Learning from Warren Buffet Series – Part 5

Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder letter – 1983-85

Key Takeaways from the letters (in no particular order)

Learning 1

Allocation of capital is the key – Allocation of capital is the key factor to judge a business management or a fund manager. It is one of the most crucial factors which decide the fate of the business or fund. We as investors need to keep an eye on the capital allocation decisions of management. We often see management retaining large sums of the business earnings and reinvesting it in lower return of investment projects, unrelated businesses, just so that management can expand their empire or at times we see companies having a high dividend payout ratio when they actually need to deploy capital in their business. Both these circumstances are alarming. Market in general rewards management which has a history of good capital allocation decisions.

This is true for businesses and individuals alike as capital is not free, every decision we as individuals take to save, spend or invest capital matters.

Learning 2

Become a learning machine – To be successful one need to keep learning and updating oneself. To become a learning machine one has to voraciously read, think and aim to become little wiser every day. This concept been beautifully captured in an article on the Buffet formula in the widely read and followed blog “Farnam Street”. I strongly suggest that you read the full article here.

The biggest difficulty in life is not learning new things; it is to unlearn the old. Keynes articulated the problem crisply when he said: “The difficulty lies not in the new ideas but in escaping from the old ones.”

Learning 3

Invest in management who eat their own cooking – Buffet in his 1983 annual letter to shareholders lists down the major business principles which he follows and one of the most important one is that he has an ownership orientation instead of thinking like a manager. He and other directors are all major shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. This is one of the key takeaways for us as investors – look for companies with high Promoter holdings or mutual funds where the fund managers have their own funds invested.

Learning 4

Study your failures rather than your success – Buffet emphasizes that both in life and other aspects of life studying and learning from your mistakes is of great importance. He embodies it by giving a full detailed account of his reason of shutting down the textile business and the loss in earnings caused by the delay in taking this decision.

Learning from our mistakes has one added advantage we tend to not repeat them again in future (hopefully). As Charlie Munger says “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.”

Learn more from Warren Buffet through previous parts of our series:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Track Your Mutual Fund Investments Real Time

Till some time ago, every family had a relationship manager who would periodically come and meet our parents and discuss his mutual fund investments with him. And that was the only time our parents could get to know how their funds were doing. This is similar to those times when the only way to send money to someone was to visit a bank branch and deposit some cash/cheque.

With the onslaught of technology, everyone is seeking more convenience in everything that they do. So we don’t want to visit bank branches anymore and neither do we want to depend on our advisor to tell us how our money is doing. At CAGRfunds, we realized this urge for independence and therefore provided our clients with the convenience of tracking their investments on their own personal CAGR dashboard.

Once you register and start investing through the CAGR platform, you are assigned your own login details with which you get access to your own dashboard. Not only can you invest in mutual funds online but also track how your funds are performing.

But you do get a bunch of statements on your email, right? So what is there to track? Well, three reasons why our dashboard helps:

Comprehensive Data:

Some reports give you the value of how much your money has grown while others show you the list of transactions you have made. We give you everything relevant at one place. We show you how much you have invested, the current invested value, the absolute return and the annual return.Not only that, we show you the individual funds that you are invested in and what is the return you are making both at the fund and portfolio level. We also show you how your investments are split between asset classes and if it is in sync with your decided asset-allocation.

Simple Enough For Anyone To Get It:

The fine print and numbers overload on the statements you get on email makes it all the more complicated. Either you sift through all the information yourself or stay uninformed. We obviously don’t want that and hence our dashboard and reports are quite simple. Our clients told this to us! Don’t believe? Read here.

Any Time Visibility:

Reports generally come to you at the end of the month or when you transact. But with us, the next time you are discussing investments with your friend, just log in, check your current portfolio value and returns and have a more informed discussion!

We, therefore, ensure that you stay in complete control of your portfolio. So the next time you call us, it is only to discuss your portfolio, not to get data – because your dashboard gives you all the data you need!

If you have been facing trouble tracking your investments and want to switch to a truly delightful investing experience, do not hesitate to call / Whatsapp us on +91 97693 56440. You can also comment on this post or email us on contact@cagrfunds.com.

Our Investment Experts Cater To The Minutest Of Queries

This post is quite close to our hearts. Because in many ways, it defines who we are.

Let us talk about two recent examples.

Example 1

The other day, we met a 35-year-old salaried individual who had not started investing yet. He knew it was high time he should start deploying his surplus money to better use, but who has the time with a 12-hour job! While we were discussing his financial goals, he gave us a pile of 5 booklets (call them policies). And he smiled and said – “Can you please go through them and tell me what to do?”

And so we did. We not only analyzed the policies for him, we ended up giving him some useful advice, based on our expertise.

So, trust us when we say we go beyond our job description, to help clear those small doubts in your head, which you never ask or share with others!

Example 2

A month back, we met a 22-year-old female who wanted to start saving. It was a usual savings-discussion we were having when she mentioned, how she had no idea about what her tax liability would be that year.

This was of concern because she had just received her salary slip where tax had been deducted for the very first time. She asked if we could help her. And there we were, helping her calculate her tax.

The point we are trying to make is – we are always there for you.

We can never promise to do just everything for you, but if it is within our realm of possibility and knowledge, then we go all out to help you.

You must be thinking why on Earth do we do it? Well, we believe in getting married to our clients. We are not just a platform where you can begin investing or a set of people who will list out 3 funds to invest in.

We are a bunch of financial experts who treat our clients like family. And we do that in our style!

Did a financial query just pop up in your mind? Do not hesitate to call / Whatsapp us on +91 97693 56440. You can also comment on this post or email us on contact@cagrfunds.com

Are you taking the right investing decisions?

Much like the overconfident hare in the fable of “The Tortoise and the Hare”, people can well fall prey to the exaggerated notions of their own infallibility. Are you then, the tortoise or the hare, when it comes to handling your money or investing? What if we were to tell you that overconfidence bias can impact your investment decisions?

There is a very fine line of distinction between confidence and overconfidence. Overconfidence is the difference between ‘what you know’ and ‘what you think you know’.

A colleague of mine had no idea about investing and more specifically, about buying and selling stocks. It was during the regular lunch break discussions about the rising equity market, that he got fascinated with the idea of investing. What next? He started following the prices of stocks and in a trending market, he felt that he is successfully being able to predict the market movement.

The next logical step for him was to open a brokerage account with an equity broker. Kicked by his exuberance about the newly acquired skill, he started buying and selling stocks in small quantities. And his excitement knew no bounds when he started making some money. With the initial success he started to believe that he had the ability to predict the market. And that he had acquired a skill which could help him make money on a continuous and consistent basis. With the increased confidence he started taking bigger bets. But as equity markets do not behave rationally in the short run, there was an unforeseen event in the economy and his stocks started to fall. Seeing his portfolio in red, he had to exit all his positions and he lost faith in equity markets.

How do we then prevent ourselves from being overconfident about our financial decisions?

A financial decision demands a thorough review of attendant factors.

  • Are you getting sold on something that is too good to be true?
  • Are you being over enthusiastic? Optimism is good; but an excess of enthusiasm can be fraught with risk, because it involves haste and haste preempts caution.
  • Do you have enough logical reasons for the financial decision you are about to take? Remember, each deal presents distinct challenges. Tackle them wisely and.
  • Have you reflected enough on your past experiences and mistakes?
  • Have you consulted an expert advisor for a second opinion on your decision?

Determining answers to these questions will serve to offset the ‘overconfidence bias’ into your investment patterns.

How do we help?

Overconfidence is largely a result of misjudging one’s own judgement. At CAGRfunds, we give you the “second opinion” that you might just be looking for. We not only conduct a FREE audit of your current portfolio, but also give you the right financial advice for all your future goals. We therefore ensure that you do not mistakenly take very concentrated exposures to a particular asset class.

Write to us at contact@cagrfunds.com for a FREE audit of your existing portfolio.

Frequent changes to your investment portfolio can be detrimental

The list of top performing stocks or mutual funds keeps changing frequently. This is of course obvious as the performance depends on various factors and some of these factors are not completely in control of the company’s management. Even good companies with sound management will face ups and downs. There is one obvious question that comes to every investor’s mind – Do we keep churning our portfolio frequently to exit the underperformer and buy the outperformer? My answer to this is overwhelming ‘No’. I believe churning of your portfolio too frequently will do more harm than good.

Let me try to explain further. During the last 15 years, Nifty (including dividend) has grown at an annual rate of 16.7%, to put it in simple terms, Rs. 100 invested 15 years back has now grown to more than 10 times. But, having said that, equity as an asset class is known to be volatile in short periods (see chart below). So, while investing in equity for short term may be tricky, the odds of making money in the long term are quite high.

Now, let us come back to ‘Power of Compounding’, which we had touched briefly in my last article (Read here). This has to be one of the most important financial lessons of all time. As the great Albert Einstein said “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He, who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it”.

Here, we will see how holding your portfolio for the long term helps power of compounding play its magic in the most unusual way. If you hold your portfolio for long term, the winners in your portfolio will tend to become dominant, and the losers will become insignificant. The positive impact of the winners will significantly outweigh the negative contribution and your portfolio will compound significantly. Not sure, right? I can understand your circumspection.

Let me explain this by taking a simple two stock portfolio. Stock ‘A’ is a winner, gives 25% annual return over a period of 15 years, while Stock ‘B’ is declining by 25% annually. How has your portfolio performed? I would say good, rather great. Your portfolio has given an annual return of 19.4%. This example demonstrates the power of compounding.

This magic can also work for you. You just have to be patient and give your money long enough time to grow.