. 

When does this stop happening?

When we rewire.

Rewiring is a mental process that happens slowly, upon repeated market exposure. 

For successful rewiring to take place, real money needs to be on the line, again and again and again, as we iron out our mistakes and let market forces teach us the tricks of the trade. 

While we’re rewiring, we need to play small. 

When we’re partly rewired, we wake up to the fact that this is the age of shocks. 

High-tower professors who’ve never had a penny on the line and have put together theorems about six-sigma events (black swans) setting on once in blue-moons have led us to believe that black swans are rare. 

They are not. They have become the norm. Our first-hand experience of multiple black-swans in a row teaches us that.

Once we rewire fully, the expectation of black-swans as the norm is engraved in our DNA. Then, we use this fact to our huge advantage.

How?

We realize the value of our ammunition, i.e. our liquidity. 

Whenever we have the chance, we build up liquidity. 

We become savers, and are not taken in by the false shine of the glittery world around us.

Also, when markets are inflated, we sell stuff we don’t want anymore, boosting our ammunition for the next onset of crisis…

…and, we stop preparing fancy resumés.

Markets have humbled us so many times, that we now just don’t have the energy to portray false images. 

Whatever energy we have left, we wish to use for successful market play, i.e. to make actual money. 

When that happens, yeah, we know for sure that we’ve fully rewired. 

Welcome to rewiring three nought three. 

FOMO anyone?

Sure, buy…

Where were you some days back?

Buying was a breeze, for quite a while. 

Lately, as in, since Tuesday, it’s not so much a breeze. 

Pharmaceuticals are already up to their pre-crisis prices, and IT needs to recover another 10 – 15% and it’s there. 

If this trend continues for another week, we could be talking about an interim recovery. 

Prices haven’t recovered fully, you would argue, right?

Fine. That’s a valid perspective, in the event that you are a long-term investor.

What’s your compromise?

You won’t be getting full margin of safety at these prices. 

Also, on these up days, there’s so much upwards pressure that the bid-ask spread squeezes you generously to the upside. 

A few days back both these avenues were reversed. 

Still want to buy?

Wait for a big down day.

Margin of safety will be slightly better, and downward pressure will let you buy on limit, lucratively set to harness the downward momentum. 

How do we know that a big down day is coming, in the first place?

We don’t.

What if there aren’t any more big down days in the near future?

Wonderful.

Lock your spare funds away safely, and wait patiently for the next shock. 

Waves operate in shocks. 

This is the age of shocks. 

Buy in the aftermath of a shock. 

What if one isn’t able to buy anymore?

Even better.

Lock in whatever you’ve bought, and divert your attention to other activities.

Like?

Trade.

What?

Currency.

Oil.

Bullion.

Energy.

Industrial metals. 

Do something that takes away your attention from your locked in equity.

Why?

That way you will be able to sit without spoiling your compounding that will happen while you sit. 

Just forget about FOMO. Live in the now. Have your job cut out. Wait for the right conditions to appear. Then act.

Are you Saying These are Small Losses, Mr. Nath?

No. 

Everything is taking a hit. 

Sure. 

Hit’s actually in the “Wealth” segment…

…and not as such in the “Income” segment.

Would you like to elaborate on this one, sounds pivotal?

Yes it is exactly that, pivotal. Because of this one fact, I’m talking to you with a straight face.

I see.

Auto-pilot income-creating avenues are still doing what they’re supposed to do, i.e. creating income. Nothing has changed there, yet.

You mean something could change there?

Sure, if companies start going bust, their bonds won’t create income. Instead, principal will take a hit. It’s not come to that yet, at least in India. You have an odd company going bust here and there now and then, but nothing major as of now. Income is intact, for now. If were done with CoVID in two months, this factor might not change. Let’s focus on this scenario. 

Right. 

Secondly, we’re highly liquid. We try and become as liquid as possible during good times, ideally aiming to be 80% in cash before a crisis appears. 

How do you know a crisis is going to appear?

This is the age of crises. A six sigma event has now become the norm. After Corona it will be something else. This has been going on from the time the stock market started. It’s nothing new. Come good times, we start liquidating all the stuff we don’t want. 

Don’t want?

Ya, one changes one’s mind about an underlying down the line. At this point, one shifts this underlying mentally into the “Don’t Want” category. Come good times, one makes the market exit oneself from this entity on a high.

Makes the market exit oneself?

Yes, through trigger-entry of sell order.

Why not just exit on limit?

Then you’ll just sell on the high of that particular day at best. However, through trigger-exit, your sell order will be triggered after a high has been made and the price starts to fall. It won’t be triggered if the underlying closes on a high. That way, if you’re closing on a high, you might get a good run the next day, and then you try the same strategy again, and again. In market frenzies, you might get a five to seven day run, bettering your exit by 15-20%, for example. Who wouldn’t like that?

You talk of market frenzies at a time like this, my dear Sir…

The market is like a rubber band. What were witnessing currently is the opposite pole of a market frenzy. Humans beings are bipolar. If they’re reacting like this, they sure as hell will react like the opposite pole when conditions reverse. Especially in India. We’re brimming with emotions. 

Which brings us back to the initial question…

Yes, these notional losses look huge. But, who’s translating them into actual losses? Not us. We’re busy enhancing our portfolios as multiples get more and more lucrative for purchase. That’s entirely where our focus is. We are numb to pain from the hit because our focus is so shifted. 

And there’s no worry?

With such high levels of liquidity, shift of focus, income tap on, dividend tap on – yeah, please don’t ignore the extra big incoming dividends, underlyings taking a hit currently are paying out stellar dividends, and these big amounts are entering our accounts, because we’ve bought such quality – – – we’re ok.

Stellar would be?

Many underlying have shared double digit dividend yields with their shareholders! That’s huge!

So no worries?

No! We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing, i.e. buying quality. We’ll keep getting extraordinary entries as the fall deepens. 

What if that takes a long-long time?

Well, the year is 2020. We’re all on speed-dial. 18 months in 2020 is like 15 years in 1929. Because we follow the small entry quantum strategy, our liquidity should hold out over such period, providing us entries through and through. 

And what if it’s a four digit bottom on the main benchmark, still no worries?

NO! Look at the STELLAR entry over there. A bluechip bought at that level of the benchmark can be held for life without worries. So yes, NO WORRIES.

Thanks Mr. Nath.

One more thing.

Yes, what’s that?

What’s my maximum downside in an underlying?

100%.

Correct. Now what’s my maximum upside in an underlying?

Ummm, don’t know exactly.

Unlimited. 

Unlimited?

Yes, unlimited. Entries at lucrative levels eventually translate into unreal multiples. Looking at things from this perspective, now, the size of these notional losses pales in comparison to potential return multiples. It’s a combination of psychology, fundamentals, mathematics and what have you. In comparison, these are still small losses. If we can’t take these swings in our side, we shouldn’t be in the markets in the first place, focusing our energies on avenues we’re good at instead.

Right, got it. 

Cheers, here’s wishing you safe and lucrative investing. 

🙂

What’s on your mind, Mr. Nath?

Any questions, Mr. Nath?

Ya, I did have something on my mind. 

Ask.

I want to ask someone else.

Who?

Mrs. Market.

How are you going to do that?

I’ll just imagine that I could.

And, what’s the question, for the sake of discussion?

It’s not so much a question, really…

What is it then?

An observation perhaps…

…or a regret, maybe…

… not able to pinpoint exactly.

Hmmm, why don’t you just say it in words.

It’s about rewiring. 

Rewiring?

Yes. The words coming out are “Couldn’t you rewire us earlier?”

Who’s the you?

Mrs. Market.

Doesn’t your rewiring depend upon you?

Yes, that’s why perhaps it’s more of a regret.

What is this rewiring?

We are taught to win in life, and to hide our losses, if any, under the rug. That’s how we grow up. And that doesn’t work in the markets.

True. That’s what needs to be rewired?

Yes, to win in the markets, we need to get accustomed to loss, small loss, as a way of life. Wins are few, but they are big. So big, that they nullify all losses and then some. We make these wins big by not nipping them in the bud.

How long did it take you to rewire?

Seven years.

What’s your regret? A shorter time-frame would have resulted in half-baked learning. 

You are right, it’s not a regret then. Let’s just call it an observation. 

It’s a very useful observation for someone starting out in the markets. 

Let’s pin-down the bottomline here.

And that would be?

Till one is rewired, one needs to tread lightly. No scaling up…

…till one is rewired. 

And how would one know that one’s rewired?

No sleepless nights despite many small losses in a row, because one has faith in one’s system. Resisting successfully the urge to take a small winner home…

…because it is this small winner that has the potential to grow into a multibagger…

…and a few multibaggers is all that one needs in one’s market-life.