It’s been my experience as a full-time trader over the decades that investing muscles need to take a vacation regularly. I’ve learned the hard way that vacations must be part of my money management routines. If I procrastinate and wait until I realize I need a vacation, the markets inevitably will have already told me the same thing in subtle ways. By then, it will have cost me money. My advice to you is to extract yourself from the investing-is-life box before reaching this point.
Charts I'm Stalking: Action Practice #19: Sector Funds & Their Top Holdings Offer Many Profitable Insights
It’s hard to believe but exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been with us now for 24 years. Who would have guessed? Perhaps John Bogle.
As a rule, investors buy Sector ETFs to smooth out the ride and decrease volatility. The classic measurement of volatility is, of course, the statistical measurement of standard deviation which shows investors how far a series of returns swings from the average returns over a time period of their choosing.
Remember the bygone advertisements from years past about hair replacement? The gentleman stares into the camera and says “I’m not just the president of the Men’s Hair Club, but I am also a client.” Our ChartPack deserves a similar endorsement. “I’m not just the creator of the Tensile Trading ChartPack, but I am also a daily user.”
Ninety percent (90%) of Americans believe that they are above average drivers. Multiple studies have corroborated this impossibility over the years. I’m certain that the equivalent surveys of American investors would yield a similar fanciful number.
It reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s radio show featuring Lake Wobegon — the fictitious midwestern town where all of the children are above average. My point being that most drivers and investors — like those Lake Wobegon kids — believe they are exceptional. When you have a Ferrari for a brain but brakes made for a bicycle, you are dangerous — whether driving or investing.
So, how did you stack up the equities of the Dow 30 based on Money Flow in Action Practice #17?
The first question you should have asked yourself is “what is my personal investing timeframe?” Clearly, a day trader would not analyze money flow the same as a position trader or as an intermediate-to-long term investor. The second suggestion I would make is to revisit your own knowledge set about Money Flow. An ideal place to start is the StockCharts glossary.
Have any of you ever found yourselves so overly focused on your individual positions that you are missing the market’s essential big picture? For profitable investing, maintaining a birds-eye view is imperative. This is what asset allocation is all about, and from the academics, we know that this provides the “biggest bang for your buck” in the investing arena.
Many investors’ backgrounds are such that they have been trained in their professional lives to focus on the individual details The downside of this is that by devoting a disproportionate amount of their time and attention to singular equities or by fixating on the narrow specifics of an individual ETF, they might fail to see that it’s only a branch of an individual tree and neglect to realize that it’s part of a larger forest (i.e. the market). You need to step back on a regular basis and maintain a little better perspective from a broader vantage point.
Something that I’ve witnessed with a number of investors is that they meet a broker they like, and they buy some trees (i.e. equities). They then meet another broker or two, and repeat the same process. Before long, they have assembled a random collection of trees and have no idea what their personal forest exactly looks like and they can’t see any rational investment strategy.
For precisely this reason, my own ChartPack is organized to encourage and help investors begin their market analysis utilizing the three big picture “Permission to Buy” ChartLists.
The bottom line is that investors must not get enthralled or overwhelmed by the details and minutiae to the point that it obscures their ability to discern overall market shifts, larger trends and the broader money flows of sectors and industry groups. That is where the big money is made. Don’t lose sight of the forest!
Trade well; trade with discipline!
- Gatis Roze, MBA, CMT
- Author, Tensile Trading: The 10 Essential Stages of Stock Market Mastery (Wiley, 2016)
- Presenter of the best-selling Tensile Trading DVD seminar
- Presenter of the How to Master Your Asset Allocation Profile DVD seminar
- Developer of the StockCharts.com Tensile Trading ChartPack
This is all about your fiscal fitness and future financial fate. Pay attention!
I’ve written before about the indisputable number of academic studies proving asset allocation is the highest leverage activity that individual investors can focus on. Although this blog will touch upon this, it will be focused instead on the principles of CORE & EXPLORE investing. Though popularized and championed by Vanguard’s founder John Bogle, its origins actually date back to published research done by Schwab in 2000.
Albert Einstein famously said, “If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and five minutes implementing the solution.” If you were in a life threatening situation and had only one hour before it proved fatal, what would you do? Einstein said he’d spend his time wisely asking probing questions to understand the problem in depth. Having done that, he’d only need 5 minutes to address the issue.
At a May 20th presentation to the Seattle chapter of the AAII, Paul Merriman confirmed to me his standing as a respected elder of investment management. Since selling his multi-billion dollar advisory firm in 2012, he has been running a financial education foundation. His motto “knowledge is power” is an accurate portrayal of his mission, and parallels my own efforts to educate and empower individual investors these past 20 years.
What makes Merriman’s motto so unique is that it’s backed up by a depth of experience few have attained and delivered honestly in a philanthropic voice that says “this is what’s best for individual investors.” My intention here is not to paraphrase his AAII presentation but to highlight two indispensable points he made that day.
I had a shock recently. I met a couple who was in the midst of what I considered to be a personal financial coronary, yet they were totally oblivious to the perils facing them. Both husband and wife were professionals with advanced graduate degrees. Despite their intelligence and educations, neither of them had ever taken the slightest interest in any kind of financial education or investing. They’d led successful careers, yet they were absolute simpletons when it came to anything financial. For the sake of this analogy, I’ll call them Fred and Wilma — a nod to the Flintstones.