Apr 05 '00
After much research and experience in investing I've discovered a simple strategy which works very well for profitable investing. It's a composite of Charles Schwab's and Warren Buffet's strategy. As you may know, Warren Buffet started with a little investment decades ago and now he's the third richest man in the world with over $30,000,000,000 in stock in the company he built. Charles Schwab is the genius who began the most successful off-price brokerage in the world. Here's what they say about investing and technical analysis:
Rule number one: Buy a company you'd be willing to hold for a lifetime.
When you put your money in a stock, you become an owner of that firm. You're essentially buying part of it and you reap the profit from the shares you buy in terms of earnings per share. Then the company may pay out those earnings per share in dividends or invest back into the company for growth. Make sure that you're buying a firm that you can depend on, even when the market is down. Investing isn't about the quick in-and-out schemes that lose most day-traders money. That's called gambling. Investing is putting your trust and your resources into a firm which you're willing to commit your hard-earned money to. This leads to my next point.
Rule number two: Ignore technical analysis.
Technical analysis is used to predict whether or not a stock will go up or down in the short term. Some people think that they can ignore the fundamentals of the companies they buy based on technical analysis and end up losing large amounts of money. Yet, no responsible financial advisor would recommend or practice buying based solely or largely on technical analysis. That practice is used for what I defined to be gambling. Essentially relying on technical analysis involves looking at the volume of trading, advances/declines in the share price, and trying to determine whether or not the price will continue upward or reverse. For example, a lot of people buy or sell based on momentum. They jump on the bandwagon or abandon ship with the rest of the crowd. Yet, these fluctuations based on the herd mentality do less for those playing on technical analysis and more for the investor who looks for good value in shares. For, often people selling on technical analysis overshoot and cause a stock's value to be worth less than its fair value. Thanks to people who get burned on these losses, investors find unique opportunities to snatch up great comanies at bargain-basement prices.
Rule number three: Focus on the Fundamentals.
You cannot accurately predict the short term price fluctuations of stocks. Let me repeat myself: You CANNOT accurately predict the short term price fluctuations of stocks. If you could, those stock experts working at Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs wouldn't be working. Believe me: they've got a lot more experience than you or I do, and they're not gambling. So, instead of "investing on luck" or momentum, take control and do your research. Find out whether the company is consistantly outpacing the industry. See what the price to earnings ratio is and whether it's being undervalued. Find out whether earnings per share has been increasing or decreasing. See what the financial community thinks by examining analyst opinions covering the firm. All this information is easily accessable over the internet and free of charge. IF you do your homework your gains will be all but certain OVER TIME and you'll feel satisfied and proud with your investment choices. You may even become attached to your company and become well acquainted with it.
Rule number four: Buy long term
Besides your liklihood of making money going up, there are tax advantages to holding stocks long term. For one thing, if you simply hold onto your stock, you won't be taxed until you pull out and your investment can continue to compound, without erosion, until you sell. But, if you constantly buy and sell, then you're taxed on all your gains and you don't get to pay the lower capital gains tax. Instead, it's taxed as regular income, which is a higher tax rate. For most daytraders, tax erosion is one of the biggest problems with making any profit. But, if you do sell make sure it's because your company has been consistently underperforming. This leads to the next point:
Rule number five: Buy low sell high.
Lots of people buy stocks and when the price dips they get scared and sell. Other people see the price of their stock go up and buy more. But, this seems like reverse logic, right? If you own a good company, short-cited investors can drive down a stock price temporarily because of one below-expected earnings report or a bit of bad news. Let these be times for you to take advantage of other people's hysteria and buy at an attractive price.
Be smart in your investment decisions. Warren Buffet didn't find himself where he is today by buying on momentum or following technical analysis. Instead, it took research, patience, and commitment. If you can commit yourself to these same principles, you too will enjoy financial success.