Is it not true, that the really big fortunes from common stocks have been garnered by those who made a substantial commitment in the early years of a company in whose future they had great confidence and who held their original shares unwaveringly while they increased 10-fold or 100-fold or more in value?
The answer is "Yes."
BENJAMIN GRAHAM'S 113 WISE WORDS
The true investor scarcely ever is forced to sell his shares, and at all times he is free to disregard the current price quotation. He need pay attention to it and act upon it only to the extent that it suits his book, and no more. Thus the investor who permits himself to be stampeded or unduly worried by unjustified market declines in his holdings is perversely transforming his basic advantage into a basic disadvantage. That man would be better off if his stocks had no market quotation at all, for he would then be spared the mental anguish caused him by other persons' mistakes of judgement."
PHILIP FISHER'S WISE WORDS
"The refusal to sell at a loss, while completely natural and normal, is probably one of the most dangerous in which we can indulge ourselves in the entire investment process.
More money has probably been lost by investors holding a stock they really did not want until they could 'at least come out even' than from any other single reason. If to these actual losses are added the profits that might have been made through the proper reinvestment of these funds if such reinvestment had been made when the mistake was first realized, the cost of self-indulgence becomes truly tremendous."
(Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits)
Chapter 20 - “Margin of Safety” as the Central Concept of Investment
A single quote by Graham on page 516 struck me:
Observation over many years has taught us that the chief losses to investors come from the purchase of low-quality securities at times of favorable business conditions.
Basically, Graham is saying that most stock investors lose money because they invest in companies that seem good at a particular point in time, but are lacking the fundamentals of a long-lasting stable company.
This seems obvious on the surface, but it’s actually a great argument for thinking more carefully about your individual stock investments. If most of your losses come from buying companies that seem healthy but really aren’t, isn’t that a profound argument for carefully studying any company you might invest in?