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Archives for January 2017

Want to Become a Full-Time Investor? Here’s Your Checklist

One of the questions I got asked by a few members in my last workshop in Mumbai was – “I have a passion in investing and would love to do it full-time. So how do I prepare to become a full-time investor?”

This, by the way, isn’t a new question for me but one that is often asked. With the last few years of reasonably good performance from the overall stock market, and with more and more people flouting their multi-baggers on social media, it isn’t surprising to see many people wanting to quit their jobs to become full-time investors because they think they have a “knack for finding potential multi-baggers.”

I believe such thoughts are often masked by Recency Bias, because most of such questions about quitting a job to become a full-time investor usually follow good (recent) periods in the stock market.

Envy is also at work here, because a lot of people are witnessing some full-time investors (who shout a lot on social media) get rich quick.

And then don’t forget the role of Survivorship Bias, which is a logical error of concentrating only on people or things that “survived” some process and inadvertently overlooking those that did not. So, taking inspiration from other full-time investors who have made good money from “emerging moats” or “100-to-1 stocks” or “value trading” and ignoring others who followed similar processes but ended up with disasters can lead you to false conclusions about your own potential as a full-time investor.

What is more, like them, you don’t need to consider investing as a way to make you rich…but a way to keep you rich i.e., help you grow your purchasing power. Look at your work – job / profession / business – to make you rich and thus focus more energy there than on the stock market. That is another reason most of us should consider owning only high-quality businesses where we don’t have to spend a lot of time answering a lot of questions.

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Safal Niveshak Stream – January 28, 2017

Note to Readers: In Stream, we suggest worthwhile reading material on a variety of topics, not all of which are directly related to investing. Some of the articles require you to be paid subscriber of those sites. However, it is often possible to read such articles by going to Google News and searching for the article’s title.



Some nice stuff we are reading, watching, and observing at the start of this weekend…

Life/Learning

  • Marcus Aurelius on how to motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning and go to work…

    At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

  • One blogger who never fails to inspire me is Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. I have been reading him for the past seven years, and have also found mental stimulation in most of what he has written. Like this post that Leo wrote on what he has learned in 10 years of Zen Habits

    It’s been a decade filled with learning for me … too many things to put into one post. But as I’ve been reflecting on it all, I have a dozen or so notes I’d like to share with you.

    Some of the things I’ve learned, starting with personal lessons and ending with lessons about my business:

    Focus on intentions rather than goals. As you might know, I experimented with giving up goals after being very focused on goals for years. It was liberating, and it turns out, you don’t just do nothing if you don’t have a goal. You get up and focus on what you care about. Read more here. Instead, I’ve found it useful to focus less on the destination (goal) and instead focus on what your intention for each activity is. If you’re going to write something … instead of worrying about what the book will be like when you’re done, focus on why you want to write in the first place. If you are doing something out of love or to help others, for example, then you are freed from it needing to turn out a certain way (a goal) and instead can let it turn out however it turns out. I’ve found this way of working and living to be freeing and less prone to anxiety or procrastination.

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Women and Investing: A Conversation With My Wife

I conducted my Value Investing Workshop in Mumbai on Sunday, and it was one of the biggest gatherings I’ve ever had in this city so far. Thanks to all who attended the same, and especially to those who flew in from Goa, Delhi, and Vadodara.

Safal Niveshak's Mumbai Value Investing Workshop - Jan 2017

As I shared the photo of tribe members who attended the workshop, my friend on Twitter, Yamini Sood asked, “I wonder where are all the women?”


I have always congratulated the few women who attend my workshops, but never took this question more seriously – “Where are all the women when it comes to learning how to invest their money in the stock market, and also to take control of their financial lives?”

So, I posed this question to my wife – “What do you think could be the reason more women are not learning to invest well, which I indirectly understand as the lack of inclination on their part to look at the stock market as a way to invest their savings and to take control of their financial lives?”

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Safal Niveshak Stream – January 21, 2017

Note to Readers: In Stream, we suggest worthwhile reading material on a variety of topics, not all of which are directly related to investing. Some of the articles require you to be paid subscriber of those sites. However, it is often possible to read such articles by going to Google News and searching for the article’s title.



Some nice stuff we are reading, watching, and observing at the start of this weekend…

Life/Learning

  • The American chess player and martial arts champion Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning is one of the best books I have read on, well, the art of learning and the entire process of going about doing it. This book reveals Waitzkin’s unique systems of thematic learning, idea generation, building resilience, and mastering the art of performance psychology. Here is one of the many passages from the book that have inspired me…

    If I have learned anything over my first twenty-nine years, it is that we cannot calculate our important contests, adventures, and great loves to the end. The only thing we can really count on is getting surprised. No matter how much preparation we do, in the real tests of our lives, we’ll be in unfamiliar terrain. Conditions might not be calm or reasonable. It may feel as though the whole world is stacked against us. This is when we have to perform better than we ever conceived of performing. I believe the key is to have prepared in a manner that allows for inspiration, to have laid the foundation for us to create under the wildest pressures we ever imagined.

  • It’s understandable that we respond to the ratcheting demands of modern life by trying to make ourselves more efficient by managing our time better. But what if all this efficiency just makes things worse?

    Given that the average lifespan consists of only about 4,000 weeks, a certain amount of anxiety about using them well is presumably inevitable: we’ve been granted the mental capacities to make infinitely ambitious plans, yet almost no time at all to put them into practice. The problem of how to manage time, accordingly, goes back at least to the first century AD, when the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote On The Shortness of Life. “This space that has been granted to us rushes by so speedily, and so swiftly that all save a very few find life at an end just when they are getting ready to live,” he said, chiding his fellow citizens for wasting their days on pointless busyness, and “baking their bodies in the sun”.

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28 Big Ideas on Investing, Business, Life, Behaviour, and Thinking (Special E-Book)

28 Big Ideas on Investing, Business, Life, Behaviour, and Thinking (Special E-Book)The world around us is changing pretty fast. Modern computers are becoming cheaper, faster and more intelligent than ever, which means they are ready to replace a large part of human workforce.

The day is not far when your work and skills will be threatened by artificial intelligence. To stay relevant, you need to ensure that you remain valuable to the society in a way which can’t be substituted by a robot.

And your only chance to remain valuable is by being a constant learner…a learning machine, as Charlie Munger says. In fact, he has been saying this for years –

I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.

The question is where do you start? There is so much to learn all around, and so little time.

Start with our latest special e-book – 28 Big Ideas on Investing, Business, Life, Behaviour, and Thinking.

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One Big Lesson I Learned Late in My Investing Life

One of the most profound thoughts I’ve ever read on the child-parent relationship comes from the noted Lebanese-American artist and poet Kahlil Gibran, who wrote the following under the title “On Children” –

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

The first time I read these thoughts, my first reaction was – “If my children are not my children, then whose are they? And what do you mean they are not mine?”

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Safal Niveshak Stream – January 14, 2017

Note to Readers: In Stream, we suggest worthwhile reading material on a variety of topics, not all of which are directly related to investing. Some of the articles require you to be paid subscriber of those sites. However, it is often possible to read such articles by going to Google News and searching for the article’s title.



Some nice stuff we are reading, watching, and observing at the start of this weekend…

Life/Learning

  • At times it’s scary to think how time is flying. And then there are posts like these that tell you that you may not learn some of the most important lessons till it’s too late in life, like these three…

    1. Time passes much more quickly than you realize.

    2. If you don’t take care of your body early then it won’t take care of you later. Your world becomes smaller each day as you lose mobility, continence and sight.

    3. People are far more important than any other thing in your life. No hobby, interest, book, work is going to be as important to you as the people you spend time with as you get older.

  • Does anyone know anything any more? The ease with which one can look up facts on a phone at any time is one of the wonders of the modern age. But are we becoming too reliant on it? A new study indicates, at least, that there might be a snowball effect to such reliance. The more we depend on Google for information recall, it suggests, the more we will do so in the future. In short, Google may be rewiring our minds, and the debate we are now having about the effect of constant internet access on memory and creativity has precedents thousands of years old.

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Value Investor Interview: Kuntal Shah

Note: This interview was originally published in the November 2016 issue of our premium newsletter – Value Investing Almanack (VIA). To read more such interviews and other deep thoughts on value investing, business analysis and behavioral finance, click here to subscribe to VIA.



Kuntal Shah - Value Investing AlmanackKuntal Shah is one of the founding partners of SageOne Investment Advisors and has an opportunistic inclination towards a value-oriented and risk-controlled approach to investments. He has been an extremely successful investor over the past two decades and his success has come from exploiting the inefficiencies inherent in the markets.

Kuntal has an in-depth understanding of value investing with a focus on risk identification and mitigation, emerging trends, and opportunities in key growth sectors in India, taxation and accounting. He also loves to teach on these subjects and in the past has lectured at UTI Institute of Capital Markets, IIM (Ahmedabad), IIT (Mumbai), Symbiosis, FLAME and Chartered Accountants Institute. Kuntal is an Electronics Engineer from Pune University.

Safal Niveshak (SN): Could you tell us a little about your background, and how you got interested in value investing?

Kuntal Shah (KS): I was brought up in a middle-class family in Mumbai. I am an engineer by qualification. Early life was a constant struggle to make ends meet for our family of five siblings given our father’s limited earnings. I was lucky to be brought up in an environment where there was no compromise on education and was fortunate to be inculcated with middle class working ethos, frugality and conservatism of living within one’s means without recourse to borrowing to prepone consumption.

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