What separates an investor from a speculator? Of course they look different. While an investor is generally calm and composed, a speculator is mostly agitated!
Anyways, the serious answer is – It’s not what they choose to buy but how they choose it.
At one price, any stock could be a speculation; at another (lower) price, it can become an investment. And in the hands of different people, the same stock – even at the same price – could be either a speculation or an investment. It all depends on how they understood it and how honestly they assessed their own limitations.
As per the father of value investing, Benjamin Graham, the following three attributes make you an investor and their absence make you a speculator:
1. Thorough analysis
2. Safety of capital
3. Adequate return