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. 

Sophistication-Complicatedness-Overmodelling – REALLY?

The simplest ideas in life…

…go the longest way.

It’s also the simplest ideas that…

…make money in the markets.

As in, buying low, then selling high…

…learning to sit…

…not nipping a multibagger in the bud…

…recognising one’s risk-profile…

…and behaving within its parameters…

…for starters.

Do we even know what our risk-profile is?

What gives us a sleepless night?

Have we identified what?

Do we still do…

…that?

Most of us still haven’t gotten our basics together…

…because we’re too busy handling affairs in more complicated manners.

We like sophistication.

Let it cost.

Let it lose money.

Let it bring in lesser earning than simpler models.

Main thing is…

…it looks (and sounds) good.

It looks (and sounds)…

sophisticated.

It gives others the impression…

…that one is a big shot.

We overmodel.

The nth differentials of our models lose touch with real pictures on the ground.

Why can’t we move within the parameters of time-tested money-making principles?

Markets are not rocket-science.

We try and make them look like rocket-science.

What do we lose out on?

Time.

Money spent on sophistication that doesn’t yield.

Energy.

We lose out on the fun.

When we’re having fun, we will make money.

When we keep things simple, we’ll have fun.

It’s like doing five things at the same time, things which are all fun when done one at a time.

Are we having more fun when we do all five together?

Really?

No.

A little bit of sophistication and modelling, built upon a strong foundation of simplicity does give us an edge though.

Can we maintain the balance?

What is the balance?

Never forget the basics.

Sophistication…

…modelling…

…fine…

…as long as we don’t belly-up into overmodelling.

That’s the thin line that makes us lose sight of our basics.

Can we see it?

Can we steer clear of it?

Yes?

Then we’re going to make money.

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. 

🙂

When the Need to Commit Arrives

You’ve got something together.
It’s taken time…
…effort…
…capacity to overcome failure…
…stamina…
…self-belief…
…and what have you.
However, now, you have something in your hands.
What is this something?
A strategy…
…that will yield more than inflation…
…over the long-term…
…nothing over the top…
…as simple as that…
…no over-ambition…
…but nothing less.
If you wanted less, you might as well have packed up operations on day 1.
Beating inflation over the long-term is our bench-mark.
For us, there’s no other rat-race.
Ya, so, what now?
Now, well, it’s time to commit.
Slowly, surely, with no doubt in our minds, over perhaps half a decade(or perhaps a full decade), we now fully allocate.
Why?
There’s no other logical conclusion.
We were striving for this.
Now that we are there, it’s time to pull the trigger…
…slowly…
…but surely.

Sniffing Out Shareholder-Friendliness

Shareholder-friendly managements…

…are the need of the hour.

What are the signs that we need to look out for, to know that a management is benevolent towards its co-owner?

Frugality in lifestyle and attitude is worth looking at.

What I’m trying to say is…

…that one hates to see a promoter living it up on company funds, at the cost of the company’s health.

Living it up is ok. Have the balance-sheet to justify it – first – please.

Are you debt-free? Quasi debt-free will do too.

Does your company ooze free cash-flow?

Are your employees well-paid and automatons for growth?

NPM double-digit?

RoE in the 20s?

Fine.

Live it up for all I care.

Take a high salary. Throw in a hefty commission.

God bless you.

I still want to co-own your company.

Any or most of these metrics not present & living it up on company money – well, nice knowing you, but no thanks.

We’re then looking for shareholder give-aways, you know,…

…dividends, bonuses, buybacks and stuff.

Again, the balance-sheet should show enough robustness to justify a giveaway.

If it doesn’t, it means that the management is trying to appease shareholders at the cost of the balance-sheet, and that’s an avoid in my book.

Look for simplicity in the annual report.

If one is getting lost in fancy words and hi-fi design, without being given the nitty-gritty at a glance, one is probably knocking on the wrong door.

Free cash-flow is a good thing. It allows for leverage to act upon opportunity and without incurring debt, among other things.

Look at deployment of net cash-flow generated from operating activities also. Deployment should be healthy. Shows growth.

Instead of looking for fad-stuff like synergy, let’s look to see if promoter action adds to the balance-sheet and makes it stronger.

These are just examples.

Sniff out shareholder-friendliness.

Put your own metrics together, to do so.

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. 

Shutting Down the Manipulator

Markets…

…manipulate. 

That’s their very nature.

Are we in the game to be manipulated?

What’s your answer?

Mine is no.

It’s a pretty emphatic no. 

I’ve backed my no with action. 

How do I stop the markets from manipulating me?

The answer if found in one’s trajectory of action.

Is there anything in one’s market actions that can be easily second-guessed by the market?

For example, is one acting upon plain vanilla technicals?

Is one acting upon news? Results? Announcements? 

Let’s not base our action upon anything the market is doing or telling us to do. 

Period. 

It’s as simple as that. 

With that, we’ve already shut out all avenues for manipulation.

Where does that leave you?

What to do now? 

You must be asking this. 

Well, build your own system. 

Let it expand and explore. 

Let it gain complexity. 

Let it boil the complexity down to simplicity. 

Let your actions be based upon your unique bridges. 

Yes, build your bridges.

Make your own market landmarks.

When you act, nobody knows that you are acting.

If nobody even knows that you are implementing an action, well, then nobody can know what that action is, or how it is implemented.

You’re done already. 

Enjoy your non-manipulable existence. 

I wish for you that it is lucrative!

🙂

Happy Eighth Birthday, Magic Bull!

Hey,

Today, we turn eight.

This is an extreme time.

Extraordinary moves have become normal.

How do we react to a world full of upheavals?

Does anyone have a satisfactory response?

We don’t know, and time will tell if our responses are correct.

However, we do know, that we possess common sense…

…, and we are going to hold on to it for all our life’s worth.

It has not come for free.

It has been earned after making costly mistakes.

It is very valuable.

It is going to see us through.

The topsiness and the turvyness is good for us.

It will set up opportunities.

We are only going to grab opportunities.

When there’s no opportunity, we do nothing.

We have learnt to do nothing.

Doing nothing actually means no entry.

We use this time to do due diligence for the future, when entry is allowed as per our entry criteria.

Doing nothing is a steady part of our repertoire.

However, when opportunity comes, we are going to let go of all fear, and we are going to pull the trigger.

We know how to pull the trigger.

We are not afraid.

Why?

We are debt-free.

Our basic incomes are in place.

Our families are taken care of.

Without that, we don’t move.

We invest with surplus.

We implement a small entry quantum strategy.

We enter again and again and again, upon opportunity.

Because of our small entry quantum, we are liquid for life.

Crash?

Bring it on.

We’ll keep going in, small entry quantum upon small entry quantum.

Don’t forget, we have rendered ourselves liquid for life.

And, we’ve got stamina!

Happy eighth birthday, Magic Bull!

Nath on Trading – V – Make that a Hundred

81). Paper trading has limited value.

82). That’s because money on the line activates your emotions.

83). Is there a holy grail? No. Stop looking for it.

84). Small edges taken to the nth – that’s what cuts it.

85). Most advisories make more money advising and less money trading.

86). Many advisories ignore sheer basics such as risk : reward.

87). Advisories are after commission and management fees rather than your long-term benefit.

88). If you’re lookig for an advisory, look hard, and don’t be afraid to keep rejecting till you find someone who knows the game and is not greedy.

89). Everything is out there, for you, for the taking, on the internet.

90). Most of this everything is free, if you just make that extra effort to get it.

91). Disclosure laws are so strict, that you can get into the un*erp*nts of a management today, literally at the speed of thought.

92). Thus, to play the market, any market, all you need is funds, due diligence and a device.

93). Due diligence gives you confidence to hold the line.

94). Funds need to be saved first. What goes into trading is that portion of your savings which you are not going to need – at all, at best.

95). Your device needs to become a seamless extension of you. Work on your device till it becomes that.

96). The best ideas are born in silence.

97). The best ideas are also the simplest in nature.

98). Sophistication is a net-net loser’s game.

99). If you’re doing it right, and if you’re not a day-trader by profession, trading takes up only a small portion of your day.

100). Life has myriads of avenues, trading being one small such aspect. Being a trader doesn’t mean losing out on life’s countless drawing boards. Trade. Fine. Live too, and live well. Do all-round justice to your opportunity.

Nath on Trading – Basics Win

1). Put yourself out there. Again and again. Take the next trade.

2). Keep yourself in a position to take the next trade. How?

3). Take small losses. Have a stop in place. Always. Have the guts to have it in place physically.

4). Trade with money that doesn’t hurt you if it’s gone.

5). Don’t exhaust stamina. Put trade in place with smart stop that moves as per definition, and then forget it. 

6). Keep yourself physically and mentally fit. Good health will make you take the next trade. Bad health won’t.

7). Have a system…

8). …with an edge, and even a slight edge will do.

9). Keep sharpening your system. 

10). Don’t listen to anyone. You’ve got your system, remember? Sc#@w tips. God has given you a brain. Use it. 

11). Let profit run. Don’t nip it in the bud. PLEASE.

12). A big profit doesn’t mean you’re it. It can become bigger. And bigger. Remember that.

13). What’s going to keep your account in the green over the long run are the big winning trades. LET THEM HAPPEN. How?

14). You exit when the market stops you out. Period. Your trailing stop on auto is fully capable of locking in big gains and then some.

15). Similarly, make the market make you enter. Entries are to be triggered by the market. Use trigger-entries on your platform.

16). When a trade is triggered, you’re done with it, till it’s stopped out, in profit or in loss. Can you follow that?

17). Your trade identification skills are going to improve over time. Get through that time without giving up. 

18). Despair is bad, but euphoria is worse. Guard yourself against euphoria after a big win. Why?

19). Big wins are often followed by recklessness and deviations from one’s system that is already working. NO.

20). Use your common-sense. Is your calculator saying the right thing? Can this underlying be at that price? Keep asking questions that require common-sense to respond. Keep your common-sense awake. 

 

 

 

Stocks and the Art of Synthesis

A lot comes together.

This coming-together is called synthesis.

The word synthesis has now become universal.

It is applied in various fields, including Chemistry, manufacturing and the like.

It is also applied in areas where deep thought boils down facts to unity, to arrive at a conclusion.

What all are we looking at, with stocks?

No action.

Action.

Time-frames.

Market-level.

Selection.

Entry.

Management.

Exit.

One can list other stuff, but this list should do too.

One needs to synthesize the ingredients in such a manner, that the resultant matches one’s risk-profile. [[Why? Matching means successful market-play. Try it out.]]

That, my dear friends, is the art of synthesis, in a nutshell.

 

What’s that other fellow doing?

The human being is nosy.

Maybe curious is a better word.

Problem is, this one characteristic is enough to make one fail in the market.

Curiousity is a good thing. At the right time and in the right area, yes.

Curiousity is a bad thing at the wrong time and in the wrong area.

However, that’s how we are wired. We like to know what that other fellow is doing, the one who is successful. We want to do the same thing. We want to ape the success. Whether we know anything about that other fellow’s field or not becomes secondary.

That’s when the walls begin to crumble.

Know your field.

Develop it.

Be curious in your field.

Succeed in your field.

If you don’t, after trying repeatedly, change your field.

Find a field that you’re successful in.

If one successful field doesn’t fulfill you, develop a second field.

However, just because your best friend hit the jackpot in his field, don’t move over to his field and expect to hit the jackpot too.

Unfortunately, we show that kind of behaviour again, and again and again.

That’s human nature.

A prime example comes from the stock market.

At the end of a boom, the last ones holding the hot potatoes (stocks that have gone up too much) are the “pigs” (retail traders and investors who buy at exorbitant prices after getting lured in by the successes of the earlier parts of the boom), who then get slaughtered. This is common stock-market jargon, by the way. It has gotten so streamlined, because it has happened again, and again and again.

If you’re doing stocks, do stocks properly. Make stocks your life’s mission. Or, don’t do stocks. Period. There’s no in-between to being successful. Success in stocks, like success in any other field, demands your full attention. Don’t do stocks just because the other fellow made a killing in stocks.

Memory is weak.

Give the bust a few years, and a whole new set of pigs launch themselves at the fag end of the next boom.

Right.

Slaughter.

You’re not a pig.

Know your field. Stick to it. Succeed in it. Period.

Trigger Vigour

Can you pull a trigger?

Or do you hesitate?

Are you afraid?

This is vital stuff, and you need to recognize this about yourself.

Why?

We’ll go into the why some other time, but let if suffice for now to say that trigger dynamics are part of basic risk-profiling, and if one’s market movement is not as per one’s risk-profile, things generally go wrong.

Back to triggers.

Cast aside pulling, are you able to recognize a trigger?

What comes before recognition?

Definition.

Have you defined market triggers?

Everyone has a different definition of when to act.

You need to know when you are going to act.

No ifs, no buts, just clear-cut action.

Your system will tell you that it’s time for action.

You do a double-check.

Are you recognizing what your system is telling you?

Is what it’s telling you recognized by your mind as a time to act?

Yes?

Then act.

What is the action, you ask?

Hmmm.

Why are you asking that?

You have to define the action too.

Just like you defined the conditions for action, you also define what exactly the action is going to be.

When you act, you pull a trigger. The quantum and style of your action is your follow-through after the trigger is pulled.

Make it mechanical.

As much as possible.

Saturation

I don’t wish to add to my repertoire.

It has reached some kind of saturation. 

There’s no limit to how far I can go within my repertoire.

However, it is not comfortable with strategy addition. 

Fine. 

Did you just have this dialogue?

With yourself?

It’s good you did. 

While you start out in a field, you’re developing it. 

There needs to come a stage, in a while, where you have exactly identified, that you’re developing this, this and this further. Nothing else. 

Once you know what the exact game is, all your focus is required to take it to the nth level. What that n is going to be is up to you, again. 

Bottomline is, after a point, know your game. 

This is the game. 

This is what you are scaling up. 

That, that, that and that you are discarding, or have discarded. 

You need to reach this point within a reasonable time-frame. 

Then comes the next step. 

Pray, what might that be?

Automation. 

Before embarking upon scaling up, that what remains in your saturated repertoire – automate it. 

Staff. 

Technology. 

What have you.

Use any means for automation. 

Anything that’s legit, and which works. 

Use it. 

Standing instruction. 

Alarm. 

Alert.

Whatever. 

Automation is a huge blessing if used properly and after having tied up all the loose ends. 

If implemented in a hurry with sieve-like loopholes, it can even take you to the cleaner’s.

Implement automation in a justified and sure-shot fashion. 

Do you know what’s going to happen now?

You have created a situation, where scaling up means just punching in an additional 0 in the right corner, before the decimal point. 

Wow.

After a while, the complete field will be on auto. 

Why?

If you’re wise, you won’t scale up beyond your sweet-spot. 

Why?

Because obnoxious scales come with obnoxious problems.

What’s obnoxious?

Anything beyond your sweet-spot…

…is obnoxious. 

What is your sweet-spot?

That only you can discover. 

So what now is the exact status of the field?

Your repertoire in the field has reached complete saturation regarding strategy and scale. It is on full auto. It is adding to your well-being without you batting an eye-lid. 

Congratulations. 

However, where does that leave you?

Is that even a question?

There’s so much to do in the world. 

Discover a new field. 

Develop your new repertoire in this field. 

Take it to strategy saturation. Automate it. Scale it up. Take it to the sweet-spot. Wean off the scaling up. Move on. 

What a life it’s going to be for you!

The Next Step Rumination

This happens to me. 

Often.

Most of the time, I don’t know the answer. 

So, what is it that happens?

This question pops up : “What is the next step?”

When does it pop up?

When a preceding step has come to its logical conclusion. 

Step, by step, remember? That’s how you build your castle.

Ok, how do I react?

It’s a very normal question by now. 

It’s popped up thousands of times. 

I’ve gotten used to it. 

I think hard. 

Is something coming?

No?

I let it go and delve into some recreational activity. 

Am learning French nowadays, btw. Am blown over by the availability of learning materials. 

Is something coming?

Yes?

What is coming?

Does it sound logical?

Meaning, is it the next logical step?

I think hard. 

And again. 

Till I either discard the idea, or…

… till I take this new next and logical step. 

That is how the cookie crumbles. 

This happens to you too. 

If not, you are missing a trick. 

If so, have you recognised and acknowledged the phenomenon?

Do you have a response?

Yes?

Great.

No?

Perhaps my own response to the phenomenon can give you a hint or two.

Small Shoots to Big Trees

What do I see around myself?

Lots of small shoots. 

Wherever I look, there are small shoots. 

Does this make me happy?

You bet. 

Why?

Why not?

I mean, you don’t see any trees. 

So?

You’ve been at it for a while.

So?

All you’re seeing is shoots. Does that satisfy you? None of your efforts is a big tree in all this while.

That’s a very narrow-minded, greedy and fast-buck remark. 

Explain. 

For each of the shoots I see around me, twenty efforts have died their death. However, one shoot managed to entrench itself. This one shoot is firm, and goes very deep into the ground. It’s roots have become very strong. It is now ready for the world and has decided to show itself over the ground.  Over the next many, many years, with my meticulous nurturing, this very shoot shall grow up into a mammoth tree with unprecedented positive consequences.

I see. And, you’re saying that you see many such shoots around yourself?

Yes, many many.

Wow.

Yeah, i’ve been busy. I’ve tried and discarded many things. What remained didn’t want to leave me. It got planted and grew roots. Now that the shoots are growing, they are mostly on auto-pilot. Some need tending to once a day, some once a week.

Does that give you empty spaces in between?

Yes.

How do you fill these empty spaces?

I do, and I don’t.

Meaning?

Unless something new refuses to leave me, I don’t wish to plant another tree.

Why?

I’m happy enough tending to what I have.

So you’ve reached the…what’s that called?

Sweet spot?

Yes, you’ve reached the sweet spot. But nobody knows about you. You’re not famous or anything.

That’s why the spot is sweet.

Meaning?

Nobody disturbs my privacy. I can go where I choose. Do what I want. I don’t need to share my time with anyone if I don’t want to. There are no compulsions imposed upon me. 

Do you think you will be famous one day?

When these shoots grow into big trees, that might happen.

Do you want it to happen?

I want my trees to grow. Not sure today about fame. It kills personal life. I like my life and its pace.

Any regrets?

Sometimes, I get lonely. It’s the nature of the path. Despite family and a decent social life, loneliness is still there. Applied finance requires a lot of alone-time. 

How do you deal with that?

I start tending to a different shoot. Financial. Non-financial. Recreational. Creative. Gap gets bridged, and then the loneliness is gone. 

Fancy schmanzy or just plain Vanilla?

There’s expenditure and there’s expenditure.

Meaning?

Let’s say you start some work. It can be market-related, for all I care. What do you do first?

Prep.

How do you prep?

Studying up. As long as I can manage.

And then?

Courses, workshops, the deal.

Local?

Naehhh. I try to keep it national though.

International?

Haven’t required it till now for market work.

Ok. What happens next?

I hit the market concerned. Low-key at first. 

Why?

That’s when you make the most mistakes. That’s why. 

I see. Motive?

I want to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.

Rather than from an instructor?

Of course. This is the market, remember. This is about you. Not about the instructor. This is about knowing your own shortcomings related to a particular market, and about adjusting and fine-tuning yourself to the market to trade it optimally. This is about fitting the market concerned in a tailor-made fashion into your own life without disrupting your own life. 

Wow! Well, then, congratulations. You’re a prime candidate for doing it the plain vanilla way. 

Is there any other way to do it?

Oh, there’s the fancy schmanzy one. 

Kindly describe it. 

Well, it mostly entails unnecessary expenditure along with necessary expenditure. There’s more unnecessary expenditure though. 

I see. 

One is normally too lazy to study up. Or, one doesn’t have the get-go in oneself to approach the subject on one’s own. 

Sure, can happen. 

One flips from instructor to instructor in search of the holy grail. Expensive software, international trips, five-star hotels, the whole shebang. In the end one has spent a bomb. To end up trading the instructor’s perspective. Finally realising that the markets are about oneself, and unless one is trading one’s own perspective, one is sure to lose. Or not realising this (!) and continuing to flip instructors and instructions. Finally burning out and giving up on the markets. 

Sad though. All necessary software is available free of cost on the internet. One can do inexpensive internet courses to widen one’s horizon. These can involve one-on-one instruction too. Video-conferencing. File sharing. Threads. Assessments. The works. Live-market training. You name it. All travelling and extra expenses cut out. Few hundred dollars for the whole course. 

I already acknowledged your plain vanilla acumen. I’m just trying to tell you that most others prefer the fancy schmanzy way. 

I prefer to stay in the market and not burn out. I’m in the market to make a steady income. 

Well, that you will, my dear friend. The plain vanilla way doesn’t promise any hype, but it does promise income. 

The Benefit of Quantum upon Quantum

Underlying equity. 

How do you protect against fraud and / or investor-unfriendliness?

You’ve done your research. 

All good. 

Stock is a buy. 

Meets your parameters. 

What’s the next step?

Protection. 

You buy quantum upon quantum. 

You don’t plunge into the stock with all you’ve got to give. 

No. 

You put in a quantum.

Then you wait. 

Better opportunity arises.

Fundamentals haven’t changed. All still good. 

You put in another quantum.

Quantum…

…upon quantum. 

That’s how you keep entering the stock till it keeps giving you a reason to enter. 

Year upon year. 

Between quanta, you’re studying behaviour. 

You’re looking for investor-friendliness. 

Your next quantum is only going in if investor-friendliness continues.

No more investor-friendliness?

No more quanta.

You wait.

Will investor-friendly behaviour resume?

And you wait.

Is it coming?

Yes. 

Good. 

Upon buy criteria being met, next quantum goes in. 

Not coming?

At all?

Ok. You’re looking to exit. 

Market will give you a high to exit. That’s what markets do. They give lows, and highs. 

Wait for the high. 

High?

Exit. 

Control

Longevity.

We look for it in the markets too. 

It’s natural.

Our first instinct is to survive. 

Our second instinct is to survive well. 

In the markets, both these instincts are addressed by our definition and understanding of control. 

Are we control-freaks? 

There’s no harm in admitting it, it’ll save us from losses. 

Well, if we are, we’re better off seeking another career where control-freaking is an asset.

In the markets, it’s not.

Yeah, surprise surprise, Mrs. Market is gonna keep hitting our stops again and again and again, till we get tired of second-guessing her and just sheer quit.

Or, if we’re adamant too, she’ll just drive us bankrupt. 

Are we giving her complete leeway?

Well, then she’ll drive us bankrupt anyways, with no stops in place.

Mrs. Market works against us when we exhibit extreme behaviour wrt control.

Let’s fine-tune control.

We’ll find the median for stop-size.

Something that’s workable.

We then move with her.

If she moves in our direction of the trade, we keep raising our stop with her, from a distance, quietly.

Control, mild, unadvertised.

She’ll stop us out eventually, perhaps after some profit.

Good. 

As in, workable. 

When she goes berserk in our direction of the trade, we’ll ignore her and just let her do her thing.

Minimum control.

No definition of targets.

Stop is far away. It’s deep in profits, and being raised quietly. She’ll need to stop us out with a big swing against us. Yeah, deep in profit, we’ve kept a large leeway between stop and CMP.

We’re not micromanaging her.

Motive?

We wish to allow her to go even more berserk in our direction of the trade.

We’re daring her too, as in “come and get our stop, if you have the guts to fall this far”.

Control.

Very subtle.

We’re controlling our environment, while simultaneously ignoring her.

Very workable. 

We’ll live long in the markets. 

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.