The Single Most Important Number in Investing
Editor’s Note: Today we have another interesting article from TradeSmith CEO Keith Kaplan. On June 2, he and I will show you how you can increase your investment returns by 18 times — without options or leverage. It’s a free presentation, but we ask that you reserve a spot here. — Ted
I was great at buying the right stocks, but was a terrible investor. Maybe it’s the same for you?
For example, in October of 2016, I bought Advanced Micro Devices (Nasdaq: AMD). I looked like a genius.
AMD gained over 1,000% since I bought into the stock.
But I’m not a genius, because I sold nearly right away and missed all of those gains…
I trusted my gut.
So how do we stop that from happening to you?
Use a Formula
Quite simply, you keep your emotions from making investing decisions for you by following a regimented process for understanding exactly when to buy a stock, how much to buy and when to sell it.
It all starts with this formula below…
You see, two economic Nobel Prize winners in behavioral finance — Richard Thaler and Daniel Kahneman — made some groundbreaking discoveries. One is that we “risk seek when we’re losing.”
In other words, we rationalize our decisions after the fact and don’t admit our mistakes.
For example, when a stock is falling, you say to yourself: “I’m going to buy more on the dip … this stock will come back and my break-even price will be lower … it’s just a paper loss.”
Really, what you’re doing is adding more risk to your position.
You are “seeking out more risk” by buying more.
But what you should do is look at momentum. It’s the single most important factor when investing in stocks.
When a stock has a confirmed uptrend, it is more likely to rise in the short term.
When a stock has a confirmed downtrend, it is more likely to fall in the short term.
And by buying more of a stock as it’s falling, you are taking on risk. You’re setting yourself up to lose more money.
So how do you combat that? Don’t react emotionally. Follow the formula. Apply the strategy.
What About When We’re Winning?
Thaler and Kahneman’s second discovery is perhaps even more interesting. They found that we are “risk averse when we are winning.”
Basically, we sell our winners to lock in our gains. No one wants to experience a round trip, so we get off the track.
But in doing so, we’re actually hurting ourselves. Remember, when a stock is rising and it’s in a confirmed uptrend, it’ll keep rising for a while. So this is the BEST TIME to either ride the winner higher or even add more money to the position to take advantage of its short-term outlook. Few ever do this.
And that leads me to our (TradeSmith’s) discovery of the single most important number when investing in stocks AND why it works.
This number is the formula I showed you above for the “VQ” — which stands for Volatility Quotient… It solves so many problems that individual investors face today.
It’s a measure of historical and recent volatility in a stock, fund or crypto. And that measurement is really focused on the moves they make.
Here’s what it tells you:
- When to buy.
- How much to buy.
- When to sell.
- And how risky that stock is / the movement you should expect.
In short, you don’t ever have to worry about making the wrong emotional decision again.
Let me leave you with a single nugget that may change your stock investing journey forever. It certainly has changed mine…
What Thaler and Kahneman are saying is that the trend is your friend. Understand it and act accordingly.
The VQ is the easiest way to do that.