Before I start off this article, I have to set the context here. Different individuals have different risk preference, some are risk takers and some are risk averse and some are somewhere between. So where do I stand? I stand in the middle between taking risk and taking less risk at different point in time but remain a risk taker in general. I wasn’t like this in the past during my younger days as I always want to wait for the best and safest price aka one with the highest margin of safety. Things go and I realise that keep waiting for the highest margin of safety is an ideal concept yet difficult to execute. Why? Markets never behave according to what we wish for but move according to what it wants. Yes to Mr Market.
To state, the market has been in a long secular bull since March 2009 and has corrected every now and then. For me, trying to call the top and bottom seems like a rolling a dice for many people unless you are George Soros, Paul Tudor or… So what can we do on our end? First, look at ourselves and assess our age, cash inflow from income, hustle (popular word now since Elon Musk used it recently) and spending. If you are young, you can afford to let time be your best friend. That’s when you can increase your chances of being right without being “killed” by volatility. Here, it is important not to take leverage as market cycle after so many years tend to be volatile. However, to keep waiting on the sideline without deploying a single dollar for me in itself is a risk too. For me, as my part of my portfolio management, I have deployed a certain percentage of my deployable cash in investment. This cash portion is different form my trading pot, which I need to take quick losses of I go wrong. For investment, I can afford to wait for my investment thesis to be proven right. Yes, however one must avoid the self filling prophecy or confirmation bias and take an unbiased view of the stock that one is holding. Exact timing of entry is good and ideal but may not be as critical as trading.
For investment or trading, capital preservation remains the most important rule. Risk is not knowing what one does not know or thinking one knows something when he or she does not really know. Volatility in itself is not risks but in fact, opportunities for individuals who are agile enough to capitalise on the opportunities. Share price in itself remains demand and supply of stocks that depend on fundamentals as well as Mr market emotions. So what are you risking depends on how much you know of the fundamentals of the company for people who are investing? For people who are trading, what you are risking depends on the timeframe and position size of your trade? Overleveraged position even when the trade eventually proves right may be closed out due to margin calls. That is why setting up stop loss for a trade is so important. Setting up stop loss is in itself a science and art. You have to learn along the way. In fact, small losses for trading is better as one starts the trading journey. This gives you the clarity that no one can ever win the market.
Kindly note that the above should not be construed as investment or trading advice.