Submitted by Steve Selengut
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Golf and Investing: Tin Cup Lessons
Benjamin Graham was an economist, financial analyst, and professional value investor. He was one of the first to advise investors to look beyond the media hype and confusion to find undervalued stocks that would become part of a diversified portfolio.
Roy McAvoy is a fictional professional golfer (in the 1996 film "Tin Cup") whose pride, ego, and stubbornness combined to let the U. S. Open championship slip through his fingers.
Graham developed his skills and understanding of the financial markets into a discipline that, most expert investors would agree, helps to minimize the risks associated with investing. McAvoy recklessly ignored the risks associated with visible hazards while he allowed his internal environment to bring a defeat he clearly had the skills to avoid.
For an endless variety of reasons "tin cup" amateur investors bring on their own demise by failing to minimize risks using well known basic techniques that are thoroughly documented and supported by sand traps full of statistical evidence. They hit driver with every selection--- it's the only club in their bag.
Institutional plus-handicappers, defied the investment gods by developing derivative monstrosities. They now resemble depression era "tin cuppers", sitting crumpled by the curb, looking for government handouts to remove the snowmen from their investment product scorecards.
Some of the mightiest institutions have fallen because they disrespected the BING (Basic Investment Guidelines). The investment gods are ticked.
In amateur golf, most of us are aware of the basic elements of the game and are all too familiar with our own personal, and seemingly unsolvable, shortcomings.
I invariably take all but the shortest irons back too far. My biggest head problem is the focus destroying "ageda" of the rude group behind us either hitting to close or impatiently taking practice swings just fifty yards back--- thinking that they are speeding up play in the process.
Knowing better, my course management often falls prey to McAvoyian exercises in futility--- the weekend's silly attempt at a Mickelson full swing flop shot over a palmetto guarded sand trap, for example, when a simple chip to the clear side of the green was so much more doable for a Sunday-15 handicapper.
Given a choice between safe and risky, I seem to choose risky every time--- but only on the golf course! I've not learned that a clear and calm bogey-every-hole objective produces far more pars (and fewer "others") than a par-every-hole goal that makes each second shot a masochistic head shaker.
I just don't play enough to master the safe approach--- something I've grown used to in investing because I do it every day. Knowing our own limitations should make things easier. Yeah, it should.
Investing is not as easy to master as many non-professionals seem to think--- and as even more commissioned professionals would like them to think. It is likely that most golfers fail to break 100 ninety percent of the time. Equity investors eventually lose money on their selections most of the time--- and mostly because they forget to take profits. Now there's a double-bogey off a perfect drive!
The most difficult aspects of golf and investing are similar: planning an asset allocation and investment course management, minimizing risk of loss with higher quality securities and taking hazards out of play by selecting the proper club, trajectory, or landing area, etc.
Managing your emotions during the post-birdie tee-shot or in the throes of a triple-bogey is a microcosm of the emotional control needed to ride the roller coaster produced by market, interest rate, and economic cycles.
Similarly, mastering the short game (where the most shots are wasted in chunks, skulls, and three-putts) is every bit as bottom-line relevant as fine tuning a trading strategy that operates realistically and profitably along side the short-term gyrations of the markets.
The parallels between golf and investing are many--- risk management is just the most obvious. Fore!
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|Please read this disclaimer:|
Steve Selengut is registered as an investment adviser representative. His assessments and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of any business entity; the information is only intended to be educational and thought provoking.
Risk Management: Income, 401k, and IRA Programs
Take a tour of a professional investment managers' private SEP IRA program during ten years surrounding the financial crisis:
In developing the investment plan, personal financial goals, objectives, time frames, and future income requirements should all be considered. A first step would be to assure that small portfolios (under $50,000) are at least 50% income focused.
At the $100,000 level, between 30% and 40% income focused is fine, but above age 50, the income focus allocation needs to be no less than 40%... and it could increase in 10% increments every five years.
The "Income Bucket" of the Asset Allocation is itself a portfolio risk minimization tool, and when combined with an "Equity Bucket" that includes only Investment Grade Value Stocks, it becomes a very powerful risk regulator over the life of the portfolio.
Other Risk Minimizers include: "Working Capital Model" based Asset Allocation, fundamental quality based selection criteria, diversification and income production rules, and profit taking guidelines for all securities,
Dealing with changes in the Investment Environment productively involves a market/interest rate/economic cycle appreciation, as has evolved in the Market Cycle Investment Management (MCIM) methodology. Investors must formulate realistic expectations about investment securities--- by class and by type. This will help them deal more effectively with short term events, disruptions and dislocations.
Over the past twenty years, the market has transitioned into a "passive", more products than ever before, environment on the equity side... while income purpose investing has actually become much easier in the right vehicles. MCIM relies on income closed end funds to power our programs.
To illustrate just how powerful the combination of highest quality equities plus long term closed end funds has been during this time... we have provided an audio PowerPoint that illustrates the development of a Self Directed IRA portfolio from 2004 through 2014.
Throughout the years surrounding the "Financial Crisis", Annual income nearly tripled from $8,400 to $23,400 and Working Capital grew 80% $198,000 to $356,000.
Total income is 6.5% of capital and more than covers the RMD.
Managing income purpose securities requires price volatility understanding and disciplined income reinvestment protocals. "Total realized return" (emphasis on the realized) and compound earnings growth are the key elements. All forms of income secuities are liquid when dealt with in Closed End Funds.
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|Please read this disclaimer:|
Steve Selengut is registered as an investment advisor representative. His assessments and opinions are purely his own and do not represent the views of any other entity. None of his commentary is or should be considered either investment advice or a solicitation of business. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be or should be construed as an endorsement of any entity or organization. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or investments mentioned are any more than illustrations --- they are never recommendations, and others will most certainly disagree with the thoughts presented in the article.