Happy weekend, campers!
Here’s a good quick read for you to start the weekend from Vitaliy Katsenelson, who is a smarter guy than me. It’s called Want to Be a Better Investor? Stop Staring at Your Portfolio… and it got me thinking a little bit. Here’s a little excerpt:
“You spend hundreds of hours on research, you read company financial reports; you talk to management, competitors, customers, suppliers. You build a financial model that looks years into the future to value a business, and also to predict what could kill it.
“If after you’ve done all that, you still find yourself glued to the computer screen watching the price change tick by tick, you are basically giving credence to the idea that what a company is worth should be decided by algorithmic funds, the guy who reads charts but cannot even spell the name of your company, Joe the neighbor, and an ETF with the IQ of a Halloween pumpkin. (I don’t want to insult everyday pumpkins here.)
“In short, the less time you spend looking at your portfolio, the more rational you are going to be.”
Yes, probably the most dangerous thing you can do as an investor is watch your portfolio all day, every day. It leads to an almost compulsive need to do something and react to all of the news that flows around us every day… and, of course, that’s no good for anyone. Especially during earnings season.
But that’s a big part of the life I’ve chosen here, and not only do I get to obsess unhealthily about the Real Money Portfolio each day (it is, after all, my family’s actual money, funds that we’ve saved up over the years and that will be needed as the Little Gumshoes go to college and Mrs. Gumshoe and I think about retiring someday), but I have the privilege of writing about it for you. Which means that I have to figure out how to manage the pressure of not only investing that money and watching it rise and fall in value each day, but I also how to explain what I’m doing… and think, at least subconsciously, about whether or not these trades will make me look smart and wise and provide helpful information or insight for the Great Gumshoe Faithful.
Which is good, though sometimes painful — the discipline of having to write about ...