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. 

 

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What to do with a racing mind? 

Harness it. 

Or, it’ll get you. 

How? 

It won’t stop racing till it finds something of interest. 

Then, it’ll hook on… 

… without caring too much… 

… whether that something’s good or bad.

At that stage, you might not be able to control your mind. 

Control it when it’s controllable. 

Before it’s latched on. 

Before the flow has started. 

Define for yourself the area of flow. 

Actively make your mind connect. 

Regulate your flow. 

Enjoy the harnessed potential of your mind. 

Let’s observe a practical example in motion. 

I’ve actively latched on my mind, among other things, to the stock market. 

The market has many aspects.

I need to take into account most of these, if not all, while picking a stock. 

Sure. 

However, some aspects stand out for me. 

To these aspects I latch on my mind very thoroughly. 

I like it to get a feel for honesty. 

While I’m screening a stock, my racing mind either picks honesty or it doesn’t. 

If it hasn’t smelt and felt honesty after two days of studying the stock, I just let the stock go. 

Some are big on numbers. Some are big on charts. Sure, I look at both. Honesty delivers the final decision for me, though, as in, the crucial blow. 

Instead of resorting to all kinds of nonsense, the racing mind can be taught to become one’s greatest asset.