When starting this blog in January I was hoping to keep it up for at least a year and the only goal was to improve my skills in investing rather than generate an audience.
With the modest number of views and subscribers I have I can say the latter has gone as expected. 🙂
I have nearly been blogging for 10 months and here is what I have discovered about the process.
- I think more carefully before each investment decision. I have found it has made me less trigger happy on the buy & sell buttons. It is now deeply ingrained in to me that before I decide on an investment I am thinking, “now if I had to write a few paragraphs about this, does it make sense what I am about to do?” I am far less likely to read about a stock and rush into it now. Or panic sell out of anything for that matter.
- I can refer to my notes when I went into a stock. Many say that the decision to sell or not is more difficult than when to buy. I believe if you have first written down the reasons you bought the stock in the first place, whether to sell will then become an easier decision.
- Some of my investment strategies are noted. A big mistake many investors make I believe is to have no actual plan! Whilst before I began blogging I had what I thought a detailed plan of attack in my head, I think going through the process of outlining some of your plans, strategies and style down in words is an advantage. I’ve said before one of the main ingredients for investment success is to consistently stick with a plan that suits you. Therefore, I believe writing about a plan will help you stick with it.
- Feedback from others. You can sometimes feel a bit exposed at times by making your thoughts public. This is especially the case when this year, unlike quite a few other blogs, I have gone the next step and disclosed so many investment decisions. I have valued the feedback this year from occasional emails and comments. I even welcome probably more so the views that disagree. As an investor it is better to hear more opposing arguments, rather than suffer from confirmation bias by searching for matching views. I also make no apologies for my style which will often copycat trade ideas from other investors. So at times I have heard from other investors holding the same company that to be brutally honest, understand it much better than I do. This has assisted me in a few winners this year that perhaps has only occurred because I was blogging.
- A little time consuming. I enjoy the process and usually the blog is not really any extra work in the sense that even if I was not blogging well all these thoughts would be running through my mind anyway. Yet even just the time to write down the thoughts with my amateur writing skills, and try to post something coherent and with no spelling mistakes (despite spellchecker) can be quite time consuming.
- Pressure in disclosing some investment decisions. When starting this blog, I didn’t think I would end up disclosing such a large majority of investing decisions I make. I suppose the way most of this year has gone, despite my fair share of silly calls, on average I have been on the right track and happy with how things have played out. Touch wood. I have been around long enough to realise though a rough patch is always around the corner! I am concerned though how potentially blogging may affect one’s decision making when things are not going so well. Will I want to exit a poor performer just to stop writing about it on the blog? Will I get angry and double up? Will I spend too much time focusing on it at the expense of other opportunities? Will I write too much on the winners and fall in love with certain stocks? Will outlining too much on the blog restrict my flexibility to quickly change my mind on an investment?
WHERE TO FROM HERE WITH BLOGGING?
The pros have certainly outweighed the cons and I hope to continue blogging. I do though wish to draw a line in the sand and get away from disclosing so many individual trade decisions. There are many reasons for this. As I mentioned above there is that element of extra pressure, particularly if you make a call that doesn’t begin well, or end well for that matter. Also I now feel the benefits of doing this is fully ingrained in my process, so that even if I don’t write about every new investment decision on the blog I am now fully conditioned to think about it very carefully anyway.
Despite writing disclaimers that I am not advising anyone I still worry that someone young and inexperienced with investing may just get a rush of blood and load up on something I mention, then of course that will be my worst call! I certainly want it to be crystal clear that my ramblings are not investment advice or any stock tipping services. I don’t get any money for anything I write and it is all strictly a hobby.
From now on please note that any stock that I have said I purchased and hold currently, I am now drawing a line in the sand and saying that I don’t plan on necessarily updating the blog when I sell. I may still do so if I find it an interesting topic to write about. I still plan on many occasions to write about plenty of stocks in the future I believe represent good value. The only difference will be that I will not mention every single one, or document it all the time when exactly I purchased them, at what price etc. so promptly after trading which I did mostly this year. The blog overall though shouldn’t look a lot different going forward.
Because I documented so many investment calls this year, I often felt I was rushing every blog post. At times I was not happy with my amateur writing skills and how some posts turned out. I still plan on many blog posts but hopefully although not as active, they can be of higher quality.
Another reason I began blogging was when I would tell people that I am spending most of my time managing my own investments sometimes I would get asked what sort of stocks do I buy. With a blog it made it then simple to say that you can look there to get a feel of how I go about it. Now that I have almost documented everything for nearly a year I think most can get a sense of my investing style without necessarily documenting each and every individual trade decisions going forward.
I know on various forums people like to accuse investors of sometimes “ramping” or promoting stocks. At times this year I have purchased smaller stocks without great liquidity so I never want to get into debates about those areas.
I also wanted to do a post soon to wrap up the category of blog performance which I touched on briefly during May this year. It is just a very approximate look at how the stocks I talk about on the blog here have gone in 2016. It is getting a bit onerous tracking it hence I wanted to bring that section to completion. Hopefully it just shows that you can carve out some OK returns with the conservative style I adopt at times. This is despite me being wrong and generally being far too conservative on the direction of equity markets. That is all I am trying to get across here, hopefully I can do that in a few days.