Cost-Free-Ness

Why…
 
…do we play this game?
 
I play it to…
 
…win.
 
What’s one’s definition of a win?
 
It’s different for everyone.
 
I’ll tell you mine.
 
I want to be completely cost-free in the markets before the end of a bull-run. 
 
What does being cost-free mean?
 
It means that whatever one has in the market, has been completely freed up of its principal. 
 
That’s done by taking the principal out, over time, as markets climb. 
 
What purpose does cost-free-ness serve? 
 
Firstly, whatever’s in the market now, in a cost-free state, is all high quality material. 
 
It can’t be otherwise. 
 
What’s not high quality will be pulled out as markets persist in their climb. 
 
Why?
 
The impulse to book is very strong. 
 
In that state of mind, whatever is not worth holding anymore, will be automatically booked. 
 
It’s human nature. 
 
Secondly, what’s in the market now, can stay in, like, forever, without causing us any tension. 
 
That’s an ideal state of mind for the creation of multibaggers, and the underlyings in question are all multibagger material, being the essence of one’s entire market-play. 
 
Thirdly, one has gotten one’s soldiers home, to fight more battles, as valiantly as ever, in the times to come. 
 
Ya, cost-free-ness means that one has pulled one’s principal out. 
 
This very principal will now be utilized to make more and more shares cost-free.
 
Fourthly, we are not going to suffer any pangs about the markets climbing and climbing further. 
 
Further climb benefits our material in the market, immediately. 
 
More material, picked up at trading levels, is likely to yield a small chunk of cost-free shares, in the form of a winning trade. As one exits such trade, one leaves one’s profit in the market, in the form of cost-free shares. 
 
Sure, eventually the market will collapse, and we’ll be left with some material which is not only not cost-free, but is now losing, perhaps big.
 
That’s ok.
 
Why?
 
Because, quantities are relatively small. These are trading levels, remember? Thus, entries will be small.
 
Then, these are the same underlyings as already existing in our portfolio. 
 
We want to hold these. 
 
We are holding many cost-free units of these very underlyings. 
 
Current loss-making units of these underlyings can be averaged as markets sink further, because we are highly convinced about these holdings.
 
Eventually, the curve will turn, and a new cycle will start.
 
As markets climb in the new cycle, eventually these new units will start becoming cost-free.
 
Such positive loop outlined above is the market sweet-spot I always wish to be in.
 
It’s the essence of almost seventeen years of first-hand, in-the-field market learning, with personal funds on the line at all times, struggles, losses, beatings, the works and what have you. 
 
And now, there’s cost-free-ness.
 
That’s my win in the markets!
 
🙂
 
 
 
 

One-Way Bias

I know, I know…

…but am not getting cocky, please believe me. 

There is something about a one-way bias,…

…so let’s discuss this one today.

When we’re only focused in one direction,…

…we’re not second-guessing the market. 

We have a set strategy, whatever it might be.

We don’t abandon it, suddenly, to go reverse. 

That saves us a lot of trouble, time and money. 

How?

No looking over the shoulder, as to when the market is reversing, saves trouble and time. 

Reversing during a set trend fails, fails, fails, till it succeeds.

Thus, money is saved, since all these failures are avoided. 

Money is made by not reversing, if reversing is to be a failure many times. 

Brokerage is saved. 

Yeah, bucks are saved, and perhaps made, owing to a one-way bias, let’s face it.

One might argue, though. 

Here it comes.

What about the huge profits to be made when a market reverses fully and finally?

Ya, I knew this one would come.

Pipe-dream.

Firstly, how would one know when a market is fully and finally reversing, before the event has set in fully and finally?

The truth is, it’s not reversing, not reversing, not reversing, till it’s reversing fully and finally. 

Does one really want to keep going contra till one is proven right, breaking an arm and a leg on the path?

NO.

Canning the argument. It’s a fail. 

Let’s say the market has fully and finally reversed. 

Now what?

Does one change one’s bias?

Or what?

I knew this one one would come too!

Changing bias is detrimental to a long-term investor’s strategy.

No-brainer, right?

So what does the long-term investor do when the market reverses fully and finally?

As a market over-heats, the long-term investor has been busy. 

He or she has not been not buying, but selling, unwanted stuff at first, and then freeing up wanted underlyings, such that what remains in the markets is free of cost. Ideally.

Thus, when a market reverses fully and finally, such an investor is not afraid of letting underlyings be in the market, since they are “freed-up”.

Now comes the full and final reversal. 

For the long-term investor it’s a valuable time to pause, giving the nerves and the system much-needed rest.

Liquidity has been created and pickled.

It’s a time for research, reading and reflection. 

Activity will resume upon the next bust. 

For someone with a short bias, like for the “Bears” in the Harshad Mehta TV show, though, now is an active time. 

Positional traders change bias after long-term trend change. 

Personally, I find going both-ways pretty taxing, so mostly, I stick to a long-long bias.

I say mostly, because once a downtrend has set in, the punting-demon does emerge, and I might trade a few puts here or there for the heck of it, if there’s nothing better to do, but not to the extent of contaminating my long-long bias.

Living in a country showing growth, active in its markets, we will do well with an upwards bias.

Short-circuiting poison will emerge from time to time. 

Control it…

…till you can’t.

At that point, trade a few Puts, or a Put Butterfly, or what have you, just to see what the other side feels like.

It’s just recreational, you see, not enough to contaminate one’s main bias.

Breaking Free

[ “I want to break free
I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies
You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you
I’ve got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free… ” – Queen].

How does one stay invested in the markets…

…despite all its deceptions and mind-games?

As indices creep up and up, our minds start playing tricks on us.

We seek excuses to cash out.

And, mostly, we…

…cash out.

Done?

NO.

We don’t want to be done.

Why?

There might come a day, when we wish we hadn’t cashed out.

Markets can stay overbought for ages.

Or not.

We don’t know.

No one knows.

Appreciation that counts sets in upon staying invested for the long-term.

How does one resolve this…

…conflict of mind versus reality?

One…

…breaks free.

Meaning?

Free up whatever has gone in.

Meaning?

Cash out the principal.

Leave the profit in the market.

This profit has cost no money.

Leaving it on the table is not a biggie.

Or is it?

It is…

…for most.

Those, for whom it isn’t, will benefit properly from compounding.

Now, what’s the danger?

No danger.

What’s on the table hasn’t cost you, so no danger.

Still, what would one fear?

No fear. What’s in is free, so no fear.

Let me paraphrase.

What’s the worst-case scenario from here?

Well, U-turn, and a big-time correction.

So what?

Use the correction to buy low, with the idea of freeing up more and more underlying(s) upon the high.

This way, size of one’s freed-up corpus keeps growing, and so does one’s exposure to compounding.

Wishing all very lucrative investing! 🙂

Dynamics of a Right Call

India is in a long-term bull market.

Sure, there will be corrections.

We can easily have a big-time correction, but still be in the long-term bull market.

Putting things in a twenty year perspective, 2008 hasn’t done away with direction.

Sure, ideally one needed to be equity – light by Jan 14, 2008, which most of us weren’t.

Question is, will be be relatively equity-lighter on Jan 14, 2021?

Yeah, I will be.

Lighter.

That’s about it.

Won’t be selling a single share of my core-portfolio.

However, hopefully, will have sold everything else before an interim market peak.

You see, for every right call, we make umpteen wrong calls.

These are the ones that we discard on interim market highs.

We don’t discard core-portfolio inhabitants.

These we allow to compound into multi-baggers.

It’s OK to make wrong calls.

Without these, we won’t get to make the right ones.

We won’t make the next mistakes though.

We won’t discard wrong calls without it being an interim market high.

Also, we won’t discard a right call as long as we keep feeling it’s a right call.

The best calls remain right…

… like…

… almost forever.

We’re talking Buffet and Coke.

Or, for example, RJ and Titan.

List goes on.

Point is, when we’ve made the right call, we need to follow up with right actions that allow maximum mileage.

Allowance for compounding.

Increase of position upon interim lows.

Patience.

No trigger-fingers.

You get the drift.

Over time, then, we are left with right calls which have developed into multi-baggers. Wrong calls have been discarded over many interim cycles.

The multi-baggers in our folio are, at this time, generating enough dividend to sustain us.

This is where we want to be.

It’s OK to dream.

Without the right dreams, we won’t arrive at the sweet-spot mentioned above.

Happy long-term investing! 🙂

High-Conviction Diaries

Sometimes, we’re convinced. 

Every nerve in our body is rooting for a particular thing.

It’s a go. 

Do one thing – 

– don’t hold back. 

Listen to yourself. 

High conviction doesn’t just dawn just like that. 

We’ve worked our whole lives to arrive at this high-conviction moment. 

On the way, we’ve made many, many bad calls. 

Actually, they weren’t bad calls, because…

…if it weren’t for them,…

…how would we learn?

Is some college professor going to teach us the markets?

Is there a recognised university teaching successful market play?

It pays more to depend on one’s own self, and on one’s common-sense – this being my opinion, of course. 

We learn the ropes – OURSELVES – by making mistakes and learning from these.

Here we are. 

We’ve survived so far. 

Now, our sensors are on full. We’re on high alert. We’ve arrived at a high-conviction moment. 

We know this is the right call. 

It’s going to make money. 

All entry parameters are showing a tick-mark. 

What’s stopping us?

We’re human.

There’s always doubt. 

Negative experiences in the past enhance such feelings. 

What if we’re wrong?

Well, if we never get going, how are we ever going to find out?

Enter. 

With a small quantum. 

Keep entering with small quanta as the opportunity exists, along with high-conviction. 

Assuming that high-conviction continues, but opportunity stops existing – 

– Stop.

Wait for next opportunity. 

Assuming that opportunity continues to exist, but high-conviction wavers –

– Stop.

Wait for high conviction to develop again. 

If it does so, see if opportunity still exists. 

If high conviction doesn’t develop again, discontinue going in any further. 

Revaluate the investment upon a market high.

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! 🙂

And Now, We’re Not Looking

Who’s not looking?

We. Stock people.

What are we not looking at?

Wrong question. We’re always looking at stocks.

Ok. What are we not looking for?

New stocks.

Why?

Our magic number has been hit.

What’s this magic number?

That’s the number of stocks we wish to handle.

Is it the same for everyone?

No, it’s different for everyone.

How does one arrive at this number?

Through hit and trial. Whatever that works. Where you feel good, that’s your number.

So, will your portfolio now stagnate?

No. Most definitely not. If a stock is not interesting anymore, it can always be replaced.

How does one go about doing that?

Wait for a market high. Then discard the stock you are not interested in anymore.

And how does one find a new stock in a scenario where one is not looking?

You let the stock find you.

Meaning?

You’re not looking, but something eventually hits you in the eye.

Aaahhhh.

Then you dig deeper. If all criteria are met…

…you enter.

Rriiighht….!

A Small Entry Quantum per Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Your ears are probably swelling from all this talk about a small entry quantum (SEQ) per day.

However, you are also noticing the practical element of the SEQ, especially during the current correction.

Whatever’s happening in the world is happening. We need to long-term invest on the basis of what’s being offered to us. When we see margin of safety, we act.

However, we could go on seeing margin of safety for years upon end. Therefore, our entry quantum per day is small, so small that we can last out purchasing for quite a while, and still have ample liquidity left over for all other necessary aspects of life.

There’s another benefit of the SEQ though.

Let’s say that one of your holding turns rogue.

It can happen. So many scams are emerging. There’s a new scam every day.

So let’s just assume, for assumption’s sake, that the management of one of the stocks you are holding is involved in a fraud, and this fraud has come to light.

Where does that leave you?

You stop accumulation of this stock immediately.

Don’t expunge it yet. You’ll lose out. What if the scam is a hoax? Find out. It might blow over. Management might change. Your conviction in the stock might be rekindled. Wait for a market high. If you’re still not convinced about the stock anymore, expunge it on a market high.

What did the small entry quantum do for you here?

You had accumulated the stock over some kind of period, SEQ by SEQ, right?

When the fraud exploded, your holding wasn’t that sizeable. SEQ, remember.

A fraud management won’t wait multiple years to let their fraudulent natures act. Sooner or later, a fraud will get caught. Sooner the better. When this one is caught, your holding is not enormous. It’s size depends upon the number of years of holding and conviction.

The greater the conviction, the longer the holding and the lesser are the chances of the management consisting of fraudsters.

Your small entry quantum has ensured that over many, many years, stocks that end up getting accumulated majorly are the ones where conviction strengthens year upon year upon seeing multiple practices of good governance and shareholder-friendliness.

Scammers stop getting accumulated long ago. They are expunged on market highs.

After a decade or two, your portfolio is brimming with honest multibaggers.