Investment journey of a late starter

Hi All,
I am one of those newby investors who started investing in March 2020 and have become a butt of jokes since March 2022 . I am a late entrant in stock market going for equity investing at the ripe old age of 36 .
I am starting this topic to keep track of my way of thinking as it evolves with experience in the market .This is going to be a rambling account but I am no writer …so if someone is reading this, accept my apologies .Comments and observations are welcome .

In January 2020, some of my colleagues had started revealing their successful investments( one guy having turned his 5K to 30K via Adani Green shares) and others were opening their accounts . I decided to join in and had initially decided to invest about 50K(The ridiculous bonus amount that year from my employer) by March. My idea was to generate extra income to buy books(my lifelong hobby).
However, even before my demat account had become active Corona caused the Nifty to hit LC . This saved me from a lot of heartburn and gave me easy confidence by May, that whatever I picked (PE<20 ,Book value near price or lower) can only go up as Corona must go sometime or other and normalcy will return . Initially this meant mostly PSU stocks and ITC\TCS like stocks and I sold on 10-20% profit. After a few months I had come across Valuepickr and this site has the unique feature that allows you to learn for most stocks i.e… what has happened in the past. Sure , one can learn that by going through AR’s, con-calls etc. as well but these discussion threads were much more juicy and one could also see what investors thought in 2015 about company X, has become true in 2017 or not . I also learned reading balance sheet and what screener could show.
Now as I made profits, my confidence grew and I decided to really invest in stock market. Even then I have only invested less than 20% of my savings in equity directly .Being a lifelong FD lover (I know its fullish) , I just can’t stomach too much volatility till now .
In past 2 years, I have seen my invested amount X , grow to 2.2X and fall back to 1.7X but this is not a surprise. My target is to grow my portfolio at about 26% each year and I am still ahead. Secondly, on bad days I tell myself that unless I exit the market I have not made any profit or loss . That is easy till the time portfolio value stays > 1.1X(FD returns assumed on my invested X) .

I have read a few books (Graham, Lynch, Ivanov, Greenblatt etc.)and gone through many internet blogs and resources and my conclusion is … “As many opinions, So many ways” .
Ultimately, its all about what one is confident with without losing the peace of mind . Its about learning about ones own temperament.
This learning about oneself only comes with time in the market and is called experience by others . Its no good thinking one should buy TCS or Vaibhav Global etc. and stay put like Buffet or Mr. Kedia.

Initially I checked my Demat account like a cricket scorecard and took intraday trades without knowing any technical . After a month I gave up intraday (lost 2K or so) and switched to swing trades . For next 6 months this went very well but by then I learned a bit about judging companies and that meant that I could not buy anything but very safe stocks(cautiousness) still well below March 20 price.
So I decided to go for longer term investment and I am still in this stage but what constitutes long term for me is changing with time .Earlier in 2021, I would sell most of my stocks after 3 months and portfolio churn was very heavy , but now this has reduced a bit helped by some experience and current market situation where nothing seems to be good enough for a price rise .
I have gone through hundreds of stock threads in VP & screener and nowadays I do read some recent con calls & ARs before taking the jump. I still do not invest too much in a single stock to justify the rigor of a forensic audit of BS(don’t know how to) or reading of 10 year old ARs . I depend on the accumulated wisdom of VP for that purpose .But I go through each Concall of the Smallcap companies I invested in. I do not do that for ITC or Infy like behemoths.

Overall, I think that now I have toughened my stomach a bit and is fit for long term thinking over companies . But I am yet to reach that level where I can do concentrated investment. I still fret too much for that. Its OK to see a 2% drawdown of portfolio because of a stock that has gone down 40% in price for no fundamental change but I would lose my sleep if I allocate 10% to that stock .Someday I hope to get that level of Zen… but not yet…not yet …

I will post my current high conviction stocks and present way of thinking on later posts…

15 Likes

36 is not ripe old age by any means :slight_smile: Markets are wonderful avenue to save for your retirement. If you put enough effort, Have enough patience and hold on to quality stocks, I bet you can retire much early. Just dont fall for any of the get quick rich schemes or Options/futures/Derivatives or PMS. All the best :slight_smile:

3 Likes

In these two years , I have come to realize that since I have read about a lot of different ways of investment, I have to decide which would suit my requirements and my temperament .Among the investing styles I have read about, Peter Lynch’s style seems best for me. Hence I invest only that money in equity, which I do not foresee needing anytime soon. I would love to invest in companies which I can see in operation or understand easily. Since I am a middle class introvert , I do not really move around a lot . This limits my exposure to products. It also results in my faith in consumption stocks like … ITC, Devyani, VBL etc.

ITC (Avg. 195) — > Smokers will smoke, FMCG will grow, I will get increasing dividends and who know they might demerge stuff after all

Devyani Int.( Avg. 140) ----> I love KFC and so does almost everyone I have asked. Many do not like pizza but have nothing against going for a KFC burger. In a country like India , this business has huge runway even with existing and future competition .Decent promoters .

VBL (Avg. 451) ----> Excellent franchise …same as Devyani. Though I do not like Pepsi as much as I do Coke. But I love Sting . VBL being the 2nd largest Pepsi franchise and 20 year license terms…I do not see many long term risks. This franchise will launch new products and expand operations in new geographies.

After consuming a lot of Buffet quotes in 2020, I also tried to find my circle of competence but came to the conclusion that, I do not have any readymade circle of competence in any sector. I work in an IT service company and what I have seen makes me a sceptic . Whatever I know makes me distrust companies and this results in skipping companies which have turned multi baggers later. Below are some examples ……

Happiest Minds – 100% of a pea is smaller than 10% of a pumpkin. The “Digital” is a jargon. Any new tech pays more to service companies until every man jack gets certified in the new tech and supply of so called skilled resources matches demand. This means that HM has no lasting advantage over anybody. It was issued cheap enough though.

KPIT – Maybe I am wrong but if they are boasting about following Agile in 2020 company video, they do not do anything special. Did not buy it when it was 82.Have not studied since either . Anchoring bias wins .

Route Mobile – Could not really trust a 300 man company with ordinary resources apparently making extraordinary product plus not impressed by the promoter group and Directors.

As you see, all those decisions turned out wrong. So this particular Buffet advice did not suit me . Unless someone is fairly high up in the hierarchy , working in the industry does not make one an industry expert. So Lynch’s advise to Doctors stand ( As evidenced in VP by Dr. Hitesh Patel as well) but it does not apply to little guys in IT industry .

I do have IT stocks though … TCS & INFY for portfolio stability. They are the big guys in my line of work and one thing I know about them .No amount of automation, AI\ML jargon etc. is going to kill these companies in next 20 years. That is for a simple reason… To implement, maintain any new tech, techies are needed . Since I work in AWS and infra as Code etc. I can see how much maintenance these new techs need. Those terms like continuous improvement etc. also ensures continuous changes and hence work to do for guys in service industry.

Only IT product company I have is …

IDA (Avg 625) – The nature of business is sticky. Once they sell a product, client becomes tied up for 10+ years. They are also at early stage of operations and already debt free. As their costs are front-loaded while developing the products, once they mature, they need very little capital to keep up. This means in future, margin can expand. Over time, the lumpiness will also smooth out. They are very well established in the Banking sector and still have many countries to expand in. This can be a long term compounder IMO.

To be Cont…

7 Likes

ida…
is it Intellect Design Arena Ltd
https://www.screener.in/company/INTELLECT/consolidated/

I agree with you on core-competence issue…Peter Lynch is not correct in this…Unless and until you take strategic decisions in any particular business segment, you cant be called competent enough. Just because you work in one particular department of some business segment doesnt make you expert in that industry. I, myself work in Life Insurance Industry…But I am no way in a position to understand or gauge any sectoral changes happening in it. Rather because i work here, I know what is reality in the sector and hence have strong negative view about sector. An analyst studying sector by reading ARs, Con calls, Credit report is in a better position to gauge the winds (tailwind, headwind etc.)…

2 Likes

Also…Investing only that money in equity which is not required in near future…is not for me. I follow Ramdev Agarwal in this…Only asset class, i see is equity…no debt, no gold, no real estate…ONLY EQUITY…

1 Like

@Mudit.Kushalvardhan Exactly for this reason I did not start accumulating TCS etc in 2020. Having worked there before and in same types of companies ever since, I could see nothing but bad things then .
Being from a middleclass background and only breadearner of my family , 100% in equity is not for me. But I hope that the equity investment itself grows enough to increase the equity percentage over time .
@arun_bhati …Yes. it is Intellect.

1 Like

If you are late then I am dinosaur. Started at age of 43. Initially with very small amount. However made some guiding notes mostly out of my own limitations

  1. No Option or Futures. Don’t Understand these
  2. No Intraday or Even Intra week. Don’t have time to monitor during day. Till now have not sold anything within 3 months as well.
  3. No Stop loss. Being quite conservative, this makes me think 10 times before putting any amount.
  4. No Shorting. Seems counter intuitive to sell what I don’t have.

Just like you I am not able to take concentrated risk which has limited my upside but at same time limited my downside as well. There is some stock each day to prevent huge fall.

Made some mistakes as well. I easily fall in love with story especially if story seems some thing which will benefit India. Invested in Mahindra EPC Irrigation. Loved that they would help farmers and save water. Learnt the hard way how important low WC is. Bought at 145 and exited at 120.

Another mistake was Aurobindo Pharma bought due to Make in India story and number of PLI schemes they applied for and won. Read their annual report, they claimed Injectables was next growth area for them. Bought at 1016 and waited and even averaged down but one day new came about selling Injectable business. This was my trigger for exit . How can you sell some thing which you claim as your next growth area. Thought me not to trust stories. Bought at 1016 and exited at 714.

Hope to keep learning from mistakes and from others.

4 Likes

Hi @Mudit.Kushalvardhan ,
I am not familiar with Ramdev Agarwal or his investing strategy/style, but I would like to ask you why only invest in equity and not in other asset class?

Gold-I dont consider Gold as asset…Its not cash generating asset like business.
Real estate - CAGR of Real estate is very low and very difficult to raise cash and many other disadvanatages…
Debt Products- Returns dont beat inflation. The most pressing need of debt instrument is during retirement age for getting monthly assured income for expenses. That also can be managed by systematically withdrawing from Equity portfolio.

Since My time horizon for investment is till my death…It doesnot make sense to invest in anything which cant beat the equity returns. And I dont need money for expenses as I have active profession to take care of my all expenses and also since I am debt-free , so no EMI to pay to anyone…

4 Likes

I had a roller coster ride in stock market. Though i started in stock market as only speculation in 2007( lucky idiot). Played heavily in futures and made handsome money as well, used money for family obligations, generated 10X from X capital by Nov 2007, took out 7X amount, rest 3X was wiped out in Jan 2008 crash. It was horrific, did not enter markets in big way however started nibbling from year 2012 2013 again, tables turned around from 2014 when Modi came in power, my initial investment of 6X became 120X by Oct 2017, some winners were Madhucon projects from 8 to 60, Gayatri project from 80 to 700, Meghmani organics from 35 to 120, apex frozen from 400 to 1000, took huge bets in ultra small caps which paid off though management quality was poor. I could sense market heat up by Oct 17 as everything was going up and short term rates started to move up, sold 40X of my portfolio to clear of all home loans and car loans.

Bear phase 2018-2020

From 60X capital in 2020, my portfolio dropped to 10X in March 2020, main blunders done, lost heavily in Yes Bank, PC Jew, Reliance power, Reliance capital, Apex Frozen, Force motors.

Bull Market Mar 20 to Dec 21

I was lucky as I sold off reliance power and took a risky bet in Vodafone, Voda jumped from 3 to 12 in 2 months by June 20. Sold off all Voda and bought quality stocks like Tata Motors at 67, Phillip Carbon at 82, apollo tyres at 85. This was turning point and i never looked back.

In last two years my PF has again peaked at 15X somewhere in Jan 22, still holding 13X despite a severe fall in stocks my smart rotation of capital. Some winners are below
Tata Motors core PF buy 67
AB Fashion core PF buy 100 to 160
Hindware home buy 75 sold 460
Apollo tyre buy 85 sold 244
Philip Carbon buy 82 sold 240
KPR Mills buy 800 sell 3500

Learnings

  1. Never invest in dubious companies like Rpower, PC Jew
  2. Avoid Banks and financials as long term returns are below average
  3. Look for good large business going through a temporary low down
  4. Dont love your stock, when your stock becomes hot, sell it ,:grinning::grinning: else you will repent and wait for reasonable valuation
  5. I follow contra investing which has worked well
  6. I am a fan of howard marks and have a great respect for his market cycle theory which has helped me selling stocks at near top
  7. Buy business in consumer discretionary which is independent of govt intervention and sustainable
8 Likes

Great Journey so far. I am also fan of Howard Marks. Also fan of Nassim Taleb and his Alternate histories concept. You have been extremely lucky with your choice of stocks amd also with market environment at that time. Slternate history could have been different too. Not belittling your skills.

  1. you have said, never invest into dubious companies. But you came to know about these dubious companies only after investing in them and losing capital in them. If you were already knowing that they were dubious, you would not have invested in the start.

  2. Regular big names like HDFc Banks, Kotak Banks, recently ICICI bank have given very good returns over 15 to 20 years. Some large NBFC like Bajaj Finance, Muthoot Finance, Chola Finance , have given superb returns…not by sny yardstick, we can call them below average.

Other points i agree to some extent. All the best. If possible, pls elaborate your framework for picking stocks and also overall portfolio construction. Thanks

Also Ghanshyam das ji who has started this thread, may have wanted to put his thoughts in the thread. Not sure if he wanted us to write about our journeys. He should not feel that we are cluttering his thread space with our stories. So request thread starter to elaborate, what he expects or sllows in hos thread, for better understanding. Thanks

Well,my idea was to have discussions once my initial posts were done .But it is fine and actually very intersing to read about other journeys too.Later on I may delete some specifiç one to one questions which had nothing to do with me .
@Cshar awsome journey . Your risk appetite is on another plane . I am just disovering what I can digest …

Nassim Talebs theories seem OK to read but he takes it to extremes . His practical results as a fund manager is not so great. I have read his first book and I agree with his objections sometimes but his scoffing at everyone elses achievements makes me scoff at his too.I dont know or want to do anything with F&O and hedging either.Even if some black swan can play havoc with any strategy ,it does not make sense to me to go by Talebs strategy. It can also happen that no fat tailed event happens for 70 years straight .I would rather go by Lynch and Parag Parikh .

2 Likes

you think you started late but good thing is you started it! not just started you read and learning to analyse businesses. That’s big positive +

You are on a right path, diversification preserves wealth and concentrations creates wealth, as you gain experience slowly move from diversification towards concentrations.

I run a very concentrated portfolio, what I do for a peaceful sleep is -
I look for businesses that are trading well below intrinsic value and its intrinsic value keep on growing, so whenever stock prices go down, I see it as even bigger opportunity to buy. I know this movement of price is temporary and increasing intrinsic value is a fundamental change happening. That makes it a stress free investment.

You need to know only 3 things for that and those are widely known to almost every investor but not everyone can follow those.

  1. How to analyse a business
  2. How to value a business
  3. How to analyse management

I forgot to mention one important point - your company should be gaining market share from competitors, meaning it should benefit in economic up cycle and also able to gain market share in down cycle.

Best of luck to your investment journey.

3 Likes

@kalpesh4430
Thanks for your kind words . I have followed your portfolio thread for about an year now and very much like your clarity of thought and conviction on fairly small companies . I think I am beginning to see the patterns of companies that can generate good returns over the years and across the cycles. My problem is still in my temperament and I hope that I Improve on that front .

2 Likes

The other stocks in my Longterm portfolio are …
IEX(Avg 135) : - Great business to have for long term. Can become a compounder plus dividend stock over the years as there is long runway and this one has the first movers moat. New exchanges may take some market share but I do not see any other exchange beating this one .Regulatory threat is a thing to keep an eye on but with so much focus from Gov on improving the volume of electricity trading ( reducing long term PPA)c, I do not foresee any regulatory move that will hobble the exchanges. Plus IGX may demerge someday but I am not expecting it in next 3 years .
Borosil Renewables(Avg 155) :- My first good smallcap pick. Started buying at 85 rupees and added till 220. I have booked some profit and taken out my actual capital so whatever is left is free. This is to ensure that I can stay on it till it reaches its 5 furnace target in 2025 . I will not go into the rationale of this one as the VP thread makes it abundantly clear and I had bought this back in Oct 2020 based on that thread.
Polycab(Avg 1215) : - Very good B2B company which has achieved scale, built up a good brand name , has ambition to scale up & out ,into the third generation of business with good succession planning in place . It meets my criteria of a company which can grow for a long time and still has not reached its true potential .
Polyplex(Avg 1561) : - Great dividend company , no debt as such, truly international, good promoter who may sell out to PE farm(Not sure if thats good or bad…seeing essel propack). While many may call this one a commodity company, its past 5-6 years performance does not say so. I am betting on the possibility of a longterm turning of fortunes in this sector. I had actually started buying at 1130 levels and have booked some at 70% profits so the avg. cost seems high.
Deepak Nitrite(Avg. 1863) : - Very experienced and dependable promoters. They are very good at what they do. They are one of those companies which gets stronger during downcycles .Import substitution , excellent backward and forward integration and good capital allocation are factors as well.
Laurus Labs(Avg. 410) : - Again good management ,ambition and proven ability to achieve in a sector where as a country good times are supposed to be ahead. This company is continuously moving towards higher margin business. As a pharma company it has its risks but I believe that this one can be a good long term bet .Again, booking a bit of profit has resulted in higher holding average .
Globus Spirits(Avg. 876) - Ethanol ,ENA play. This one has good capex plans(and assurance to sell its products), experienced promoters, predictable and easy to understand business model, lower PE than it deserves .The consumer facing business is in early stage and may become good later on. I had started buying this at below 600 and recent addition during this fall has added to the average holding price.
Chemplast Sanmar(Avg 605) :- Import substituion play as 40% of PVC demand is met domestically. Chinese cheap PVC production will reduce and stop by 2030 as those plants use the old carbide method and have to convert or close . Company is trading at a very low valuation . Its getting full commodity business valuation even after having specialty chem revenues . Old parent company sins making it harder to get good valuation. But frankly, its not the same company as the one listed in 2008 . It has Fairfax group with 25% holdings and has newer high margin businesses which was not there in 2012 .From the concalls management seems decent enough.

I also have Asian paints,Divis Labs,Pidilite in my portfolio but not sure yet whether to accumulate or play swing incase of a 40% return in a year .

Apart from these , I also have a handful of stocks I picked recently but since it takes me some months to build up conviction to hold, I am not sure how many of those I will be able to hold 6 months down the line .

It was kind of a value trap, I started buying Rpower when it dropped to 10 rupees, never knew complex cross holding structure or ignored it, stock came to 1 rupee, as fas as intrinsic value is concerned, still holds 6300 MW power in its portfolio but it is blessed by cursed Anil Ambani​:smiley::smiley:

Yes Bank was a classic case where, even oot of banks and mutual funds remain invested till it dropped from 250 to 70. I may be biased but banking business is most complex to understanding, banks are most levered businesses and we take that very likely, If you compare advance to equity capital than ratio is huge. Even a little drawdown on advances can wipe out entire long term gains. Yes, RBL, classic examples,

I invested in PC jeweller when it dropped to 80, having large brand value, inventory value covering loan outstanding and promotor experience as jeweller, still unable to gulp it down why such a great business was let down to dust, answer lies in internal promotor fraud.

This is a major issue when you invest in small caps, need to keep a close watch on even a small change in promotor holding or any 3rd party transactions.

Avoiding hot sectors also has paid good dividend, i did not hold any chemical stock in 2021 when it was hot, pharma stock in 2020 when it was hot and avoided IT from Dec 21 as valuations were crazy, played on opening up theme, with retail sector creating 50% of my portfolio.

Sector rotation, selling stocks at euphoric valuations and buying the next uocoming theme could save me huge capital from loosing in this fall.

2 Likes

Welcome onboard and thanks for starting this really good looking thread as most threads talk only stocks and I personally like those more which talk individual strategy and evolving thought process as in end, strategy matters a lot.

I think this is an age where you can invest meaningfully going forward and also know your financial status, obligations etc. better and hence can invest likevise and evolve likevise. I think everything has its plus and minus, you have to take things in your stride and I am sure you are and you will…

I think Peter Lynch is correct from US standpoint. Back there a person in any part or department is a master of trade. We dont have jack of all type people there but rather master of one…and hence core competency in that one area/part of business becomes sufficient to gain meaningful insight compared to the type of work environment we have in Indian context where we need to always move up the ladder in order to have salary increase meaningfully accompanied with role changes…

Can you elaborate what is so negative about Life Insurance industry that you find? Whats your take on private life insurance players, specially like HDFC Life & SBI Life?

And exactly for same reason I did not buy single IT share right from TCS IPO all the way till 2020. My thoughts are present in Tata Elxsi thread, how my thought evolved around 2020 onwards…thinking again on reason for this is probably the work enviornment in Indian context where many employees just do their task in order to climb up the ladder and not understand their own business better…they are not even needed to do that by their seniors who just want the current task done…

I think this is the quote of the day!! :slight_smile:

I think for this you need to follow very different strategy. If you invest in only equity and never sell, then what should matter most to you is Dividend income - Now here is the double edge sword and thin razor line difference - Never invest for dividend as you may end up picking wrong business but track the growth of dividend in your companies…for decades later they can grow meaningfully…and for growing dividends along decades, you need top notch companies with top notch valuations and buy them more when market gives you a chance…

Wow, this is a dream run for many, including me! If I got it right, you invested X when you started and it you booked out 7X once and 40X later and are currently at 15X (from 2007 till 2022) - Did you do any incremental capital addition to X or this was all done via profits? Also what percentage of your total networth was X (your initial investment amount)?

I think your journey is stupendous and it will be great to have a separate thread to learn and discuss on your amazing experience and accomplishments!

Curious, how do you do that? Btw I do visit your thread. Congratulations on the great run. We have very different styles, I wish I had even 1/10th of your style and I could have been financially free already :slight_smile:

Thanks @Ghonarbochon again for starting this thread, looking forward to your evolving thoughts here!

2 Likes

@Investor_No_1 My reason for not investing in TCS was that I saw my company ramping down projects as clients businesses were shutdown due to Covid. I couldnot foresee the costsaving caused by WFH will compensate for it .Plus I did not think from the business perspective and gave more importance to my inside knowledge of useless old fools populating the lower and middle management ranks and the sleepy ad bumbling people who serve as the BRM on client side.That these companies do perform so well inspite of these guys is testament to the sectors scope and longevity.
I also think @Mudit.Kushalvardhan is correct. Atleast in IT, the business thats visible to the employee is clients business and that may be BFSI,T&H or whatever they do. The trajectory of the employer companies(TCS,infy) business is mostly invisible and obfuscated with jargons .Its simply not possible to judge the business trajectory of TCS or Infy unless you are in the top 5 layers of hirerarchy .Actually when Lynch talks about Oil executives in his book,he is not talking about the drill operator or the drum lifter.In IT sector ,95% people is in similar position .
Also, even Lynch did not have any AMC stocks during the MF boom.This same blindness affected him as well.

2 Likes