Sep 06

The Wonders of Life

The wonder of life is that we are often surprised by those we least expect to be surprised by and disappointed by those that we help or assist the most.

The lesson is surely that some people are naturally appreciative, even of the minutest help, and others would not thank you if you carried them on your back throughout their entire life.

Our children are exceptions because they are, in a unique way, both of the above. They shock us with their unexpected moments of love and then drive us crazy with their occasional moments of self-importance and or lack of good grace. It is at these low moments that I stop, look at myself and realise that they are nothing more than a reflection of myself, therefore I must have also been that exact person as a child, indeed I was rather impossible!

So is all this simply introspection or is it more. It’s probably just a middle aged wobble and the dawning of how the universe works.

Why is it that the stock markets also know that we want them to close a calendar month up, yet in the last 48 hours they always seem to find a way in which to slide? Come on, Russian’s on the march, appalling financial forecasts and weak data, don’t be such a wimp, please just hold your ground, or are you just being personally vindictive?

Tell me, why do so called “long term investors” dump stock, or buy it on a whim, only for both to get burned reputationally and does AUM stand for “Assets Under Management” or “Adverts under Management”?

A lovely man and old business colleague and friend Vincent Isaacs, his son Jonathan was CEO of Lehams at the age of only 30, once told me “If it was that easy Kilbride, then anyone would do it!” He was, as Vincent often was, 100% correct. He was an old soul, in an experienced man, is there ever a better guide than that? He once said to me “get out, before they eat you” and I did and he was almost right. I will vote for experienced wisdom over young impulsiveness every day, but then I am slowly entering that “older experienced” category myself, so I may be more than very slightly biased.

Finally, before I bore you, do you know that there is one fantastic rule that can be applied to buying shares? This is it and it was taught to me by a stock-broking colleague Sam Friedman 30 years ago.
If you are going to buy R10,000 of shares in a company, first find out its market capitalisation, let us assume that it is R50 billion. Now ask yourself this, if R50bn was not material to you would you buy the entire company? No, then why are you buying a small piece of it? It is almost too simple to grasp, poor companies are not any better just because you only own a small part of them!

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