What I am trying to get at here is that we are all utterly bombarded by Information constantly - and it is far too easy to get sucked into reading everything and have no time to do anything else but read loads of stuff.
The other problem is that if we read everything we will never form our own opinions - and it is vital that you have the ability to make your own decisions, not rely on other people’s views. You will read everything under the sun and end up entirely confused and indecisive.
As an Investor (or as a Trader….please bear with me on the distinction, a Blog is about to go live) we simply cannot afford to waste our valuable time.
How can we focus?
As ever with this game, it is down to discipline. My own method is to follow a fixed number of Information Sources that I have known for many, many years and I trust to a large extent - mainly because over time I have learnt that these people talk sense.
I suggest that you try to do similar. Do not read everything, it will cost you money !!!
Think calmly and objectively about everything you read and ask yourself:
- Is this person talking sense and is the information useful to me in my Investing?
- Am I reading this because I gain real value or is it more about entertainment and putting off something more important I should be doing?
- Is this information FREE or am I paying for stuff I could get elsewhere for nothing? If paying, is it good value?
- Am I simply reading this out of habit?
- By reading this, am I being lazy and just following someone else rather than the hard work of figuring it out myself?
- Opportunity Cost - by reading X, am I missing out on reading Y?
I am sure there are many other questions and you can make your own checklist if you like - I am just trying to make you challenge how you think and do things - just writing this is making me think about my Information Sources !!
I use the following sources pretty much every day:
- I use the free ADVFN app on my Smartfone to monitor my stocks throughout the day. It is utterly brilliant and utterly free !!! It has News, Charts (you can configure to show Candles) and click through to Fundamental Information on ADVFN website. Oh, and easy access to the Free Bulletin Boards - but I only use these occasionally to check details - DO NOT GET SUCKED INTO ADVFN BOARDS - you will get nothing done with your life. I also have the app on my 7” tablet and my 10” tablet.
- ADVFN is a superb website in many ways but for my News Feed in the morning when the stock market is just opening, I use the www.moneyAM.com News bit - it’s free and is just nicer to look at than the ADVFN one - which is just too whizzy and bizzy for an Old Chap like me.
- I am very selective with links I get sent on Twitter. Richard Beddard is very good but lots is tosh. Be careful and don’t waste time. I find lots of the Macroeconomic stuff useless - be warned, macro is far less important than you may think. CNBC and Bloomberg are obsessed by this stuff but it does not help you - in fact, it scares you. Robbie Burns (Naked Trader) says he never bothers with CNBC or Bloomberg TV. Warren Buffett says “I spend an hour a year on Macroeconomics….and it’s an hour wasted”. Stick to analysing stocks - forget Macro by and large - you will not understand it ever anyway.
- Investors Chronicle is just superb. It is my primary source of useful stock information and particularly ideas. I spend much of my time around Lunch and just after reading through IC - especially the back pages on ‘Company Results’ - that is quality. However, do not blindly follow their tips. Think about the company - is it something you should invest in? Run your checks like you should on any stock you consider to buy. A good Investor mate of mine actually starts reading IC from the back - I think this is a great idea if you have limited time. All the fluff is at the front. I also have the online version and check this everyday - but I only read The Trader, Simon Thompson, maybe any stock specific stories I am interesting in. On the whole I wait for things to be in the Paper version.
- I get an email called ‘The Right Side’ which comes via MoneyWeek and stars Bengt Saelensminde - he is excellent and usually Right. http://moneyweek.com/author/bengt-saelensminde/
- Another one is Penny Sleuth - its free and emailed to you - but you do get the odd advert (hit delete). You get it here http://moneyweek.com/penny-sleuth/
- I have signed up for Free (are you seeing a theme here?) emails from Digital Look which give me things like Daily Tips, Week Ahead, Director Buys - there is a sort of checklist where you can choose what to be sent. But be careful - do not click everything and once you get them, consider if they are what you need. Too much Information is a killer. Click here www.digitallook.com/cgi-bin/digital/login.cgi?username=&url=portfolio_and_market_alerts%3F
- One of my utterly must reads is Paul Scott’s daily Small Cap report on Stockopedia. It is free and you can find it at http://www.stockopedia.com/columns/paul-scotts-uk-small-cap-value-report-1/
- I have signed up for Free daily emails from Compound Interest - the guy running it is a former Fund Manager and he writes very simply and briefly (I could learn a lot !!). He mainly covers FTSE350 but very good - look at his 5 year results and they are extremely good. You can get it here www.compoundincome.org
- I monitor my Unit Trusts on a daily basis using Interactive Investor at www.iii.co.uk While I am there, I usually spot a few good articles which I look at. But it is pretty good so don’t get sucked in. Richard Beddard writes here and also Edmond Jackson - both very good.
- I subscribe to www.t1ps.com - its pretty good and simple and costs £79 a year - I like it and I get access to Evil Knieval diaries as well. It’s good value as you get a free ticket to Master Investor and another 3 tickets very cheap. Master Investor is in April and it is great for meeting company directors for a natter.
- Robbie Burns www.nakedtrader.co.uk is a must read but he is very infrequent at posting these days. His used to be the best website on the internet, but sadly it is not updated now. His books are brilliant and they must be read.
- The Daily Telegraph Questor column is excellent on stocks - a must read http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/questor/
That’s it. Please heed the message, you will not make money if you muck about with too much information - get a grip of it.
Roll on !!