For most people investing revolves around the application of rules. Buy stocks with P/E ratios below X and have Debt/Equity ratios below 0.5. Index investing is better than active strategies, which is better than value investing. The reality mechanical strategies work until they don’t. In the third of our five part series, I dig deep further to look beyond mechanical investing strategies and examine the importance of how tendencies, principles, and to a certain extent fate, play critical roles in the setting of stock prices and how we frame our investment decisions. I also look at how we react to what market does, can also be a critical factor to setting stock prices and what investing competencies we need to develop to manage these tendencies to make more successful investment decisions.
I always get questions from people about investing. In this episode I share a few questions and offer my takes:
Is stock picking more art than science?
How do you come up with different investment ideas?
What is the first metric you look at when you research a stock?
What are the tricks in investing in the stock market?
One of my motivations as an Investment Coach is to make people more street smart when dealing with the investing industry (banks, mutual funds, wealth management companies, brokers, robe-advisers etc). Even though more people today are investing on their own, the reality is you cannot invest in a bubble, and whether you go the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) path or work with someone, you will still have to work with the industry. You have to co-exist with them.
So loyally and faithfully we will march into our local branch (or lounges), or a financial adviser’s office, or a Starbucks and begin the dance. The thing is before you even make contact they have you sized up.
They think you’re an idiot and they are going to go out of their way to make you feel like one.
The industry has developed a rather air-tight formula for getting us to shell out our hard earned savings and the core component of their value proposition is to make us feel inadequate or give us a bad money image. In this episode I will share with you this formula and give an example of this ritual and more importantly how we can overcome these negative connotations they are projecting to us.
As an Investment Coach, I spend a good amount of time working with people who are new to investing. Often one of the first questions I get from someone who is new to investing is "I want to learn how to invest are often in the form of: What stocks should I buy?" or "I have $10,000 I would like to invest. What stocks should I buy for the next 10 years?" I've been asking myself lately, why people believe that default position for investing must involve buying and selling stocks? The reality is buying and selling Facebook or bank stocks should not be your first thought when it comes to investing. In this episode, I try to figure out why people have this mindset and how it can have a devastating impact on your investing experience.
In the second part of my review of Morgan Housel's terrific presentation at the MicroCap Leadership Summit, I share his takeaways on the remaining two historical cases he cites that can teach us a lot about investing (Part 1 here - iTunes, Google Play). In this part of his presentation he talks about State of the Union speeches and the Wright Brothers.
I have to be honest, I'm getting a bit of bro love for this Morgan Housel of the Collaborative Funds. He just keeps hitting his blog posts out of the park. I may be projecting a bit of Confirmation Bias here and I'm fine with it because go to the heart of what I do as an investment coach. I've referred to his posts many times here and I recommend you check out his blog. A lot of times, we can learn more about something when we view them from a totally different perspective. Housel demonstrates this in an excellent presentation he delivered at the MicroCap Leadership Summit where he examined 5 seminal events in history and parsed out some takeaway learning points that can be applied to the investing realm. It's a fantastic presentation full of learnings and I wanted to share them with you. It turned out there was so much insights to gain, that I had to break the podcast down into two separate episodes. In Part 1, I offer some takes on his cases involving nuclear power plants in Austria, the war on cancer, and 9/11.
I came across this wonderful blog post by Morgan Housel of the Collaborative Fund where he shares his take on the 4 most important fundamental investing skills. It's a fantastic article (I've read 5 times already and I'll probably read it another 20!) in that it really reinforces a lot of the principles and ideas I've tried to develop in people who are getting into investing. In this episode, I review his article and offer some additional takes and perspectives.
The essence of my coaching practice is to teach people to make more successful investment decisions. Investing is about making decisions. Should I buy, sell, or hold a stock or ETF? At face value, successful investment decisions are a product of improved education of the mechanics of investing as well as continuous engagement. This is great however it does not on its own lead to making consistent successful investment decisions. There is another level of thinking that needs to go into the process and the great investors incorporate this level of thinking into their investment decisions. In this episode, Aman shares some insights into what is called Second Order decision making, which can when practiced consistently and implemented within an investment playbook can improve the probability of making successful investment decisions.
RANT ALERT! In episode 66, I went on a bit of a rant after a blogger said I was asking the wrong investing question in that performance shouldn't play a factor in investing. A common feeling people who start investing experience is intimidation, especially from the financial services industry. They feel like they are being talked down and become hesitant to learn more and ask questions. This plays into to investment industry's hands. To give you another example, in this episode, I share with you a question person asked about robo advisors, and the response that was provided by someone who works in the financial services industry. The response made me really angry but at the same time didn't surprise me as it was a typical response I would expect.
Since I started doing Stock Talk in podcast and video forms, I've noticed something. It appears the most popular episodes are the one's where I've shared responses that I've offered to people that have sent me questions or responses that I've given in personal finance and investing groups. The great thing is these questions are not really that personal and I feel many, many people can benefit and learn from. It appears you feel the same way! So I plan to do more of these type of podcasts in the future. Here's my latest edition where I answer questions ranging from "What is an SEC 10-K Report?" to "What are the fundamental skills for investing in stocks?" to finally "How does investing in stocks work?". These are amazing, elegant, and powerful questions form a important foundation for investing.
There's been a lot of angst and worry and hysteria thanks to the newly elected Mad King and his minions. You won't find any of that on Wall Street these days. Every is awesome! Aman shares some of the current psychology that is pervading the trading floors and counters of Wall Street.
This episode is a bit of a catch-up episode in that I touch base on a variety of interesting behavioural investing observations, starting with my own recent investment decisions and layering on some observations on how easily we can be swayed to take investment decisions that we really have no business taking. Finally I touch on a recent trend in the investing space where professionals are adding a little Zen to their investment decision making process.
This episode is a replay of the webinar I delivered on finding your right investing path. I've delivered this presentation many times and it's one of my favourite and one of the most important. Many times I get asked, "Aman, I have $5000 or $10,000 or $50,000 and I want to invest it. What stocks or bonds or ETF's should I buy?" People are looking for the quick answer and solution. Unfortunately investing doesn't work that way. Investing is very much a marathon not a sprint. In order to make the right investing decisions and answer the question above, you need to first make sure you are on the right investing path as there are numerous ones available to all of us. In this webinar I walk you through these investing paths and help you try to figure out how to select the right path that is compatible with your personal circumstances. I also share some important principles and competencies that successful investors have developed that are important no matter what path you select.
In this episode, Aman provides some interesting updates from his previous episode where he was critiqued by a blogger regarding his use of questions as it pertains to the performance of his robo portfolio. It's also an episode of firsts as Aman presents his first book report since Grade 3. One of his goals this year is to read some of the personal finance books that have been piling up in his house. Aman's book report is on the book, Victory Lap Retirement, written by Mike Drak and Jonathan Chevreau.
The recent proclamation by the Donald (aka The Mad King) and his Wall Street minions of the desire to jump into a Hot Tub Time Machine and go back to 1999, a time where financial regulation was unfettered is a call to action for investors. Aman shares his thoughts on how the Financial Crisis became his A-Ha moment for starting his investment coaching practice and how we can take proactive steps to ensure we don't repeat the same mistakes of yesterday.
When I teach and mentor people how to buy and sell stocks and ETF's, the learnings revolve around understanding what makes stock prices go up and down. I teach people how to read and interpret financial statements, assess risk, valuation, developing an investment decision framework, learning and managing our emotions. These are core pillars to framing an investment decision. There is also one other very important factor that can drive stock prices and for the most part we ignore it and take it often for granted. Given the events of the past few weeks, this factor has become has now entered the discussion.
Josh Brown of the Reformed Broker blog, wrote a fantastic piece called Stock Markets and the Rule of Law which reintroduces us...all of to the importance that the rule of law has in how business functions. In this episode I weigh with my own thoughts about this and how it has made take pause in how I am currently framing my own personal investment decisions.
In this episode, Aman shares some observations on how the financial services industry are targeting Millennials with sustainable investing products, even though the track records of these type of products are not the greatest. The industry's response is they are just giving what people want. Unfortunately it might not be in the investors best interest. Aman also shares his personal story of how his robo adviser tried to upsell him into adding a sustainable investment component to his portfolio. In the end even though an investment product may be compatible from a personal values perspective, it is still important to do your own research to determine if the investment is truly consistent with your investment plan and ideology.
I actually had a totally different working title for this episode but recent events have introduced a term that somehow fits where I'm going with this episode. I'm afraid that what I'm going to say is going to ruffle some feathers in the personal finance blogging community.
When I started out as an investment coach, I spent a fair bit of time teaching people how to filter financial information from traditional sources like financial statements and brokerage reports. Recently I find myself adding an additional layer, which is reading and interpreting financial blogs as more and more I am finding blogs that are producing content that is paid or sponsored content, which is worrying to me as it casts some doubt in terms of the objectivity of the information being presented. I'm a bit conflicted in that I know people who do this and write some wonderful and thought provoking pieces, yet when I read a post that is sponsored I feel some of that "purity" or objectivity is lost, which I'm sure is what drives initially a lot of people to blog or do podcasting. The whole notion of social media influencers which corporations have pursued in their marketing strategy appears to be making its way through the personal finance genre. In this episode I weigh into what appears to be a growing phenomena and offer some takes if this a good thing for investors.
In this episode, Aman reviews some of the big investing flashpoint and how he dealt with them. There were three critical moments in 2016 that played important roles in how you performed during the year.
If you've read Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, you are quite familiar with the 10,000 Rule, which he cites as the minimum amount of time one needs to master a skill or task. When I look at my investing career, my path has been very different in some sense, however the constant was the amount or practice I put into investing. I can safely say I've spend way over 10,000 hours in formal training as well as practice in analyzing and investing in stocks. I'm proud of that and it is my passion for investing that got me here. Unfortunately some don't see the 10,000 hour rule as applicable to investing. In this episode I try to calmly dispel this notion....calm being the key word.