There is a lot of money to be made when trading the stock market, however, losses are a fact of life for every investor. The difference between successful stock market investors and the rest is simply in how they deal with those losses. It’s that strategy that will either make you money, or simply add to your losses.
It’s been taught that a buy and hold strategy is the way to go. Unless you are Warren Buffett and can afford to buy a very large stake in a company and hold for decades, you may find that advice difficult to take when your portfolio is down 25% (or 40% like many experienced with the current bear market).
Anyone has suffered through the woes of a bear market knows that it is quite difficult to stick to your initial investment strategy when all around you people are jumping ship and liquidating assets. This is an investment strategy that requires discipline along with nerves of steel. Fears of depression often have investors heading for the hills and using logic that is at best faulty and at worst financially devastating.
If you have done your due diligence on your investment before you bought, then you should be able to weather the storm over the long term. As a matter of fact, the drop may provide the perfect opportunity to add to your position. Its important to remember that the buy and hold strategy works best with large cap stocks.
In these situations, perfectly stable companies may begin selling for fractions of their actual value for the interim-this by no means indicates that these companies will not fully recover and prove to be a perfectly solid investment. Below you will find three fundamental truths that should help weather your short-term market losses and stand fast when others are running for higher ground.
Its More Than Just A Sheet Of Paper
What you hold in your portfolio is a part of a company. Unlike day traders who buy and sell over the short term, hoping to make money by playing the up and down movement of the share price, long term investors are looking to own a piece of a company; to share in the story of the company. What your shares represent is a piece of everything the company owns. From pens to buildings, you own a portion of it.
If you want to be successful as a trader you need to do two things. First, – and its the most important – you can not let emotion rule reason. The single biggest risk in trading is you – greed and fear will make you make wrong decisions. Second, you need to be able to determine the difference between the stock price, and the potential of the business. Don’t fall in love with a stock and become blind to potential pitfalls. Remember that even the best company in the world is a lousy investment if you pay too much for the privilege.
Focus On The Big Picture
Are you investing in the stock market with the big picture in mind? If you look at any chart over the long term, you can easily identify areas where a company has dipped, only to trade much higher a few months later. In most businesses, there are seasonal changes that affect the share price. If you are trading the stock market with the big picture in mind, then you can easily identify this as an opportunity to add to your portfolio. When the company releases news, how will it impact the company? Plenty of companies have for example, sought financing by issuing shares. Typically, this involves providing the buyer with the shares at a discount to the current market price. Not surprisingly, the share price drops to that amount. This is usually where the traders bail (hitting their stop losses on the way down). However, if the company is a solid one, that is going to use the money for expansion, acquisition or debt repayment, the market will reward investors over the long haul. If you sold based on one days trading actions, you would be out of a position, just when the company is poised to move higher.
The following tips should help to improve your returns:
Develop an investing plan, and stick to it. Execute your buy trade when your plan says conditions have been met. Sell when your trading plan says to sell. No questions. If you think your trading plan needs to be tweaked, sell, tweak the plan, and then look for a security that meets your requirements.
Remember there is money to be made going long, just as there is money to be made going short. Just know the trend before you decide which way to go.
An educated investor will take on greater risk if the anticipated reward is sufficient. If the research shows that a company is going to do very well, taking extra risks at the right time can increase your returns. Using margin can add risk to your portfolio, thus potentially increasing your return. Ensure you have a Plan B in case your research turns out to be incorrect.
Having a loss here and there in the stock market should be expected. It isn’t how you deal the gains so much as how you deal with the losses you make along the way. If your ultimate goal in life is wealth then you are missing some of the greatest value that this world has to offer in your pursuit of that goal. Keep your investing goals realistic and honorable-be prepared to take hits along with the wins and learn to roll with the punches. That is what separates a successful investor from a failure as a person.