. . . for my kids. . . and good friends

Investment strategy, revisited!! as promised

Far more people wrote to me than I ever imagined. People who, apparently, had never written to anybody before about their investments. This little corner provided a more sheltered environment than the brutal roughing up of many bulletin boards. I guess, sadly, that's inevitable.

A lot of us have no option but to formulate an investment strategy and make decisions ourselves. The financial services sector is tainted and flawed, and there's no point in being naive -- most 'operators' are trying to take our money off us. Remember, from the original post, most of my investments are in index tracker funds. So what follows is about a tiny proportion of the total, where you can take a risk, knowing you might lose it.  

You sent in some wonderful advice! Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to write and the hundreds who read. I hope the results below are useful, and not just to my kids.

I had asked for "any useful advice about investment and making money" that I could pass on to my children, now in their twenties. Having put the question to the buccaneers and fontiersmen (and women) who frequent the wild-west last-chance saloon that is an AIM bulletin board, I was not expecting KI's advice.

"Don't do it!" This is not so helpful; it may be very sensible to advise them "to put there (sic) money into something like an ISA" but it's not much fun! I can only think there's a long and sad story behind the final sentence:

"Trust me, there are more people trading that are now financially in trouble, due to there (sic again) investments than would care to admit."

It's not so different from JG:

" - find stocks that pay a regular divi (eg.Shell, Greggs) and just keep reinvesting that money in DRIP (sic). I've got models that show over 10/20 yrs SP is almost irrelevant."

Nor from GM:

" There is already plenty of advice 'out there' on iii, Motley Fool, Money Observer, MoneyWeek, Investor's Chronicle and many other sources, to which most people, like me, would hesitate to add anything useful."

RH too wants to contract out the job:

"Without a doubt you should buy them each a copy of 'A Gift to My Children: A Father's Lessons for Life and Investing', by Jim Rogers."

But as GM concedes, "making any attempt at forecasting is hazardous". And I think we all know this, which is why I wanted the thoughts and experiences from people at the sharp end, like us. Not the ones pontificating in publications but those who have learned lessons the hard way.

So, thank you for this little gem, from Mark:

". . . investing is like learning to ride a motorbike; you learn quick enough when you start falling off (or losing money..)

Never average up. Take a position with ~1/4 of the money you'd want to invest in the company; a company with good assets, cash, prospects and BoD. Hopefully you would have invested at the bottom, but in reality you wouldn't have. If the share price goes up, congrats, but don't f**king avg up. Either top slice and wait for a retrace or just sit on your hands. Personally, I like to see the share price go down; if I've done the research then I can truly pick up some bargain prices; avg down using the remaining ~1/2. Consider yourself lucky that you've been lucky enough to have been given this opportunity to top up. Keep the other 1/4 for when the shit really hits the fan.

I never post on BBs, but they are good for ascertaining general sentiment; a huge exponent of the AIM sector."

And there were plenty more practical suggestions:

WWG -- "They should avoid the daily drips and adopt the policy to buy only on a fantastic 8am RNS and sell by lunch time."

PP --    "1        don't buy and hold unless you really are prepared to wait 5 years and see your investment tank in    between;

              2          whatever sum you intend to invest, then invest half and invest the rest six month/one year later."

JdS -- " The best advice for your children is to spread risks and buy in drips of £100 at a time. . .Your offspring have time on there (sic) side. Choose stocks that generate substantial income and (are) undervalued. . . And above all start collecting some gold or gold miners for when the dollar collapses..

And perhaps best of all from SH -- "Lesson 1. Never take advice from anonymous members of a bulletin board."

Have I revised my own strategy as a result of all this correspondence? Not a lot, but it has confirmed me in several views that I had reached the hard way; about research and drip-feeding and never averaging up. Since I wrote the original post I have indeed sold my Lloyds Bank shares, at a very small profit, and invested the proceeds in a Japan fund.

As for the spread of oil shares I own, the ones that had been showing a profit aren't, at the moment. And the ones that were not showing a profit, aren't either!   But then again, I don't need to sell. Would I have done it, if I'd known what I think I know now?  Yes, but a bit less enthusiastically! which is another way of reiterating the point about never averaging up!  And I cannot believe that none of my oil shares will ever again reach the level at which I would make a profit!  So just relax, keep track and wait.

As I mentioned in the original post, it's been a great way to learn. And to learn as much about myself as anything else. How easy it is to start following the bulletin boards and share prices on a daily and even an hourly basis!  How a timely rise in a share price can make you (me) feel unreasonably clever! How it can all become virtually addictive, at least for a few weeks. And how absolutely none of it matters at all, compared with almost everything else I'm involved with; which is why I am one of the luckiest people I know!

To misquote Kipling:

"If you can meet with Fear and Greed

And treat those two impostors just the same,"

then you stand a chance of staying calm and making a good return on your money while others lose the plot. The AIM amplifies and distorts the background noise, creating feverish nightmares of wealth and poverty and disorientating those trapped inside. But, as I've discovered in the reassuring light of the morning-after, it's nearly all in your own head. Don't blame the medium!    

Thanks to the 400+ visitors to the original Investment Strategy post. Thank you to all the people who wrote and responded. To those who asked questions I hope my answers were helpful. But as everybody will realise by now I am no expert; I'm just as lost and confused as the rest of us!   Still I shall certainly be at the BPC 87p party (muttering on about the opportunities for creative CSR)! probably at the BOR AGM again this year; and I shall keep sniffing around the seven iii bulletin boards where I've become an occasional contributor.  GLA.  






Last Updated on Thursday, 03 January 2013 06:57  


0 #1 stayhungry 2013-01-03 10:03
Apologies if I have left out anyone's comments. . . and please feel free to send them again!
A few got lost (sorry) as I didn't copy and save them before they were buried in the iii archive. . .
and a few were a bit repetitious, focussing on hard-work, doing your own research and being very careful . . . which I think is well covered in the synopsis.
Thanks again to everyone . . .

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