Updated for 2016/2017 See those rows in Red wording where these Gurus are still active till 2016/2017 Look like it is getting harder for Gurus to achieve double digits return in the last 10 years. Those commercial ads "Gurus" can teach you to achieve double digits return! Chun bo?
One of the most curious things I find in the financial markets - where thousands of professionals are locked in daily competition - is how little you really have to do in order to get a decent return in stocks.
Just because fund managers have access to vast amounts of resources and second-by-second information about the markets and companies they invest in, this doesn't necessarily mean that they can make more money than the average mum-and-dad investor.
In fact, one of their biggest failings is their perverse tendency to want to buy and sell shares all the time to show their bosses - and to a certain extent, their clients - that they are working hard and they deserve to keep their jobs.
But in my experience, the ups and downs of a market cycle can sometimes take decades to complete.
However, most fund managers are unable to think beyond a year, or even a quarter, on what they plan to do with the portfolios they manage. This, in turn, can cause them to miss the sustained compounding that leads to outsized returns in an investment.
Worse, in the case of private equity funds, the fund managers are often not paid a fee until they buy something - and this gives them an incentive to purchase, even at prices that may be too high for their clients' interests.
That immediately puts them at a disadvantage compared with a small-time investor who has time on his side to sit it out in cash if he can't find any stock to invest in, or once he has invested, to ride out the turbulence that occasionally sweeps through markets.
Still, this may not be a failing confined to fund managers.
Don't we often find that the first reaction after we buy a share is to check its price the next day - and wonder if we had made the right decision if it hasn't gone up.
Worse, if the price plummets due to some bad news in the market that has nothing to do at all with the company's performance, the likelihood is that we will also panic and dump the shares like everyone else.
It is a typical crowd emotion that works to the advantage of shrewd investors such as financial guru Warren Buffett, who makes no bones about the fact that his favourite investment timeframe for the stocks he holds is forever.
That is why one of the most heart-warming stories I have ever come across in the stock market is that of a remarkable woman, Ms Anne Scheiber, who showed that she could trounce professional fund managers simply by using the skills she had picked up in her job as an auditor in the United States Internal Revenue Service. When Ms Scheiber retired at 50 in 1944, she had only US$5,000 in savings and had never earned more than US$4,000 a year in her life. Yet she was able to turn her paltry sum into a mind-boggling US$22 million fortune by the time she died at the ripe old age of 101 in 1995. Her investment philosophy was simple enough for the rest of us to follow. What she did was to look for companies that she believed would continue to make money and pay her dividends as their business prospered.
That meant buying shares in companies where she had developed an understanding as to how the earnings and cash flow were generated and where she was sure that relative to the price she paid, she would still get a satisfactory outcome eventually, even if the market should run into a rough patch.
And using her capital - modest though it might have been at the start - she began acquiring positions in firms such as Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola, reinvesting the proceeds in them year after year as she watched her passive income expand.
What is more, her investment timeframe turned out to be the rest of her life, which spanned 51 years. This period encompassed several economic booms and busts, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War and every kind of sociological change imaginable.
That she had been able to grow her returns by leaps and bounds, despite all the upheavals encountered, gives us a shining example of what we can do with our own stock portfolio if we display the same perseverance.
Still, that would have been cheap talk if I fail to walk the talk myself to find out if her strategy really works. CW8888: Real life example of buy and hold is not dead yet!
Just as well, I used money that I had squirrelled away in my supplementary retirement scheme (SRS) account to invest in the stock market - and with the same kind of long-term investment objective Ms Scheiber had in mind.
I had opened the SRS account with United Overseas Bank in 2001 after the Government launched the scheme to complement the Central Provident Fund by encouraging us to save more for our old age.
One benefit, of course, is the tax incentive. Like the CPF, every dollar put into the SRS reduces a saver's chargeable income by a dollar, subject to a cap that stands at $15,200 a year. That helps to reduce my tax bill.
But unlike the CPF, contributions to the SRS are voluntary. For me, another advantage is that the SRS funds can be used entirely to make stock purchases, which is what I did.
And because I could only take the money out from the SRS when I reach the minimum retirement age of 62 if I do not want to incur any premature withdrawal penalty, I had a long timeframe of 20 years in mind when I started out on my SRS stock investments.
To simplify matters, I decided at the onset to hold as few counters as possible since I had neither the time nor the inclination to constantly monitor how they were doing.
It ended with me holding mostly just five stocks - the three local banks and another two blue-chips which together mimic the Straits Times Index to some extent. I rarely sell the shares that I buy in this account and I would try to add on to the holdings whenever I put fresh funds into it.
My most recent statement shows the total value of my portfolio in the SRS account is up 70 per cent over the accumulated sum invested in 16 years. That works out to a compounded return of 6.7 per cent a year. This was no doubt helped in part by the huge rally experienced by bank stocks this year. However, the past 16 years have also been punctuated by a number of stomach-churning events such as the 2003 Sars crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis. I have not been able to get the same sort of astronomical returns enjoyed by Ms Scheiber since my investment frame so far -16 years - is considerably shorter than hers. But the returns have been much higher than what I would have received keeping the money in a bank savings account.
It also proves a point: By holding the same stocks for long periods and doing as little as possible to them so long as their businesses continue to prosper, I manage to avoid many of the pitfalls that beset those who are unable to simply sit still. Time in the market, rather than timing the market, is what really matters when it comes to maximising your stock returns.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 20, 2017, with the headline 'Beating the investment pros at their game'.
Over the past 20 years; Uncle8888 has attended many of his company's lunch talks as audience/attendee on various topics including retirement planning and investment methods and strategy; but now the time has changed for him to be on the speaker platform. Many times; these speakers had some vested interests to collect contact and email ID after the talks for follow up. LOL!
He has accepted an invitation to become one of the two speakers at the end of next month for lunch talk for 30 to 40 staff of MNC office based in Singapore. He will share his personal experience and investing lessons he has learnt over the last 17 years in the stock market and what he meant by some of his quotes e.g. 3Ms - Method, Mind, and Money Managment In Investing; Your account size really matters– CW8888
Less Analyzing. More Investing - CW8888 Don't be early at the wrong time- CW8888
You don't have to win back in the same manner that you have lost it - CW8888
PS: No collection of contact and email ID for follow up as has nothing to sell after the talk. LOL!
Uncle8888 DOESN'T use Stop-loss; but he doesn't lose his pant! CASH got sound (in his mind)! Saturday, 10 October 2009
Portfolio Management - Stop Losses? I do cut losses to recover capital and redeploy the recovered capital to other stocks, but it is not related to the falling stock price. I don't need to win back in the same manner that I have lost. One day in 2008, a guy came to this cbox and said: "Bro, do you have stop loss and you are holding a losing position for too long!" I replied: "Bro, I don't use stop loss"
Method, Mind, and Money Management Stop-loss is nothing more than a technical risk control and money management tool. What if we have really have in our mind this risk control and money management; and we count our money to two decimal place and we know CASH got sound and don't lose our pant!
Over heard someone telling someone while waiting for registration to begin that he has Keppel @ $2.61 and the other one replied his @ $3+ Buy & Hold is not dead! At these entry price; they should be very long-term investors like Uncle8888
Generational gap! What current generation don't really understand the meaning of Shifting Goal Post! Let rewind back to 1980s when Uncle8888 was young @ 20s and Internet and blogging has been around for sometime. Singapore's investment blogosphere was very active with star investment bloggers like now who were championing topping up SA and transfer OA to SA as young as possible and then becoming becoming CPF Millionaire. What if Uncle8888 in his 20s has been sucked into it by these loud voices. He jumped into topping up his SA and transferring from OA to SA and dreaming of CPF Millionaire at 55, the official CPF withdrawal age at his time in 1980s. Then what happened years later .... Walau! RA withdrawal at 60 Walan! RA withdrawal at 62 WTF! RA withdrawal at 65 Soon RA withdrawal at 67? and then 7?, 8?
You can't blame Uncle8888 shaking his head. How many realize that these champions locking their good assets as rich assets for securing their retirement fund in CPF well advance may be just fraction of their net worth or portfolio? They can. You can. Chun bo?
Are you Hen or Pig? The Hen & the Pig Go To Breakfast A Hen and a Pig were sauntering down the main street of an Indiana town (yes, this is another shaggy dog story!) when they passed a restaurant that advertised “Delicious ham and eggs: 75 cents.” “Sounds like a bargain,” approved the Hen. “That owner obviously know how to run his business. “It’s all very well for you to be so pleased about the dish in question,” observed the Pig with some resentment. “For you it is all in the day’s work. Let me point out, however, that on my part it represents a genuine sacrifice.”
Hi UncleCW! Has been reading your blog for awhile, your blog posts really educate me on my financial journey. I've recently embarked on the financial journey earlier this year. Just a brief introduction about myself. I'm 19 year old and currently studying as a 3rd year student in a local polytechnic. Always interested in embarking on the journey towards achieving financial freedom. ...... ...... Would appreciate if you would be able to share on your views and possible advice for myself as a young individual embarking onto this journey!
What do you think is Uncle8888's prime suggestion? Always remember your career is your foundation of your investment capital. Earn more. Save more. In investing, account size really matters. LOL!
Review your investing diary or trading journal. Have you noticed if your entry is good, better, best - your chances of getting out unharmed were greater? It never was about market timing; its about risk management. OK, not everyone trades with 10:1 leverage to appreciate the nuance I've just said. Let's illustrate with an example: If you have entered Keppel at $2, at the current price of $6 plus, it feels like a "free" investment. (If you let this position turn into a loss you have no one to blame but yourself) Contrast it if you have bought Keppel at $10. Making less and losing money not even close to "same same". Using dividends or entry price as panadols - your choice.
We are more likely to believe in Mean reversion theory in long run over market and economic cycles of Boom and Doom. In practice; how does one look like?
Using dividends or entry price as panadols - your choice.
What does compounding INVESTMENT return actually mean in real life and practice on the ground for long-term retail investors? See for yourself! It is from losers to winners that is the true compounding investment return on the ground. You will have them all! You also have to live with the two common regrets throughout your investing journey! Read? Two Common Investing Regrets Among Retail Investors (2)
Uncle8888 is as lazy as these salt-water crocodiles; patiently and lazily wait for their targets to come within striking distance. Lazy and patience! Strike only when the targets are really near! Same same as for the market. He will strike only when the time is near! Lazy and extremely patient at the cost of going hungry for a long time; but the meal is full because of laziness the food can last long time till to the next meal.
Those are a few examples of surviving vs thriving. But all of these examples have the same underlying commonalities. They are: 1. To thrive, you must first survive. 2. You must have something steady in your lives before you can take the necessary risk in order to thrive. 3. You must be prepared to put even more effort and energy to thrive, because the game rules for surviving and thriving is different.
CW8888 Same as retail investing in the stock market; do we aim for surviving with high dependency on dividend income over future market cycles riding the boom and doom cycles of our invested companies or thriving for higher investment gains at the next doom at higher risk and return but forgoing current cash flow?
Two hours waiting time after taking queue number. More than enough time to scroll Chinatown a few rounds; but later Uncle8888 hid inside Chinatown MRT station for free Wifi to became cyber warrior roaming in the cyber space.
Sillyinvestor, CW, and I were bantering which one hurts more? 1. Sell too early and missed out on outsized profits? 2. Sell too late and left too much money on the table? Just to clarify. Letting a winning position turn into a loss is just plain dumb. Hmm ... This is where traders and long-term investors think differently and most traders don't get it. Where hurts more? Most traders don't get it! Panadols are pain killer! Dividends as panadols to ease heartache and then over long-term it can cure heartache when these stocks become freehold. Pain no more! You are true to Warren Buffet's Rule 1 & 2 as ultimate investors. High single digit dividend yield on investment cost : Panadol Double digits dividend yield on investment cost: Panadol Extra Strong. Passive income dropping from money tree and becoming dumb investor without the baggage of emotional loss over freehold stocks! Need clarification?
After more than 17 years of following investors' comments, postings, chats, and face to face talks with fellow retail investors; Uncle8888 has noted two common investing regrets among RETAIL investors. (1) They sold their potential multi-baggers way too early for decent profits. (2) They never sell their stocks at the high. Most retail investors will eventually make either (1) or (2) or Both. As Uncle8888 has done both i.e. (1) and (2) so he can feel which investing regret is the lesser evil over 20 to 30 years of market cycles as retail investors. Which is the lesser evil? (1) or (2)? Once SOLD; it is GAME OVER! That is why selling is more difficult to master. Who has the skills to sell that many stocks near the high? If you know someone can consistently do that; then he or she is the champion retail investor like Joseph Schooling in swimming. For 2, you have missed selling them near the high; how bad can it be? How much have you missed out? The answer will lie on your yield on investment cost. If your yield on investment cost is high single digit or double digits; then over the next 15 to 20 years of receiving cash flow from dividends? How bad can it be?
I am 60+ yrs old uncle living in HDB heartland who has retired @ 60 on 30 Sep 2016.
I have been doing long-term investing and short-term trading in Singapore stock market only since Jan 2000 and now becoming full-time retail investor. So I am that Panda or Koala in the investment world; but I am still surviving well in the wild.
I have two sons and one daughter; two working adult children and the youngest son is currently in his 1st year SUTD.
I am currently executing my Three Taps solution model to maintain sustainable retirement income for life till 2038
Last updated: 16 Oct 2016
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