My Buddy called Compounding

Compounding…

…is my happy space.

When I’m having a difficult market day,…

…I open my calculator…

…and start…

…compounding.

My friend clears all doubts in a flash.

It’s easy to compound on the calc.

In German they’d say “Pippifax”.

The younger tribe in the English-speaking world would say easy peasy…

…(lemon squeasy).

Let me run you through it.

Let’s say you wish to calculate an end amount after 25 years of compounding @ 9 % per annum.

Let z be the initial amount (invested).

The calculation is z * 1.09 ^25.

That’s it.

You don’t have to punch in 25 lines. It’s 1 line.

What if you went wrong on the 18th line?

So 1 line, ok? That’s all.

What’s ^ ?

This symbol stands for “to the power of”.

On your calculator, look for the y to power of x key, and then…

…punch in z * 1.09 (now press y to the power of x)[and then punch in 25].

What does such an exercise do for me?

Meaning, why does this exercise ooze endorphins?

Let’s say I’m investing in sound companies, with zero or very little debt, diligent and shareholder-friendly managements, and into a versatile product profile, looking like existing long into the future, basically meaning that I’m sound on fundamentals.

Let’s say that the stock is down owing to some TDH (TomDicK&Harry) reason, since that’s all it’s taking for a stock to plunge since the beginning of 2018.

I have no control over why this stock is falling.

Because of my small entry quantum strategy, I invest more as this fundamentally sound stock falls.

However, nth re-entry demands some reassurance, and that is given en-masse by the accompanying compounding exercise.

At the back of my mind I know that my money is safe, since fundamentals are crystal clear. At the front-end, Mr. Compounding’s reassurance allows me to pull the trigger.

Let’s run through a one-shot compounding exercise.

How much would a million invested be worth in thirty years, @ 11% per annum compounded.

That’s 1 * 1.11^30 = almost 23 million, that’s a 2300% return in 30 years, or 75%+ per annum non-compounded!

Now let’s say that my stock selection is above average. Let’s assume it is good enough to make 15% per annum compounded, over 30 years.

What’s the million worth now?

1 * 1.15^30 = about 66 million, whoahhh, a 6600% return in 30 years, or 220% per annum non-compounded.

Let’s say I’m really good, perhaps not in the RJ or the WB category, but let’s assume I’m in my own category, calling it the UN category. Let’s further assume that my investment strategy is good enough to yield 20% per annum compounded.

Ya. What’s happened to the million?

1 * 1.20^30 = about 237 million…!! 23700% in 30 years, or 790% per annum non-compounded…

…is out of most ballparks!!!

How can something like this be possible?

It’s called “The Power of Compounding”…,

…most famously so by Mr. Warren Buffett himself.

Try it out!

Pickle your surplus into investment with fundamentally sound strategy.

Sit tight.

Lo, and behold.

🙂

So, Who’s Buying?

Yeah, who’s buying?

Superinvestors? 

Sure. Tremendous pipeline, great bargains, of course they’re buying. 

Who else?

Market-makers.

They buy and sell for a living.

They make the market for us to trade in.

Let’s forget about them for this discussion.

Anyone else?

The syndicate?

What syndicate?

I mean, is there even a syndicate?

Let’s not go into conspiracy theories. 

Whether or not there is a syndicate should not affect us. 

Moving on…

…think of anyone else?

Mutual funds?

Sure.

Lots of SIPs going in, a few NFOs doing the rounds, yeah, MFs are biting.

Foreigners?

More like exiting.

Hedge funds?

Busy trading I guess, won’t count them as strong hands, they’ll book a profit and will be sellers, over the short to medium term. 

What about retail guys?

Retail investors are scared. 

They’re tired of bad news. 

They’re tired of the markets.

Most have run away. 

Most of those who haven’t, want to. 

Is any retailer buying?

Well, the small entry quantum guys are. 

Why?

Firstly, they’re liquid.

Their strategy leaves them liquid, … , like forever. 

Till when are they going to buy?

As long as quality is selling cheap, they’ll continue to buy.

Are they scared?

No.

Why?

Their strategy gives them the courage to work on full throttle at times just like these. 

Times like what?

You know, bad news galore, whatsapps, lay-offs, scams, everything under the sky that can take place – is taking place.

And you know, bring it on. Gloom, doom, kaboom, and quality will start selling even cheaper.

We are loading up on quality and will continue to do so as long as it is cheap.

We’re happy that there’s a buying opportunity.

🙂

Nadir Non-Focus

Scared to enter?

Things look gloomy?

Forever?

NO.

Look at History.

Markets are where they are despite what’s happened. 

Governments, scams, frauds, bribes, wars, disasters – the list is endless. 

In the end, we are still where we are.

Is that good news?

YES.

What does it mean?

Growth – reflects in the corresponding market – eventually. 

Sure – we might not be growing at 7%+.

We definitely are growing at 5%+, perhaps at 5.5%+.

In a few years, growth could well accelerate.

Why?

Earning hands are growing.

So are aspirations. 

The consumption story in India is alive and kicking. 

What we’re seeing currently is a result of eighteen months of bad news. 

Such a long spate of negative stuff churning out gets the morale down. 

People start letting go of their holdings in despair. 

Maybe there’s another eighteen months of negativity left – who knows. 

That’s not the right question.

Don’t worry yourself about the bottom and when and where it is going to come. 

Why?

Please answer something far more fundamental first.

If you don’t have the courage to go in at this level (with small quanta of course, we do follow the small entry quantum strategy)…

…do you really thing…

…that you will muster up…

…anything remotely resembling courage…

…at a number that is let’s say 20% below current levels?

Gotcha there?

Feeling

Who writes the rule-book for your market-life?

You do.

Why do you do it?

Nobody else is qualified enough.

You know yourself better than others.

Don’t you?

Thus, one feels one’s way through the markets, setting up lamp-posts and rules.

For example, I recently discover how to integrate my investing life with my trading life, in one particular market.

It takes me a long, long time to do so.

Nothing has really worked on this front.

Both lives have been getting affected, adversely, because of each other.

It’s outright frustrating and, I just sheer stop trading this market, to allow my investing life to prosper.

Simultaneously, I keep feeling my way through, trying out various permutations and combinations…

…, one of which seems to be working.

How do I know?

I’m trading again.

What have I done that I wasn’t doing before?

I haven’t been using the concept of exhaustion.

I exhaust my ability to invest, opportunity-wise.

Since I follow a small entry-quantum approach, liquidity exhaustion isn’t going to work.

Opportunity exhaustion is.

As opportunities keep coming, I keep going in, each time with small quanta, not changing anything in my investment approach.

One fine day, there is no margin of safety being offered.

I don’t feel like going in.

I am exhausted.

I shut down my investment widow…

…and then {[:-)]}, open my trading window.

Within an hour, I take a trade.

Lo and behold, integration has taken place.

Seamlessly.

All our demons are inside of us.

If one is not dying, exhaust it with feeling, even temporarily, to look after your other vital activities.

Busy Times

Market falls are busy times. 

No, we’re not busy whining. 

We’re busy buying.

Are we not afraid?

That the crack might deepen?

That it might go down to zero?

No.

We’re not afraid of this scenario. 

Meaning?

Meaning that even though such a scenario cannot be ruled out…

Huh!?

Yeah, it can’t be ruled out. With trade wars and back to back black swans waiting to strike, theoretically, the bottom is zero.

And you’re not afraid?

No.

Why?

Because I buy into fundamentally sound businesses…

…zero debt…

…great 5 year numbers…

…sometimes, great ten year numbers…

…and I buy with considerable margin of safety.

Still, one is normally always afraid, right?

Wrong. A small entry quantum strategy kicks out all remnant fear.

How?

This strategy leaves me liquid. Let it go down to zero. I’ll still have liquidity to buy.

And that which you’re buying…

…is sound, yes. If I buy something sound, it will yield returns. It’s like agriculture. Crops grow in good soil. They don’t grow well in bad soil. I make sure that I choose excellent soil.

How does one do that?

Due diligence. Period.

With all the scams and frauds going on…

Well, I look long and hard for shareholder-friendly managements. Representable salaries, willingness to share, largesse, debt-averseness, intelligence, business savvy, the list goes on.

What if you land up with a fraud management?

Solid research will make you avoid scamsters. I search the internet thoroughly for any kind of smoke. Crooks leave a trail, and one is able to catch their online trail pretty easily. 

Alone online?

Second recourse are annual reports. They reveal a lot. I don’t invest in a company without having a thorough look into its annual reports. I look at CSR, the director’s report, skin in the game, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash-flow, special items, what have you.

What if you still land up with a fraud?

After I know I’ve landed up with a fraud management, I would look to exit at the next market high. 

What if your holding is wiped out till then?

If it’s wiped out, I have many other holdings to lean on, and don’t forget the liquidity that is yet to flow into honest managements.

So you’re not afraid of the loss?

There is some risk one has to take. Here, it is the risk of being wrong. The good thing is, once I know that I’m wrong, I won’t double up on my wrong call. I’ll get busy elsewhere and look to exit from my wrong call with as little damage as possible, perhaps even in profit.

Profit?

You forget, I like to buy with margin of safety, and you’d be surprised at what people are willing to pay at market highs. 

I see, well then, happy investing!

Thanks! 🙂

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. 

Frozen

Frozen? 

It’s ok. 

Breathe. 

You need to acknowledge that you’re frozen. 

Without that, the next step won’t come. 

It’s normal to freeze sometimes. Just acknowledge it. Then learn. 

For example, I acknowledge that I’m currently frozen wrt to the USDINR short trade. Missed entry. Next opportunity to enter never developed for me, and the underlying is currently in free fall. Don’t have the guts to short it at this level. Yeah, I’m frozen all right.

However, the fact that I’m acknowledging it opens up the learning window. 

Why did I miss entry?

I know why I froze. Fear. What I need to understand is why I allowed a situation to develop that would lead to fear. 

Ok. 

Was running super busy. 

Neglected the underlying. 

Kept postponing entry… 

… till free-fall started. 

It’s good to be busy. 

Hmmm, so this can happen again. 

How do I stop this from happening again? 

If I ID a setup, I need to take it. 

No second-guessing. 

What about strategy? 

Meaning, am I going with a short strategy for USDINR? Or am I keeping the window open for a long strategy?

See, that’s it.

Keeping short and long windows open makes me second-guess all the time. 

So can I go in one-direction wrt USDINR all the time? 

What speaks for it? 

Underlying is falling from a height. Good. 

Short only means no second-guessing. You just go short, period. 

Stoploss will save ruin. 

Not nipping profits in the bud will amass fortunes. 

Can the underlying keep falling over the next few years? 

Why not? Modi’s looking set for 2019. 

Hmmm, so a short only strategy has a lot going for itself. 

There’s more. Future month contracts are quoted at a premium. The premium evaporates over the current month. This move is in your favour if you’re short. 

Ok, enough. 

Yeah, there’s enough on the table to warrant a short only strategy for USDINR. 

SEE? 

Learning process. 

Why did it happen?

Because I acknowledged that I had frozen. 

Now, my strategy is more fine-tuned and I’m probably less prone to second-guessing. 

You need to pull off such stuff when you freeze. 

Use the freeze to evolve. 

Did you invite the f-word?

The next trade… 
… yeah… 
… take it. 
What? 
Can’t? 
Why?  
Afraid of what might happen. 
That’s the whole thing. 
You see a setup – you trade the setup.
When you see a setup, there are no more what-ifs, supposings or anything. Then, it’s just you and the trade. Take the trade. 
No room for f-(ear). It’s the new f-word.  
How do you drive fear out of the equation? 
Risk a miniscule fraction of your networth per trade. 
Don’t make trading your bread and butter. Make it your bonus. 
Don’t allow anyone else’s negativity to creep in. Don’t talk to people. Trade on your own. No room for tips. 
Don’t listen to your broker. Tell him what to do.
Don’t trade under compulsion. 
Enjoy your trading. 
Once in the trade, lose the mini-bias that got you in. Now, just manage the trade. 
Stop hit? You’re out. 
Run? 
Raise stop. 
Running? 
Keep raising stop. 
Losing some of your notional profits? Market throws you out?
Good. That’s a proper exit. 
See, fear wasn’t allowed to the party. 
Look for next setup. 
Position-size your entry. 
Take the next trade. 
And so on and so forth. 
Not upto trading?
Ok. Don’t trade. Till you’re up to it.
 
Demons out of the way? 
 
Up to trading again? 
 
See the next setup?
 
Take it.

How much is too much? 

Risk? 

Sure. 

No risk no gain. 

However… 

… I’m sure you’ve also heard… 

… “want gain not pain“.

How do we achieve that? 

It boils down to the level of risk. 

How much risk is too much? 

Do we have a measure? 

Sure. 

Meaning, without getting into any mathematics?

Yes. 

What’s a hands-on everyday TomDickHarry dumdum yet practical cum successful measure for risk without any hype or brouhaha? 

Sleep. 

Sleep? 

Yeah. 

How? 

Are we sleeping well? 

Is our sleep getting disturbed because of the risk we’ve taken? 

No? 

We’re fine. 

The risk we’ve taken is bearable. 

It’s not disturbing us enough to disturb our sleep. 

Yes? Sleep disturbed? Because of risk? 

We’ll, too much then. 

Reduce the risk. 

By how much? 

Till your sleep is not disturbed because of it. 

It’s as simple as that. 

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 Collapse of Mt Gox and its Meaning for You

February 2014.

Mt Gox collapses.

It’s not a mountain.

Mountains don’t collapse.

The largest Bitcoin exchange in the world – gone.

What happened?

Hazy area.

If one reads through the company’s press releases, it seems they themselves are not sure. Or, they’re trying to cover up that they got hacked, big-time.

Company’s claiming a black-swan event. Software goes into a crazy loop. Transaction shows as failed. However, system releases Bitcoin. Do this over and over again. You’re down 750k Bitcoin. Half a billion dollars. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not buying it.

It’s probably not an inside job. Trail would’ve been too hot.

They’ve actually and probably gotten hacked. Possibly in the earlier days. Perhaps they tried to cover it up for the longest time, till it was no longer possible. There came a time then, it would seem, to throw in the towel and declare bankruptcy, coupled with the release of an unbelievable explanation.

Do the math. Conjecture.

We are down to conjecture, after an abominable event like this, where retail investors along with handlers, dealers and the works get fried.

For heaven’s sake.

Makes you rethink Bitcoin majorly.

Diversification is a safe thing. However, not at the cost of converting your computer into a big red flag.

There are two kinds of computers in the world. Those with Bitcoin or its cousins, and those without.

Currently, those with are targets.

There’s no better system of storing Bitcoin.

Banks aren’t taking it up systematically.

Dollar lobby is too strong.

It’s not letting Bitcoin settle.

Who was behind the possible hack?

You tell me.

Why would anyone sacrifice one’s sleep?

No tension, please.

We don’t wish to lose sleep over the fact that our computer might get hacked in the night. Also, will the cousin’s ever sort themselves out?

If criminals could hack Mt Gox, what are the chances of one’s desktop surviving?

Yeah, where does that leave you?

Till Bitcoin gets accepted more systematically, and till mainstream banks start storing it for you in their cyber-lockers, I’m afraid this leaves you off the Bitcoin demand-list.

Yeah, safety first.

What’s the mild pain for?

Carrying forward a niggle?

Something that doesn’t stop you from performing, though?

However, something that nags?

Can’t stop to get it out of your system?

Momentum doesn’t allow you?

When you do stop to get it out, it doesn’t go away?

Is it more mental?

Or more physical?

Can’t decide?

Don’t know what to do?

Who to ask?

What if the hospitals grab you?

Make your wart into a cancer?

Are they then ever going to let you go?

Naehhhh.

Totally stumped?

We’ll, I’ve got something for you.

Are your ears standing up?

Can’t believe your luck?

Could Nath be bee/essing?

How does he know about all this stuff?

What makes him an authority?

Why should I trust him?

Well, don’t.

Is it costing you to listen?

Well, then listen. No harm.

So, as I said, I have something for you.

Are you ready?

Here goes.

Two words.

Embrace it.

Yeah.

Yeah, embrace the niggle.

Make it drive you on.

Make its mild pain give you quality output.

Milk it.

Make the niggle your advantage.

What if it goes away?

Halleluyaa.

You’re pain-free.

What if it doesn’t?

It then becomes your secret weapon.

That’s like buttering your toast on both sides.

🙂

Patience and Nerves Anyone?

As someone I look up to put it recently – “It’s a game of patience and nerves!”

What is?

The stock-market. 

For whom?

The long-term investor. 

Do you have any?

What?

Patience, or nerves, or both?

You do?

Well, then you’ll do well in the markets, over the long-term. 

We look for complication. Meanwhile, we forget the basics. 

These are basics. 

If you’re not patient, you’ll for example jump into a stock at the wrong time, or you’ll jump out of it too early, or what have you. 

If you don’t have patience, well, develop it. 

If you can’t, do something else instead. Trade. Don’t long-term-invest then. 

If you cannot develop patience, you are not cut out to be a long-term holder. 

One method to cause the tree of patience to grow in you is to create the correct environment. 

Just don’t do anything that will make you jump. 

Invest your sur-sur-plus, money that is then pickled away, money that you won’t miss, yearn for or require over the very long-term. 

Go in with margin of safety. 

Stay in a stock you’ve singled out and entered until there’s a glaring reason to exit. Try to exit upon a high. This is the market. Highs are its nature. So are lows. That means that highs come. Wait for them to come, to exit from anything you need to exit from. 

Nervers, well, they come into play if you’ve not invested with margin of safety. 

I do remember two instances though, where everyone’s nerves were tested. October 2008, and March 2009. At these times, stocks sold for a song. Good ones and bad ones alike. Fear did the rounds, extreme fear. That’s what fear does. It creates once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Take them. Maintain a clear head. Your nerves of steel will do that for you. Create an environment for your nerves to become strong. Or, perhaps expressed another way, create an environment where any weakness in your nerves is not required to show itself, and gets subdued into extinction. 

How?

Again, just go in with your sur-sur-plus. You’re not going to miss this money even if the sky is falling upon your head. And you’ve gone in with margin of safety. Your nerves will stay intact. 

Ensure your basics. Allow them to shine. 

The rest will take care of itself. 

Good investing. 🙂

Understanding and Assimilating the Fear-Greed Paradox

Holy moly, what are we talking about?

Let’s say you’ve done your homework.

You’ve identified your long-term stock.

Fundamentals are in place. Management is investor-friendly. No serious debt issues. Earnings are good.

Valuation is not right.

You wait.

How long?

Till the price is right.

What happens if that doesn’t happen.

You don’t pull the trigger. It’s difficult, but you just don’t pull.

Let’s say the price is becoming right.

You are looking for an extra margin of safety.

You are waiting to pounce. How long?

What’s your indicator?

Your gut?

Many things have been said about the gut.

It does feel fear.

Look for that fear.

Scrip is near a very low support, but holding. You are afraid that this last support might break and that the scrip might go into free-fall. Look for that fear. There goes your buying opportunity, you are probably saying. Intraday, support is broken. You are now sure it’s gone. Look for that feeling. Intraday, scrip comes back. Closes over support. Large volume. This chronology is your buy signal. You pick up a large chunk. Scrip doesn’t look back.

You don’t have to go through this rigmarole. You don’t have to bottom-pick. This exercise is for those who want that extra margin of safety.

Now invert the situation.

You’re sitting on a multibagger.

Lately, you’re not agreeing with the company’s business plans. You want out. Best time for you to exit would be now, sure. But, scrip is in no resistance zone, and is going up and up and up. What do you do?

Look for greed within yourself, when you start saying “Wow, this is going to be the next 100-bagger!” Look for the moment during this phenomenal rise when you’re getting attached to the scrip and don’t want to get rid of it, despite having concluded that you don’t agree with the vision of the promoters. Look for the time you start going “My Precious!”

Sell.

This chronology is your intrinsic sell signal.

Sure, radical.

I agree.

Sure, I’m combining trading techniques to fine-tune my investing.

I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.

I’ve seen from their heights.

It’s time I start contributing.

The Thin Line

Have you met the thin line…

…  between ambition and greed?

You see it. You want to cross it without wanting to cross it.

What stops you?

A deadly sin is… deadly. If you’re sensitive enough, you do fear the effects of a deadly sin.

Greed can ruin. It has the capacity to upset an apple-cart.

Sometimes you want something that extra much.

Ambition turns into over-ambition.

You get your something.

You’re a go-getter.

You become over-confident.

You forget your basics.

Next few times around, you cross the thin line repeatedly. The high is addictive. Soon, you’re crossing…

… without even knowing.

Yeah, the vicious cycle outlined above has made you insensitive. You’ve stepped over, don’t even know it, and on you’re going. You’re blinded by greed.

It’s not happened overnight. First the thin line beckoned you to come back. Your over-ambition spurred you on a few steps more. A few more steps wouldn’t harm, right?

Wrong.

You’re not sensitive anymore. You’ve lost normal vision. You’re greedy for your goal. You’re not sticking to your basic tenets. You’re not playing safe anymore. You’ve started to even play with your safety moat, in order to achieve an even bigger goal.

You’ve set yourself up to fall… big.

If you do, I hope for two things.

First up, I hope you don’t fall too big, and that you can get up again.

Second, I hope that this fall is your last one, and that it has made you sensitive again.

Sensitive?

Towards what?

Yeah, sensitive towards the thin line.

The Price of Value-Addition

Does value-addition carry a price-tag?

You bet.

What, you thought you could add value… for free?

Naehhhh.

Good things in life generally don’t come for free.

One doesn’t value the best of things that are free. One treats them cheaply… because they’re free.

In the marketplace, free-kinda stuff always comes with a catch, or a trap.

Ponzis use high-return free money ad-tags to lure pig-investors.

I generally steer clear of free-kinda stuff, anywhere and anyhow in life.

Don’t be afraid to pay (well) for value-addition.

By adding value, you’re doing yourself a huge favour. You’re creating an asset that will generate towards your corpus on auto-pilot. Why should something like this be coming for free?

In fact, why should something like this not be appropriately expensive?

The Cycle of Flow

Life is riddled with cycles.

Words flow. Then they stop. Lulls can be long.

Doesn’t bother me anymore.

I know that when the flow starts, I’ll be there, milking it completely. You’ve seen me do it. I’ve been amazed myself by the sheer force of flow.

I’m happiest in full flow. At this time, I don’t believe in containment.

Lulls are good too. They happen for a reason. Especially if your situation changes. Your system is busy getting accustomed to the new situation. It is accumulating and assimilating. Respect its silence. Conserve your energy. Let it do its work. Don’t try to get busy just for the sake of feeling busy. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. This is your unique game. No one else is playing your particular game. Wait for your system to finish assimilating. Let it use whatever energy is available. You don’t waste this energy.

At some stage, your system will be ready to disseminate.

It’ll give signs.

Flow will ignite.

Words will emerge.

Many of us block at this stage.

We’re afraid of embarrassment. We don’t want to look silly. We hate awkward situations.

Fine. Block. Fall sick. Your wish. Blocked flow turns toxic inside.

Why do you behave like an unevolved j#ck@#s?

The human being has come to evolve. Devolution is not your purpose. Evolution is.

If you wish to evolve, don’t block.

Just like you respected the silence…

… now, respect the flow.

Harnessing FD-Power within your Meta-Game

Everyone’s heard of fixed deposits (FDs). 

Are they so non-lucrative?

I believe that in some countries, you need to pay the bank to hold a fixed deposit for you. 

Why does our system shun savings? 

What are savings, actually?

On-call cash. Ready for you when an opportunity arises. 

That’s exactly it. The system doesn’t want you to have ready cash when an opportunity is there. 

Why?

Because finance people have already dibsed on your cash. They want it when opportunity is there. The cash should be available to their institution, not to you.

That’s why, your bankers generally try and get you to commit whatever spare cash floats in your account. They try for commitment towards non-access for a specific period of time.

I don’t know how things are in other parts of the world, but in India, a fixed deposit is still considered ready cash, because one can nullify one’s FD online, in a few seconds. Some banks charge a penalty for such nullification, but this penalty is charged on the interest generated, not on the principal. Therefore, in India, you have access to at least your FD principal (plus a part of the interest generated) when you really need it, all within a few seconds. 

What’s the meta-game here?

You “lock” your money in an FD for one year, for example. Let’s suppose that within that one year, no opportunity arises for you. You cash out with full interest. In India, as of now, if you’re in the top taxation bracket, and are a senior citizen, you’re still left with a return of between 6.6%-6.8% after tax, whereby we are not looking at the effects of inflation here, to keep the example simple, though I know, that we must look at inflation too. We’ll go into inflation some other day. 

Meanwhile, your FD has been on call, for you. Let’s assume that a lucrative investment opportunity does arise within the year, and your break your FD after 6 months, reducing earned interest to 4% annualised from 9.5-9.75% p.a. However, your investment yields you 20% after tax, because it was made at the most opportune moment.

You do the math.

Do you see the inherent power of ready money?

Your FD has thus worked for you in multiple ways. 

It has worked as an interest-generator, yielding a small return. Simultaneously, it has worked as ready cash, on-call in case of opportunity. Should the opportunity arise, and if the investment that follows works out well, a handsome return could be made. It’s all should/could/would in a meta-game. 

There is yet another way FDs are used. I use them this way. 

FDs are a safety-net. They allow you to take high risks elsewhere. You lose the fear of high risk once you know that your family is secured through your safety-net. In a safety-net, sums are large enough and deposits are regular enough to discount (actually effectively / realistically nullify) the power of inflation. With the haven of a safety-net going for your family, you can enter high-risk arenas fearlessly. Fearlessness is a perquisite to do well in high-risk arenas. If you’re afraid of loss, don’t enter such areas. Safety-nets make you lose your fear of loss elsewhere. 

People – SAVE! 

Create FDs. Don’t listen to your bankers. Commit your money to an uncompromisable lock-in only if you’re convinced that the investment is safe and really worth the lock-in for you. Harness the power of the FD for yourself. A safety-net of FDs is the first step towards the formulation of a profitable meta-game.

Did you also know that when you create an FD, the money used to create the FD doesn’t show up as ready cash in your account. Bank accounts with large amounts of ready cash over long periods of time are like red flags which online fraudsters look for. Creation of FDs gives extra online safety to your money. 

ONLY you are responsible for your money.

Start looking after it. 

Start making it grow.

Start saving. 

NOW.

Speed of Rise vs Speed of Fall

Specifically, equity markets have this one repetitive characteristic.

Their average speed of rising is lesser than their average speed of falling. Much lesser, I would say. 

Why?

Falling has to do with selling pressure being more than buying pressure. Selling pressure is connected to fear. Add caution to fear, and one has already sold out. 

Rise has to do with buying pressure being more than selling pressure. Buying pressure is connected to optimism. As markets keep nudging higher, slowly, optimism turns into euphoria, with a hint of caution. This caution slows the speed of rising, till greed takes over in the last stage of the rise, and one fails to see any caution anymore. At this time, the speed of rising is the highest, but is still lesser than the speed of falling at the nadir. Why?

What is the prevalent situation at a nadir? There’s blood. People are running for their lives. They take action before asking questions, and before looking here or there. 

Many times, you come across someone holding a stock which he or she has inherited from a parent. This someone comes to you with the ubiquitous query – what to do, sell it now? You look at the chart. Whoahhhh! You see the buy price, one and a half decades ago. You look at the current level. You calculate the profit. Along the time axis of the chart, you also see that the stock fell back to its buy price or below in a market crash, all within a month and a half. After this, the stock has recouped its losses of the crash, and is showing a healthy profit again, six years after the crash. During the crash, how long did it take the stock to fall below the buy price of one and a half decades ago? A month and a half. Holy moly!

That’s the equity playground for you. 

It’s directly connected to human emotions. 

Anything can happen on this playground, so keep your eyes and ears open, and…

… be prepared. 

Taking the Pan out of Panic

Panic – Pan = ic = i see = I SEE.

Times are unprecedented.

We’re breaking new lows of evil everyday.

Ours looks to be a hopeless nation.
Is it over for us?

Shall we pack up our bags and migrate?

Just take a deep breath. Bear with me for a moment. Try and cast your panic aside. Try and think clearly.

I’ll share with you an observation. Take any Indian. Doesn’t have to be an outperformer. Take an under-averagely performing Indian, for all I care. Weed him or her out of our pathetic system, and place him or her in a nation with good governance.

Lo and behold, our candidate will start performing. Not only that, soon, he or she will be outperforming. After a decade or so, he or she will probably have mastered the system and punctuated it with innovative short-cuts.

Get my point?

We are a resilient race. We might look fickle, frail and harmless superficially, but we can struggle, bear, survive, and finally break out. Just give us good governance.
Don’t panic. We’re not going down that easily.

What’s happening currently is a purge. Yeah, it’s a catharsis with a big C. While it continues, asset classes across the board will probably get hammered.

What does that mean for you?

Only one thing.

Stay in cash. Accumulate it. Learn to sit on cash. Sit on it as long as the purge lasts. Let its value depreciate, doesn’t matter. Park it safely with a conservative private bank. Fixed deposits would be the instruments of choice. Yeah, you don’t want to leave unattached cash lying around. Potentially, unattached cash could be susceptible to online fraud. Attach your cash, safely, and keep it before your eyes. Put some watch-dogs in place, as in sms and email alerts. Password-change attempt? You are immediately alerted. New payee added? You are immediately alerted. Watch-dogs bark.

As per my instinct, though we probably won’t go bankrupt as a nation, we might just go a long way down before the purge is over. After the purge, there will be tremendous bargains on offer, across the board, in all asset-classes. Cash will be king. Save your cash and sit on it – for that day.

Meanwhile, your wealth-manager will try to push you into panic purchases with your cash. As in, buying gold at 32k, and the USD at 65. Don’t listen. These are crazy levels. One doesn’t invest at crazy levels. These are not even normal trading levels. Yes, they are institutional trading levels. One does not invest at institutional trading levels.

It’s time to use your common-sense and maintain a cool head.

You can only do that by refusing to panic.