I couldn’t fall asleep. As I was tossing in bed, I felt that I almost had it figured out. Figured out what was wrong with the company that I had recommended that the investment firm that I had worked for invest tens of millions of dollars in. That was before my mind started to put the pieces together and warn me that something wasn’t quite right. And then I had it: the management team was manipulating earnings to make them seem much larger than they really were, and I had just figured out exactly how they were doing it.Read More
I was a young equity analyst at one of the largest mutual fund firms in the country. It was the week before Christmas in 2002, and my most important stock recommendation to the firm’s portfolio managers had just declined by 50%. In one day.Read More
I am frequently asked: what are the best books on investing? How do I develop my investment philosophy and process? How do I become a good investor? I have mentored many aspiring investors, and I also teach the Value Investing Seminar at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. The investing books that I describe below have helped many aspiring investors make their journey from a beginner to an investing expert.Read More
Earlier this year I gave a talk to students at Babson College on how to learn value investing and become an investor. You can watch the talk and the Q&A discussion that followed in this video.Read More
Long-term investing doesn’t happen by accident. You need to be prepared. There are three things that can allow you to use market volatility to your advantage: the right structure, a long-term investment process and a behavioral checklist to allow you to remain rational when everyone else is being anything but.Read More
When I was at a group dinner with Warren Buffett 16 years ago, I asked him: what do you look for when you evaluate a stock? He answered: First he decides whether he can roughly estimate the business’s key economic characteristics 5–10 years out. If he can’t then he eliminates it from consideration right then and there.Read More
“It’s different this time.” This phrase has likely cost many investors far more than they realize. Each period of time is indeed different. However, there are many insights that we can learn from history that should inform how we invest today. Failing to learn from the past mistakes of others can be hazardous to your wealth.Read More
Warren Buffett wrote in his 1996 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders: “You don’t have to be an expert on every company, or even many. You only have to be able to evaluate companies within your circle of competence. The size of that circle is not very important; knowing its boundaries, however, is vital.”Read More
Before you succumb to the charms of a charismatic management team or fall for someone pitching you on another “story stock,” read the skeptic’s checklist. It won’t give you all the answers, but it will give you a fighting chance against the biases that you are likely frequently exposed to.Read More
Listening to Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and other smart investors over the course of the weekend surrounding the Berkshire Hathaway meeting in Omaha is always informative. This year was marked by the usually laconic Charlie Munger, known for his typical “I have nothing to add” answer, answering many questions in depth. Below I examine my 10 insights from this year’s trip, which are a combination of new ideas and helpful reminders about those from the past that are still important today.Read More
Diversification is sometimes described as “the only free lunch” in investing. But is it? Not in the kind of fundamental value investing that I do.
Increased diversification comes with two potential costs:
At a certain point, new investments are likely to yield increasingly lower returns.
The time required to underwrite new investments reduces the quality of the underwriting of existing investments.
At the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s partner, said: “A lot of other people are trying to be brilliant and we are just trying to stay rational. And it’s a big advantage.” It’s a simple, but crucial insight – a lot of the edge in investing can be traced to the ability to stay rational and execute your approach at moments of highest pressure and uncertainty. So what is the “mental game” in investing, and how do you make sure that yours helps your investing results?Read More
Conviction is a necessary quality for any investor – lack thereof can lead to an inability to stay the course on a successful contrarian investment. Yet without flexibility investors can easily fall prey to various behavioral biases such as anchoring and overconfidence and fail to correctly change their minds when the evidence merits doing so.Read More
Charlie Munger, the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s partner said something simple yet profound at the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting: “A lot of other people are trying to be brilliant and we are just trying to stay rational. And it’s a big advantage.” Some might think that becoming an excellent investor requires off-the-charts intelligence or some highly proprietary model that leads to an edge that nobody else can replicate. That is not what experience has shown.Read More
I have compiled the top 5 mistakes investors make in the stock market to teach you what not to do when investing. Charlie Munger, the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s partner, has a favorite piece of advice, which is to always invert. What he means by that is that we should figure out what we don’t want to do and avoid it in order to get the result that we want. Let’s apply his advice by answering the following question: What is the most certain way to lose the most money investing in stocks?Read More
Having a long-term time horizon can help you avoid making poor short-term investment decisions. A multi-year time horizon can also give you an advantage toward achieving superior returns by allowing you to make high-potential investments that others with a shorter timeframe would avoid. This article will elaborate on why being a long-term investor can help you achieve better returns, and illustrate how you can go about doing so.Read More
Passive investing – replicating the market’s returns through low-cost index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) – has finally gained a meaningful share of the market. However there are still many investors who attempt to beat the market by investing with higher-fee active investment managers or directly in individual securities.Read More