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Why I'm Happy to Make More Mistakes than Beginners Do

By Malcolm Stacey | Monday 17 July 2017


Hello Share Scramblers. The distinguished Darren Atwater’s Notes from Underground inform us that 62,000 individual readers graced this wonderful website last week. Which suggests that huge numbers are ignoring that hoary old advice about ‘Going away in May’ and are still currently active.

But even in this heavenly bull market, we can still make mistakes. I’m a very experienced trader, which only means, according to the reasoning of Oscar Wilde, that I’ve made a load of mistakes. He’s right there.

I learn from Radio Four that really successful businessmen and women all admit, analyse and learn from their cock-ups. Politicians don’t, which is why the country currently faces chaos.

The correct procedure is to self-probe our investing mistakes. This we find really, really hard because our egos get in the way. Instead of deciding never to do something again, we seek instead to justify our actions. That is to try to turn them into victories. Of course they are not though victories, they are mistakes.

In the golden game we not only have to acknowledge mistakes, we have to do it very quickly. If a share drops 7- 10% of its value we should admit to having committed a boo-boo and sell. It’s managing your losses that affect your overall income in the end, not the stocks that make the profit. And yet we often get the champagne out after a big win, ignoring that two of our companies have been decimated on the same day.

So acknowledge your mistakes. And you can still console yourself by considering that the price you paid was not a mistake. The market, populated by zillions of other investors sets the price. Collectively, they agreed with you that the price on the day was right. It’s what happens to the company afterwards that makes the difference. So react to those changing circumstances, admitting any mistakes if needs be.

See you in the Punter’s Return.

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