What is common in the investment strategies of successful investors like Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffet, Christopher Davis, and many others?
Have a look at some of the quotes of these famous investors and you will figure it out…
“The best way to measure your investing success is not by whether you’re beating the market but by whether you’ve put in place a financial plan and a behavioural discipline that are likely to get you where you want to go.” – Benjamin Graham
“A 10% decline in the market is fairly common – it happens about once a year. Investors who realise this are less likely to sell in a panic, and more likely to remain invested, benefitting from the wealth building power of stocks.” – Christopher Davis
“A market downturn doesn’t bother us. It is an opportunity to increase our ownership of great companies with great management at good prices.” – Warren Buffett
The highlight is that these investors believe in a common virtue that if you’ve selected the right investments, `you will always be rewarded for your patience.’
The patience required for investing is a vital part of financial discipline and shows how well you can check your emotional state, greed, and manage money to achieve your goals.
Being patient with your investment means that once you have selected the asset to invest in, you should not be bothered by short-term volatility in the value of the investment and stay invested for long-term. The idea here is to select worthy assets at a reasonably good price.
Trying to time the market is a futile exercise. You may lose out on an attractive investment opportunity if you keep waiting for the price to reach the bottom. Do note that even if the investment is available at a higher price, it may still be worth buying if it has the potential value to grow higher in the future.
In fact, if you follow a disciplined approach and invest regularly, it will make timing the market irrelevant as your cost averages over time and the benefit of compounding augments your wealth.
It is not possible for anyone, even the well-known investors, to accurately predict the perfect time to enter or exit the market. The strategy that they follow and the one which we all must follow is simple:
- Create a strategy
- Select assets after careful evaluation
- Hold them for long-term
Here is a prime example to show how patience can work wonders for your investments:
In 1973, Warren Buffet purchased shares of The Washington Post Company for US $10.6 million. A year later, the stock prices plunged nearly 20% and it took three years for the stock to grow past Buffet’s initial purchase price. However, post that, Washington Post’s prices kept increasing as the business managed to grow considerably and so did the value of Buffet’s holdings in the company. Buffet’s investment in the company is considered one of his most profitable ones.
Had Buffet redeemed his investment when the stock prices started falling, he would have not only suffered losses on the purchase price, but also lost out on the future growth of the stocks. This successful investment can be attributed to his belief that the stock market is a device for transferring the money from the impatient to the patient.
Not everyone can master the virtue of patience. But it is an important one for successful investors to inculcate because focusing too much on short-term gains can hinder your progress towards winning long-term goals.
When you invest in an avenue, stocks or mutual funds, keep in mind that it takes time for any business to grow and generate profits. Therefore, it would not be wise to be bothered with what happens in the short-term, as long as you’ve made the right investment decision.
Consider this, even if you have a mutual fund portfolio of carefully selected equity funds such as large-cap funds, multi-cap funds, small-cap funds and mid-cap funds, at times external factors may weigh in on the performance of the overall portfolio. The entire market may be going through a bear phase due to weak macro-economic or other factors. As a result, your equity related instruments may give lower returns during that phase.
At such times it is crucial that you do not panic and make any hasty decisions. If you have selected research-backed assets, your investments will overcome this low phase and generate improved returns over time. In the meantime, your non-equity investments will provide stability to your portfolio.
Though long-term holding of investments is important, it would be imprudent to just buy and forget about it. You need to review your portfolio at least once a year to track the performance of your investments. The review will enable you to find out if you should continue with the investments or if there is a need to weed out any non-performing ones.
Remember to not fall prey to schemes offering easy/quick profits. Clearly define your short, medium, and long-term goals and then select the appropriate assets based on your risk profile and time horizon to goal. Invest regularly regardless of market conditions to grow your wealth and achieve your investment objectives.
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Author: Divya Grover
This article first appeared on PersonalFN here.
PersonalFN is a Mumbai based personal finance firm offering Financial Planning and Mutual Fund Research services.