Many investors expect the market to go up in one direction as soon as they deploy their monies. This mindset will not make you wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.
Just because the stock market goes down a bit, doesn’t mean that the expectation should change.
Stock markets are the most dynamic thing in the world and have changed dramatically over the centuries. However, the underlying mechanics and the basic investment philosophies have stood the test of time. Peter Lynch famously said, “Know what you own, and know why you own it.” This quote is most useful if read when your investments are currently down. Here are my 5 investment truths that you should remember when the stock market is down:
1. The stock market & business is not a one-way street: Is there anything in life be it a relationship, business venture or job that is 100% the way you want it to be? I don’t know about you, but I’m sure there isn’t. Progress is never a linear curve because there will be many hiccups, pitstops, adversities, and triumphs along the way. This is true with everything we pursue including investing. Many new and gullible investors expect the market to go up in one direction as soon as they deploy their monies expecting wonders at that very minute they purchased stocks. This mindset will not make you wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. Hence, you should embrace the fact that your stocks will always fluctuate no matter what and you need to deal with it.
2. Planted seeds take time to bear fruits: When you buy a stock, you’re buying a piece of the company. The price at which you buy it for almost always reflects the underlying realities like earnings, valuation of assets etc. Hence, your decision to purchase a stock is with the expectation that the company’s business is going to grow in the future and as a result, the price of the stock will go up substantially. It’s the equivalent of planting a seed and waiting for it to grow into a plant, then a tree and eventually bear fruits. Just because the market goes down a bit, doesn’t mean that the expectation should change.
3. Down, does not mean out: The stock prices can go down for many reasons which can be either internal (debt, no growth, de-growth, product failures, poor strategy etc), external (Inflation, high-interest rates, negative money flows, news, depreciating currency etc.) or a combination of both. Just because there are temporary headwinds, doesn’t mean that the company will shut or go bankrupt. It is important to be aware of the financial situation of the companies you invest in so that you will not be infected by the demons of doubt in your mind. Near-term setbacks should not be considered as long-term disasters. The way a company deals with such adversities will determine their future strength.
4. Reasoning always wins over emotions: There are countless investors who do a detailed and thorough research about the stocks they invest in. They will burn the midnight oil and get into all the possible details about the company’s affairs just to be sure that they are making the right decision. But when the stock markets go down, they will get really scared and start selling all their carefully researched investments at the drop of a hat. Why? Nerves. Although they know that the company’s prospects are good, they can’t handle the thought of uncertainty. But come to think about it, everything is uncertain to some degree it’s just that the stock markets quantify this in numbers during every moment of the day. That one thing alone can make people quake in their boots. It is important to be emotionally numb when investing, if you can’t handle it, don’t do it. If you can, then remember that untold wealth will be yours.
5. It takes a mountain to withstand a storm: The smartest and most patient investors will take maximum advantage of the storm when the markets are down and thus will be able to withstand the storm much like how a mountain does without getting swayed. This can either be accomplished by patiently waiting, investing more and averaging your costs, or by incorporating options strategies to generate income and thus insulate yourself against further damage. Not everyone has the courage to deal with adversity. There’s a saying by Warren Buffet, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” It is easy to ride along the wave, but difficult to withstand it. He who does can swim afar.
(By Tejas Khoday, CEO and Co-Founder, FYERS)