Price Based Margin of Safety

You might laugh at this one.

However, it is need based. 

We have been talking so much about small entry quanta. 

A small entry quantum allows for smaller mistakes.

It allows you to enter many times. 

It is small enough to make your capacity for entry outlast the number of margin of safety market days in a year. 

You take your savings. You define what you want to invest in equity for the year. 

You divide it by an estimate for the margin of safety days you might be getting for the year. You arrive at this number by estimating over a ten year average. 

Upon this division, you get your daily entry quantum, for the whole year, on margin of safety days. 

I go one step further to keep a constant small entry quantum defined for longer periods, for any particular entry day. 

As we said, small entry quanta should also mean many entries. 

We won’t be getting the same margin of safety every day.

On many days, we won’t be getting margin of safety at all, in the purist sense of its definition.

We will need to tweak the definition of margin of safety a bit, to have access to many entries. 

We are doing this because we are already on safe grounds. 

First up, we are playing with money we won’t be requiring for the next ten years, or so we estimate. 

Then, this is the money that is coming from our savings and is going into equity. It is for no other purpose. If it eventually doesn’t go into equity, we will end up finding some other use for it, such is human nature, and such is the nature of these multi-tasking times. 

Thus, if we see even a smallish entry possibility, we take it, because of the nature of the small entry quantum approach. 

How do we propose to tweak margin of safety?

We watch the price of a scrip we are unable to enter in. 

We watch, and we watch. 

Still too high. High, too, are fundamental entry allowers (FEAs), like price to earnings, price to book value, price to cash-flow, price to sales, etc., and we don’t enter. 

Then, one day, price starts to drop, for whatever reason. 

It continues to drop to a level, where we feel that for this particular scrip, that’s a pretty decent correction. 

It’s all feeling. 

You can look at charts, but then you tend to look once a month, and the feeling element fails to develop properly. 

So, we’re feeling pretty good about the level of correction, and we cast a glance at the FEAs. 

These are still a tad high, albeit much lower than before. 

For the FEAs to become lower than classic margin of safety levels, there could be a longer wait, or this event might not even happen, especially if we are looking at growth scrips.

If the event does not happen, it means no entry, and with our approach of small entry quanta, this leaves us high and dry with respect to the scrip. 

Are we going to let that happen?

Because of our safe small entry quantum approach, we are not going to let that happen if we can help it. 

When price offers margin of safety but FEAs are still a tad high, we enter with one quantum. 

Then we wait.

Scrip quotes some percentage points (2%, 3%, 5%, you choose) lower than our last entry. We enter with one more quantum, and so on. 

Now, two things can happen. 

The scrip can start zooming from here, and you are going to feel good about your entries. 

Or, the scrip falls further, and quotes lower than classical FEA definitions for margin of safety. 

Are you going to feel bad about your previous entries, which were small mistakes?

No.

Why?

You are too busy undertaking further entries into the scrip, quantum by quantum, for as long as the scrip quotes at levels below classical FEA definitions for margin of safety. 

Soon, you have a lot of entries done, at these safe levels, and you have more than made up for your few small mistakes. 

You’re good. 

In the other scenario, you were good anyways. 

Thanks to your small entry quantum strategy, it’s been a win-win for you all around. 

 

Advertisements

Dance the Bawwdy Music!

..dance the body music

makes you feel so happy

dance the body music

music makes you happy

hear the music play

feel your body sway

hear the dj say

oh what a big smash big smash

dance the body music…

 

Osibisa, was it, late ‘70s?

Yup. 

What an cool swingy number, sung by an unforgettable band!

Disco beat. Rhythm. Easy peasy lyrics. Synth. Floor’s going crazy. Song’s all over the people. People are all over the song. 

Euphoria. 

Why are we talking about it?

Music or euphoria?

Euphoria. 

I used the music element to paint a picture of euphoria in your mind.

What is it about euphoria?

Why does it push me on alert?

Is it that I don’t wish to enjoy my life?

What could I have against euphoria?

I’ll tell you. 

Before I tell you, I’d like to mention that I love the feeling. 

It fantastic being in the feeling. I’ve got one eye on my alerts though. 

WHY?

We make our biggest mistakes when hit by Euphoria. 

Yes. 

Surprised?

Don’t be. 

Under the influence of Euphoria, our biochemistry is so, so different. 

We’re far from peak. 

Our defences are down. 

We are highly capable of plunging into…an abyss…oblivion…call it what you feel is befitting. 

We let go of safety. 

We bet big. 

We bet dangerous. 

We bet the farm.

That’s what euphoria can do to us. 

I do feel euphoric, at times. 

A trade’s gone well. 

A deal’s come through. 

Stability at home. 

Euphoria. 

However…

…as I told you…

…one eye is on my alerts. 

If even a single thought emerges of betting big, bigger than my normal size, well, my predefined red-alert also goes up with such a thought. 

I see my alert’s red flare, and the unwanted thought subsides. 

I am able to sick to within the confines of my position-size rule.

If even one thought emerges of trying a new untested line, just because all current lines are doing ok, well, my predefined strategy saturation alert also goes up with such a thought. 

I remind myself that I’ve decided upon financial strategy saturation, and don’t plan to add a new line, at least not in a hurry or upon an impulse. 

I’m able to stick to my strategy saturation decision. 

Are you understanding what I’m trying to tell you?

If yes, I’m so happy for you. 

You’re not leaving it for later. You’re understanding it without being hit by the aftermath of a decision taken under the influence of euphoria. 

Cheers mate!

🙂

The Difference between Winning and Losing

It’s a whisker. 

You’re doing everything right. 

You’re following a proven strategy. 

You’ve adapted. 

You’ve removed many mistakes from your resumé.

Your strategy has undergone refinement. 

Why haven’t you started winning yet?

Yeah, we’re used to asking million dollar questions by now. 

In fact, such questions are all we ever ask. 

What do you think is the answer?

The answer is you. 

Yes. 

There’s something about you. 

It’s not fitting. 

You’ve got two options. 

Either make your strategy fit to this something, or …

… make yourself fit to the strategy. 

Both options can work, and you can start winning. 

Which option is easier to implement?

I think the more relevant question here is a different one. 

Which option befits the situation?

I’ll give you an example. 

I’ve got time issues. 

I make my market strategies fit my time issues. 

I can’t change my time issues, for something or someone will fall short then. Like everyone, I have many commitments too. 

Therefore, I fit my market strategy around me. 

I keep fitting, fitting, fitting, till the strategy either works, or is discarded for want of a win. 

Yeah, that’s me. 

Maybe your situation is different. 

Maybe you need to cater to the public. 

You’re not expecting the public to change to your whims and fancies, are you?

Not as a newbie, no no, that would be a cardinal sin. 

After all, the public is your paymaster, right?

Customer is your king, or queen. 

It becomes different when you turn into a celeb. 

Then you can dictate fashion. 

However, till you become a celeb, fit to the public, if you want to win. 

Behave in a manner that people want to pay for what you have to offer, again and again and again.

Maybe there’s a slight whisker of a trait in your behaviour that people don’t like. 

Change it. 

Whether you’re changing yourself, or fitting your strategy to meet your unchangeable nature or schedule, sometimes it’s only a whisker that makes the difference between winning and losing. 

People have lost olympic medals by one-hundredth of a second. 

What’s that millisecond lag in your own life that you need to get rid of?

Fancy schmanzy or just plain Vanilla?

There’s expenditure and there’s expenditure.

Meaning?

Let’s say you start some work. It can be market-related, for all I care. What do you do first?

Prep.

How do you prep?

Studying up. As long as I can manage.

And then?

Courses, workshops, the deal.

Local?

Naehhh. I try to keep it national though.

International?

Haven’t required it till now for market work.

Ok. What happens next?

I hit the market concerned. Low-key at first. 

Why?

That’s when you make the most mistakes. That’s why. 

I see. Motive?

I want to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.

Rather than from an instructor?

Of course. This is the market, remember. This is about you. Not about the instructor. This is about knowing your own shortcomings related to a particular market, and about adjusting and fine-tuning yourself to the market to trade it optimally. This is about fitting the market concerned in a tailor-made fashion into your own life without disrupting your own life. 

Wow! Well, then, congratulations. You’re a prime candidate for doing it the plain vanilla way. 

Is there any other way to do it?

Oh, there’s the fancy schmanzy one. 

Kindly describe it. 

Well, it mostly entails unnecessary expenditure along with necessary expenditure. There’s more unnecessary expenditure though. 

I see. 

One is normally too lazy to study up. Or, one doesn’t have the get-go in oneself to approach the subject on one’s own. 

Sure, can happen. 

One flips from instructor to instructor in search of the holy grail. Expensive software, international trips, five-star hotels, the whole shebang. In the end one has spent a bomb. To end up trading the instructor’s perspective. Finally realising that the markets are about oneself, and unless one is trading one’s own perspective, one is sure to lose. Or not realising this (!) and continuing to flip instructors and instructions. Finally burning out and giving up on the markets. 

Sad though. All necessary software is available free of cost on the internet. One can do inexpensive internet courses to widen one’s horizon. These can involve one-on-one instruction too. Video-conferencing. File sharing. Threads. Assessments. The works. Live-market training. You name it. All travelling and extra expenses cut out. Few hundred dollars for the whole course. 

I already acknowledged your plain vanilla acumen. I’m just trying to tell you that most others prefer the fancy schmanzy way. 

I prefer to stay in the market and not burn out. I’m in the market to make a steady income. 

Well, that you will, my dear friend. The plain vanilla way doesn’t promise any hype, but it does promise income. 

What to do in the Age of Shocks?

Wait for a shock.

That’s it.

Then go in… a bit.

Sound simple?

Ain’t.

Why?

Firstly, patience.

Who has patience, today?

Few.

Secondly, psychology.

Shock brings pessimism.

You don’t want to go in, not even a bit.

That is the whole thing.

Punchline. Understand it, and you’ve won already.

Thirdly, funds.

Who has funds, when the shock arrives?

Few.

Why?

Barely anyone knows how to SIT on funds.

I didn’t either.

Self-taught.

Through mistakes and pain.

By putting money on the line… losing it.

Took eleven years.

Now I know.

So don’t tell me that one is only born with the ability to sit.

Don’t waste your funds. Save them. They are your soldiers.

Fourthly, energy reserves.

Who has energy reserves when the shock arrives?

Few.

Why?

We’re too busy doing this doing that, always, forever. We don’t know how to conserve energy and build up reserves. Those who do then use their reserves to carry forward their strategies upon the arrival of a shock.

Fifthly, focus.

The hallmark of a big winner is focus.

Who has focus?

Few.

We’re too busy diversifying. It’s safer. Investing in the wake of shocks requires pinpointed focus.

Sixthly, courage.

Who has courage?

Few.

Why?

We’ve been taught to avoid, and move on. Life’s too full of BS that needs to be avoided. However, coming out during shocks needs courage. Face the enemy, and fight.

Seventhly, and perhaps this should have been on the top of the list, common-sense.

Who has common-sense?

Almost no one.

Why?

We’re too busy being complicated and sophisticated. We want to portray falsehood. We miss the forest for the trees. However, shocks are tackled with common-sense. Simplicity in thinking is paramount. The simplest ideas making the most sense are also the most successful ones.

Eighthly, long-term vision.

Who has vision?

Handful of people.

Why?

We’re too near-sighted. We want instant gratification. However, a shock presents excellent ground to root yourself in for the long-term. Understand this, and you’ll have understood a lot.

I could go on.

That’s quite enough though.

Above are eight points to think about,  to be seen as eight weapons that need sharpening, to come out fighting in the age of shocks.

Be patient, optimistic, fund-heavy, energy-heavy, focused and brave. Use your common-sense. Have long-term vision. BASICS.

Wishing you successful investing, in an age riddled with shocks.

🙂

Happy Fifth Birthday, Magic Bull!

Turning 5, tick-tock, how time flies!

Has the game changed? 

No. 

What are we in it for? Why do we play?

Bread and butter. Security. Children, their future. Ourselves. Goals. Luxury. Whatever makes us tick. 

Each time we tick, let’s tick better. 

Mistakes mean learning. We’re seeing them as tuition fees, because mistakes cost money. They are the only real learning. You learn when you’re hit. You learn from the pain. 

All other learning is – paper learning. It doesn’t translate into our DNA easily (or at all). For DNA-translation, there needs to be a biochemical change in the body. Metamorphosis. If paper-learning does that for you, well, you’re lucky. Count your blessings. To be envied. 

Rewards bring hubris. 

Hubris makes us vulnerable. 

How?

We get lazy and are caught napping. Off-guard. Hubris-condition coupled with big market-mistake can mean downfall. Don’t want to take names, but exactly this has happened to many. 

What is it about success? What does it do to the human being? Why do we stop being ourselves once we succeed? Why do we stop learning once we succeed?

Yet, each one of us strives for success. 

Can we remember to behave ourselves once we succeed? 

What kind of behaviour are we talking about?

The same behaviour that paved the way for success. Can we maintain that same standard of behaviour? Why is that difficult? It becomes difficult because the after-party causes hangovers. Let’s just scrap the after-party. Let’s continue to be ourselves even after we succeed. 

Instead of the after-party, let’s do something for society, for example. We can even pursue a constructive side-game, which has nothing to do with the main-game. It keeps us ticking on a different level. 

It’s important to tick. The opposite of that is stagnation. Ticking means evolution. 

Evolution means that the next time you take a shot, you’ve better at your game. You’ve evolved because of past learning. You are human capital, remember?

Happy Ticking!

🙂