Sep 102018
 

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett recently celebrated his 88th birthday and told CNBC in an interview that he thinks stocks are still more attractive than bonds or real estate. In fact his company Berkshire Hathaway recently picked up some more shares of Apple Inc (AAPL) making it the largest position in the holding company.

The value of BRK.A shares increased by an astonishing 1,000,000% between December 1964 and December 2015. Meanwhile the S&P 500 market index increased by only 2,300% during that time. This is a testament to the will and dedication by Buffett & his team to create wealth for shareholders. I suppose you can say that if Berkshire has a will, Berkshire Hathaway. 😎

One thing to remember when investing is to keep it simple. You don’t have to be a genius to be good at it. 🙂

When we keep track of something it tends to grow. Building up investment experience is no different. That’s why every investor needs to track their investment decisions. This is going back to basics but it’s crucial to becoming better investors.

Investment Tracking 

This can be done by creating a simple table or spreadsheet like the following, and updating it over time. You can think of this like an investment journal. 🙂 I will demonstrate using the 2 new companies I blogged about purchasing earlier this year.

InvestmentTypeActionReasons for decisionDateExit plan
  • Parkland Fuel Corp (PKI.TO)
StockBuy 100 shares
  • Large network of retailers
  • Stable dividend yield (with growth)
  • Recession resistant
01/02/18Hold into retirement
  • Automotive Properties (APR.UN)
REITBuy 190 units
  • High 7% dividend yield
  • Relatively low payout ratio (60%)
  • Canadians love to buy cars
01/02/18Hold into retirement

 

Here are some additional columns we can add to track our investment decisions even more closely:

  • Timeline horizon (how long we plan to hold something)
  • Current market value of said investment
  • How to measure the success or failure of our decision
  • Any concerns that go against our final decision
  • Does the original reason for buying a stock still apply in the present day
  • What process did we use to evaluate the investment, eg: P/E ratio, Graham formula, or analyst predictions

No matter how good we are at evaluating investments, we’re eventually going to be wrong. Sometimes we may be wrong due to unpreventable reasons. But there are many factors that we can control, such as our own psychology and behavior.

Keeping a detailed investment journal of our decisions is the best way to remind us in the future of the feelings we had at that time to avoid making the same mistakes again. We’ll understand why we made the choices we did, whether or not it was worth it, the process behind our decisions, which strategies worked and which didn’t, and do our best to hopefully replicate past successes. 🙂 Hindsight is 20/20, but only if we remember how we thought and what we did in the past that lead to the current moment.

 

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Random Useless Fact:

What it’s like having a motorcycle.

Feb 092017
 

I recently watched an HBO documentary called “Becoming Warren Buffett,” which features the life of the man himself. The show gives viewers an extensive look at Buffett’s achievements, struggles, and challenges with his career, and probably more importantly, with his personal relationships.

Buffett started making money at a young age selling gum door to door, and delivering newspapers. He began trading stocks in his early teens and started college when he was only 16 years old. Today everyone knows him as the investment guru who is currently worth about US $72 billion, which makes him the second richest person in the world, right behind his close friend, William. 🙂

becoming warren buffett review

The documentary covers his family background and personal relationships. It felt like I was watching an honest biography about Warren. For the first time ever I got an inside look at the day to day events and lifestyle choices of Warren Buffett. It has been a real eye opener! For example on his way to work in the morning, he often stops by a McDonald’s and orders a Sausage McMuffin.

Doh! :/ No wonder I’m not rich yet. This whole time I’ve been ordering the Bacon ‘N Egg Bagel like a peasant. If only I had known his secret earlier. 😛 Below are some other important lessons I learned from watching “Becoming Warren Buffett.”

  • Live close to work. It takes Warren only 5 minutes to drive to his office everyday. And he’s been taking the same route for 54 years! Not wasting much time on commuting is why he gets so much done.
  • Be smart. Warren admits that he’s wired in a way that gives him an advantage over others when it comes to understanding businesses. He was always good with numbers starting at a young age and learning about the financial markets comes easily to him. Unfortunately for some, intelligence is largely genetic.
  • Read a lot. Every day Warren goes to work and reads books, newspapers, financial reports, or various other material for 5 to 6 hours.
  • Have role models in your life. In the documentary Warren said, “the best gift I was ever given was to have the father that I had when I was born.
  • Develop your own inner scorecard. Don’t let other people’s standards and expectations define who you are or what makes you succeed or fail.
  • Learn from people you trust. Business partner Charlie Munger helped Warren realize that in order to build immense fortune, it’s better to look for great businesses at reasonable prices rather than okay businesses at cheap prices.
  • Develop focus. Warren believes this is the most important quality to have if you want to be successful.
  • Have patience. The biggest factor to making money is time. Warren says you don’t have to be smart to become wealthy. You just have to be patient. 🙂

If we keep in mind these simple guidelines from Warren then I’m sure his wisdom will have an impact on our lives. Depending on different sources, Warren appears to have either an ISTJ or INTJ personality type. This mean he is a rational planner who likes to keep to himself most of the time. As an INTJ myself I understand what it’s like to live inside one’s own head sometimes. It’s probably why I can relate to his investment philosophy. 🙂

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Random Useless Fact:

Aug 152013
 

Earlier this year in April I started a swing trade which included some Suncor stocks. I mentioned how it was an undervalued company and how the stock will likely make a comeback 🙂 So I bought 100 shares at $28 each. Well I just heard on the news that Warren Buffett also bought some Suncor shares for his holding company Berkshire Hathaway 🙂 Hey, maybe… just MAYBE.. he reads my blog and that’s what gave him the idea to invest in Suncor as well (^_-) Hi Warren 🙂 I’m a big fan!

Buffett had picked up 17,800,000 shares of Suncor 😯 When the oracle of Omaha is confident enough to put over $500 million into a company, you know it’s a good investment 😎 Right now Suncor is the only Canadian holding inside Birkshire. Yay, go oil sands!  Represent Canada! I”m not sure what price Buffett paid for his SU shares, but I managed to get mine around when the stock bottomed, so this could mean I’m a better investor than Warren Buffett 😆 Or I just got lucky I suppose. But now I’m faced with a dilemma. I was planning to sell my swing trade when I made $1,000 from it, which I have now. The stock climbed to $35/share today. But now that the world knows Suncor is in Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio there may be increased global interest in this company. Selling when Warren Buffett is buying may not be smart 😕13_08_suncorchart

Eventually though I will have to sell and most likely make a nice profit from it. But one drawback of making money through any kind of investing is those darn taxes on dividends, interest, etc (>.<) Here’s a simple tip to save butt-loads on investment taxes. Before you invest, give the money to someone else in a lower tax bracket whom you trust, and invest the money under his or her name instead of yours 😀 Continue reading »

Feb 182013
 

When we entrust money to a professional portfolio manager with billions of dollars under management we might assume that these people are better investors than you or I (^_^)  After all they get paid huge salaries and oversee important private equity funds, mutual funds, or even pension funds like OMERS, CPP, California Public Employees, NY State Teachers, etc. Everyone’s future to some degree depends on how well these professionals manage our money. But I was watching a talk by Warren Buffett and I found it a bit disappointing when even large fund managers can fall pray to the herd mentality.

Pretty much for every consecutive decade in the last century our lives have been improving and we’ve been getting wealthier, as measured by GDP per capita. But investors tend to look only at the past performance of a chart rather than the future outlook of the underlying economy. When stocks are doing well they get very excited and think “well I made money last year, so this time I’ll make even more.” And when times are bad they think “Stock market sucks. I’m going to do something else with my money.”  Pension fund managers apparently also follow this thought process. This is why we have huge swings in the stock market even though the economy tends to improve more gradually over time.

stock market, professional fund managers, dow historyBuffett said he wrote an article for Forbes in 1979 about investor behavior. He wrote how come that pension funds in the early 70s allocated 100% of their net new money into the stock market because they were wild about equities. Then when stocks dropped and became a lot cheaper in 1978, pension funds put in a record low of just 9% of their new money into stocks. Does that make any logical sense to you? (O_o)

Back to the talk he said “People behave very peculiarly…because they’re human beings. They get excited when others get excited….They get fearful when others get fearful. And they’ll continue to do so…This makes for huge opportunities…. The country will do very well over time, but you will see these huge waves [in the stock market.] If you can stay objective throughout that. If you can detach yourself temperamentally from he crowd, you get very rich. You don’t even have to be very bright. It doesn’t take brains. It takes temperament. ”

So if we can remain objective with our investment strategies and look at underlying fundamentals of businesses and the economy instead of how stocks have moved in the past then we can probably outperform even pension fund managers (゜∀゜)

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Random Useless Fact:  Moose have no upper front teeth.

moose taking a photo, professional investors

Jan 172013
 

I don’t drink coffee so it has never occurred to me before how big this industry is. Apparently after crude oil, coffee is the most sought commodity in the world. People drink over 500 billion cups of it each year. That’s a lot considering there’s only 7 billion people on this planet. Starbucks is a growing company that is expected to make $1.9 billion this year of after tax profit. The company is currently valued at $40.4 billion. Even if they stopped growing forever, anyone who bought the stock today can expect to make a 4.7% return on their investment ($1.9÷$40.4) Not much, but better than nothing! If you did the same calculations for Tim Hortons you would make about 6%.  This year I’m going to invest more in relatively defensive stocks that provide coffee, soft drinks, snacks, and other consumables that people can’t seem to get enough of.

Here’s my watch list for 2013. I plan to start buying some of these names soon.

Canadian Stocks

  • Canadian Utilities Limited (CU) *Electric, gas, and steam company*
  • Emera (EMA) *Another utilities company. This one has a great dividend growth record*
  • TransCanada (TRP) *Pipelines. Very recession proof*
  • Tim Hortons (THI) *Doughnuts and coffee, om nom nom ヽ( ̄д ̄;)ノ*
  • Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (RBA) *A speculative way to invest in the auction business*
  • Bird Construction (BDT) *In construction and general contracting business. 4.9% dividend yield*
  • Canadian National Railway (CNR) *Railways. A great way to play the agricultural industry. Bill Gates is its largest shareholder owning over 10% of the entire company*
  • Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) *Another railway company. Good CEO. But currently overpriced*

 

US Stocks

  • The Walt Disney Company (DIS) *Steve Jobs’ estate is still making over $100 million a year from Disney’s dividends*
  • Coca-Cola Company (KO) *Buffett’s favorite company, enough said*
  • PepsiCo (PEP) *Very global. Very diversified. Maker of Pepsi, Frito Lay, Doritos, Tropicana, Quaker, and Gatorade. With a growing middle class with more disposable income in developing countries how can you possibly go wrong investing in Pepsi?*
  • Starbucks (SBUX) *Opening 3,000 new stores in the Americas by 2017. China to become 2nd largest market in 2014. This company is growing like a weed. Better get in sooner rather than later.*
  • Kimberly Clark (KMB) *They make the tissue you see in public washrooms everywhere. Very stable business model*
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) *Increased its dividends for at least 25 consecutive years*

I already have shares in McDonald’s which owns the McCafé brand of coffee. Once I also buy Tim Hortons and Starbucks I’ll have part ownership to pretty much the entire quick service coffee business in Canada, haha (⌒▽⌒)and exposure to many other countries too. Canadians bought 1.5 billion cups of coffee last year, making it the nation’s most popular beverage. So every time someone buys a coffee from these lucrative chains a very small amount from that transaction will eventually be paid back to me either in dividends, or stock value 😀

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Random Useless Fact:

getting back into stocks and investing in coffee

source: CBC