Time management is essential to monitoring a 47 position portfolio. My 1st comment concludes with "Rich-unck:xx hrs"; I uncheck from the article to avoid repetitive comments, nonsense, and (most) arguments. I extend another XX hrs when I respond to a question or comment...I also respond to all PMs.
BACKGROUND My journey as a self-directed investor (SDI) began in 1973, and resulted in financial independence at age 52, which also allowed me to retire from corporate life the following year (Feb 1995).
I have no special knowledge not attainable by others who also dedicate themselves to the study of the economy, market, and stocks...I could cease all portfolio management today, and place it with a professional manager; however, I enjoy the psychic and financial rewards. Alternatively, I could become a passive investor via mutual funds and/or index ETFs (those works too! ). With few exceptions, As a rule, Rich only discusses his IRA here--it is only a portion of his and Joyce’s investment assets.
INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY If you ‘lived for today’ over the past 5 or 6 decades, you better invest in lottery tickets. The most probable path to a financially secure retirement is the product of an investment program (either active or passive) started when relatively young; living on less than all your after-tax income (saving means delayed gratification); and either self-directed or via professional management, adopting a sensible strategy suitable to age and comfort zone. There is wisdom in flexibility, diversification, and not being life-long wed to any strategy. It is appropriate to take greater risk for greater rewards (sensible growth stocks) when younger, as those are our lowest earnings years combined with our highest expense years--in the years between early investment and retirement, investments in solid growth companies can double 8 times or more.
There is time to adjust allocations to a more conservative strategy when closer to retirement. Never assume you have an information edge over the professionals. Time-in-the-market is your principle advantage. When/if you become interested in dividend stocks, never forget both price return and dividends compound, and price more so.
Financial independence is achieved when one has sufficient confidence his/her lifestyle will not change significantly, regardless of the potential depth or breadth of decline suffered by their portfolio--including a prolonged series of bear markets such as 1929-37. True, the recent 18-month bear market ending mid-2009, was deep--but also too brief to consider its lack of widespread dividend cuts to be as proof a portfolio of dividend-payers won't suffer income losses in a more prolonged decline (i.e., no portfolio is "dividend bulletproof").
The balance of this profile is lengthy, and likely not helpful to passive investors who simply go along for the ride, their portfolios bobbing up and down like flotsam in the ocean; their course always subject to the whims of winds, waves, and trends...THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!
PORTFOLIO GOALS Now in my 70s, it’s no longer appropriate to engage in the growth strategies applied in wealth accumulation. As a more conservative investor, 100% of his portfolio consists of dividend-payers. 95% of positions have investment grade credit ratings (the lone exception is a REIT).This combination, along with having companies in 10 of the 11 S&P GICS sectors (none in Materials at this time) provide a measure of diversification. This IRA portfolio holds no bonds, though bonds and other investments are held elsewhere.
Maximizing total return and wealth preservation are mutually exclusive. A key observation: Having the capacity for risk is not the same as having the tolerance for it!
Rich’s objective is now a ‘smoother-ride’ that levels out the market’s peaks and valleys (limit losses, trim notable excess valuation). That smoother ride in an all-equity portfolio cannot be achieved without active management and continuous monitoring of positions--therefore TIME is an essential input to his portfolio management. Active management does not’ means frequent changes, as it is not unusual for a quarter or more to pass between a trimming or sale (nonetheless, when a company fundamentals change, or a mistake is made, corrective action is taken.)
STRATEGY SINCE 2008 Rich targets both legs of TOTAL RETURN (distributions + price change). His Growth & Income strategy often focuses on VALUE investing tactics applied to dividend-payers. Value investors seek out unpopular, companies most investors are avoiding (i.e., fundamentals have declined but credit rating is strong, BoD has implemented a rational recovery plan, and the dividend not in danger). Value investors seek to be paid to wait for other investors to recognize the stock’s value and assign it a greater share price. In any event, value stock or growth stock, Rich always seeks a ‘margin of safety’--no shares are bought at prices >FV, and his margin of safety is derived from dividends paid, price appreciation, and rising FV over time.
In all cases, value or growth, Rich selects well-established dividend-paying companies having a high-probability of growing earnings (growth of earnings is ESSENTIAL to growth of price and dividends). He tends to be flexible, forward looking, reactive to changing fundamentals, and willing to admit a mistake so action follows.
SDI is not easy, success is not assured, and in recent decades, advice from academics, and investment coaches, almost universally recommend index funds. Those NOT having the prerequisite time and interest are unlikely to develop the requisite skills for stock investing--thus the probability strongly suggests most newbies would be better served by indexing (Ben Graham wrote favorably of indexing). However, when done successfully, self-directed stock investing can offer rich psychic and financial rewards.
CORE PORTFOLIO Presently, +/-30 equities. Core holdings dominate at about 65% of total portfolio positions. Favored are traditional, large- and mid-cap, low-beta, best/near-best in class, institutional-owned, moaty, dividend-paying, value and growth stocks, having investment-grade debt ratings, and representing the consumer staples, healthcare, utilities, and telecom sectors.
OPPORTUNISTIC PORTFOLIO The remaining 15+ positions consist of equally well-known dividend-payers found among widely-owned cyclicals, such as financial, industrials, consumer discretionary, technology, real estate, and energy sectors are sensitive to the economy. In an expanding economy, cyclicals typically grow their earnings (and dividends) faster than do the typically slower-growing core companies. But because the reverse is also true, in a contracting economy, these positions are intended to be heavily trimmed to preserve gains as the economy peaks and shows evidence of decline. Some are susceptible to quite significant price declines when Mr. Market assumes their will suffer reduced earnings, and sometimes dividend-freezes/cuts, in anticipation of those events.
Rich is sometimes fully-invested, but unlike some, observes no such rule. Building a large cash cushion at the front-end of a correction/bear market (-20%) provides the dry powder required to both cushion the market's decline, and also creates the cash required to purchase excellent companies at below FV prices (without having to sell a position he wants to keep!).
TRIMMING POSITIONS When positions in either portfolio become significantly overvalued, they are trimmed by 5-10%, and the proceeds applied to fairly valued companies before the (almost always) temporary gift of over-valuation reverts to the price mean. If the position continues to advance, and absent other information, the position will be trimmed again. Added benefits to selective trimming include (1) serves as a more sensible method of rebalancing (as opposed to automatic--professionals do not use such a meat cleaver); (2) reduces the position's remaining Capital at Risk (which may suggest room for additional shares within an otherwise full position), and (3) provides the necessary dry powder to buy other shares at FV or below.
OTHER INTERESTS As we age, the importance of family grows. Rich has long volunteered in his community; over the years has served with distinction as member/chair of a number of advisory committees. Assisting others on SA is also a source of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Finally, having been blessed by years of excellent investment performance, Joyce and Rich have long been avid world travelers, and have visited over 60 countries over a span of 30 years (his SA avatar reflects the Taj Mahal in his sun glasses). They reside in Michigan--for 9 months of beauty, bliss, and family, and thoroughly enjoy wintering in equally beautiful Naples FL--for 3 months of sunny warmth and relaxation.
Life is good--it's been an unbelievably awesome ride!
Power Hedge is an independent stock research and analysis firm with a passion for macro- and microeconomic analysis. Power Hedge focuses our research primarily on dividend-paying, international companies of all sizes with sustainable competitive advantages. Power Hedge is neither a permabear nor a permabull. However, we believe that, given the current structural problems in the United States, the best investment opportunities may lie elsewhere in the world. The firm's strategy is primarily buy and hold, but will stray from that strategy on occasion. Our ideal holding period is forever, however we realize that both internal and external forces can impact an investment. For this reason, we believe that it is vital to keep a close eye on all of your investments. We do not believe in changing an investment based on short-term market swings.
Traditionally, we have not always responded to comments but in order to improve the quality of our research, comments will be reviewed and we will respond to issues regarding errors or omissions. This does not include our premium service, "Renewable Energy Profits," which is available from the Seeking Alpha Marketplace. This service does include detailed discussions with our team both on the reports themselves and in a private forum.
John P. Reese is considered an expert in the systematic investing strategies of legendary investors, including Peter Lynch, Ben Graham, Warren Buffett and others. He has been active in the development of fundamentally-based quantitative models since the mid-90s. His research on Seeking Alpha will include stock ideas, strategy and value investing pieces, behavioral finance concepts, systematic and modeling methods as well as other long term investing concepts.
John is founder and CEO of Validea.com and also co-founder of Validea Capital Management, a asset management firm serving individuals and institutions. Validea Capital also runs an actively managed ETF that utilizes the fundamental stock selection models of investing legends.
John also sub-advises the National Bank Consensus American and International Equity Funds offered in the Canadian market. He holds two U.S. patents in the area of automated stock analysis and is considered an expert in the field of quantitative stock selection using the strategies of investing legends.
John is a columnist for TheStreet.com, Forbes.com and Canada's Globe & Mail and is co-author of “The Guru Investor: How to Beat the Market Using History’s Best Investment Strategies". He holds a master's of business administration from Harvard Business School and a degree in computer science from MIT.
A more complete biography can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_P._Reese
I am a simple individual investor who believes that the playing field is level, but may require active management of one's holdings.
I've devised a series of steps that constitute a highly defined covered option strategy that most anyone can follow and that I've described in Option to Profit (2011).
Having retired from a career in Pediatric Dentistry, approximately 10 years ahead of schedule, after spending the previous 10 years working just 2 days each week, I now spend my time trading and alerting others of trading opportunities in large cap positions through the Option to Profit subscription service, a premium subscription service that provides actionable Trading Alerts via text messaging or e-mail at www.optiontoprofit.com. as well as a Web site access only subscription plan.
The Option to Profit subscription service is now in its 4th year.
Now, the Web Access subscription plan is available through Seeking Alpha's "Marketplace." A listing of those articles can be found at https://seekingalpha.com/account/research/subscribe?slug=george-acs
The subscription through Seeking Alpha also includes access to the full Option to Profit web mirror site at http://sa.optiontoprofit.com.
I want you to join me in making your stock portfolio improve the quality of your life. Whatever stage of life you are in, you can make your stocks improve that quality by putting them to work for you.
Brad Thomas is a research analyst and he currently writes weekly for Forbes and Seeking Alpha where he maintains research on many publicly-listed REITs. In addition, Thomas is the Senior Analyst at iREIT Forbes and Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor, a monthly subscription-based newsletter.
Thomas has also been featured in Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger’s, US News & World Report, Money, NPR, Institutional Investor, GlobeStreet, and Fox Business. He was the #1 contributing analyst on Seeking Alpha in 2014 (as ranked by TipRanks) and he is currently writing a book on the legendary investor Donald Trump.
Thomas has co-authored a book (The Intelligent REIT Investor) that is available on Amazon.
Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics from Presbyterian College where he played basketball. He resides in South Carolina with his wife and kids.
Lawrence Meyers is the CEO of PDL Capital, which brokers financing, strategic investments, and distressed asset purchases between private equity firms and businesses of all stripes.
He was the first U.S. journalist to cover the payday loan sector for The Motley Fool. He is a frequent contributor on matters of personal finance and stock market investing to SeekingAlpha.com, InvestorPlace.com, WyattResearch.com, Bloggernews.net, LearnBonds.com, and blogs at http://www.ichabodcranium.com.
His work has been praised for its insight, humor, and specifics of working financial psychology into his analysis of personal finance matters and stock market investing. He attributes his skill to his many years writing for dramatic television. He has written over 24 hours of television and produced over 60 hours.
He consults for institutional investors on all aspects of the domestic and foreign alternative financial services industry, including legislative and regulatory issues. In 2010, Meyers began consulting for crisis communications firms, providing articles and videos to support their various clients. He is also developing business plans for the alternative financing, production, and distribution of creative content.
As a crisis communications consultant, he has drawn upon his expertise in various other fields including: economics, chemistry, public policy, fragrances, hair products, regulatory corruption, political communications, student loans, public and for-profit education, filmed entertainment, junk science, and pop culture criticism.
He is also the author of Teacher of the Year: The Mystery and Legacy of Edwin Barlow, which 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft has praised; Inside the TV Writer's Room: Practical Advice for Succeeding in Screenwriting; and Bond Forever: A Film Buff's Cinematic Analysis of the James Bond series.
Lawrence has more than 20 years of personal finance and investing experience, and has covered stocks across virtually every sector of the market. He is one of the nation’s experts on consumer credit, and frequently consults for hedge funds and private equity via his Council Member status at Gerson Lehman Group, and as a member of Coleman Research Group’s Executive Forum.
His Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor have appeared in over two dozen major newspapers.
As with any articles regarding investments, you should never rely on information you read without doing your own due diligence. My articles contain my honest, forthright and carefully considered personal opinion, and conclusions, containing information derived from my own research. This may include discussions with management. I do not repeat "talking points" but may quote management from an interview. I am never influenced by third parties in arriving at my conclusions. Do not solely rely on my articles or anyone else's when making an investment decision. Always contact your financial advisor before investing in any security.
You can contact Lawrence at PDLCapital66@gmail.com.
The writer is a long term value investor and M.Sc graduate in Financial Markets with over 10 years experience. Value can be found in both long and short ideas and uses options to enhance the risk-return profile of investment ideas.
Disclaimer: This article provides opinions and information, but does not contain recommendations or personal investment advice to any specific person for any particular purpose. Do your own research or obtain suitable personal advice.
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