This article is an extract from Alan Hull’s latest book, Invest My Way
The word ‘Invest’ actually means to, ‘Apply or use money for profit’ which includes any money making endeavor which requires money. So to describe yourself as an investor could mean that you’ve had to spend money to start your own business, you’re a property investor or even a Tradesman who owns his own tools. Hence the tag, ‘Investor’ is not a very useful definition…
However the word ‘Trade’ means, ‘Buying and selling for profit’ which does make for a useful definition. If I say I am a share trader then I am stating that I buy and sell shares for a profit which sounds ridiculously simple but there are deeper implications to this statement. For instance, if I am buying shares with the intention to sell them at a future date for a profit then they must be rising in value. The funds management industry refer to this type of share as a ‘Growth stock’ because, hopefully, the share price will grow over time.
A share trader qualifies as a type of investor because they are applying money to the Stockmarket in order to generate a profit. Contrary to popular belief, a person who deals in shares is not defined as a ‘Trader’ by the number of trades they perform each year. This definition was created by a certain Government department and, whilst it may serve their purposes well, it is very misleading for the rest of us. If you purchase a share with the intention to sell it at anytime in the future for a profit then you are a share trader. The value of the share must go up over time and you could sell it after 1 week, 1 year, 10 years or even longer.
If we define a share investor as someone other than a share trader then I think it would be fairly sensible to view investors as ‘Asset managers’. So unlike a share trader who will sell shares that start to fall in value, investors will buy more shares because they represent a cheaper income stream. So a share trader wants to buy a rising share price and an Investor (read asset manager) wants to buy a high income yield which occurs when the share price falls…perfectly opposed objectives!
Furthermore as investors have no intention of selling, unless the income yield becomes unacceptable, one can safely assume that their preferred holding time is forever. And ‘forever’ just happens to be Warren Buffett’s favourite holding time as well…not really surprising as he’s very much an investor and not a trader.
- Assume that a company pays an annual dividend of $1.00 and the share price is $10.00
- Hence the dividend yield or income yield = $1.00 / $10.00 = 10% per annum.
- Now let’s assume the share price drops to $8.00 but the dividend remains at $1.00 p.a., a not unlikely occurrence given that a company’s profitability isn’t necessarily linked to its share price.
- Therefore the dividend yield would increase to = $1.00 / $8.00 = 12.5% per annum
So if you want to buy a high yielding stock, referred to by Fund Managers as an, ‘Income Stock’, then the direction of the share price is largely irrelevant because you don’t really have any intention of selling the share at a later date. In fact if the share price was to halve during a Stockmarket crash you would buy more shares because the yield will have doubled.
This is where ‘Dollar cost averaging’ is used very effectively because you keep buying more shares as the share price drops and the dividend yield keeps rising, thus averaging up your income. Hence dollar cost averaging is a very effective technique for investors…but not traders.
Now let’s turn our attention to real estate investment and look at how property can be either bought and sold for a profit or held as an income producing asset, just like shares. I’ll use a real world example here because recent developments in the property market will prove very illustrative.
As many property investors are aware there is a large population of baby boomers in Australia (and the world) who are nearing retirement. It has been broadly assumed that this particular demographic are going to sell up their family homes, once the children have vacated, and retire on masse to locations more suited to a leisurely lifestyle than the suburbs.
Hence the massive investment in, and development of, inner city apartments we’ve seen in Australia since the turn of the millennium. Now assume for a moment that you’re an investor who is currently in possession of an inner city dwelling and you have to make a command decision as to whether you should retain the property for the rental income or sell it outright for a profit. Given the expected migration of the baby boomers to the city, we know that if we sell into the resulting demand then we can reasonably expect to make a good profit on the sale.
But what are our prospects if we want to retain the property indefinitely for the income stream? Not too good I expect because the baby boomers who are heading for the big smoke are going to be seriously cashed up, having sold the family home, and looking to buy their own apartments rather than fork out rent to someone else. Thus, in this particular scenario it would be my opinion that trading the apartment for a profit will probably prove more prudent than holding it for the long term as an income producing asset…remember this is just my opinion.
So given the opposed objectives of traders and investors, you can appreciate the importance of knowing which category you belong to. My preferred approach to the Stockmarket is to trade shares whilst I consider real estate to be superior to shares as a lifetime income producing asset.
Shares are an intangible product which makes them ideal to trade in because they don’t require any infrastructure. I don’t have to physically take possession of the shares, they don’t require maintenance and there is always a ready market of buyers and sellers. On the other hand I’m not too fond of shares as lifetime income producing assets because there’s no guarantee that the companies which the shares represent will be around for my lifetime.
Property on the other hand isn’t about to be sold out from under me because some board of directors, that I have no influence over, think it’s a good idea. What’s more property is typically more stable in terms of its income revenue and the banks are far more user friendly when it comes to gearing a property portfolio than they are a share portfolio.
But buying and selling the family home was enough of a saga without making a business out of it by trading in investment properties…imagine the headaches. Hence, while there is the odd exception such as buying and selling inner city apartments, my preferences are to trade shares and invest in property.
This extract was re-produced with permission from Alan Hull. For more information on Invest My Way, or to purchase the book please click here
Martin Roth is one of Australia’s leading financial writers. His annual Top Stocks books have become required reading for those of us interested in learning about how to navigate the stock market.
Martin recently had time to share with us a few tips for finding Top Stocks.
‘Buy low, sell high.’
This is the timeworn advice facetiously sometimes offered to new entrants to the stock market. If only it were so easy. We would all be rich. Unfortunately, it is difficult to time the market; that is, to buy a stock right before it appreciates, or sell shares just before they decline. But this does not stop people trying, and there are numerous get-rich strategies, as evidenced by the many books on this subject.
If you are already in the market you may have your own strategies. Though, if you are like so many, it could be that you just muddle along.
Here are eight strategies and market theories used by many of the experts.
* Fundamental Analysis
When you analyse all the factors that influence a company’s profits – products, management, customers, competitors, government policies, the economy and so on – you are engaged in fundamental analysis. Virtually every investor does a little of this, and most research analysts at broking houses do it full time.
* Technical Analysis
This involves the interpretation of stock market charts to forecast market movements. It requires a lot of study and experience, and is not for the risk-averse.
* Growth Stocks
Everyone wants to buy shares in a company whose profits are growing steadily and regularly, year by year. Finding them is one thing. But then you have to decide whether they are worth the investment. Growth stocks often carry what can be called a ‘growth premium’ – a high share price – which means that if their growth falters the shares can fall sharply. So they are risky, but carry the potential for sharp capital appreciation.
* Sector Investing
Some experts believe it is a waste of time trying to pick winning stocks. Concentrate instead on sectors, they say, as when the sector moves, all the stocks within the sector will probably also move.
* Theme Investing
In stock market parlance, a theme is an idea or a concept that has the potential to provide a powerful boost to long-term profits for relevant companies, usually cutting across several or many sectors. Investors who get in early can see share prices soar, sometimes well before the profits actually arrive. The classic example is the so-called dot.com boom of the late 1990s, when investors bid up the share prices of hundreds of tiny, profitless high-tech companies that seemed to offer the potential of huge rewards somewhere down the track. So be cautious. Themes can become bubbles.
* Contrarian Investing
Contrarian investing – an investment that goes counter to market trends or to conventional wisdom – can bring rich rewards. But it also requires experience of the market and strong nerves. It is certainly not for everyone.
* Recovery Stocks
There probably is not such a lot of difference between taking a contrarian stance on the market and buying recovery stocks, except that the former are those that are still being talked down, whereas a recovery stock might be one that the market has pretty much forgotten about after a big decline.
* Cyclical Stocks
Cyclical stocks are those that do particularly well when the economy is strong and tend to suffer disproportionately when economic conditions weaken. Unlike, say, companies supplying basic foodstuffs or pharmaceuticals, which are always in demand, they are often related to an economic cycle of high inflation and high interest rates being followed by low inflation and low interest rates.
This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances before acting.
Top Stocks is available now.
This post originally appeared on The Nile and was reproduced with permission by Martin Roth.
Storytelling — it’s one of the oldest and most effective tools to inspire and persuade, yet it’s a skill which is rarely taught in today’s business world. But when you get it right it can help you seal the deal, increase your sales and be the difference between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. So how do you identify what power stories you should have in your toolkit? In this post, Power Stories author Valerie Khoo highlights the importance of effectively communicating your business birth story (no graphic birth bits included!).
What’s the birth story of your business? Don’t worry, I’m not referring to anything involving placenta, epidurals or umbilical cords. I’m talking about how and why your business got started. In many cases, the birth story of a business speaks volumes about your passion and commitment to your customers. It explains the driving force behind why you do what you do.
What started you on this journey?
If that’s the case with your business, then your birth story is one that should certainly be told – on your website, to your customers and even in keynote speeches. Take the case of crime scene cleaner Joan Dougherty from Fort Lauderdale in Miami. She’s the one you call to clean up the blood and the associated mess after a tragic situation such as a murder or suicide. She literally cleans up crime scenes. It’s a specialised skill that involves getting blood out of carpets, sofas, curtains and furniture. It’s not pretty.
But how does someone even think about getting into this field? Well, Joan’s stepson was killed by shotgun in 1982. After the police left the scene, Joan was left to clean up the mess, a situation she found horrifying. She told Edit International: “I asked the police who would clean it up and they told me ‘You will. There’s nobody else that does such a job.’”
While having to deal with the grief of losing her stepson, she then had the emotional trauma associated with the cleanup. She says that she knew one day she would be involved in helping other people in the same situation – so they would not face the same awful circumstances.
An implicit message
This story not only explains why she started her business, it implicitly tells you that she truly cares for the people who are about to walk back into the crime scene – families who need to go on after a terrible tragedy.
Your story does not have to be this dramatic. It just needs to be authentic. Think about the factors that drove you to start your business. Identify a story that will convey your passion and then… write it down. The act of writing it down helps you give it structure and meaning
For example, one of the reasons I created my business, the Sydney Writers’ Centre, was because I know what it’s like to be in a completely different profession (I began life as an accountant) but yearn for a career as a writer. I took a circuitous route to get here but I’m now a full-time writer, blogger and author. And I love every minute of it. I’m so glad that I changed my career.
I wanted to create the kind of dynamic centre that I wish had existed when I was looking to transition my career – because I know that there are tens of thousands of people out there who are in a similar situation I was in.
What if you didn’t start you business?
Perhaps you didn’t actually start your business. Maybe you bought into it because it was a great opportunity. That’s fine. You may not be involved in the birth of your business but there are two stories you can tell.
1. Find out what the birth story of your business is. You may discover that there is romance and intrigue associated with how your business started. Even if Joan the crime scene cleaner sells her company, the story of how she started it will live on.
2. Identify why you are passionate about your business. This is just as powerful. Why did you buy into your company? Go beyond the fact that it’s a good business opportunity. Figure out what gets you excited about it. Connect with your passion – because then your customers will connect with it as well. Your commitment to your business will be more credible as a result.
What’s the birth story of your business? Why did you start it?
Read the press release for Power Stories and buy the book here
Reproduced with permission from www.ValerieKhoo.com
Have you noticed that adaptability and resilience are the new buzz words of Australian business?
It’s hardly surprising given the disruption from technologies, financial crises and global competition.
And yet many of our best known enterprises from media to manufacturing and retail to resources are struggling to even survive. What can they do?
From a year’s researching and writing First Be Nimble my view is crystal clear.
Australian industry is at a cross roads and the all-important mid-sized enterprises either take an axe to out-dated management hierarchies and silo-based problem solving that is dragging down productivity and innovation, or they face decimation on a scale not seen for generations.
In all this uncertainty there is also massive opportunity, but only for those who understand that in volatile times there is only one strategy that makes sense. That strategy I call First Be Nimble, because it means putting every available training and development resource towards boosting the adaptability, agility and resilience of the workforce.
It’s the obvious strategy because the nimble don’t just handle disruption—they also do their own disrupting.
Five principles guide nimble and adaptive teams and enterprises. Let’s look at them briefly.
1. Co-create –— don’t rely on experts in silos
While the slow-to-adapt are ring fencing their companies and structuring their teams as ‘experts in silos’, the agile enterprises put a premium on creating nimble, connected teams that move fast and adapt.
They equip teams with tools to align, collaborate and learn together. They punch holes in silos, and forge alliances that enable them to scale up and accelerate rapidly which means they exploit new technologies and adapt to changes in market dynamics while the laggards just complain about the market conditions and look for more government assistance.
2. Build to flex — don’t let rigidity bog you down
Layers of bureaucratic rules and decision filters are slowing down many Australian companies (and rendering them uncompetitive), but thankfully there are leaders embracing the ‘first be nimble’ mantra by putting priority on a clear game plan and a small set of core principles and disciplines.
They are adapting fast because people know the game plan, have just-in-time information and are empowered to act. That’s always been the way for agile enterprises in military, emergency medicine and international sport.
3. Be Brave — not Busy
Busyness is an excuse peddled by people who claim to have ‘too many priorities’ but need reminding that they aren’t priorities if you have lots of them. Read Mark Zuckerberg’s IPO letter for Facebook— his message is ‘focus on impact’ and the advice is sage: ‘We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.’
Nimble teams move fast to create an impact. They expect and accept heat from stakeholders, refuse to be slowed down by bottlenecks and they challenge conflicting priorities.
4. Leap, learn, adapt — don’t wait for certainty
Australian businesses talk a lot about innovation but then they load people up with KPIs and workloads that treat it like any other production line task. That’s too slow; too many ‘experts in silos’ to be a serious option in any business.
Nimble teams constantly test multiple ideas and run experiments. And that’s not just in new products but in anything that can make the organisation (and the value chain) leaner and more effective.
And when you think innovation, don’t just look at your products or services. It’s the business model that’s at risk so that needs attention (which doesn’t happen from busy experts in silos). Unfortunately Kodak didn’t get that one in time, but think Apple iTunes store or what Amazon has done to the bookstore (or what Kobo might do to Amazon?).
Nimble teams learn fast; they don’t wait for certainty.
5. Let go — welcome the squirm
Nimble organisations don’t rely on expensive change management programs because they know that you can’t manage your way through disruptive change.
Instead they train and coach people for change resilience by infusing skills like partnering, collaboration and fast learning into their business. Why? Because nimble organisations are always in transition: ending something, exploring a few things and embracing the new.
Unlike the leaders of too many Australian businesses, they are good at letting go and they know that endings make you squirm so being in a team speeds up the transition.
There is a strategy!
A year of writing and researching made me decide to call my new book First Be Nimble. The reason is simple:
In a disruptive world the only sensible business strategy is to create an agile and intelligent organisation that can handle anything that the volatile business world throws at it.
By Graham Winter
Read the the press release and buy First Be Nimble here
In our book Dealing with the Tough Stuff we talk about clarity being arguably the most sought-after outcome of workplace conversations. While some people look for intact relationships and others just want conflict to end, everyone seeks a level of shared understanding—that’s how you know conflict resolution is actually working.
We recommend a process where your team defines the crystal clear rules of expected behaviour in your workplace by comparing the behaviours you would appreciate (desirable) against those that are non-negotiable (essential).
Rules like ‘never leave dirty dishes on your desk’ or ‘always arrive at meetings 5 minutes early’ might be deemed non-negotiables if that’s what you decide.
We call the essential or expected behaviours the non-negotiables but perhaps the language in your workplace might be:
|Non-negotiables||Ways to make us love you|
|Deal breakers||Deal makers|
|Make the train||Meet the train|
|Critical actions||Additional actions|
Regardless of what you call them, the non-negotiables are critical for forming a healthy culture in the workplace. Unfortunately our obsession with ‘bubble-wrapping’ key messages (or as our mate Rowdy McLean calls it in his book Play A Bigger Game,‘the cotton wool society’) sometimes creates greater problems because people don’t understand the no-go zones at work.
There are five golden rules for establishing the non-negotiables:
- They are behavioural-based, not moral- or principle-based.
- There should never be any more than five non-negotiables.
- They require commitment not interest; they should be every time not some of the time.
- They should be committed to memory and often spoken about.
- They should be reviewed regularly.
Think about your family for a second. Presuming your family is not completely dysfunctional (we all feel like we are from time to time!) there are deal-breakers everyone is aware of. If any member of the family rubs up against one of these, then a conversation is coming and, the most important thing,everyone knows it.
The hallmark of excellence in teams, families or cultures is this:
Great teams are relentless on modifying each other’s behaviour in striving for excellence, and are completely supportive of each other in the process.
To achieve this, you need to establish clarity. So what are your non-negotiables, and are you clearly articulating them?
Darren, Alison & Sean