Saturday, March 14, 2015

Long Term is NOT Lazy term

Most people misunderstand Long term. It does not mean that you buy and forget only to return later after many years. Long term only means to take advantage of compounding. Long term investing means to know the business so very well, you have visibility to the micro and macro economics of the stock and the industry. It means more work, more knowledge and not really a patient attitude borne out of laziness or unwillingness. It means greater responsibility.

There are many philosophies to investing and one needs to choose what suits his mental makeup. Not every philosophy will work well universally as the brain composition and wiring is different to different people. It is true that only 7 out of the original 30 stocks of 1980 Sensex are alive today. The 23 other businesses have vanished. This is what long time does to businesses. Century Mills form the Birla group was a market leader and darling of the stock market in the 80s much like todays' Infosys or L&T. Who would have then thought such a leader from an impeccable business house would vanish from the radar.

How do you then protect your self from such changes? By closely monitoring the business environment and the stock. By being in touch with reality and making changes when things go wrong. The strategies that are created looking at the past will not work for the future. Change will be the constant and the pace of change can only get faster in the information world. The stock market is not for people unwilling to  put work. You need to protect against the risks and that will take care of the returns. Building a portfolio of diversified stocks is a first step. A discipline for regular monitoring and being prepared to make changes to the portfolio is another.

A stock as an asset has a unique value but is perceived differently by the bidders in the stock market and hence the one who pays the most gets it. Winners curse says that the buyer of a stock either over pays for it or the value of the stock is lesser than anticipated by the buyer. So beware of the competitive arousal that can do an investor in. A bull market is a preparation for the next bear market. Invest gradually over a period of time. The market is going to be around for a long long time although we can’t say that for the individual businesses in it.