When is it Ok to Average Down?

Just remember one thing…

…that the words “averaging down”…

…only go with long-term investing. 

They do NOT go with trading. 

After you have fully digested and understood the above, let’s to to the when. 

When does averaging down go with investing?

The answer to this is – only after doing proper homework. 

If you’ve not researched the underlying well enough, don’t even think about averaging down, because you could be throwing good money after bad. 

When there’s a correction, the long-term investor does get tempted to increase his or her holding, because of the lucrative prices that are on offer. 

Sure, why not?

Please understand, that this “sure, why not” is coming out so casually because of course the long-termer has worked overtime to arrive at the conclusion that he or she wishes to increase his or her stake in something that is already being held. 

The fall in the price of the underlying does not perturb the long-termer. Solid research has been done, and the markets make huge mispricing blunders when in free fall. Market players go all psycho and discard their precious holdings at throw-away prices. Picking up quality stocks at bargains is exactly what the long-termer is in it for.

The long-termer has done a few more things. 

Family has been secured with multiple income-sources and emergency funds. What’s going into the market is sheer surplus, not envisaged to be required over the next ten years. 

Then, entry quantum is small each time, small enough so that entries can be made all year round, and there will still be ample savings left after all entries. 

How does one calculate a small enough entry quantum that satisfies all of the above criteria?

One works backwards. 

Pinpoint your income after tax for the year.

Decide what you wish to amply save. Subtract this from your income. Further, subtract expenses. You are left with an amount. Decide whether all of this amount can go into the market, or whether only a part. Maybe you wish to go for a holiday with your family, or perhaps you wish to buy a vehicle, or what have you. Subtract such additional expenditure too. Finally, you are left with the amount that you wish to plough into the market, over the course of the year. 

Next, take the amount, and divide it by 30, or 40 or 50. 

Why?

On the down-side, the market could offer you margin of safety on 30 of the days that it is open in the year. On the up side, the number could be 50. We are talking about ten-year average numbers. During a singular correction, the market could offer margin of safety continually for the whole year. Decide what your magic number is. 30-40-50 days per year works ok over a ten year period. Divide the amount you’ve set aside with the number you’re comfortable with to arrive at your entry quantum per entry-day, for the year in question. Now you can keep going in with this same quantum through out the year whenever margin of safety is offered, and you generally won’t have to worry about running out of investing money, on average. 

Great stock-picking, excellent due diligence, surplus going in, small-enough entry quantum, ability to sit – the long-termer is armed with these weapons, and now, he or she can average down as much as desired, whenever margin of safety is offered.  

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From Park Mode to Flow

Funds find their way …

… to where they want to be.

Thus, if you’re sitting on some surplus, let it sit.

Pressure will be there, to do something about the funds.

Park.

There’s a German saying.

Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn.

Meaning, that what’s away from one’s eyes is also away from one’s mind, literally translated. However, you do get the drift.

Park your funds in such a manner, that you can’t immediately see them.

It can be something as simple as a savings account linked fixed deposit.

I prefer liquid funds, with my broker in between.

To call in the funds, I need to dial my broker. Then, a full working day needs to elapse before I have access to the funds in my savings account. I find this activation barrier slightly higher than logging in to net banking and nullifying a fixed deposit. That would give access in just two minutes. Too soon for me. I use my off-set day as a buffer, to perhaps contemplate about really going ahead with fund deployment or not. Access in two minutes would mean firing the gun without proper contemplation.

Yes, put an activation barrier between you and your funds. On purpose. Then they are truly parked. What do you do when you park your car? Handbrake on? Of course. So it is with parking of funds too. You put the handbrake on. Your activation barrier is the handbrake.

Now?

Now nothing.

Sit.

Do other stuff.

Lead a full life. Enjoy your life.

Time will pass.

Opportunities will come …

… and go.

Are they making you jump out of your seat?

No?

Right.

Keep park mode on.

Eventually, something will come along that will make you jump.

Homework gives a green signal.

You will want to be in. Every cell in your body will say so.

Kill park modus.

Let the funds flow to where they want to flow, into this opportunity that is making you jump.

Let it be has now turned into let it flow.

Stocks and the Art of Sitting

When can you sit?

When you’re comfortable.

It’s as simple as that.

When can you remain comfortable over very long periods of time?

When you’ve bought with appropriate margin of safety. That’s when.

Not enough margin of safety at time of purchase means jumping around and tension everytime the market rumbles.

Do you want that?

Are you investing to be on the roller-coaster day in and day out?

If yes, why are you investing in the first place?

Why don’t you just trade?

Be on your roller-coaster and recognize what you are doing.

There’s nothing wrong with being on the roller-coaster.

However, there’s something hugely wrong with being on it and not know that you are on it.

Instead, you have told yourself that you’ve pickled away your doubloons safely for a lifetime.

With inadequate margin of safety at the time of purchase, nothing could be further from the truth.

Why?

Biochemistry.

It changes when there’s tension.

Due to a changed biochemistry, we make mistakes.

We sell at a bottom, or we double-up thinking it’s the bottom, only to sink further, and then we actually go and sell at the bottom.

Bottomline is, we are likely to make vital mistakes if there’s something disturbing us.

Let’s remove the cause of the disturbance, so that we can go on to discover the art of sitting.

While investing, let’s buy with adequate margin of safety.

Wealth-Generators know how to Sit

Most humans don’t know how to sit. 

Most humans are not wealthy. 

If you are a wealth-generator, you’ve probably already made the connection, knowingly or unknowingly. 

You sit. 

You are focused.

You know what you are doing. 

You are confident about what you are doing. 

You don’t keep looking over your shoulder. 

You are not jumpy. 

You don’t require a daily quote. 

In fact, you’re quite happy with a monthly quote. 

You know the value of your underlying. The world cannot tell you otherwise. 

You seal one wealth-generating opportunity, and move on to the other. 

That helps you to sit on the former, while you focus on the latter…

…till you seal the latter, which is when you move on to the next one, and so on and so forth. 

Soon, you are at the pivot of many, many wealth generating ideas. 

You are surrounded by multiples. 

Some have fully matured. 

You bring them to their logical conclusion. If this is a cash-out, well it’s a cash-out. 

You move the funds resulting appropriately…

…perhaps to a new avenue…

…or perhaps to finance something big…

…be it a lifetime-requirement…

…or what have you. 

You recognise the fact that one of the main purposes of wealth is also to fulfil lifetime-requirements. 

Mere income is not able to fulfil these. 

Generated wealth is. 

You recognise that. 

You are a wealth-generator. 

You know how to sit. 

Going for the Multiple 

Relax. 

We’re not going for the jugular. 

Or are we? 

The jugular has the most copious flow. 

Maybe we are then… 

… going for the jugular. 

However, there’s no stabbing happening. 

We do everything from the inside of our comfort-zone.

We act with harmony. 

Balance. 

Focus. 

Intelligence. 

Common-sense. 

We try and be non-violent about it. 

What are we doing? 

We’re looking to create wealth. 

What makes us look? 

Security. Our basic income secures us. 

Boredom. Adding to our basic income has become boring. 

Overflow. As basic income starts to overflow, it needs a long-term avenue in which it doesn’t demand our constant attention. 

Fine. 

What’s the best way… 

… to go about it?

Where there’s honey, there are bees. 

Finance-people find you. You have money. They have investments. For finance-people, you are bread and butter. 

So, you sit. 

You wait. 

You let them come. 

You’ve got discriminatory-ability. 

You sift. 99% of what comes goes into the bin. 

You like 1%. 

You invest in that 1%.

How much? 

Whatever you pre-define as your per-annum outflow into wealth-creation. 

Only that much. 

What then? 

What’s the bottom-line? 

What’s your holding strategy? 

Nothing. 

You sit. 

The biggest money is made…

…while sitting.”

You’re not even looking at your long-term investment more than once a month. 

You’re not interested in daily quotes.

The daily quote can say zero. You don’t care. You know that you are in the process of creating wealth, and that it’s going to take long, and within that period you don’t care if the world thinks your holding is zero, because you know it isn’t. 

Why? 

Due-diligence. 

Ability to think differently. 

Ability to see wealth in its nascent stage, and to recognize it. 

You have these things. 

They didn’t come for free. 

You took some solid hits to earn them. 

Yeah, you have what it takes, and that’s why… 

… you’re going for the multiple. 

Adding No-Action to your Repertoire

Action with positive outcome vs…

… no action vs…

…action with negative outcome…

…hmmmm.

Sometimes we become oblivious to actions with negative outcomes.

Society preaches to be active.

We listen.

We feel that doing something means a step forward.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so.

Many times, and especially in the markets, it actually pays to do nothing.

The most successful investors in the world will tell you, that the biggest money is made while sitting. They’ll also tell you, that almost no one has learnt how to sit.

They’re right.

Meanwhile, I’m telling you, right here and right now, that you can sit comfortably upon your investment without jumping only if you’ve bought with margin of safety. Think about it.

Also, the most successful traders in the world will tell you that the number one action that saves money in the markets is no action. Yeah, when markets move sideways, which is about 60%+ of the time, trades tend to get stopped out both ways, and the trader loses money repeatedly. At such times, it’s better not to trade.

What’s vital here?

Recognition.

Recognize that it’s a time for no action.

Then, do something else.

For this to be practical, make trading and investing your bonus activities.

Meaning, that if your bread and butter depends upon another mainstream activity, you can easily switch off from trading and investing for a while, at will, and without any negative impact upon your basics.

Also, you need to be versatile enough to have fall-back activities lined up, which switch on where trading and / or investing switch off. These need to take over then, and keep the mind occupied.

The danger of not going into no-action mode is the continuous committing of actions with negative outcomes.

That’s precisely where we don’t want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

🙂