The Number One Reason

Yeah, what is it?

What’s the number one reason why we fail in a long-term investment?

I’ve made this mistake, and true, those investments didn’t work out well for me.

However, I’ve stopped making this mistake.

That’s right. I don’t buy without margin of safety anymore.

Even a growth stock will eventually offer you some kind of margin of safety.

Wait for it to.

So, why doesn’t an investment work out that hasn’t been bought with margin of safety?

Mathematics…

…and psychology.

Lesser the margin of safety, the more difficult it is to make a multiple. Just do the math.

Then, investor-psychology is such, that investments bought without margin of safety don’t allow the investor to sit.

They disturb the investor when they go against him or her.

The more an investment goes against an investor, the more he or she jumps.

In the end, too much jumping leads to an erratic decision.

In the worst case scenario, one bails out of a sound investment at the lowest point of the market.

How does one avoid something like this?

Learn to sit.

Create circumstances around yourself that allow you to sit.

Buy with margin of safety.

An investment bought with ample margin of safety allows you to sit even when the investment is down.

Because you’re holding sound investments, …

… sitting makes you win in the long-term.

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The Cue from Disturbia

I am disturbed. 

This stock that I’m invested in is continuing to fall. 

That’s ok.

I want to be disturbed. 

That’s my cue…

…to invest more in the stock.

I’m in the stock for a reason. 

Something appeals to me. 

That something continues to appeal to me, despite the continuous fall. 

If that were not the case, the case for the stock would be closed, and one would look to get rid of it on a market high. 

However, that is the case,…

…and, I follow the small entry quantum strategy.

Where does that leave me?

My investment in the stock is small.

I am liquid.

That’s the beauty of the small entry quantum strategy.

It leaves you liquid.

Continued fall means better margin of safety, and that another quantum can go in.

The small entry quantum strategy ensures multiple entry opportunities as the stock continues to generate margin of safety.

When do my ears stand up?

When the fall is disturbing enough. 

The fall is the cue to go in. 

It is from Disturbia. 

Who said making money was easy?

This strategy works as long as one’s research is sound. 

Let’s go with what works.

Trigger-Happiness triggering your happiness?

Action?

All the time?

Do you crave it?

And, are you in the markets?

Boy, do you have your work cut out for you, or do you have your work cut out for you?

Ideally, your long-term investment should not give you action.

When it does, it should push you to act.

What backfires is when you act to push it.

Unless you’re convinced by a stock, you don’t buy it.

Unless there’s margin of safety, you don’t buy it.

Unless there’s more margin of safety, you don’t re-buy it.

Unless you’re fed up with the stock or the antics of its management, you don’t sell it.

The whole long-term game is biased towards inaction.

Those who master the art of inaction are good long-term investors.

Bridging gaps is paramount.

What do you do with the vast amounts of time at your disposal?

Do twenty other things.

Create value in many walks of life.

Let the areas not overlap with any of the markets you are tapping.

Capture the attention of your mind.

What happens if you don’t?

Boredom, inaction or the need for action will propel you towards making a mistake.

Mistakes in the market cost money.

That’s how they’re defined.

Do yourself a huge favour.

Approach the markets after having embraced inaction.

Where do you want to be?

Where do I want to be?

Do I want to look at a stock price and know where things stand with the stock in question?

Yes.

That’s where I want to be.

It’s not going to come for free.

What will it take?

Looking at the stock…

…for an year or two.

That’s what it will take.

How boring, you say?

Sure.

When stock market investing seems boring…

…that’s when you’re doing it right.

Excitement and roller-coaster rides are for video-game pleasure, and for making losses.

Money is made when it’s outright boring out there.

Where do you want to be?

In the money?

I thought so.

Then, please get used to boring and don’t ever complain again that things are boring.

How does one position oneself in such a manner that one studies a stock for an year or two.

Hmmm.

Let’s put some skin in the game.

I know, this phrase is becoming more and more popular, what with Nicholas Taleb and all.

Yeah, we are picking up stock.

What stock?

The one we wish to observe for an year or two.

Why pick it up? Why not just observe it?

You won’t. You’ll let it go.

Why?

Because it’s not yours.

So we pick up the stock? What’s the point of observing if we’re picking it up now?

Well, we’re picking up a minute quantity – one quantum – now. That gets our skin into the game. Then we observe, and observe. Anytime there’s shareholder-friendly action by the management, we pick up more, another quantum. We keep picking up, quantum by quantum. Soon, while we’ve kept picking up, we’ve observed the stock for so long, that now, one look at the stock price tells us what kind of margin of safety we are getting in the stock at this point.

Wow.

Now, future entries become seamless. One look and we have a yes or no decision. Isn’t that wonderful?

Absolutely.

That’s where we want to be.

Busy Times

Market falls are busy times. 

No, we’re not busy whining. 

We’re busy buying.

Are we not afraid?

That the crack might deepen?

That it might go down to zero?

No.

We’re not afraid of this scenario. 

Meaning?

Meaning that even though such a scenario cannot be ruled out…

Huh!?

Yeah, it can’t be ruled out. With trade wars and back to back black swans waiting to strike, theoretically, the bottom is zero.

And you’re not afraid?

No.

Why?

Because I buy into fundamentally sound businesses…

…zero debt…

…great 5 year numbers…

…sometimes, great ten year numbers…

…and I buy with considerable margin of safety.

Still, one is normally always afraid, right?

Wrong. A small entry quantum strategy kicks out all remnant fear.

How?

This strategy leaves me liquid. Let it go down to zero. I’ll still have liquidity to buy.

And that which you’re buying…

…is sound, yes. If I buy something sound, it will yield returns. It’s like agriculture. Crops grow in good soil. They don’t grow well in bad soil. I make sure that I choose excellent soil.

How does one do that?

Due diligence. Period.

With all the scams and frauds going on…

Well, I look long and hard for shareholder-friendly managements. Representable salaries, willingness to share, largesse, debt-averseness, intelligence, business savvy, the list goes on.

What if you land up with a fraud management?

Solid research will make you avoid scamsters. I search the internet thoroughly for any kind of smoke. Crooks leave a trail, and one is able to catch their online trail pretty easily. 

Alone online?

Second recourse are annual reports. They reveal a lot. I don’t invest in a company without having a thorough look into its annual reports. I look at CSR, the director’s report, skin in the game, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash-flow, special items, what have you.

What if you still land up with a fraud?

After I know I’ve landed up with a fraud management, I would look to exit at the next market high. 

What if your holding is wiped out till then?

If it’s wiped out, I have many other holdings to lean on, and don’t forget the liquidity that is yet to flow into honest managements.

So you’re not afraid of the loss?

There is some risk one has to take. Here, it is the risk of being wrong. The good thing is, once I know that I’m wrong, I won’t double up on my wrong call. I’ll get busy elsewhere and look to exit from my wrong call with as little damage as possible, perhaps even in profit.

Profit?

You forget, I like to buy with margin of safety, and you’d be surprised at what people are willing to pay at market highs. 

I see, well then, happy investing!

Thanks! 🙂

Stamina of a Marathon Runner

Yes.

That’s what a small entry quantum approach demands of its player.

To be frank, I’ve not run any marathons on field and track.

However, I’ve done my share in life, and continue to do so. 

If it’s not a marathon, I don’t get a kick.

If you’ve got that in yourself, you’re cut out for the small entry quantum approach.

There’s repetition.

Boredom.

The long-haul.

Life in the background.

No hype.

Going on and on…

…till you break through,…

…and the contents of your portfolio spill over…

…and start to show.

Might take a few decades. 

Do you have it in you?

What will make you hold out?

Stick to the tenets of the small entry quantum approach, and you will not only hold out, but your folio will burgeon too.

Buy with surplus.

Buy with margin of safety.

Learn to sit.

Enter small. Many times.

Keep entering over the years, till there is reason to enter.

Exit on highs. Only get rid of those stocks you don’t feel like holding anymore.

No fear please. Kill it. Create the circumstances for fear to vanish.

No euphoria either. That’s a tough one, especially when the whole world is dancing around you. 

Do your homework. 

Don’t listen to anyone.

You’re set.

 

This is Why Your Blockbuster Gain Story is going to Happen

You’re learning to sit. 

You buy with margin of safety. 

You buy in small quanta,…

…and that’s why you’re always liquid,…

…to avail any opportunity that arises. 

Yeah, there’s nothing impeding your liquidity…

…because you’ve kept yourself virus-free, i.e. debt-free. 

You only buy quality…

…that’s going to be around for a long, long while,…

…because you don’t sell for a long, long while. 

You don’t listen to what the grapevine is saying…

…because of the conviction and strength of your own research and opinion.

Yes, you regularly go against the crowd. 

You either buy into debt-free-ness, or into managable debt that spurts growth. 

Your input into the market doesn’t affect your daily life, leaving you tension-free to address your non-market world and thrive in it,…

…and that is why,…

…for all the above reasons,…

…your blockbuster gain story is going to happen,…

…and what’s more,…

…you are also enjoying the ride leading up to it.