Looking back I was really quite naive when it came to investing. I made my first tentative steps into the markets brimming with confidence but taking decisions that would make the average “wood pigeon” seem like a financial genius. For instance; I purchased shares in a rather well known high street retailer without so much as a look through its financials, or recent regulatory releases. And while it is true that the company had enjoyed a long history and glorious past, the company as a going concern had actually been in decline for years.
I then compounded this by purchasing shares in a company which had just reported a loss, not a big deal by itself, but this was in fact not any ordinary loss, but the largest ever reported UK annual loss on record (at the time). If these huge investing errors were not quite enough(?).
Well I then went on to bigger and better things and poured what was left of my meagre savings into purchasing shares in a pharmaceutical. One which was working on a drug which was going to make a significant impact into how skin cancer is treated. One significant impact I didn’t consider however, is what the impact would be if this drug failed in its early trials.
As you have probably guessed my investment in all three of these companies, ultimately led to a catastrophic 100% loss. This disastrous excursion into shares is one that is probably somewhat familiar to many new investors, and it will probably continue to be well into the future. This isn’t because there are lots of stupid people around (and I was pretty stupid) it is simply because there are so many entering into investing whom (like I did) fail to grasp the basic concepts of what your planned investment in shares actually represents. My education came about quite accidentally around 10 years later. A brief story that I want to share (no pun intended) with you right here and now. My partner had recently gotten into reading the various books written by “self help” guru Anthony Robbins. I was very sceptical but reluctantly I had a look at one or two and admittedly found his books quite compelling reads. Long story short but in one of his books he had a section on financial success, and cites ideas of copying the habits and traits of champions in their fields, and names such as Warren Buffett are mentioned. Admittedly I am embarrassed to say that he is someone I had never heard of at that time. Yes. I know just how ridiculous that is, given I wanted to be an investor.
That really became my “revelation moment” when I looked up Warrens record, and read about his very simple and logical approach, it opened my eyes to the world of investing and inspired me to read not only the investing classics he recommends, but also more contemporary authors.
I am under no illusion to believe that Warren built his wealth solely on buying stocks (but he did begin more or less that way) nor that I will hope to replicate (even in any tiny way) Warren’s outstanding record. However it isn’t unreasonable to conclude that by following some simple logical steps, and applying these to best effect, that I can expect decent returns over a long term investing time frame.
So a couple of years in to my new life as an ‘Investor’ and I am off to a good start I feel. And this blog will now be my journey of discovery into investing and the unknown profits/pitfalls that await. I hope to share my thoughts, and discuss my ideas.
Author can be contacted: Investing1234@hotmail.co.uk
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