Investment Intuition and Decision Making Tips

Assist with value investing decisions!



Decision making tips discussed here provide guidance that is at the heart of value investing.

Buying and selling stock is all about making decisions from a range of choices.

How I make decisions about choosing a stock determines my success as an investor.

So I consider it important to understand whether the way I make investment choices are potentially rewarding from a financial standpoint.

A good book that discusses how our investing brain works is Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig. It refers to brain-scan research to get inside investors' minds.

The psychology of decision making is informed by behavioral finance which suggests that investors do not necessarily follow a rational decision making process as traditional finance theory proposes.

When confronted with complex tasks, we humans also rely on our gut feelings or intuition and invoke rules of thumb that attempt to hit on the most important financial information to make investment decisions - and ignore the rest.

Some of us prefer not to make choices in isolation and do our decision making in groups. Investment clubs are one way people can undertake collective decision making as well as buying and selling.

Other value investors clubs are more concerned with sharing investment ideas, rather than pooling their money.

So when trying to make a good stock pick, there are a number of ways one can make decisions. These types of decision making can be considered in terms of some combination of READY-SET-GO.


Getting READY

My first decision making tip is that I try to get READY by researching the universe of stocks, narrowing the field by eliminating particular types as outlined in the choosing good stocks section, and using a stock screener to narrow the field further.


Getting SET to GO

My next decision making tip is that I get SET by including the limited number of 'best businesses' in a stock market watch list. I GO to make a purchase of one or more from the list when a margin of safety appears for that particular stock.

That is, the price of the stock drops well below my estimate of its intrinsic or true value.

Of course, this does not happen too often. As I am not the only one who thinks they can sniff out a good business!

In the real world, pressures can arise that distort what I consider to be my ideal approach. The most common pressure arises from FEAR!!!! - the fear that occurs when markets tumble.

In this situation, I chant the Buffett mantra ...

BE BRAVE WHEN OTHERS ARE FEARFUL!

BE BRAVE WHEN OTHERS ARE FEARFUL!

And repeat it the required number of times!

Otherwise, my ideal READY-SET-GO routine quickly becomes READY-SET-READY-SET-READY-SET ...

... and I tell myself that this procrastination or dilly-dallying is deadly to my long-term aim of above average returns on the portfolio.

Of course, this READY-SET-READY-SET -READY-SET ... can also occur at the top of the market cycle when I need to chant the alternative Buffett mantra ..

BE FEARFUL WHEN OTHERS ARE BRAVE!

BE FEARFUL WHEN OTHERS ARE BRAVE!

... and I should be commencing to do partial sell-offs of overvalued stocks as per my selling policy, rather than worrying about whether I am going to miss out on some extra bucks if the market trends higher.

Being fearful at the top of the market is just as important as being brave at the bottom end.

If I do not start selling off over-valued stocks before the downturn, then I will not have the cash available to pick up the bargains at the bottom.

Of course some people are READY-READY-READY'ers because they can never get too much information and as a result can never get SET. Fortunately I am not one of those!

Also, many of us are tempted to be a GO-GO-GO'er when the market, or a particular sector, takes off. This is the root cause of stock market bubbles that we all know, from recent experience, lead to the inevitable crash.

In this case there is no READY. People are going in blindly without doing their homework and considering the true value of the stock that they are speculating with.

The above two types of decision making are what I call examples of poor decision making.


Value Investing Implications

Good decision making is at the heart of value investing as value investors have the confidence to buy stocks when others are fearful and sell when the market is exuberant.

By calculating fair value, buying with a margin of safety and selling when stocks become overvalued, value investors are in a position to maximize profits by being READY SET-GOers.

Following the above decision making tips may make you a better value investor.




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