Investing in equities

7 Lessons I Learned From Investing In Equities For 13 Years

In 2007, after passing out of college, I got my first Job. With no idea bout how to invest or run a business, this was the norm, as most of my friends also sought jobs.

However, deep inside us was a desire to earn colossal money. The obvious option for us was to invest in the stock market. But without knowledge, we mostly believed hook, line, and sinker whatever people told us about stock markets. And often, we hear stories of people earning vast amounts of money through the stock market.

We saw investors constantly glued to their TV, watching the News on the stock market. So, we assumed that the only way to make money from the stock market was through tips and tricks from gurus on TV.

And then came the recession of 2008. The people who, sometime back, were praising the market began to curse it. They had lost their jobs and money; some even lost their pants. Day in and out, they condemned the government, market, companies, America, Europe, and whatnot.

It looked like the market would never catch up again. All the while, I thought, what the hell was going on? Why now? Why do things always turn nasty when I want to get in? I was waiting for a good time to begin investing (which probably doesn’t exist when investing in the stock market).

And in the fall of 2009, I finally got my Demat account and jumped into the stock market. I started doing day trading. Unfortunately, I lost almost all my money from 2009 to early 2010.

I had followed market gurus, who I eventually found out were always wrong. I even joined a paid service to get tips on trading ideas daily. Some of them were dumb. They rarely knew whatever it was they were saying. According to IndianTimes, the market was filled with many of these quacks.

It took me losing all my money to learn the hard way that the stock market isn’t something you get into based on the knowledge of others. This is my 13th year of being an investor. My experience has made me wiser, and it is from it I will be sharing with you seven critical lessons I wish I had known before I began investing in equities.

Investing in equities
1. You Can't Get Rich Quick Trading Stocks

If you're trading because you learned that a teenager had made millions of dollars from a few hundred dollars, God bless your heart as you are headed for heartbreak.

A principle to guide you is “never act on news, but on facts,” This is one of the most important things I learned from investing for so long. Nobody is a genius when investing in the stock market, so much so that they consistently spill hot tips. Pedallers of tricks and secrets are crooks.

If someone convinces you to trade on stocks based on some hot tips, you can be assured you will lose all your money eventually. Chasing hot leads has destroyed the lives of so many new investors.

2. Until you Read about it, Don't buy that stock or Mutual fund

I only buy drugs prescribed by a doctor. Anything other than this is drug abuse, which is dangerous to my health. I could end up with complications or even die from ingesting drugs I read on Google without being prescribed by my doctor.

In the same way, I will not invest my money in just any stock because of some random information people I know little about share.

Without any knowledge about the company, how can you ensure your investment will work as you expected? If you act on someone's else advice, your chances of fulfilling your expectation are negligible.

You must know everything about the company whose stock you are interested in. So, do due diligence and research your target company before investing money.

But how do you learn more about a company?

First, you must understand the company and its product. Do not invest in a company whose product or service you do not patronize. As a customer, you have a better chance of judging if they have a shot at growth.

Next, study their financial report. To do this, you should have learned how to read a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, etc. If you have not, then invest in yourself by learning how to. Also, research the company’s competitors. This fantastic article by Upstox explains all of these in detail.

To increase the odds of your success, start reading books about investing. There are excellent books on investing, and I recommend you start with “Beating the Street” By Peter Lynch.

3. You Can't Earn Money From Penny Stocks

Penny stocks are stocks valued at less than a dollar. These stock options have the allure of rapid growth. However, you can also lose all your money in penny stocks. I had a terrible experience with one of such stocks, losing everything I had invested in it. The name of the company is Cals Refinery.,

I did not have enough money to buy stocks in that company, so I invested a minimal amount. It was available for a dirt-cheap price (because it was a cheap company). There was so much news on the all-national daily at that time.

It was only in News, and there were no tangible things about the company. I bought it for 0.6 Rs. The stock fell to 01. Rs, and now there is no trading allowed in the company. My total investment turned to zero.

So, don't buy stock only because it is available at a low price. If you are yet to do any homework on supply, you must not buy it for any price. From statistics, 90% of penny stocks will fail.

4. Delaying Investing To Protect Money

What if I throw my money into fixed securities only to protect it from losing to the stock market? Many people do it. My parents have done it throughout their lives and are now broke. However, it is a terrible financial decision.

Your money will lose purchasing power due to growing inflations: This is sad but true. Investing in Index Funds is the easiest way for anyone who wants to be in the market and earn inflation-beating returns.

There are many Index funds. They don't have high expense ratios and are a good start for anyone. Rather than putting your money in bullshit fixed securities, invest it in Index funds and reap the benefits of equity investing.

Tony Robins advises that the best form of investment with the lowest risk is investing in an index for at least 20 years.

5. Quit Watching Gurus

Don't follow any guru. I have never seen any successful investor who invests based on the recommendations of self-proclaimed experts. Instead, they research, analyze the stock, and only invest afterward.

There is often an obsession over what successful investors do, with the hope that people can copy it. News channels, web apps, and blogs flaunt such data. However, more is needed to become a successful investor.

The best advice you will ever get from successful investors is: Read a lot, Analyze a company well, check the company's fundamentals, and always be ready to see your stock down by 50% before you can see any tremendous gain.

6. Wasting my time on Investing Apps and Websites

We consistently track investment in any stock or mutual fund we invest in. When I first started investing in 2010, I regularly looked at my mutual fund's investment 2-3 times daily.

I would check how much I had lost and gained every day. However, this habit is unhealthy. It is distracting. One minute, I am glad about an increase, and in a moment, I am down- little wonder many get a heart attack.

Now after 13 years of being an investor and having invested in various stocks and mutual funds, I have learned that they are just distractions and to stay away from them.  

So, avoid being enticed by these apps and websites and wasting time. They are built to be addictive. Instead, use that time to gain more investing knowledge. 

7. Stay From Discussions With People You Don't Know

Refrain from boasting of your suitable investments because they are minuscule. Don't debate. It only wastes your time. An experienced and truly knowledgeable person listens to and uses that experience to refine their decisions more.

Also, never discuss in any group how good you're at making money or how much you have. It is only going to add some more disadvantages to your workings. As much as possible, stay quiet, learn, experience, and improve your odds of winning big.

A lot of people have made alot of money in stock markets. Also, many have lost all their money in the Indian stock market. Both groups exist for you to learn from, as learning how to win is as important as knowing how not to lose.
What has been your experience so far with the India Stock Market?