I came back from my accountant this evening after spending time last night getting information for my taxes together and submitting it to her for submission. She lectured me about the wisdom of writing about investments on the Internet as an amateur. Maybe it would be wiser to have a CFP after my name, or some other set of credentials, like CFA, or CPA. I don't have any of those.
For I truly am an amateur investor. Sometimes I pick great stocks and other times they trip up and fail to meet my own expectations.
There are not guarantees about anything I write. No guarantees that the choices I make are any better than random. I leave that all up to you to decide and to monitor.
All I can bring to you is my own experience. The ideas that I have adopted and adapted from many wiser investors and financial thinkers. People like William O'Neil who developed the CANSLIM approach to investing. Or others as varied as Paul Sturm from Smart Money or Robert Lichello who believed in the AIM System of automatic investing. Nothing I write is exactly like what any of them believed; and yet, nothing I write is without the inspiration I received from those writers as well. I strongly encourage you to read as much as you can from as many writers as possible so that you can decide about what works for you.
But what I do bring to you is my own perspective about identifying quality stocks. Just the process of determining what is quality is open to debate. But I do believe that my perspective is valuable.
I also try very hard to give you some ideas about dealing with market volatility. Finding ways to manage your stocks without being whip-sawed and forced out of investments only to find them climbing once again but without you. I also don't want to find myself strapped to sinking equities, feeling helpless and not knowing when to bail. Rules give you framework and frameworks can give you freedom.
So as I write about stocks day in and day out, think about my comments about vocabulary of investing. These stocks are the words that you or I can put together to build a powerful language of investing. Each of us may make different sentences and different paragraphs with these words, but we shall all be talking the same language.
Neither I nor you have time to own every stock. Nor do we wish to. So we need to decide which stocks to own. Only the best for me. Only the stocks that can consistently perform over time, relentlessly growing earnings, revenue, and producing free cash flow. Only those with solid balance sheets need apply to my portfolio. Hopefully this will help me to do just a bit better than the market. If so, I shall be satisfied with my own success.
I write this blog because I am able to. Because I enjoy sharing ideas. I enjoy pointing out things that I can see that others may find hidden in front of them. I believe that I can add something to the entire discussion. Maybe somebody somewhere will learn more about approaching stocks from what I write and they shall remember me somewhere to someone. If so I shall be successful.
In addition, I write so that I can learn. Like telling all of my friends that I am on a diet (I am), you become witnesses to my new-found discipline in investing (or eating) and you become my support group as I work to maintain that discipline, buying only when I need to buy and selling only when indicated. When I call you my friends; I do this because all of you are. You are my friends and witnesses to my own trading and investment investigation. I bring you all along for the ride because I need you, not the other way around.
So I shall apologize once again to my accountant who prudently suggested I pull this blog because somebody somewhere may indeed lose money on something I have written about and even though I may also lose money on investments they may blame me. You all need to know that I am an amateur, I am not qualified to advise you on what to do with your money, and that my discussions may well lead to losses as easily or more easily than to gains. Time will tell in this regard.
But meanwhile, I write because I need to. I write because there is so much to say and so little time to say it.
Thank you for coming along for the journey. So few of you comment; but for those of you who do and for those of you who email me, let me express my appreciation. You all make it worthwhile!