Making Equity Antifragile

Yeps, Taleb’s the famous one. 

Moi, je ne suis pas célèbre.

Néanmoins, j’aime le terme “antifragile” de Taleb.

Also, Taleb has termed equity as robust.

I do equity. 

I’d like my interaction and future with equity to be antifragile.

Let’s first look at Taleb’s definition for antifragile.

He says that anything that has more upside than downside from random events (or certain shocks), is antifragile; the reverse is fragile.

Robust equity will eventually crack when subjected to shock.

We are aware of that.

What do we do now?

Firstly, we take time, and put it in infinity mode. Meaning, that we stay invested, for a long, long, long time. 

We’re now allowing equity amply sufficient time to recover from not one shock, but many shocks.

Also, each time there is a shock, and equity tanks, we go in and buy some more.

How can we do this?

We are sufficiently liquid, all the time

Our small entry quantum approach is ensuring that. 

Also, we’ve chosen such equity first-up that is minimally susceptible to cracking. That’s the best we can do. 

We have either avoided debt altogether or chosen debt-levels that are adding value to the stock and can be easily taken care of in the short-term

We have chosen equity with decent quick and current ratios

We have chosen adaptable managements that function as optimal human capital, fighting inflation, showering shareholder-friendliness and adding value at all times

However, crack they do, eventually, and we keep picking up more. 

Since we’ve kept ourselves “infinitely” liquid as per our small entry quantum approach, we are then also “infinitely”poised to benefit from the cracks

As we keep getting more and more opportunities to buy with meaningful margins of safety, markets show us more upside than downside

Thus, antifragility comes to us as a function of falling price, given that the underlying has sound fundamentals, low to nil debt and benevolent, versatile and diligent management

Now, let the shocks come. 

In fact, let 20 shocks come. 

We want shocks to come…

…so that we can continue to buy at rock-bottom prices, which work in an antifragile manner for us, because of the characteristics of the equity and management we have chosen

Profiting from shocks?

More upside than downside? Owing to the effects of a shock?

What kind of behaviour is that?

That’s antifragile behaviour.

Advertisements

Time your Friend or Time your Enemy?

This one depends…

…on you.

How is time treated in your curriculum with regard to the markets?

Are you in a hurry…

…or is your motto “hurry spoils the curry”?

One can make any market action an extremely difficult one if one squeezes time. 

On the other hand, the same market action yields great results when time is stretched to infinity. 

One can understand this in the predicament of the trader.

Expiry is due. 

Trades are in loss. 

It seems that trades are not going to make it to break-even by expiry.

They would probably be showing a profit after expiry. 

However, time-span for validity of the trades has been squeezed to expiry. 

Hence, the trader faces loss. 

The investor, on the other hand, is invested in the stock of the same underlying, and doesn’t dabble in the derivative. 

For the investor, time has been expanded to infinity. 

The investor doesn’t feel pain from a time-window that’s about to close.

Now, let’s look at the cons for the investor, and the pros for the trader. 

The price for making time one’s friend is the principal being locked-in for that much time. 

The investor is comfortable with that. 

If not, the investor feels pain from the lock-in, and may make a detrimental move that works against long-term investing philosophy, as in cutting a sound investment at its bottom-most point during a long drawn-out correction. 

Investors need to fulfil the comfort condition before committing to infinity. 

After a small loss, the trader moves on with the bulk of his or her funds. 

Traders needs to take a loss in stride. 

If not, future trades get affected. 

The advantage of committing funds for short periods, in trades, is that one can utilize the same funds many times over. 

The price for using short periods of time to one’s advantage, however, is tension. 

One is glued to the market, and is not really able to use the same time productively, elsewhere. 

Friendship with one aspect of time works adversely with regard to another aspect of time. 

The investor is not glued to market movements. He or she can utilize his or time for multiple purposes while being invested simultaneously and then forgetting temporarily about the long-term investment. 

It is easier to forget temporarily about an investment than it is to forget about a trade. 

Over the years, I have found it difficult to combine trading and long-term investing, specifically in the same market.

However, I do take occasional trades, apart from being invested for the long term. 

This works for me when the markets in question are different, as in Forex and Equity. 

Bifurcation Ability – Do you have it?

No?

Develop it asap, please.

Otherwise, don’t be in more than one market. 

However, who is satisfied with just one market?

That would leave one with a lot of time on one’s hands, wouldn’t it?

Time on hands means looking for another market, and another, and another, till one’s time is fully occupied, and one’s thirst for market activity quenched. 

With multiple markets on one’s radar, one needs to bifurcate. 

As in time and mind compartmentalisation…

…which basically translates as…

…that when you’re working on the one market, you’re not letting any overhang from another market bother you. 

If an overhang is bothering you, take two, or take ten, or take however long it takes to kill the overhang. 

Loss, depression, profit, jubilation, exuberation, whatever cause or emotion is prevailing, let its effect come and let it go. Wait for it to go. Then open the next market. The last thing you want is for the other market to be observed and analysed while there’s emotional bias from a former market. 

Therefore…market done…market closed…next market. There’s no other formula here. 

Most market people are both traders and investors. 

This is the area where they really, really need to bifurcate and compartmentalise. 

Why?

Trading and investing involve diametrically opposite implementation strategies, that is why. 

If you’re making changes within your investment portfolio, but are still in the trading mindset, you are going to make major mistakes, which will most definitely disturb whatever balance you have managed to instill within your investment portfolio. 

Similarly, if you’re looking to open a trade and are still in the investing frame of mind, you are optimally poised to botch up your trade big time. 

This is how I approach the matter. 

I do a first half – second half thing. 

The first half during which the markets are open are for investment decisions. 

Then there’s lunch.

By lunch, I forget how the first half of the day has been spent. At least, I try and forget. 

I let the scrumptious lunch help me drown my memory. 

After lunch, the second half starts, which is dedicated to trading decisions.

Strategies used after lunch are diametrically opposite to the ones used before lunch. 

This works for me. 

There comes a time when there are no more investment decisions to be taken, at least for a while. Markets become expensive, and margin of safety vanishes. One is not thinking of entries. Exits are far, far away, as this is long-term investing. Here is when one can dedicate oneself to one’s trading. One’s got the whole day for it. It’s a great situation, because the need for bifurcation between trading and investing is gone. 

Then there comes a time where no trades are developing. Lovely.

Right, pack up, take a break, let’s go for a short and sweet holiday!

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.

From Target to Target

What’s your target?

Big one?

Fine. Good for you. Nothing wrong with having a big target. Go for it.

Big targets appear far.

That will need to be tackled.

Why so?

Because big targets are big, they take … you guessed it … time.

Getting to the big target requires handling time.

Yeah, that’s the killer.

Barely anyone around claims to manage time successfully.

Managing time can also mean inaction.

Barely anyone acknowledges that.

Time does us in.

We lose sight of the big target.

Game over?

Or is it?

No, not game over.

Nobody’s telling anyone to not have a big target.

Have it. Fine.

However, have many small ones.

Yeah. Many small targets.

Move from small target to small target.

That’s how you bridge your month, week, or even your day.

Oh, one other thing.

As far as the big target is concerned, forget about time.

Then, as you move from small target to small target, and you’ve forgotten about time, well, voilà, guess what just arrived…?

Yeah, your big target.

Cheers!

Finding your Groove

Form matters.

Form as in – shape.

What’s the implementable shape of your strategy?

You might have identified your market strategy after a lot of effort.

However, you are still not succeeding with it.

You know it’s the right strategy for you.

What’s off?

Why is your strategy not making you money?

It’s probably not being implemeted in sync with your character-, time- and risk-profile(s).

Your strategy is not in sync with YOU.

Bring it in sync, and then implement it.

You will see the difference.

Tone it down. Tone it up. You know yourself. By now, you’ve also recognized your risk-profile. Play with time. Which time-frame are you most comfortable with?

Make your strategy an extension of yourself.

Sleepless nights means you are doing it wrong.

Keep fitting-fitting-fitting till there’s total synchronization.

If you are not able to totally fit the strategy even after solid tweaking, look for a new strategy.

When a strategy has an edge, and is successfully fitted to oneself, it can be implemented with success.

Find your groove.

What does that mean?

It means the creation of circumstances for yourself where you are able to implement the succesful strategy again and again and again.

The strategy should make you feel like going for it repeatedly.

Nothing in your environment should distract you enough to make you fail to implement the successful strategy. Try and bring it on auto-pilot as much as you can. If something manual remains, try and create a life for yourself where that manual step can be repeated with ease.

There will be many disturbances.

You’ll need to attenuate these enough to put the manual steps in motion.

That is the toughest part.

Constraints keep cropping up, and we are not able to implement because of them.

Yes, the most difficult part is for your groove to keep churning despite constraints.

Finding your groove is the precursor to maintaining your groove.

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.