June 1, 2021
In today’s podcast, we cover some key investment principles that are important to understand when you’re investing for financial independence.
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Dave: [00:00:00] Hey, welcome back to another episode of fire and chill. As always, we’re your hosts, pat from life-long shuffle and Dave from strong money Australia. In today’s episode, we’re going to chat about a few key investment principles that we think are really worth discussing. And we have covered some similar things before in previous episodes, like compound interest, fees, diversification, and tuning out the noise.
But we do think that there’s other few things that we should consider also. And we’ll get into those today. But first a little side story here, pat. I don’t know. You probably remember from the previous episode or the one before that I spoke about my old collection of Pokemon cards.
Pat: [00:00:57] Yep. Yep.
Dave: [00:00:58] So I ended up spending a little bit of time looking around at old Pokemon cards and what they’re worth now.
And it looks like what I had would be probably worth at least six figures maybe even seven figures.
Pat: [00:01:12] Oh, man. What were you doing for getting rid of them?
Dave: [00:01:16] I don’t know, man. I just left them at home. When I moved out of home and drove to WA from Victoria and yeah, just left them there with my mom.
And I thought, Oh, maybe there’s a tiny chance that she kept them. So I. contacted her and she said, nah, she gave them away. Basically she sold some and gave the rest of the way, like in a garage sale just to local kids in the neighbourhood.
Pat: [00:01:36] Oh,
Dave: [00:01:37] when she moved out of that house. So damn, no payoff.
Pat: [00:01:42] I. You’re just going to have to make wealthy old fashioned way.
Dave: [00:01:45] I’m just going to have to make do as is, hey.
Pat: [00:01:47] Yeah. Or, have fun staying poor forever
Dave: [00:01:50] So anyway, I thought of a couple of takeaways from that littile experience. So I had. So the first one is that things that are super popular in society for a good period of time, not just a couple of months, but a good period of time may well become collectible items down the track.
So if you do have something that’s like that, it could be worth hanging onto if you really do love it and you probably don’t really want to get rid of it, so it could be worth keeping. No promises there, obviously no one really knows, but it’s possible anyway. And also people buy things for a lot more than their utility value, because at the end of the day, these are just cards.
So it’s not like they have a whole massive use purpose. It’s just that people value things differently. Not for totally rational reasons, obviously. And the last thing was that things are basically worth. Whatever anyone else will pay for them. Because you can argue, it’s not worth that this item isn’t worth that, but if someone wants to pay that, then they’re going to, so you can argue until you’re blue in the Facebook, things are ultimately worth what people want to pay for them.
And that kind of depends on, the popularity of whatever it is and the scarcity of it and how they feel about it. But yeah. There’s no upper limit, on certain things or what they can be. Okay. They can be worth to certain people.
Pat: [00:03:06] yeah. Insane, right?
Dave: [00:03:08] Yeah, pretty
Pat: [00:03:09] Yeah. Blows our minds, but there you go.
Dave: [00:03:14] was fun anyway, to look at the old cards that I used to have and remember, what my, which ones weren’t my favourites and all that. So that was, I had a bit of fun looking at that during the week.
Pat: [00:03:23] Yeah. Good one. So how about we get into today’s topic? So we got, yeah, we got four investment principles to share. Today is no particular order to these. We just thought we’d run through them. First one is dollar cost averaging or the emperor, the importance of investing consistently. This may surprise quite a few people and, go completely against all of those Facebook and YouTube ads we keep seeing.
But the single best thing you can do for your wealth is actually just to save and invest regularly. Boom, mind blown.
Dave: [00:03:59] That can’t be right, mate. It’s too boring. It has surely it has to be something scientific and exciting. And yeah.
Pat: [00:04:05] there a five-step process to getting rich.
Dave: [00:04:08] Wait, just let me Google that.
Pat: [00:04:10] Okay, sweet. Regardless of which investments you choose the best habit to build definitely is you’re saving regularly and investing regularly.
Dave: [00:04:19] And
Pat: [00:04:19] there’s a limit to that. We don’t mean any investment. Tulips are obviously a bad idea,
Dave: [00:04:23] That looked good. At one point I thought?
Pat: [00:04:25] for a very short period of time.
Dave: [00:04:28] But dollar-cost averaging is super important and not just for one reason, but for So many reasons. So the first one is it reinforces your commitment to your future goals. So you can think of this, like building their behavior of exercising regularly. It really just cements your. Your new identity because you’re taking actions that are consistent with your goals on a regular basis.
And it proves this and makes this happen in real time.
Pat: [00:04:55] Yeah. And it. Creates momentum as your portfolio gets larger and larger. Every time you make an investment, every time you get dividends, you could reinvest them. And then your dividends that are coming in, keep getting larger and larger. And so it’s this self-reinforcing cycle of motivation. That’s continues to build over time.
Dave: [00:05:14] because every time your investments, every time you invest more money, you’re going to receive. Larger returns just because of the dollar amounts that you have invested. So that’s a good motivator in itself.
Pat: [00:05:25] Yeah. And I don’t know if this happens to you, Dave, but the same way that people go get excited to go to the shops and buy some new piece of junk or some new electronic. That’s like me for buying shares every month.
Dave: [00:05:38] Oh yeah. 100%.
Pat: [00:05:39] super I’m like, yes. Get to get in and buy some more shares. Yeah. Whoa, there goes that whatever it is, $5,000 or something. Yeah. Done.
Dave: [00:05:48] because it’s like, that’s a chunk of money that’s towards your future. And you know that you’re going to receive those compound returns basically forever from that investment. And that you now own a bigger chunk of shares and you did before.
Pat: [00:05:59] Yeah.
Dave: [00:06:00] And so you’ve increased your ownership stake basically, right?
Pat: [00:06:03] Yeah, and this kind of rolls really nicely into the next point we have, which is at buying this investing consistently. It helps you avoid silly questions that unimportant. Like when is the best time to invest, like people really talk to themselves and agonize over these sorts of questions.
And. We’ve been through this probably a thousand times now on this podcast, but it’s pretty well impossible to know when the best time to invest is from, unless you’re looking in retrospect. So it’s always like now is the best time to invest. So just invest now.
Dave: [00:06:35] it sounds great in theory to to wait until there’s some perfect time to invest, but in practice, it’s insanely difficult and mentally torturous, like you said, pat, and there’s also a lot of luck involved as well. And I think to me, I don’t know about you, but to me, the best part about dollar cost averaging or the part that kind of excites me the most or.
The part that I enjoy the most is that you’re essentially timing the market in an effortless way and not like in a super clever way, but basically you’re putting in money every month. And if process happened to fall that month, your money purchases, a larger number of shares than they did before.
So that seems pretty pretty helpful. And I really liked that reason. I don’t know about you.
Pat: [00:07:17] Yeah, it’s really good. And something else that’s really great about this, especially for new investors or nervous investors. By just investing consistently, you can gradually ramp up your exposure to the volatility that might be causing you some angst or nervousness. So it could seem like a huge thing to invest 5,000, 10,000, a hundred thousand.
But if you try to put a hundred thousand dollars in, in one, go say. You could find that the volatility is just too much for you to handle. Whereas if you go gradually over time, then over the course of a year, you’re starting with low dollar amounts of volatility in your portfolio here only every day to day.
Like the volatility might only be causing you to go down and up 50 bucks or something or a hundred dollars, but then you slowly build that over time. And eventually the volatility is in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. And it doesn’t phase you because. You’ve built up that mental resistance to that nonsense over the course of a long period of time.
Dave: [00:08:17] I hadn’t thought of that. So you’re, as our portfolio gets bigger and you’re investing each month. The fluctuations will also get bigger in dollar amounts, but your S the strength of your stomach is also growing with that. As your portfolio grades, you get a stronger stomach and you get used to those fluctuations because it slowly increases over time.
It’s not like you start from scratch and have to deal with these massive swings with a huge balance. That’s a good point. All right. So the next. Investment principle that we want to talk about is the concept of keeping it simple and simplicity versus complexity. So why is this important?
Pat: [00:08:53] Yeah. I think some people like to make really basic concepts sound complex and they like to try and find perfect solutions to problems. And they think there’s like some way to think about a problem to get to the most optimal answer.
Dave: [00:09:11] perfect outcome. Yeah. the perfect solution.
Pat: [00:09:13] And. There’s also like a whole industry around trying to convince regular people that investing is super complicated to you.
You need professional help to be able to invest successfully. And it’s just, it’s all a great big lie. Often complexity actually takes away from your return at the same time as it takes away from your time. And it takes like your mental clock cycles away. And I just think it’s. Nonsense
Dave: [00:09:40] Mm it’s not really. It’s not really the case. Like investing to normal people would seem really there must be, it must be too complicated for them. And it’s. It’s definitely too intimidating. I think there seems like there’s a lot to learn and it’s, it all looks really uncertain and that they probably need some help, but they don’t know who to trust, which is pretty sad really.
But then it’s definitely true that we can take control of our own finances. And as long as we understand a few key concepts of investing. And have the right kind of mindset and approach to it. That can be all we really need to take control and to make steps forward towards our future goals.
And we can do that with a simple strategy. It doesn’t have to be complicated and we can still get excellent long-term results from that. And there’s a lot of reasons why a simple approach is better than a complex approach for pretty much everyone.
Pat: [00:10:33] Yeah, absolutely. So what’s great about a simple approach is that you don’t really need a whole lot of upfront research. You can get started earlier. You can get that ball rolling earlier. And the simpler things are the less hurdles that are in your way from starting and becoming a successful investor.
And I feel like this is really important because often in an effort find the perfect answer. People wait months, like six months a year before they start investing. Now, miss out on all those returns in that time, trying to find this perfect solution, which might only be marginally better than like the simple, straightforward solution that they first thought of.
Or even not as good at all. Why not even, yeah.
Dave: [00:11:17] And the sad thing about that is because they’ve put so much extra time and effort into it. They put whether they know it or not, they put a lot more pressure on themselves to come up with the right answer and the right solution because of the time they’ve invested in it
Pat: [00:11:32] Yeah. Yeah. And it becomes like so much more of a bigger decision than it is. And so they, all this kind of anxiety has built up around making this super important decision. That’s going to drive their whole future success. And it’s not necessarily like that.
Dave: [00:11:49] it’s a similar type of behaviour when people try to wait for the best time to invest. And then they put all this extra, there’s all this extra pressure because they’ve waited for six months. And they’ve seen the market go up or something. So now they’ve got to wait for it, a bigger fall to make it worthwhile for having waited out for a certain period.
Pat: [00:12:07] Yeah.
Dave: [00:12:08] it’s really becomes a mental game.
Pat: [00:12:09] Yeah. And then what ends up happening is it does fall and it’s like, oh no, it’s going to fall further. It’s going to fall further. And then it doesn’t. And then they miss out on that little dip that we wait for that whole time.
Dave: [00:12:20] So that’s a simpler approach is also easier to follow. It’s easier to manage, and it’s definitely easier to stick with over time, because if you have a lot of different pieces in your portfolio and a lot of stuff going on, it can be more confusing, can be tricky to manage. And it can definitely be less enjoyable to invest like that.
And if you’re spending less time too, with a simple strategy, you’re spending less time on your investments. And so then you can devote your energy to other things on your days off, whether it’s, family and friends, or just enjoying your free time doing other stuff that you like, or maybe you just focus on more effort into saving and earning more.
And that’ll have a better outcome on your investments than actually trying to perfect it in some way.
Pat: [00:13:03] Yeah. And it’s not only about you being able to stick with your long-term investment strategy. It’s like most families. I see. There’s one person that. Primarily takes care of finances and the other one just allows them to go on autopilot and they’re just like, oh no. Yeah. They take care of that.
Dave: [00:13:20] Yeah. Yeah.
Pat: [00:13:22] So you need to think about your partner and your family too. You don’t want these huge convoluted portfolio, which they can’t handle with. Anything happens to you or when you pass away and you definitely don’t want them needing to go to some fold Shaw. Who’s just going to tear it apart because it’s too complicated for them.
Dave: [00:13:39] Yeah that’s a really good point. You should consider your spouse if you have one and how it makes sure they understand what’s happening. And as you can imagine, the simpler, your strategy and the simpler your portfolio, the easier it is to get them on board and for them to understand what’s happening.
Pat: [00:13:55] Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Dave: [00:13:57] Yeah. When you’re investing is simpler, rather than complex, there are less decisions to make, and there are less things to worry about. And because of this, you actually have a better chance of long-term success because one of the reasons that causes people to underperform and have a poor outcome with their investments is making bad decisions.
So the less decisions you have to make and the simpler you can make your investing the better off you’ll be in the long-term.
Pat: [00:14:25] yep. The more automatic and the more regular and is more follows. Just a simple pattern. Yeah. That much easier it is to stay on that investment path.
Dave: [00:14:35] so those are the benefits of a simpler price about, but one of the downsides, pat, are we missing out on anything here?
Pat: [00:14:41] No, not really. Not much. There are scales of simplicity. There’s, VDHG all the way on one end of the simplicity scale. And then there’s still very simple, but I have a four fund portfolio. Anyway, it’s up to you. But. You don’t gain a whole lot when you start making it more complicated than that, you lose more than you gain.
Dave: [00:15:02] yeah, what’s that Buffett quote, you don’t get extra points for degree of difficulty or something like that.
Pat: [00:15:08] oh, is that an actual quote?
Dave: [00:15:10] I think so.
Pat: [00:15:11] Nice.
Dave: [00:15:12] Yeah. As, as always as a buffet, quite for pretty much everything in life.
Pat: [00:15:17] That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest like Buffett.
Dave: [00:15:22] All right. So what’s the next investing concept. We want to speak about pat.
Pat: [00:15:26] Yes. So reversion to the mean, nothing outperforms forever. What this means is there’s a natural tendency for things to even out over time or revert to like some sort of average or middle ground. And the basic lesson here is that nothing works all the time. And while this sounds obvious, People really get hung up or tricked by this one.
And they get stuck into thinking that something will always out before. And we’ve got a really great example here, which is the US market. And in particular like us tech stocks, high growth tech stocks, which have outperformed over the last 10 years. And so they’re starting to get this kind of communities starting to get this.
Hive mind or this kind of feeling or this thoughts? Oh yeah. US naturally is just always going to outperform like, oh, naturally, like they’re the biggest economy in the world and they’ve got the brightest innovation and technology, so they’re always going to perform, why would I invest in anything else?
So that’s really short minded and really short-sided. To think like that because yeah,
Dave: [00:16:33] That’s you see that quite often, in fact, then a lot in the FI community as well, because you look at maybe a company like Australia, which seems relatively boring. We don’t have a whole lot of exciting tech companies compared to the us. And unlike a lot of other countries don’t have them either.
So you’d think I’m just going to invest where the excitement is and where the return is. Look at the last. We’ve got the last 10 years. Why would I invest elsewhere? But we’ve got some, we’ve got some stats on why you can’t always expect a certain region to apple full. So from September, 2010 to 2020, the U S returned about 17% per annum, which is absolutely insane.
Pat: [00:17:15] That’s mind-bogglingly. Good.
Dave: [00:17:17] and in that timeframe, the Australian market return about 8% per annum. Which is not bad, but half of what the U S returned
Pat: [00:17:26] yeah. And compounded. That’s a huge difference. Yeah.
Dave: [00:17:30] but 10 years before that. So 2000 to 2010, the us return was minus 5% per annum. That’s a minus minus 5%.
Pat: [00:17:41] Yeah. So you compare like lost in a compound fashion 5% per year for 10 years straight
Dave: [00:17:48] that’s bananas. And this is using Vanguards interactive index chart, which we’ll put in the show notes. You can go and check that out and have a bit of a play with the start and end dates and see what you can come up with for yourself. But over that previous 10 years, the Ozzie market returned again about 8% per annum.
For that period. So if you look at the hall 20 year period, so I’ve seen 2000, basically the U S has returned about five or 6% per annum and Australia about 8% per annum. But that doesn’t mean Australia has better either. It’s just the start and end dates that you’re looking at. It just means that’s what’s happened over that period.
So that can really skew our perception because when you look at. Performance in that way, people will email us and be like why wouldn’t you just invest in the US look at the last 10 years, but then they don’t look at the 10 years before that and see that, oh, it’s not always like that. So,
Pat: [00:18:38] definitely get like lots of people who want to invest just in something like NDQ or they’ll overweight. N D Q a huge amount compared to everything else.
Dave: [00:18:48] which is the NASDAQ 100, which is a big group of mostly tech companies.
Pat: [00:18:54] Yeah, exactly. Sorry. No code.
Dave: [00:18:57] So you’ve definitely got to put things like that in perspective. Over the last 120 years, the U S and Australia markets have been among the best performing markets in the world with the same, roughly the same return after inflation.
But then just because they’ve been the best performing markets over the last hundred years users. So that doesn’t mean that they will be in the future.
Pat: [00:19:24] No, certainly not, which is why it’s important to diversify and stay the course and keep investing. Even when the U S market and tech stocks are doing amazingly right now, I still very happy with diversifying my portfolio globally and just taking the returns as they come to me based on that mix.
Dave: [00:19:46] Yeah. Yeah. Because whether it’s tech stocks or value stocks or different countries, or even different strategies, everything will outperform at certain times and everything will underperform at other times. Nothing will win forever. Basically everyone will have its periods of doing better and doing worse.
Pat: [00:20:03] Yeah, exactly. And part of this is because companies or strategies or countries like they boom, and they become really popular. And that means they become really overpriced. And so that means other underpriced areas or companies or whatever who might do better in the future compared to those companies, I should say.
So it’s not really repeatable or reliable to try and predict this ahead of time. So you just
Dave: [00:20:29] Some people will think this area is popular. So I’ll avoid that and invest elsewhere and get better returns maybe, maybe not.
Pat: [00:20:35] No, it’s pretty. Ridiculously hard to predict, and this is how people get burned, trying to time the market.
Dave: [00:20:41] And now we’re back into, keeping it simple versus trying something a little bit more complex and trying to be a bit more clever to juice your returns.
Pat: [00:20:49] Yeah, no, I’ll keep it simple. Here’s an allocation and stick to it.
Dave: [00:20:53] the next thing we want to speak about is the concept or the principle of approaching your investments in terms of long-term ownership. So this is another important principle I feel is to focus on not just investing your money in different places, but focusing on. The long-term ownership of certain assets.
And I feel like that’s a distinction to make. It’s a different kind of mindset to have. And I think that if we bring up your favourite concept, property investors in Australia, they naturally have these kind of mindset, like a, almost like an own quality assets forever mindset.
And I think that’s quite helpful. And as a share investor, you can take that mindset as well, because sometimes it’s a bit hard, especially for newbies to have this kind of understanding of buying quality assets and owning them forever because they’re still in the, shares are risky and they’re squiggly lines moving up and down on the chart.
So they haven’t quite got the the concept of owning these assets that will. Grow and pay them a nice income forever. Basically.
Pat: [00:21:57] Yeah, I think the liquidity of the share market makes it so much easier to just jump in and out. Whereas when you’re buying a house, like the barriers to entry and the trading costs just make it more of something that you really have to buy. Long-term like, Buying short term and expecting a return on that is, yeah, it’s very silly to say the least with those high transaction costs.
Dave: [00:22:23] And I think part of it is because people think about shares like in terms of charts and prices and they don’t think about the businesses that they’re actually buying.
Pat: [00:22:31] They’re not real. They’re like three letter acronym acronyms on the screen.
Dave: [00:22:35] Yeah. Yeah.
Pat: [00:22:36] Yeah. Whereas it’s much easier to think of, bricks and mortar. You can touch it, you can feel
Dave: [00:22:42] It’s real pat.
Pat: [00:22:43] it’s real. These businesses. They’re not real.
Dave: [00:22:48] so that’s the thing to think about is the long-term ownership of businesses and maybe real estate, if you own that as well. And if you do this and you’re plowing you’re plowing all your money into good assets that can compound over time for you. You basically can’t help, but become rich during your lifetime.
Pat: [00:23:04] Yeah, it’s very hard to imagine a future 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now where both real estate and the share market aren’t worth drastically more than they are now.
Dave: [00:23:16] Yeah. And the reason that they’re worth more is because of the cash flows that they produce. So when you’re buying it, try to, when you’re buying assets like shares or real estate, try to imagine the future a bit and think about. What will these things be worth in a few decades time or throughout my lifetime.
And just imagine later in 30 years or more 50 years, imagine the income that will be producing for you and your family. That’s pretty exciting, I reckon.
Pat: [00:23:41] Yeah, it’s really nice.
Dave: [00:23:43] And keep that in mind when prices fall, too.
Pat: [00:23:45] Keeping that long-term ownership mindset, like you said, should help you get through those periods of price declines a bit more easily than just thinking that it’s some abstract chart.
Dave: [00:23:58] Yeah,
Pat: [00:23:59] Yeah.
Dave: [00:23:59] absolutely.
Pat: [00:24:00] So our summary and final thoughts.
Investing regularly saving regularly is the single best thing you can do for your future wealth. And it is really a core principle of building wealth. So you get the benefit of dollar cost averaging by doing this, and that helps you buy more shares when prices are lower and less shares when they’re higher.
But really if you just continue to invest regularly, you can’t help but become wealthy over the longterm.
Dave: [00:24:26] Yeah. Yeah. And number two, if you keep your investing simple, you’ll enjoy it more. It’ll be easier to stick with annual also have more time for other things in your life. And so making a difficult is actually more likely to hurt you than it is to help you.
Pat: [00:24:41] and just on that one as well. If you do speak to a professional in this and they, you feel like they’re speaking to you and they’re making it really complicated. And that you absolutely need really a professional should distill things down to you. So it makes it simple for you to understand, like that’s their job to deal with any complexity there is, and then communicate it to you in such a way that’s easy to understand, but if it, if they’re really trying to complicate it while they’re describing it to you, I feel like that’s a real red flag to get out of there.
Dave: [00:25:14] Alarm bells should definitely be going off at that point.
Pat: [00:25:16] Yeah, definitely. I think a good financial advisor would make it easier to understand if anything.
Dave: [00:25:22] Yeah. Good point.
Pat: [00:25:24] Yeah. So reversion to the mean nothing outperforms all the time and forever. So avoid casing things that have done well recently temper your expectations, realize things, go in cycles and take turns. And that you’ve got a really long timeframe that you’re looking at here and the cancers that, any one asset are going to outperform all the other assets over the course of your investment time line timeframe is vanishingly small.
Dave: [00:25:52] And the last point is obviously to be a long-term accumulator of good assets that you can own forever. And these are things which will provide you with income and growth and think about it over your lifetime. Not just like the next three months or the next three or four years. Think about it in terms of 20 years, 30 years, 50 years. And across your lifetime,
Pat: [00:26:13] Yeah, very nice. So while there’s always more, we could discuss, we hope these principles can help guide you in your investing going forward. Really doesn’t have to be confusing or complicated. It’s definitely better if it isn’t
Dave and I are both fans of simple, straightforward investing. Yeah. So thanks for tuning in and a special thanks to everyone who’s left us a review in apple podcast, or shared the show with a friend. We really appreciate that. Helps us spread our message further.
And like I said, last episode, our podcast seems to be getting more and more listens every month. So we’re super excited about that. Thanks everyone. As always, you can find more from us at our blogs, pat at lifelong shuffle and Dave at strong money Australia.
You can reach out with feedback, questions, or topics, email@example.com. Thanks for listening and we’ll catch you next time.