Monday, April 23, 2012

Karate Kid Investing

I don't understand rapid fire trading, either by machines or humans. It's far from investing and only becomes, possibly, meaningful if you add lots of leverage. In terms of purchasing power, backing out inflation and new capital raising, I'm not sure much money has ever been made with this approach. But it can sure swing the markets and garners lots of press.

Mr. Miyagi's advise to the Karate Kid was "wax on, wax off". Today's hedge fund gurus practice the martial arts of "risk on, risk off". "Wax on, wax off" practice helped the Kid, but investing/trading shouldn't be practice, make believe, or foolish. It needs to be serious, since it involves other peoples' money. How does "risk on, risk off" grow wealth? Making a correct, big macro bet will make a person feel prosperous, but the next big, macro bet is likely to go the opposite direction and drive one to the ledge. Taking small amounts on and off the table in "risk on, risk off" maneuvers, only increases transaction costs. How does fleeing to Treasuries, only to return shortly benefit wealth creation?

How do you survive mentally in an investing world dominated by children with machines? Keep enough cash on hand to live, stay invested, and dabble around the edges with options. Pay very little attention to daily market movement.

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