Aaah, yes.  This is the page for us to share our thoughts and ideas with you, whether you like it or not!  We want to make everyone, including your editor, think intelligently.  Not surprisingly, the topics will be mostly investment focused but don't be surprised if from time to time, we stray a little from that subject.  You can expect some bold and passionate statements with a dash of controversy and perhaps some humour sprinkled in too.   Oh and probably some sarcasm, I like sarcasm.

We want to hear back from you with intelligent input, rebuttals and other positive contributions, to keep us all thinking at an intelligent level.  Through this process, we can all learn things of value.

 

 
I thought so


January 14, 2012
Personal Improvements

Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.

Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784)

 

Do more than what is asked of you. 

Chronic underperformers provide the minimum amount of service that is asked or required.  Some do considerably less.  Average people generally provide just what is asked of them but seldom go that extra step.  Great people deliver more than what is asked of them and they generally do it with a contagious enthusiasm. 

We all know people that fit each of these descriptions in our personal lives as well as our business lives.  I have lived with someone who fit each of those categories at various times.  I see the silly bugger every morning, looking at me in the mirror.  On the days that I look back at him and wonder what I think and feel about him, I find I have the highest thoughts and greatest admiration for him when he has chosen to be an over achiever.  And being an over achiever is not that difficult when you really think about it.  It only requires you to be slightly above average.  We all have the ability to be above average. 

Many of us have heard of the expression “giving 110%”.  It’s impossible to give more than we can and I don’t think many us can work at maximum capacity all the time.  In fact, our goal is often to do just what is asked of us and no more.  I typically do just enough so I don’t get into too much trouble.  

What do you think would happen if we changed our ways just a little and reworked the “giving 110%” expression to mean; “I will give 110% of what is asked of me”.  This only requires minimally more effort with the outcome being above average results. 

Chronic underperformers are like water; always taking the path of least resistance.  Whenever they have a choice of tasks to do they inevitably do what is easiest because they are either lazy or more likely, just can’t see the benefit of putting out more effort.  The benefits are there, I assure you.  They just aren’t instantaneous.  Worthwhile achievements take substantial effort.  That may seem obvious to some but if it doesn’t, then read that last statement again.  

If you adopt this philosophy, your productivity and efficiency will increase in your personal and your business life.  By giving your manager, co-workers, friends and family just a little bit more than the basics, you will quickly come to be known as an above average achiever and held in high regard by those you have served.  You will be more likely to get that raise or praise you’ve been looking for at work and you’ll gain more admiration from the people in your personal life.  Something else you’ll notice as you make that tiny bit more effort; your opinion of yourself will increase too.  You will be prouder and more confident as you see the positive effects that this subtle change will have on all aspects of your life.

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January 11, 2012
Warren Buffett Quote

"Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway." - Warren Buffett

This is one of my all time favourite quotes from Warren Buffet.  He has great logic that has served him and Berkshire Hathaway shareholders well over these many years.  The point here is to remember that people you 'advise' you are often in a less enviable position than you and are frequently selling something to you disguised as advice. Caveat emptor.

 

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January 10, 2012
Buffett Quote...

Warren Buffett said: If a business does well, the stock eventually follows.

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T Bill

Jan-11 10:26pm

The point being, buy a good company and the results in the form of the stock appreciating are sure to develop!


January 10, 2012
Things I like to read.

At the end of this paragraph is a link to a site that I find incredibly insightful.  It is an intelligent, rational and logical business-like assessment of the markets, valuations and investment approaches given various conditions.  This link is to a page of a very helpful report where you will bluntly be told by Ed Easterling that you will not find investment success if you go sailing when the forecast is for no wind.  After you read “The P/E Report” by Ed Easterling of Crestmont Research, you will be adequately informed about the approach you currently need to take with your investments and why we take the approach to investing that we do.  Enjoy learning.  http://www.crestmontresearch.com/docs/Stock-PE-Report.pdf

-       Lars Borghardt

 

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January 5, 2012
What have I done?

I am writing this blog as much for my sake as I am for yours. I figure that if I write out my observations then I will benefit and learn as much as anyone.  This particular note is because I recently didn’t hedge a position after some reasonable gains as I had planned because...........I “hoped” for a little more upside before I hedged.

One of the reasons I prefer a hedging strategy is because of my emotional make up; I don’t like to lose money.  While I may limit my upside potential by hedging I also reduce my downside pain, which to me, is far more important.

This morning my position lost some value but more importantly, I noticed how that made me feel; crappy.  I didn’t follow my strategy.  I got that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach and realized that I messed up, more so emotionally than monetarily.  My biggest loss was that of my mental capital which is a resource more scarce than my monetary capital.  To confirm what I mean and to see if this applies to you then do this simple test; write down how you feel about your portfolio when it goes up in value and then when it goes down in value.  For many of us, the discomfort of having our portfolio’s value decrease far outweighs the comfort we feel when our portfolio’s value appreciates.  You can take this observation one step further for hedging; observe how you feel when you missed out on further gains versus when you lost more than you needed to.  Which feelings are more intense? The satisfaction of seeing more gains in your portfolio or the pain of seeing avoidable losses?  This exercise will help you be more comfortable with your investments.

As many before me have written, when we invest, our emotions swing like a pendulum between levels of greed and fear.  And of the two, fear is much more powerful and therefore harder on us emotionally.  This is a key non-monetary benefit to hedging; it’s easier on us emotionally.

Try not to make this same mistake and I will do the same.

 

Cheers.

-Lars Borghardt

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January 3, 2012
Is buy & hold dead? Should I be trading?
 

This is an enjoyable article with some very interesting facts.  A little bit astonishing regarding the insider trading by politicians and a good section about whether or not you should be active and trade your portfolio or be lazy and use the 'buy & hold' approach.  I have my own thoughts on this subject but most of you can guess my choice.  Read this article to help enlighten yourself further on this subject.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lazy-portfolios-lose-to-senators-hedge-fund-2012-01-03?pagenumber=2 

 

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