According to David Fabian, “A vital part of Investment success depends upon one’s ability to compare historical returns with an index or benchmark.
Doing so will let you measure if your approach meets the performance expectations or evaluate the efficiency of somebody else’s recommendation prior to hiring them. Although is may be very common in the entire industry, many investors still make knee-jerk conclusions based on unreliable or biased information.
Two primary conditions that must be satisfied when determining the viability of any investment approach are discussed below:
A proper standard of evaluation
We now lay down the reasons why these concepts are essential to your decision process.
Let us talk about time.
In reality, time is a commodity that has lost its overarching value in the fast-evolving dynamics of our daily existence. People so often fall prey to the temptation of immediate gratification provided by modern technology that they totally overlook how much time is required to accumulate wealth through the process of compounding.
For instance, if you start saving and investing starting at your mid-20’s and then you retire in your mid-60’s; it would have taken you 40 years to accumulate your wealth. But it does not end there. You need to sustain your wealth’s security for another 20 years through managing and conserving your investable assets. The growth period alone will take 480 months or 40 years, while the distribution or income period could last for 240 months or 20 years more. You need enough patience to see it through.
You cannot simply compare returns over very short time-durations. That is why you can hear people cry: My portfolio has been stagnant in four months! I’m below the benchmark on a 6-month rack record! Alas, my portfolio is 250 basis points lagging from the S&P 500 this year – I am done for!
The truth is that even the most efficient investment method will suffer some setbacks through underperformance. It may take some months or even last for a couple of years or more at a time. The best step to take during such doubt-filled or self-pitying moments is to recall why you chose this strategy in the first place.
Is your investment strategy still consistent with your risk tolerance level?
Could there be an intervening and temporary factor that is causing the adverse conditions?
Can you do something to manage this factor in order to enhance your long-term returns?
Have you really considered the risks of shifting to another approach in mid-stream?
Experts would advise that you analyze the performance of any investment method over a period of 3 to 5 years, enough time to determine the strengths and weaknesses over several conditions of the markets (bear, bull, transitional, and others).
The bond or stock markets can proceed for a few years along a particular direction. While that may favor some investors, it can also hurt others. Not that either side is bad investing; it all has to do with each group being exposed to different risks.
Creating and protecting your wealth is not a 100-meter dash -- a short-distance race, so to speak. Rather, it is a marathon -- a sustained race where risk conditions must be considered at close-range and behavioral principles applied with accuracy. Great patience is, therefore, of utmost importance in order to succeed as an investor. There are no short-cuts in this industry.
A Suitable Benchmark
A common pitfall among investors is the tendency to compare apples and oranges.
A prime example is that of a company whose primary approach is to have a mix of bonds and stocks allocated through ETFs that are adjusted according to meticulously-developed strategies. As such, it has a total of 20 to 40% stocks and 50 to 70% bonds in the Strategic Income Portfolio at any particular period.
However, the most common feedback the company derives when evaluating performance is how its portfolio stacks up against the S&P 500 Index. It seems that people are programmed to think that the S&P is the singular reliable benchmark available, such that it has become the darling standard of many index lovers throughout the world.
Obviously, there is no basic logic to comparing the returns of a 100% stock portfolio (the S&P 500) versus a multi-asset portfolio that contains less than 50% exposure in stocks. A better and more suitable benchmark for such a type of investing method would be the 40/60 allocation in the iShares Core Moderate Allocation ETF (AOM). That is where the data will exhibit a clearer picture of actual performance.
In a similar manner, comparing the 0 to 60 mph rate of starting acceleration of a Porsche in a few seconds to that of a Suburban would not make sense either, would it? Although that is an accepted truth, in general, only a few investors consistently apply that universal principle in their investment practices.
It is vital to appreciate that fundamental concept in the process of accurately measuring risks or comparing similar approaches.
Never compare investing in bonds and stocks to the revenues of a CD or a money market account.
Never relate a portfolio of technology stocks to closed-end funds.
And never compare hedge-fund revenues to that of a bunch of ETFs.
We can continue down the line. . . .
Perhaps, the most difficult hurdle to making this logical conclusion is the fact that most investors do not know the suitable benchmark for comparison objectives or where to locate them. They merely gravitate to the S&P 500, the NASDAQ Composite or the Dow Jones Industrial Average because they see them flashed on the news or on the web daily.
In the end, every particular asset type or investment instrument should be weighed or evaluated by a similar group of equals. ETFs have made that process less difficult for many years now; however, you must always undertake the task of finding an appropriate index to serve as a benchmark. Ask a professional analyst how and where to find a good benchmark as a reliable yardstick.
The Ultimate Goal
Investing involves a lot of psychology and comprehension of the relationship of certain facts and information. This article hopes to develop a new perspective not considered previously or to strengthen an existing point-of-view. It is hoped that either way, the reader will attain a more reliable and more solid frame of reference for evaluating a portfolio’s performance in the future.
For many years, value investing has grown to become a very popular and profitable investment strategy. Among those who consider value investing as a viable choice are Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett – two of the most successful value investors with spectacular gains over a long period of time.
The expected returns from value investing are comparatively high, although the risks are oftentimes much higher than most investors can handle. This is because value investing can result in an investor being subject to value traps, which occurs when a stock’s price is low for a very valid reason. What are value traps?
Surprisingly, value traps are more common than most investors realize. In spite of global share prices having increased from the beginning of the year, many other shares will still actively trade at significantly low prices in comparison to the broader index.
Although some might catch up and recover, others will not. Nevertheless, low-priced shares commonly appeal to value investors since the capital gain potentials are attractive. In short, for a good number of conservative investors, value investing may provide a high-risk option which could bring a substantial loss.
Value traps may indeed provide a trading risk for value investors who do not realize that “value” goes beyond merely having a low share price. According to Warren Buffett, “It is better to buy a great company at a fair price than to buy a fair company at a great price.” Ultimately, the viability of a company must be measured along with its share value.
Hence, if a firm’s shares are selling at a lower price than their net asset value, a potential risk in the future might keep them from recovering the valuation deficit. Likewise, a stock which is valued according to the wider index may in reality provide significant value for money if there is a positive expectation of a rapid increase in returns over a medium-range period. In short, value investing can be a great strategy when you consider certain essential factors, such as price, prior to acquiring the shares of a company.
Obviously, with rising stock prices, value investing loses its appeal. As investors all over are buying, value investors are selling and choosing to invest in other assets, such as cash. Conversely, when market prices are down, value investors will be buying stocks instead of selling them, contrary to the overall market consensus.
Being a value investor then can be a challenging occupation; and, on the short-term basis, it is quite easy to suffer paper losses as past trends continue to prevail. However, on the long-term basis, it has proven to be a viable strategy for investors of a certain level of experience and capability. It is not totally risk-free. So, by not merely focusing on price, this approach can serve as a highly-dependable road to financial success in the long run.
If you are in your early and feel you should prepare yourself for financial success while avoiding serious mistakes, what do you need to do?Here are some valuable tips.
Firstly, relax! You are in the best time to be enjoying life; and getting started on the road to a secure financial future is one of the wisest moves you can do. Go ahead and have some fun, discover exciting avenues and be open to potential ventures and adventures you can pursue for a lifetime. Do not become paralyzed with the fear of making mistakes or you will miss out on fruitful and gratifying opportunities. That would be counterproductive – learn to embrace mistakes as they can be stepping stones to learning and growing.
Nevertheless, some mistakes can cause disastrous and long-term financial effects compared to others, although they may seem harmless on the surface.
Go over these five financial missteps that can adversely undermine your financial life. Knowing how not to commit the same mistakes will greatly enhance your potential for building your personal wealth.
Mistake #1: Delaying on Your Savings Plan
This mistake tops all other mistakes in terms of keeping people from achieving a certain degree of financial stability. According to a survey, 39% of all respondents admitted regretting not having saved much earlier on while 63% claimed that saving early is the best advice they could offer to people.
Old people should know better than the young ones on this matter. Consider this: At 25, a millennial who tucks away 10% of her $30,000 income yearly will accumulate more than $620,000 at 65, based on a 2% annual raises and a 6% yearly rate of return on investments. If she postpones it for only five years, the nest egg goes down by about $140,000 and waiting 10 years reduces it by over $250,000.
You see how delaying on your plan to save can reduce your potential earnings in the future? Check out online apps that help you calculate how much you will accumulate if you start now.
However, there is a way to avoid this error. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, contribute the minimum allowed amount to avail of full benefits of your employer matching funds.
Open a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA account at a mutual fund firm if your employer does not offer 401(k). Contribute to your fund using automatic transfers from your checking account every month.
While doing that, set up an emergency fund amounting to a minimum of 3 months' worth of living costs in a savings account, as a buffer in case you lose your job or for other emergency needs.
Remember, the important thing is to develop the habit of saving weekly or monthly and to continue doing it in your entire working life.
Mistake #2: Borrowing money you do not need
There are times when borrowing is essential, such as for a house, a car or for a college education to enhance your earning capacity. However, taking out a loan to sustain a kind of lifestyle above your pay level will cause big problems.
You have to realize that paying off a loan can greatly affect your budget. NerdWallet's latest yearly survey on consumer debt revealed that the regular household spends over $6,650 just for interest payments yearly.
Before you do take out a loan, answer these questions: Do you really need it? If so, can you live with a cheaper alternative? Finally, calculate if the monthly principal and interest you pay for so many years will yield for you a more beneficial alternative in terms of savings and investment accounts that can accumulate and serve to protect you from financial straits.
Mistake #3: Believing the Wall Street's byline “investing is complicated”
Investors often understand Wall Street companies to be saying that one needs to monitor the financial markets at all times, distribute your money over all kinds of complicated and cryptic assets and always be on your toes at any time in order to invest in new promising stocks. And the catch is that to make any substantial return, you must seek their help – obviously for a high price worth their “expert” advice.
Don’t you believe it! Even veterans in the market cannot accurately predict what the financial markets will end up doing. Terrance Odean, professor at the University of California Berkeley, conducted research which showed that outguessing the market by constant trading tends to reduce an investor’s chances to gain good returns.
The better alternative is by doing less: Create a basic portfolio of widely assorted stock and bond funds that suits your risk tolerance level and leave it as it is through market highs and lows, except for a rebalancing adjustment once in a while. Check out online tools which will help you do proper asset allocation consistent with your risk capacity in order to find a balanced mix of bonds and stocks that works for you.
Mistake #4: Paying too much for financial counsel
The annual fees you pay for a mutual fund manager or the occasional fees in exchange for advice in choosing potential funds and other financial counsel will affect whatever returns you expect from your investments by reducing your savings. Minimize such costs as much as possible.
In terms of investments, you can gain greatly reduced costs by sticking to low-cost ETFs and index funds. You can readily gain savings of at least 1% annually in relation to the regular stock mutual fund.
Go ahead and consult a financial adviser, if you feel you need to; however, be sure you get the precise amount you have to pay and the specific benefits you will receive, before giving out any money. Likewise, make sure the price is reasonable and comparable to fees charged by other advisers.
You may also hire an adviser on an hourly scheme rather than shelling out a specific percentage of your assets or using an online-adviser app or service utilizing algorithms that recommend affordable investing tips.
Mistake #5: Not monitoring your progress
One thing you should not do is to become money-obsessive. Neither should you be a Pollyanna and let things take their course, hoping everything will come up roses. Take time to regularly assess your financial status at least once-a-year to determine if you are on the right path.
The best overall measure of your financial health is through knowing your net worth, which is the value difference between your assets and liabilities, that is, how much you have and how much you owe.
For those who regularly save and invest wisely, their net worth should gradually increase. Once your net worth is static, you must increase your savings, invest more sensibly or reduce your indebtedness.
Calculate your net worth using simple online tools. A yearly estimate and comparison with the results of past years will easily show whether your net worth is increasing or not.
Likewise, make use of other free online tools which will help you evaluate your other financial aspects, including a check on how your present saving habit and investing pattern will create a stable retirement future for you.
It goes without saying that in order to increase your wealth-building potential, you need to cultivate your talents and abilities to a point where you can earn and save more during your professional life. And remember the value of having a solid defense against the five mistakes mentioned here. Doing so will significantly enhance your chances of reaching your financial goals and spending a secure future.
Most people fall in the so-called “average” or “median” range. After all things are counted and considered, the statistical middle-ground is where all things tend to gravitate – the world of the, sorry for the term: mediocre.
To be honest, no one wants to be mediocre, run-of-the-mill or commonplace. People in the city park may take selfies that are quite ordinary compared to people who challenge the heights of the Nepalese mountains or the Alaskan wilderness. People do not just want a few likes but viral likes, so it seems. We want to be among those who make an impression for being extraordinary. And that takes a lot of effort to achieve and sustain.
But as investors, the average can provide a lot of benefits.
The idea of being average is the very foundation of the biggest changes to investing in recent years – the surge of the passive index fund.
In the past, you (or a broker) selected a portfolio of stocks that has the potential to bring you wealth. The more adventurous investors opted for a chance to benchmark themselves (while the newspapers aimed for a chance to "score" the stock market). That gave birth to the index.
One possible choice is the ASX 200, which tracks the overall market performance, giving investors a view on how the total market value shifts in a day, a week, a month or a year. It is expected to rise by about 10% yearly, within a long-term period.
And, obviously, we are talking of averages -- the average firm and the average year. Choosing to buy an index-tracking fund, as investors usually do as a rule, is quite alright. You can expect to gain average return (minus some fees) over a long duration, enough to produce a sizeable profit in the end.
However, do not expect to get 10% yearly. Moreover, not all firms will gain a value growth by such an amount. Some can go broke. Others come up with the latest “hot product”. Some may exploit the advantages of their product and market, to offer years of market-crunching returns (for instance, Domino's share price). And there are also those that remain stagnant for ten years (check out Westfield).
The market can spiral downward sometimes. We all know how the last global financial meltdown brought the market down by over half its value from late 2007 to early 2009. That occurred after it had doubled in value from 2003 to 2007.
The idea of "average" provides a restful, promising relief for investors, which may not be absolutely true. Nevertheless, that is no reason to avoid it; for a 10% annual return across 30 years will convert an investment of $100,000 into $1.74 million.
So it is with real estate properties -- the quoted prices are national averages, which include stellar Sydney and lagging Perth and Darwin. At the very least, they are city-level average prices, such as those of inner- city apartments, harbourside mansions and suburban residential projects, everything that is traded in the market in a year.
Furthermore, for both assets and real property, the quoted prices reflect only those that actually moved from one hand to another and not the bulk of assets that were kept in a private safe or properties still in use by their happy owners.
Although it is not wise to be foolhardy, the average point (where half of the data is either above or below) presents a totally different picture. You need more than luck to get over the average-trap. Hence, if you can succeed in "buying" the average – that is, by using an index fund – you made the right initial step. Just remember that it will require big challenges along the way, whether you do buy or not.
How do you achieve sustainable growth in investing? One needs to choose those leading companies that are prepared to provide strong, consistent and long-term increases in profits and revenue. These are the firms that reward their shareholders with above-average market returns.
Apply these tips coming from some of the most experienced investing leaders. See how you, too, can discover the latest winning growth stocks and, thereby, make a fortune for yourself.
1. Go for Quality
The best investment choices are often the best businesses you can find. David Gardner, popular investor and co-founder of Motley Fool says, "I look for the excellent, buy the excellent and add to the excellent in time. However, what I sell is the mediocre. That is my investment style."
Quality companies possess the most powerful competitive edge, the widest market potentials and a top-of-the-line management. They know how to be creative, trend-setting and pioneering. Most of all, they can build wealth for their shareholders and lead others to achieve their dreams.
2 & 3. Jump in as early as you can; and grab that basement-price offer
You can maximize your profit by investing early in a great business as more investors join in the harvest. Wealth abounds for those who practice this principle – especially for the 10- and also the 100-baggers – bringing on life-changing gains.
Nevertheless, many investors frequently hesitate to enter into the early-stage surge of best growth company stocks because they appear pricey, only to regret having missed the opportunity to gain in the end. While buying stocks in these quality businesses at high prices is an option, we can decide to go ahead and pay the premium for a quality acquisition. Setting your targets too low or just a notch or two below the optimum level might cause you to lose the opportunity to hit a multi-bagger.
4. Invest on a long-term duration
Warren Buffett puts it this way: "My favorite holding period is forever." CEO and master investor, Tom Gardner, in fact, has established at Motley Fool at least a five-year holding time rule in an Everlasting Portfolio since he adheres to the effectiveness of holding stock on a long-term basis. In David Gardner’s words, as a prime mover of one of the most efficient high-growth investment-consultancy services in the world, the heart of this investment approach consists of “two keys. . ., stock by stock: In before the big majority of people, and out after the big majority of people”.
Aiming to buy stocks in businesses and holding on to them for years or even decades allows the power of tax-deferred compounded returns to our advantage.
5. Those who win keep on winning
Tom and David Gardner reveal another winning advice: Invest in businesses and management groups with unequalled track record of success. In their tweeted message, they say:
“Our take on that famous disclaimer: ‘Past performance’ may turn out to be the single *best* determinant of future results we have can.”
Although it is not guaranteed, winning can be made into a habit. The force of momentum and the trusted experience developed in past successes tend to favor those who continue to face investment risks. And we do not refer to foolhardy risk-taking based on pride, but well-informed, facts-based choices born out of positive and strategic projections of a fruitful future.
6. Let your portfolio speak your best to the world
David Gardner once gave this valuable advice: "Determine where the world is headed; and as soon as you can, get there." Your portfolio speaks of your aspirations, interests, specialization and profession – that is where your advantage lies. Above all, your portfolio runs parallel to the trajectory of your vision of the future—and with a more positive view, the clearer the vision is.
7. Do not give up the fight
Growth investing can be frustrating at times; there will be moments when you harbor doubts and want to give up. Certain inexplicable short-term fluctuations and extreme bear market dips may wreak havoc on top-quality yet usually high-priced growth stocks, taking a toll on your emotions. Ultimately, the only path to success is to remain steadfast throughout any undesirable turn of event.
“The short-term will not teach an investor to learn enough – usually in a significant way -- to be so successful in the long-term,” according to Tom Gardner.
Be assured with the knowledge that everything will pass and, thus, you must expect the big-league companies to come out victorious after the dust clears up, remaining stable while the rest of the bunch lose their market share. With that in mind, consider such sell-offs as potential moments for strengthening your positions at even higher prices and enhancing your long-term returns.