Who Breathes Easier – The Investor or the Trader?

Sure…

…asset-light…

…going with the flow…

…can strike both ways…

…care-free almost…

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

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

Stop.

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

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

No baggage?

Sure baggage.

Emotional baggage for starters.

Cash baggage.

This one will always be there.

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

It needs to be safe.

It is a cause of…

…tension.

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

So, not asset-light.

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

Sure, go with the flow. Strike both ways.

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

NO.

Investors strike in one direction.

Investors are perennial bulls.

At least they know where they are going.

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

Do the math. You’ll see.

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

Care-free?

Who’s watching the screen all day?

The trader.

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

Images are deceptive.

Don’t go by images.

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

Nothing else counts.

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

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

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

Yes, Equity is a serious avenue for parking.

Use it.

With one caveat.

This is not a trade.

Trading rules don’t apply to parking.

In fact, trading rules are inverse to investing rules.

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

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

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

So, who breathes easier?

One would know this by now.

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.

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. 

 

 

 

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. 

Holding the Line

Your systems are in place.

They’re implemented. 

Basics are going. Life basics. Family basics.

Then you’ve got your income basics. They’re safe. They generate income. This income goes towards comfortable upkeep of your family. Some of it is saved. 

Your investment portfolios are firing. Savings have built these up. You don’t touch these, but keep adding to them upon opportunity. 

You’ve just finished implementing all your trading systems. 

Some of these are on auto-pilot. 

The other ones demand a little of your time each day. 

They keep you sharp and all there. 

Nothing much. 

Just fifteen to twenty minutes each. 

Skin off your teeth. 

You tackle them with your bed-tea. 

In other words, you are set as far as being income plus plus plus. 

Good. 

Now what?

Now you need to hold the line. 

What does that mean?

It means everything. 

It means no blow-ups…

…no crazy decisions that impact folios and family…

…basically nothing insane coming from you that will threaten your hard-earned situation or worse. 

Holding the line means making sure basics stay intact…

…folios keep growing…

…and new systems keep developing that add to these. 

It’s really that simple. 

When you hold the line, your next step either maintains status quo or adds to you. Preferably, it adds to you.

However, the simpler something is, the more difficult it is to follow. 

What are the demons that can slay you?

Over-confidence.

Over-ambition.

Hubris.

Greed.

Showmanship. 

Debt.

One-up-on-the-Joneses-ideology. 

This stuff looks pretty harmless at first, but is enough to give rise to cracks. 

Cracks grow… 

…till you’ve either come back to your senses and filled and sealed them…

…or till they’ve destroyed you right down to beyond your basics. 

Yeah, a full blow-up is never really far away, once cracks start to appear. 

Therefore…

…while holding the line…

… you keep reminding yourself about what you’re doing…

…why you’re doing it…

…and that you’re never going to blow up, come what may…

…and that you’re going to keep holding the line, come what may…

…and that your next step is always going to add to you.

Happy Holding!

🙂

Scaling Up

When you find a system… 

… that works… 

… what’s the next step? 

Plunge? 

Wait. 

Look left and right. 

Meaning? 

Look at your basics. 

Are they in place? 

Meaning? 

No worries about food on the table? 

No worries about kids’ education funds?

Basic family luxuries in place? 

No? 

Get these together and going. 

Yes. 

Ok. 

Go for it. 

Scale up. 

Your decision to scale up should at no time endanger your basics. 

You’re scaling up from  your extras.

You’re scaling up with stops in place. 

If your stops are hit, you’ll change your system till it works again. 

You will not borrow from your basics. 

You will wait for your extras to accumulate, and divert these into scaling up. 

Having gotten all that out of the way, let’s cast a glance at the concrete process. 

1x is working, or so you say. 

In fact, you’re sure 1x is working. 

Ok. 

Now do 2x.

Working? 

5x.

Can you take it? 

Do you sleep well at night? 

Fine. 

10x.

Working? 

Family life intact? 

Basics intact?

Fine. You take it from here. 

Where do you plateau? 

Right before a level where something might get disturbed. 

It’s really that simple. 

Happy scaling up! 

🙂 

The Business of Writing

Many things can happen when one writes. 

What happens depends on why one writes. 

Some write for money. 

Their bread and butter depends on it.

Writing gets them money. They earn a living. 

At times, they have to eke out words. Even when they’re not coming. Quality goes down. 

Money in the equation carries its own side-effects. 

What happens when money is not in the equation?

Yeah, some are so lucky. 

However, luck or no luck, one has to still want to keep money out of the equation.

When money is what one is writing about, you can imagine the temptation. 

One falls back on one’s basic definitions.

Why am I writing?

Am I writing for money?

Do I need any money that my writing might generate?

If the answer here is no, then the question still remains.

Why am I writing?

Am I writing for fame?

Who doesn’t want to be famous?

Am I able to control this impulse?

If the answer here is well-yeah-mostly, the question still remains.

Why am I writing?

What is the answer?

I’m writing…

…because…

…the words are coming. 

I’ll continue to write till they keep coming. 

I’ll stop writing when words stop coming. 

I’ll resume writing when words start to flow again. 

I’m not going to stop their flow.

I’m nobody to stop their flow. 

Has writing ever harmed me?

Never. 

It soothes. 

Balances.

Calms. 

Settles.

Concepts become clearer. 

Spreads goodness. 

Creates vacuum within, because your energy has ventured out. This vacuum will attract fresh energy from the universe. 

Has there been any regret about writing?

Readership? Perhaps?

Flow reaches its destination. Ultimately. If it’s persistent. 

My writing is persistent. 

It will keep coming. 

Its flow will reach its destination. 

So, any regrets then?

None. 

Happy reading!

🙂

Incorporating the Satisfaction Factor 

How do you wish to leave your portfolio? 

Leave as in… 

… you leave. 

Let’s paraphrase this. 

In what condition do you envision your folio to be at your time of ultimate departure? 

Why is this question necessary? 

Why are we putting together our folios? 

What do we want out of the whole shebang? 

Are we playing the game just because everyone else is doing so, without thinking any further? 

Stop. 

Think. 

Do. 

We want satisfaction. 

Everyone searches for happiness. 

We want to have led full lives. 

We want to leave with smoothly outlined pipelines which won’t be blocked by any surviving party’s antics. 

Auto-pipelines are a reality now. It takes a standing instruction, that’s it. 

We want to have done some CSR work, as in charity. 

We want to leave a legacy. 

We don’t wish to make our surviving family slaves to an inheritance. We want them to be self-sufficient with trouble-shooting acumen. However, funds need to be accessible at times of emergency. 

And blah blah blah blah blah…, list can be endless. However, you get the gist. 

All this requires planning… 

… NOW.

Take out the time to do some basics. 

Nobody’s asking you to do a doctorate on this. 

Just do the basic nitty-gritty. 

The whole with some basics leads to successful and satisfactory implementation. Leave out the nitty-gritty, and you could be left without the success and satisfaction part too. 

Do it properly, come on. 

🙂 

What about Daddy Cool? 

Boney M sang this blockbuster hit in the ’70s.

I’m sure you’ve heard it, because it’s still the rage. 

he’s crazy like a fool – what about daddy cool? 

Who’s Daddy Cool? 

You tell me. 

Is it you, in a cool cucumber moment, slow to respond to stimulus, devoid of anger, master of your situation in a kinda non-bossy, non-micro-managing (cool) way? 

And what of Mr. Hyde’s Dr. Jekyll nature? 

We’re talking about your “like a fool” moment.

Just for your information, winning behaviour is often termed foolish by the crowd. 

Contrarian investing is one such example. 

Successful derivative trading is another. 

To cap it, let’s not even talk about private equity in real-estate. 

Did someone mention high-yield structured-debt? 

There are many examples of “foolish” behaviour. 

These same examples earn very well. 

So… 

… how do we do it? 

We maintain our cool. 

We keep all basics going, as they are. 

With a small portion of our surplus, we take calculated risks, in a controlled environment. 

Sure, these risks will appear foolish to someone on the outside. 

However, our controlled environment has installed riders for our safety. 

A balance-sheet might be stressed, but not stressed enough for bankruptcy. 

A lock-in might be ultra-short. 

A stop-loss might be in place. 

Collateral might be up to 4x.

There might be a highly reputed Trustee in between. 

What have you.

Have your Daddy Cool fool-moments. 

Take some calculated risks with small portions of your surplus. 

These should give your portfolios an extra-boost. 

When Do You Bet The Farm? 

Bread and butter. 

Safety-…

…-net.

Basics.

You gather yourself to carve out a comfortable life for your family. 

Build-up. 

Debt-free-ness. 

Yeah, zero-debt. 

Feel the freedom. 

Breathe. 

No bondage. 

No tension. 

You have to feel it. 

Surplus. 

First, small surplus. 

Then, big surplus. 

You’ve made sure that nobody ever will remind you to pay your bills. 

Great! Well done. Now… 

… keeping all basics intact… 

… you play with small surplus. 

Risk. Calculated. Digestible. 

Multiplier. 

Loss. Cut small. 

Win. Allowed to grow. 

Small surplus starts giving regular fruit. 

You put back the principal into your family’s basic corpus. 

Repeat. 

Many of your small surpluses have grown into fruit-bearing trees. 

Your farm is bursting with grain and fruit. 

Have you taken any big, indigestible risks? 

No. 

Have you ever put your family basics at risk? 

No. 

Have you ever thought about betting the farm? 

NO. 

Will you ever bet the farm, no matter how big the lure? 

NEVER. 

Who gets 5 Stars for Fund Movement?

Movement?

Or lack of movement?

What will you have?

Who discusses such a topic?

Is this lame?

Is it that we have nothing better to do?

NO.

Fund movement is a central topic.

Funds are blood.

You need to be master of their movement. Winners are.

What’s there to discuss?

Aren’t things obvious?

Well, no.

To most people, things wrt movement of funds are everything else but obvious.

No pipelines are created.

No sheds for storage.

No safety mode in the firing gun.

Gun fires as soon as the load is available.

You see, all this leads to losing positions.

How?

One should not fire as soon as one can load.

One should fire when one sees a ripe target for the taking.

What should one do till then?

Store the load. Elsewhere. Give it some light work to do. Put it in a position that it can make its way easily back to you as soon as you call it in.

When do you call it in?

When you see the big fat target.

Again, isn’t all this obvious?

Again, no, to most people, no, no, no.

Most people are busy getting sophisticated.

They don’t focus on the basics.

Basics win you the game.

Sophistication might deceive you into the false belief that you are winning or are one up, but because you’ve forgotten to focus on the basics, chances are high that you’ll end up losing.

So here’s what one needs to do.

No gun in the house.

No load in the house.

Big fat target. Identify.

Go to load. Load = funds.

Direct load to gun. This is the movement process. It happens online. Funds are directed to a website.

Fire. Pull the trigger on the concerned website. Yeah, gun’s in cyber-space.

Wait for next opportunity.

Repeat.

So on and so forth.

This way, due to sharply controlled fund movement, one creates positions with high potential to win.

Come on, get your basics in order. Leave sophistication to the losers.

🙂

What to do in the Age of Shocks?

Wait for a shock.

That’s it.

Then go in… a bit.

Sound simple?

Ain’t.

Why?

Firstly, patience.

Who has patience, today?

Few.

Secondly, psychology.

Shock brings pessimism.

You don’t want to go in, not even a bit.

That is the whole thing.

Punchline. Understand it, and you’ve won already.

Thirdly, funds.

Who has funds, when the shock arrives?

Few.

Why?

Barely anyone knows how to SIT on funds.

I didn’t either.

Self-taught.

Through mistakes and pain.

By putting money on the line… losing it.

Took eleven years.

Now I know.

So don’t tell me that one is only born with the ability to sit.

Don’t waste your funds. Save them. They are your soldiers.

Fourthly, energy reserves.

Who has energy reserves when the shock arrives?

Few.

Why?

We’re too busy doing this doing that, always, forever. We don’t know how to conserve energy and build up reserves. Those who do then use their reserves to carry forward their strategies upon the arrival of a shock.

Fifthly, focus.

The hallmark of a big winner is focus.

Who has focus?

Few.

We’re too busy diversifying. It’s safer. Investing in the wake of shocks requires pinpointed focus.

Sixthly, courage.

Who has courage?

Few.

Why?

We’ve been taught to avoid, and move on. Life’s too full of BS that needs to be avoided. However, coming out during shocks needs courage. Face the enemy, and fight.

Seventhly, and perhaps this should have been on the top of the list, common-sense.

Who has common-sense?

Almost no one.

Why?

We’re too busy being complicated and sophisticated. We want to portray falsehood. We miss the forest for the trees. However, shocks are tackled with common-sense. Simplicity in thinking is paramount. The simplest ideas making the most sense are also the most successful ones.

Eighthly, long-term vision.

Who has vision?

Handful of people.

Why?

We’re too near-sighted. We want instant gratification. However, a shock presents excellent ground to root yourself in for the long-term. Understand this, and you’ll have understood a lot.

I could go on.

That’s quite enough though.

Above are eight points to think about,  to be seen as eight weapons that need sharpening, to come out fighting in the age of shocks.

Be patient, optimistic, fund-heavy, energy-heavy, focused and brave. Use your common-sense. Have long-term vision. BASICS.

Wishing you successful investing, in an age riddled with shocks.

🙂

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. 🙂

Things To Hold On To

There are some up days…

…and there are some down days. 

Could be because of anything. 

On down days you need to hold on to something(s). 

These provide anchor. 

You wedge yourself into something, and are not swept away. 

There’s right diet. Leads to good health. You make sure your diet doesn’t stray on a down day. It is likely to if you don’t watch out for its deviation attempt. 

Exercise. Get moving. Alone the hormones secreted during exercise should make you feel better. 

If your down day is not because of professional issues, get professional (baby)! Meaning, use your profession as an anchor. Dive into it. Deeply. Forget about time. 

Look after the well-being of someone you care about. 

Pursue something extra-curricular. Again, dive into it. 

Travel, if you can. 

You can fill in the blanks. 

I’ve set up a very basic list. 

We’re very basic here. 

We don’t believe in sophistication. 

We break life down to basics. 

We keep things simple. 

So, what does the anchor do?

Yes, it stops you from being swept away. Your anchor gives you stability and solidity. 

Then, your anchor consumes you. You lose track of time. 

What was time, – oh ya – a healer. As time passes, you forget the issue, or the issue dissolves, or dilutes. 

You wake up on another day, refreshed, and join the battle where you left off. Issue seems smaller. Your forces are replenished. You fight. You win. 

Never forget your anchors. Have them ready. Anytime. Any place.