Your Questions About How To Invest

Mandy asks…

If the stock market is absolutely unpredictable, how do investors choose their moves?

If the stock market is entirely governed by random walk, if it has zero patterns, if it really means nothing whether you have faith in value investing or growth investing, active investing or passive investing, then does it ultimately matter what you invest in? How is then a stock exchange any less of a speculation than a trip to Vegas? What’s the point of researching a stock? If the stock market is so random, why not just invest in any random stock? Is there any meaning at all, or just chaos?

John answers:

The concept of a random walk or brownian motion requires that the market approximates an efficient market and that would mean that investors are rational and competent. That’s a pretty big if on both counts but with a random walk, it is possible to make money.

Claude Shannon at MIT demonstrated that a portfolio balance between a random walk and cash would optimize your gains at a ratio of 50 / 50. For example, if you had $1,000 in a 50 / 50 ratio between a stock ( random walk ) and cash, you would start with $500 / $500. If the stock should drop in half, you would have $250 / $500 so you would rebalance by buying $125 in stock to have $375 / $375. If the stock should return to it’s original price, you would have $750 / $375 for a portfolio value of $1,125. Had the stock doubled and then halved, you would also have wound up with $1,125.

Of course, the reason for the division between stock and cash is that they are by definition negatively correlated, bonds are also negatively correlated unless defaulted upon so bonds is the usual counterweight, commodities like gold are statistically uncorrelated so the brave may use gold. As bonds have a modest return, it’s reasonable to expect the optimal balance to be less than 50% stocks. Indeed Ben Graham says 45% stocks and 55% bonds, and to go no lower than 25% stocks and no higher than 80% stocks ( as you would have nothing to rebalance with if you’re too high ). Markowitz’s efficient frontier used a tangential line from the risk free rate to the Markowitz “bullet” to define the optimal mix and this usually winds up around the 40% mark.

So the question remains why would anyone invest in anything riskier than a moderate portfolio? There’s plenty of advice such as to subtract your age from 100 to determine your risk allocation so why would that be the case?

My thoughts to that is because if you are committed to investing a certain amount of your paycheck each month, you indeed own a bond. You can even determine the market value of that bond by discounting future deposits by a reasonable rate of return. Since you can’t sell your job, the market rate of return should be that of a similar risk or higher than your portfolio returns. Perhaps your company’s bond yields could be an indicator or your historic rate of return. For example, the present value of $466 per month ( enough to max out an IRA or TFSA ) for 40 years at a market rate of 4% per annum would be $112,695.98 therefore you already have that much invested in bonds and can invest in stocks till you reach the appropriate balance. Of course, it would probably still be wise to observe Ben Graham’s 80% rule.

The reason why you don’t invest in a random stock is the value on the table, a company’s profits is either reinvested to grow the business or distributed to the shareholders. So long as this occurs, there’s value in the company and the stock won’t go to zero regardless of whether or not it’s a random walk.

Helen asks…

How to invest in businesses that are not publicly traded companies?

I’ve always wanted to shy away from the stock market and really invest in businesses – Warren Buffet style. Is that even possible nowadays? How can I invest in small businesses that I think are going to get great returns in the long run, but are not publicly traded companies? Can I just go up to the owner and say Hey I wanna invest in your business for a stake?

John answers:

There is a lot that goes into funding a private placement than just identifying a good idea and plunking down some money. You should never drop a dime into any company without massive research and legal advice as there are many scam artists out there using Regulation D as a way to avoid SEC rules and regulations. Read up on private placements, venture capital and Regulation D before you start scouting out businesses to approach.

Ultimately, if you decide to pursue private business investing, make sure the business plan is sound and more importantly, the integrity and abilities of the owners of the business are beyond reproach.

John asks…

How do you invest in the stock market uk?

I need the basic of the basic stuff here. I don’t even have a clue where to go to invest in stock markets in uk or if you do it on line or over the phone. I just need to know how. I don’t need tips or what i should be investing in. Also what age can you invest in the stock market?

John answers:

I bank with HSBC and I do it through my online banking.I buy shares and the money is taken from my current account 3 days later.When I sell shares I click on the sell button they tell me what I will get after commission I confirm and the money is in my current account 3 days later. Dead easy.

Jenny asks…

How to invest for my kids future with as little as few hundred dollars a month?

I planing to invest for my kids future and I’m on budget. What is the best way to invest? I really don’t know about stock and I’m not considering use stock market.
Thanks.

John answers:

Savings Bonds

Mark asks…

How do you invest money in the stock market?

What is investing in the stock market? How does it work?
How do you invest money into the stock market?
Are there any qualifications? Do you have to be a certain age?
Thanks!

John answers:

Hi Friend now days there are number of commodity market site. Which provide you share tips but as a fresher you have to choose which site is batter the one who will help you so this I can recommend you
http://www.commoditytips.com/ as this is the same site which i am using for getting helpful information.

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