World Value Invest Fest 2015 Power Lessons [David Kuo]

Previously we explored into the mind of Warren Buffett through Mary Buffett’s invaluable lessons on Mr Buffett’s Value Investment Methodology and some of the power pointers on how to select a company to invest in. This time, let’s draw from David Kuo’s experience on Managing Risks In Stock Investing!


What is ‘Risk’?

A term we hear too often, yet never really having a perfect definition of what risk is. There are so many types of risks out there and how do we effectively manage all of them at once? Almost impossible! At best, we can mitigate them, but probably not completely eliminate them. But what good is identifying all the various types of risks affecting you, when you fail to know yourself? Risk profiling. If we don’t even know what is our risk profile, how can we select investments that have risk profile that is aligned to our own? Is it important for them to be aligned? Definitely! Say a 65-year old man who wants to invest his retirement fund for income, would you recommend him to buy speculative stocks with P/Es in the hundreds and no fundamentals? Of course not! Similarly, have we overlooked the risk of not a comprehensive risk profiling of ourselves and check if our investment decisions are aligned?


Different Strands of Investing for Different People!

There are so many different strands of investing:

  • Growth
  • Income
  • Blue Sky (Start-ups)
  • Sideways
  • GARP (Growth At Reasonable Price)
  • Bottom-Up
  • Top-Down
  • Value
  • Index Trackers

You don’t have to be afraid that you won’t find one that doesn’t suit you! First you need to identify where you are in life, what your investment goals are, and how much risks are you willing to take on to achieve your investment goals. Different strands of investing entails different risks and requires different investment mindset and strategies. Identify the strand that you want to focus in, read up on the skills and mindset required for the different strategies. For example, Index Trackers would adopt a very different mindset require a different skill set from Value or Growth investing. Index Trackers take on a more passive approach towards investing while gladly accepting the diversification it provides. Growth and Value Investing however requires the ability to not just read financial statements, but also, understand business as a whole and consider it from the point-of-view of a businessman. Both method works, but it depends on your investment goals. Are you trying to get from rags-to-riches? Or do you want to simply take a back seat and enjoy the ride? There’s no right or wrong, but it’s worth exploring and knowing yourself a little more.


How To Avoid Panicking

David Kuo shared this very powerful quote which many of us tend to forget – “Do not confuse the price of the stock with the story behind the stock.”

Indeed, does the price of the stock dictate the story behind the stock, or is it the other way around? If you only knew the price of the stock and not the story behind the stock, you would definitely panic because you have nothing to fall back on! David emphasises on the importance of knowing why you bought your stocks in the first place. If you knew the story behind the stock, would a falling price cause you to panic or would you see it as an opportunity to buy more at a cheaper price? If you knew the story, you would at least have the mental and emotional capacity to ride out the rough patch, having quiet confidence that the company’s results will show for itself in the long-run. “There will be delays in our investing journey”, so ALWAYS have a margin of safety! If we can’t eliminate, at least mitigate the temporary losses! Lastly, ask yourself, do you have the courage to invest when times are bad? 🙂

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