Sign up for Equitymaster's free daily newsletter, The 5 Minute WrapUp and get access to our latest Multibagger guide (2017 Edition) on picking money-making stocks.

This is an entirely free service. No payments are to be made.

Download Now Subscribe to our free daily e-letter, The 5 Minute WrapUp and get this complimentary report.
We hate spam as much as you do. Check out our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.
Investing: The mirror says it all! - Views on News from Equitymaster
  • E-MAIL
  • A  A  A
  • Mar 22, 2004

    Investing: The mirror says it all!

    In making an investment decision, apart from returns, there is one more very important factor that weighs heavy on investors' minds - risk. Simply defined, it is the uncertainty of happening/non-happening of a certain event(s) that is likely to affect future returns.

    A risk is generally attributed to external factors that create disturbance in the existing scheme of things. Some of these external factors are geo-political uncertainties (elections, terrorist attacks and wars), financial crisis and economic downturn. However, what stockbuyers generally fail to understand is that, apart from these external factors, there is one very big 'risk-factor' that is very inherent (or internal) to them. This internal risk is that of 'indiscipline'.

    By indiscipline, we mean that stockbuyers tend to forget the basic scruples of safe and sound investing, as they are then lured by the high probability of earning 'a big bang for their buck'. These times when everything around seems promising and that the stock markets are rising incessantly (as happened in the most of 2003), discipline generally gives way to chaos. And this leads to even the best of investors putting their money into the worst of stocks believing that their invested company is the 'next big thing'. Ironically, as just these very times when stockbuyers need to stick to the fundamentals of sound investing, they seem to forget these (the fundamentals).

    This is where the 'behavioral' aspect of investing gains importance. And this is the time when a stockbuyer, before making the next investment (say investment 'X') should look into a mirror, and ask certain strict questions to himself. First, he needs to ask whether he understands his investment 'X' as well as he thinks he does. This would include:

    • asking whether the investor has enough experience of similar kind in the past. This is like, when an investor is thinking of investing in say, Tisco, he should ascertain what has been his previous experience with the company;
    • asking what has been other people's track record in the past in making a similar kind of investment;
    • ascertaining how much returns should his investment 'X' generate for him to break-even after his taxes and cost of making the investment. This would make clear the price that he would be ready to pay for the value of the investment 'X'.

    Secondly, the stockbuyer needs to ask himself as to what would be his reaction in case his 'correct' analysis about investment 'X' goes wrong. This would then involve:

    • asking whether he has adequately allocated his assets (into equity, debt, insurance) to tide over losses from his investment 'X';
    • asking whether he has a track record of controlled behaviour (i.e. acknowledging that he made a mistake) or else he would be a part of the overall chaos when things go wrong;
    • asking whether he is relying on a well-calculated approach and what is his tolerance level of risk. He could find out his tolerance level by studying his past losses.

    Now, while the answer to the first question (i.e. whether the stockbuyer understands his investment 'X' as well as he thinks he does) would be indicative of the 'confidence' level of the stockbuyer, the answer to the second (i.e. what would be his reaction in case his 'correct' analysis about investment 'X' goes wrong) would speak about the 'consequences' in times his investment decision goes wrong. If the stock buyer has clear answers for all the abovementioned questions, he would only make his larger task (of making investment 'X') easier. Thus, before you (as an investor with a long-term horizon of 2 to 3 years) invest, make sure that you have pragmatically ascertained your probability of being right and as to how would you react to the consequences of being wrong. Always, look at the downside before the upside. And always, look into the mirror before investing!



    Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Investing: The mirror says it all!". Click here!


    More Views on News

    How to Ride Alongside India's Best Fund Managers (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

    Jun 10, 2017

    Forty Indian investing gurus, as worthy of imitation as the legendary Peter Lynch, can help you get rich in the stock market.

    Dear PM Modi, India is Already Land of Self-Employed, and It Ain't Working (Vivek Kaul's Diary)

    Aug 21, 2017

    Most Indians who cannot find jobs, look at becoming self-employed.

    The Key Factor Pushing Gold Up These Days (Outside View)

    Aug 21, 2017

    PersonalFN explains the chief factor pushing gold prices up of late.

    How Unique Are the Companies You Invest In? (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

    Aug 21, 2017

    One of the hallmarks of successful investing is to look out for companies that have a unique and enduring moat.

    You've Heard of Timeless Books... Ever Heard of Timeless Stocks? (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

    Aug 19, 2017

    Ever heard of Lindy Effect? Find out how you can use it to pick timeless stocks.

    More Views on News

    Most Popular

    A 'Backdoor' to Multibaggers: It's Like Investing in Asian Paints Ten Years Ago(The 5 Minute Wrapup)

    Aug 10, 2017

    Don't miss these proxy bets on growing companies or in a few years you will be looking back with regret.

    The Most Profitable Investment in the History of the World(Vivek Kaul's Diary)

    Aug 8, 2017

    'Yes, it looks like a bubble. And, yes, it's like buying a lottery ticket. But there's something happening that has never happened before. It's an evolutionary leap in money itself.'

    Should You Invest In Bharat-22 ETF? Know Here...(Outside View)

    Aug 8, 2017

    Bharat-22 is one of the most diverse ETFs offered so far by the Government. Know here if you should invest...

    Signs of Life in the India VIX(Daily Profit Hunter)

    Aug 12, 2017

    The India VIX is up 36% in the last week. Fear has gone up but is still low by historical standards.

    Bitcoin Continues Stellar Rise(Chart Of The Day)

    Aug 10, 2017

    Bitcoin hits an all-time high, is there more upside left?

    Copyright © Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited. All rights reserved.
    Any act of copying, reproducing or distributing this newsletter whether wholly or in part, for any purpose without the permission of Equitymaster is strictly prohibited and shall be deemed to be copyright infringement.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited (hereinafter referred as 'Equitymaster') is an independent equity research Company. Equitymaster is not an Investment Adviser. Information herein should be regarded as a resource only and should be used at one's own risk. This is not an offer to sell or solicitation to buy any securities and Equitymaster will not be liable for any losses incurred or investment(s) made or decisions taken/or not taken based on the information provided herein. Information contained herein does not constitute investment advice or a personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual subscribers. Before acting on any recommendation, subscribers should consider whether it is suitable for their particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek an independent professional advice. This is not directed for access or use by anyone in a country, especially, USA or Canada, where such use or access is unlawful or which may subject Equitymaster or its affiliates to any registration or licensing requirement. All content and information is provided on an 'As Is' basis by Equitymaster. Information herein is believed to be reliable but Equitymaster does not warrant its completeness or accuracy and expressly disclaims all warranties and conditions of any kind, whether express or implied. Equitymaster may hold shares in the company/ies discussed herein. As a condition to accessing Equitymaster content and website, you agree to our Terms and Conditions of Use, available here. The performance data quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.

    SEBI (Research Analysts) Regulations 2014, Registration No. INH000000537.

    Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited. 103, Regent Chambers, Above Status Restaurant, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400 021. India.
    Telephone: +91-22-61434055. Fax: +91-22-22028550. Email: info@equitymaster.com. Website: www.equitymaster.com. CIN:U74999MH2007PTC175407

    Become A Smarter Investor In
    Just 5 Minutes

    Multibagger Stocks Guide 2017
    Get our special report, Multibagger Stocks Guide (2017 Edition) Now!
    We will never sell or rent your email id.
    Please read our Terms


    Aug 21, 2017 (Close)