When it Pinches, Then You Buy

What is a good time to buy for the long-term?

Is there some kind of formula? Mathematical equation? Algorithm?

Who doesn’t look for the holy grail?

Sure, there are technicals galore, to assist one’s buying and fix its appropriate time. 

Of course, fundamentals, when studied properly, are even more helpful. 

However, neither technicals nor fundamentals can replace emotion.

The emotional alarm, when sounded, is a good time to buy for the long-term. 

Surprised?

Here you are, getting alarmed at how the markets are falling. 

How are you supposed to buy with a straight face amidst the panic?

That’s just it. 

Markets are wired in an opposite fashion to our mentality. 

At the onset of margin of safety, our mental framework emits panic upon seeing the mayhem. 

Upon the vanishing of margin of safety, the same mental framework emits euphoria and wants to participate in the rally. This is trading, not long-term investing, and as long as you buy high and sell higher, you are good. What you are not going to do here is hold your trade for the long-term, thinking it’s a long-term buy. What has not been bought with margin of safety is not a long-term hold. 

Why?

Margin of safety gives us a buffer. 

Let the markets fall; they still don’t reach our entry price. Or, they only fall a tad under it, and then start to rise again. That’s the beauty of buying with margin of safety. You can use the low now created to pick up some more, if you are still convinced about the stock. Otherwise, you can always exit the stock on a high. 

In long-tem investing, one should not exit on a low due to panic. If one does so, it’s like market suicide. 

What causes exits on lows?

Panic. 

Need for money.

Weak hands. 

Become a strong hand. 

Put in only that money which you don’t need for the next ten years. Make sure before entry that you won’t be pulling out this money in the middle of the investment if you can help it. Have a fallback family fund to lean on ready before you start putting money into the market for the long-term. 

Teach yourself not to panic. Rewire yourself alongside the market. This takes time. It took me almost a decade to rewire myself. Everyone needs to go through this rewiring process.

Once you’re rewired and  financially secure, your strong mind will pick up on the emotional trigger, and will start buying when the pinch-factor kicks in. 

Your strong hands won’t let go owing to panic. 

In the long run, your investment, which has been made with margin of safety and proper due diligence, will yield you a fortune.

Happy investing!

🙂

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Poker and the Markets

Professional poker is not a gamble, when one takes a large sample-size of many, many hands into consideration. 

On the other hand, non-pro poker is more likely a gamble. 

So, what’s the difference between professional poker and non-pro poker?

Strategy.

Players make “mistakes”. 

Mistakes cause losses. Lets define “mistake” here as anything that causes loss. 

Winning players strategize in such a manner, that their mistakes make them lesser than average losses, and sometimes, no losses at all, but even a win results. 

Reads, bluffs, meta-game, what have you,…

…the reason the player is a winner is that he or she is winning even with hands that would normally cause a loss.

Also, when the pro senses a winning hand, the pro bets big because the odds are in his or her favour, and the pro would like to capitalize, given the odds.

A few big wins coupled with many small losses, whereby the sum total of all losses is lesser than the sum total of the wins – that’s a winning combination. 

Let’s just take this element of the winning combination, and see how it’s implementable in the markets.

Market play means mistakes. 

Almost all the time, we’re making mistakes while we’re attempting market action.

However, because of our due diligence, we make intelligent moves too. 

Our intelligent play wins us money. 

Our mistakes lose us money. 

How do we let our mistakes lose less money?

By having a very small entry quantum each time. 

How do we allow our intelligent moves to win big?

By not nipping a winner in the bud. Also, by putting money into the winner when it dips, and at an appropriate entry level.

What do we have here, then?

Many small mistakes, and a few big wins, whereby the sum total of the mistakes is lesser than the sum total of the wins.

This is the same winning combination we discussed above.

Voilà.

🙂

Defining a Long-Term Hold

Homework, people, is the most essential element of long-term investing.

No wonder they stressed so much upon homework in school. 

They knew what they were talking about. 

And, it has counted. I always took my homework very seriously. 

Things are no different in the markets. 

Do your homework well, and diligently, and the pay-off might surprise you. 

In the markets, you are not paid off with marks, but with appreciation in the value of your holding. 

So, what kind of homework goes into defining a long-term hold?

Today, we have stock-screeners, so use a stock-screener to spit out some potential long-term holds after defining the screener’s parameters as per your wishes. Choose a stock from the results of the screening that you might want to delve into. Then, delve into it. 

In scam-ridden India, the first things that one needs to look for are honesty and integrity.

Look very, very hard.

Do repeated fraud / scam / bribe searches. The web is your oyster. 

Look into salaries of top personnel. Low is good. If salaries are on the higher side, is it justified? Specifically, scrutinize the salary of the top promotor and the CEO. If not justifiable, just drop the stock. 

Look for acts of good governance. 

Openness.

Sharing.

Shareholder-friendliness.

Truth.

Responsibility.

Once honesty and integrity are established, go over the fundamentals. 

Overall, fundamentals will either meet your parameters, or they won’t. Also, it is you who is going to define the fundamentals you wish to gauge, and what you wish to see. 

Are you seeing what you wish to see?

No?

Discard.

Yes?

Proceed.

Is the stock going to be around even after ten years?

Gauge. Product, business-model, circumstances…

You think no?

Discard.

You think yes?

Proceed.

Is the business scalable?

No?

Rethink.

Yes?

Proceed.

Is there debt in the equation?

Are you comfortable with the level of debt?

No?

Discard.

Yes?

Proceed.

Get the overall picture. 

Are you comfortable with the overall feeling you are getting?

No?

Discard. 

Yes?

Proceed.

Look for an entry point. Open the chart and try and enter upon a base or some other technical level. If none is available, wait for a level to come, and then make your entry. 

Thus, you have successfully defined and entered your long-term hold.