Standing Your Own Ground – 5 Things You Need To Do Now

Long-term investing is a battle of nerves.

It is not for the faint-hearted. 

It can also be… very lucrative. 

To be successful at long-term investing, one must bury the nerve factor, to ultimately stand one’s ground and emerge victorious.

Let’s see how we’re going to do this. 

First up, let’s look at the quality of money going in. 

Only that money is going in which we don’t really need over the next ten years. No other kind of money is going in. No loan money, no breaking-an-FD-money, no kitty-party-money, no child-education-fund-money etc. etc. Only surplus money and that too a very small fraction of this surplus money – that’s what is going to go in each time. Period.


We’re reducing the pinch-factor bit by bit and bringing it down to zero.

What is the pinch factor?

Corrections pinch. We need to make the pinch go away. When it’s gone away, there is no pinch. That’s when our minds are clear to do what they are supposed to do during corrections. Yes, during corrections, we diligently buy more with a very clear head and after doing a lot of homework.

Second up, we are only buying with margin of safety. 

When there is no margin of safety, we don’t buy. Period. 


Margin of safety reduces the pinch factor of a correction even further, and greatly. We’ve bought cheap enough, such that the correcting stock barely makes it back to our entry level as the correction ends and a rally starts. The pain-causing element is thus mostly washed away due to the existence of margin of safety. 

Third up, our due diligence is rock solid. 

We have a check-list of the things we want to see in our stock. 

Are we seeing all of these sufficiently?

We also have a list of all the things we don’t want to see in our stock. 

Are we not seeing even a single factor on this particular list?

When our arduous due diligence gives us a go, this action is coupled with a tremendous confidence-boost in the stock. 

Confidence in an underlying is a very powerful elixir, and kills whatever pinch-factor and nerves that remain. 

We’re not done yet. 

Fourth up, we look for an opportune entry point. 

We’re looking for an inflection-point to enter, a pivot, a Fibonacci-level, an Elliott-wave correction-level or perhaps a rock-solid support, and if none of these are available, we even try and make do with a horizontal base, though a rising base is ok too. A suitable entry point is the icing on the cake for us. If the appropriate entry point is not available, we don’t enter just yet. Instead we wait for an opportunity, when such a point is available, and that’s when we enter. 

Our armour is now very strong indeed. The time has come to seal and sterilize ourselves. 

We block all tips. We don’t talk about the markets with people. We don’t discuss our investments or any rationale. We don’t watch financial TV. There’s absolutely no need to follow live quotes. Market action is limited to as and when the need arises. Index levels and stock prices are only looked at upon requirement. After getting the basics bang-on and putting our money on the line, we are now fully equipped to stand our own ground…

…and this we do with great aplomb!









Focused Diversification : Mantra for all Times

I’m more into focus.

One can focus on one thing at a time.


What if after that one thing starts running, it doesn’t require any more focus?


Then I focus on another thing.

Get it running.

Then another.

Till my focus window is full.

Let me tell you about my focus window.

I focus on cash, debt, equity, forex, gold, real-estate, arbitrage, and options.

With that, my professional focus in finance is full full full.

I get something running.

That’s it.

Then I don’t need to be with it. Mostly.

Let me run you through.

1). Cash – Bind it in a worry-free and accessible manner. Done.

2). Debt – Study the underlying very thoroughly. Reject 10 underlyings. Take up the 11th which passes all criteria. Be happy with a slightly better than FD-return. Done.

3). Equity – Invest for life. Study till you drop the stock or take it up. Only invest in what meets all criteria and offers margin of safety at time of investing. On top of that – SIP (systematic investment plan). Done.

4). Forex – Get a software robot to trade it for you. Or some human-capital. All available online. Requires a bit of fine-tuning. Keep tuning till you start making a return. Done.

5). Gold – Buy physical gold. Research your source. Needs to be impeccable. Bullion. Coins. SIP. Accessible. No jewellery. Done.

6). Real-estate – Make your real-estate yield you an income. Regular income? Done.

7). Arbitrage – Understand what this is, and why it gives you a tax benefit. Get an online MF account going with Kotak MF or DWS. Divert some funds into their arbitrage MF, either or. I prefer Kotak. Monthly dividend payout option. Done.

8). Options – Get the option-strategy going. You don’t require a desktop. Mobile is sufficient. All you now need to do is take care of square-off. On mobile. This means a slightly higher level of engagement than the above avenues. Only slightly. Are you ok with that? Fine. Done.

In a flow, it’s all doable.

And, you remain focused.

Why all this?

Times demand it. You never know what might come in handy, and when.

Yeah, times are tough.

However, you are tougher.

To use Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s terminology, you are antifragile.

Let it come, then we’ll see…

Looking around for an opportunity?

Or letting one come?

Does it matter?

Is there a difference?

You bet!

When you’re looking around, you could be in a hurry. You want to get it over and done with.

Big mistake.

You are vulnerable.

Entry price will be expensive.

Your adversary feels your anxiety and jacks up entry level.

Quality? What quality? You’re in a hurry, right?

Don’t be.

Hurry spoils the curry.

Let the investment come to you.

It will.

Brokers are restless. They want to sell. They’ll knock at your doorstep once they know your funds situation. And, believe me, they won’t ask you about your funds situation. They’ll ask your banker. In fact, your banker could well be on retainer. He’ll make sure that high quality info ups his retainer fee. That’s how it works today. Don’t believe me? How come so many people have your cell number? Did you give it to them? No? Information is a commodity. It can be bought for a price.

So, wait.

Block your surplus funds as fixed deposits.

Get an overdraft going for one fixed deposit.

Delve into your normal activities.

Now you’re sitting pretty.

An opportunity comes.

It’s cr*p. Broker’s hoping you’ll bite into the nonsense being sold.

You tell the broker to buzz off. Lack of hurry gives you the clarity required to act like this.

Something lucrative comes along. Price is right. You overdraft on your FD. Yeah, it’s ok to pay the price for quality with margin of safety.

You can always fill in the overdrafted amount as new funds accumulate. The nominal interest paid for ODing is called opportunity fees. It’s chicken-feed. Just forget about it.

The best investments in life are worth waiting for.