Personal Long-Term Investing Isn’t about Establishing a Mutual Fund

If it were the case, why bother?

Just put your money in a mutual fund instead. 

There are many competent fully equity-oriented mutual funds out there. 

Some of the competent ones have very reasonable expense ratios and eye-popping statistics. 

Investing in a mutual fund takes away your work-load completely. 

You put in the money for the longish-term, and then you’re done. Don’t bother for the next 5 years. 

If you’ve chose the dividend payout option, you get an SMS or an email maybe once or twice a year that puts a smile on your face. It’s a payout!

What is a mutual fund?

What’s so mutual about it?

You mutually agree to what the fund manager is doing. 

Thus, make sure that the fund-manager is competent. Study the fund-manager’s track-record. 

A mutual fund typically consists of 50-75 stocks. Some are weighted heavily, some more lightly. 

The return you get is the mathematical average of the 50-75 stocks, adjusted for the weight they carry. 

It would suffice here to say, that the MF delivers some kind of an average return, less all kinds of fees, which typically range around the 2.5% mark per annum. 

Therefore, as far as returns are concerned, after tax deductions, one is probably left with a high single-digit one or a low double-digit one, in the long run, compounded. 

Not too bad.

Remember, this is equity we are talking about. Equity is an asset-class which gives returns that are adjusted for inflation. 

Actually, great. 

Those of you who are satisfied with this need not read any further. Just go ahead and put your surplus funds into MFs.

However, some of us want that extra kick. We are not satisfied with low single digits. We want 15%+, per annum compounded, after tax and adjusted for inflation. 

This is not greed. 

Ambition perhaps. 

Drive. 

Renumeration requirement for the arduous work put in. 

We’ve struggled. 

We’ve gotten hit many, many times. Each time, we’ve stood up, taken the hit, and carried on.

We have learnt. 

All for what?

Now it’s time to cash-in.

We go about setting up our long-term portfolios in the proper fashion. 

Total number of stocks eventually in the portfolio needs to be well clear of the MF mark…otherwise, right, why bother.

MF-type diversification will give an average return. 

We will build a focus portfolio. 

Focused returns are higher in the long run.

What’s the magic number?

Well clear of 50-75 stocks in all is understood. For me, even 40 is too much. I could deal with 30, though. Hmmm, let’s steer clear of the 3 in 30, so 29 is good enough for me as a maximum. The pundits are satisfied with 15-20 stocks, no more. Focus-gurus swear by 10-15 stocks. I’m ok with a maximum of 29, (a limit I’ve not reached yet) because in reality, I just hold 6 sectors, and multiple underlyings within the sectors. Thus, even with a maximum like 29, the 6 sectors alone make it a focused portfolio. 

The bottom-line is focus. 

As long-term investors doing it ourselves, we are going to focus. 

Staggered entry. 

Small entry quantum each time, many, many times. 

How small?

Small enough, such that one can enter about 30 or so times in a year and still have ample savings on the side from one’s earnings. Why 30 or so? That’s a rough 10-year average calculated per annum, estimated by me, during which one gets margin of safety in the 220 days or so that the markets are open in the year.

There we are : focus-investing, margin of safety, staggered entry, many, many entries, small entry quantum each time and generation of ample savings despite equity exposure. 

Is that a formula or is that a formula?

🙂

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What is Human Capital Capable of Doing?

Sky’s the limit, and so’s the ocean.

That’s the deal with human capital. 

However, we are pretty capable of choosing that kind of human capital which aims for the sky. 

After weeding out the fraudsters, we go ahead and align ourselves with stellar managements. 

Choice of management is one of the top three criteria while selecting a stock. 

Why?

One doesn’t wish to be in a stock with a lack-lustre, dull and boring management which has stagnated and has no creativity.

One wants one’s management to be actively pursuing the prime goal of finding means to beat inflation. 

Equity is perhaps the only asset class that promises to beat inflation, in case a management uses its intelligence. 

That is what good human capital is doing for us all the time, i.e. finding means to beat inflation and maximise profits. 

Inflation is something that eats into our assets, and at a rather alarming rate too. 

Gold, cash, real-estate, fixed-deposits, bonds and other similar asset classes have no choice but to take the hit. The returns they give us in reality can well be negative, with the exception of real-estate and bonds sometimes. However, here, even the real positive returns are expressed after deducting the effects of inflation, and they don’t amount to much, and we’re not really looking at double digits at all after inflation has done its work.

Equity, on the other hand, tells a different story.

It suffices to to sum up the case of equity by saying that this asset class gives inflation adjusted returns.

How?

Managements tear their brains apart to find ways to circumvent the effects of new laws, tariffs, duties, levies, taxes, natural events, unexpected circumstances etc. and the like to try and achieve a commendable balance sheet by the end of the financial year. 

What is inflation?

Exactly this.

Inflation is the sum of all the effects of new laws, tariffs, duties, levies, taxes, natural events, unexpected circumstances etc. and the like on your asset class, and the result that it causes is the diminishing of the value of your asset class. 

Managements thus take inflation head-on, and are constantly devising ways to come out with a stellar performance despite the sum total that we refer to as inflation. 

Because we have chosen to align ourselves with stellar managements that already have a commendable track record in taking inflation head-on and beating it, our assets are ideally positioned to show inflation-adjusted positive returns, year upon year upon year, and perhaps even double digit ones. 

I’ll leave you with some hard cold facts. 

Adjusted for inflation, gold has yielded 1% per annum compounded since the history of its existence. 

Adjusted for inflation, bonds, cash and fixed deposits are yielding negative returns, and have been doing so for a long time now. 

Adjusted for inflation, and after taking the black money component out, real-estate has yielded single-digit returns, per annum compounded.

Adjusted for inflation, all-time equity, including all stocks that don’t exist anymore, has yielded 6% per annum compounded. 

Adjusted for inflation, all-time equity, not including stocks that don’t exist anymore, has yielded 11% per annum compounded. 

Adjusted for inflation, an intelligently chosen portfolio is extremely capable of yielding 15%+ per annum compounded over a period of 10 years or more.

What more can one want from an asset class?

Go for it, do super due diligence, choose wisely, enter in a proper manner, and build up your long-term portfolio. Master the art of sitting, and you will be in a great position to make double-digit returns, per annum compounded, adjusted for inflation. 

🙂

Nath on Equity – make that a hundred

Long-term equity is 81). brought low.

The idea is to, if required, 82). sell it high.

Otherwise, 83). it is sold when you no longer believe in the stock concerned, for strong fundamental reasons. Or, it is sold when something more interesting comes along, and your magic number is capped. Then you sell the stock you’re least interested in and replace it with the new one.

84). Attitudes of managements can change with changing CEOs. Does a new management still hold your ideology-line?

Is the annual report flashy, wasteful, rhetorical and more of an eyewash? Or, 85). is it to the point with no BS? Same scrutiny is required for company website.

Your winners 86). try to entice you to sell them and book profits. Don’t sell them without an overwhelming reason.

Your mind will 87). try and play tricks on you to hold on to a now-turned-loser that is not giving you a single good reason to hold anymore.

If you’re not able to overcome your mind on 87)., 88). at least don’t average-down to add more of the loser to your folio.

89). High-rating bonds give negative returns in most countries, adjusted for inflation.

The same 90). goes for fixed deposits.

Take the parallel economy out of 91). real estate, and long-term returns are inferior to equity, adjusted for inflation.

92). Gold’s got storage and theft issues.

Apart from that, 93). it’s yielded 1% compounded since inception, adjusted for inflation.

Storage with equity is 94). electronic, time-tested-safe and hassle-free.

Equity’s something for you 95). with little paperwork, and, if you so wish it, no middlemen. In other words, there’s minimal nag-value.

Brokerage and taxes added together 96). make for a small and bearable procurement fees. Procurement is far more highly priced in other asset-classes.

One can delve into the nervous system of a publicly traded company. Equity is 97). transparent, with maximal company-data required to be online.

As a retail player in equity, 98). you are at a considerable advantage to institutions, who are not allowed to trade many, many stocks because of size discrepancies.

All you require to play equity is 99). an internet connection and a trinity account with a financial institution.

If you’re looking to create wealth, 100). there’s no avenue like long-term equity!

🙂