7 January 2013

Are we too conservative?

We got an interesting mail from one of our readers. It was in response to our post on building a lazy portfolioThe reader said that we are being too(oo...) conservative in our approach and that we can make much more money if we stopped following our ‘Mutual-Fund-Manager-type-Boring-Approach’ i.e, if we were ready to take a lot more risks.

Though we believe that this particular reader had best intentions while writing to us, we would like to answer him as honestly as possible...


Risky Investments

  • Yes... we agree that we are conservative & boring in our approach. But this is totally in line with our risk appetites. There are people who can hold (fundamentally worthless) stocks and sleep well at night. To be honest, we are not among them. We cannot sleep if we hold stocks of companies which are neither good nor great. And we totally agree with Warren Buffett when he said that “Buy stocks of only those companies which you would be happy to hold if they decided to close markets for next 10 years.”
  • In our lazy investor's approach of portfolio management, we kept 55% in market linked mutual funds and 15% in direct equities. That takes total to a figure of 70%. And that is not conservative at all. :-) But if you want to suggest that we need to get more into direct equities then that is a different case. Picking individual stocks is glamorous. But we are no pros at stock picking, and even pros are not good at their game. So, picking individual stocks may be great. But it requires a lot of hard work and time, which are generally not available to average investors like us. And even after we do put in the hard work, we should never forget that “as an investor, one can never remove the risk of being wrong.” It is as simple as that.
  • In Dead Monk’s Portfolio, we again stuck with investing in large, known companies which may not be growing at blistering pace, but have earnings and cash flow visibility. Sticking with great companies reduces the chances of substantial loss of capital. And since we do not want to be wiped out due to a single wrong stock pick, we stick with a portfolio of many large but good/great companies.
  • We love dividends. And good dividend paying companies are generally from mature industries. They are generally not glamorous and are often categorized as boring investments. But as conservative investors, we love sticking to boring companies and will always vouch for the fact that as an investor, “return of capital is more important than return on capital.”

indian dividend stocks


  • Being conservative is not bad. Atleast for us, it’s not. When we know that it pays to wait for corrections when picking individual stocks (want to know why? Click here), then why should we not wait? Once again, when we know that it pays to pick good stocks and do nothing in markets, then why should we not ‘do nothing’?
  • When investing can be made simple and less stressful, then why not make it?

And making investing simple and less stressful is what we aim for. After all, life has much more to offer than just money. Money is always a means to something. Not an end in itself.


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