I received an off-board email from a young person who has been investing for a month, and was asking the best way to allocate his funds so that he can follow exactly what I do, with the exact same allocations. That is an insane method to invest! This board is to teach you how to do this for yourself, and to make your own decisions, not to follow me. I post my position sizes once a month, and the position sizes can change the very next day! I don’t post updates until the end of the next month, and if I’m busy, or sick, or traveling I might not even post them then. You need to decide for yourself what you want to buy, and LEARN how to evaluate a company for yourself. Sure you can learn from other people along the way, but the final decision has to be yours. Don’t follow me. Make your own decisions. I am not an investment advisor, and besides which, I don’t know anything about your personal circumstances. What makes sense for me may not make sense for you, with different ages, different assets, different family responsibilities, and different levels of investing experience. Whew! Got that off my chest!
To add on to this, there are many companies being discussed on the board that Saul doesn’t own. A sign that following Saul is not necessary! Sometimes his portfolio does better, sometimes worse, than these companies. But the difference isn’t large, and we’re all beating traditional return metrics by many orders of magnitudes.
This community at large, even holding different stocks in their portfolios, has matched (and some members are even doing better!) Saul’s performance recently after taking his advice to heart. Yes, the reason why this community has grown to the size it has is indeed because Saul’s results have been extraordinary, but if you’re new and reading this, don’t ask for the fish, Saul’s already codified HOW to fish in his knowledge base! Use it, build your own style, and come discuss with us your findings and thoughts!
I received an off-board email from a young person who has been investing for a month, and was asking the best way to allocate his funds so that he can follow exactly what I do, with the exact same allocations. That is an insane method to invest! This board is to teach you how to do this for yourself, and to make your own decisions, not to follow me.
For the young folks
You have something many of us wish we had more of - Time. Time is by far your best asset and as such there is no need to rush and “get rich quick”. Use your time to learn - this board (and other resources there are many different investment approaches) are the best way forward. I know it is tempting to look at 100%+ returns and think you can accelerate things - but that is the worst thing you can do. If you are new - put your money into an ETF, spend your time learning; and then when you are confident with your decisions start to invest in individual stocks that you know well. Being patient will be the hard - but stick with it.
Having been a long time follower of this board (5+ years) and to a lesser extent follower of Saul, I’d like to weigh in on this discussion.
To his credit, Saul is an incredibly astute investor and with his several many years in the game (and Saul even considers it a game to some extent) he has developed an uncanny 6th sense, intuition whatever you want to call it. So the temptation to mindlessly imitate him is pretty strong, especially for someone new to investing who just want to get a leg up in a hurry. Why not copy the master and defer the learning to a later date?
For myself, there’s been times when my portfolio resembled Saul’s pretty closely and other times when it did not. I always pay attention to what he does, or more correctly, I always pay attention to is explanations for what he does. I may be wrong, but I can’t remember a single time when Saul posted a buy or sell action without an explanation, the only exception being what he refers to as “try out” positions, very small positions just to keep the company on his radar. He may buy or sell one of those without much discussion, but he never reports a significant trade without telling us why. And to be honest, there have been times that I have followed his action because his explanation made so much sense but the logic of his observations had previously eluded me.
Nevertheless, based on Saul’s monthly portfolio report, my positions and percentages have never been identical to his. That’s because I don’t always agree with him. I put more emphasis on intangibles than Saul does. Saul makes his decisions very much on the numbers, the measurable performance of the company and his ability to extrapolate the current into the future. I do to. But I also pay a lot of attention to the quality of the management. Being an old techie, even though the technology has long since passed my knowledge base, I still pay more attention to what the products do than Saul does.
My message is you’d be foolish to ignore Saul. But he’s not alone. There are a number of very smart folks that contribute to this board. This is not just the province of one man, there’s a brain trust here. I’m not going to list out the handles. Read the board as best you can (I know, it’s impossible to read everything, at least it is for me) and form your own opinion about who to pay attention to. By that I mean determine who to learn from and develop your own approach and methodology. Anyway, that’s what I have done and it’s worked incredibly well for me. I’ve learned from Saul, but I don’t emulate him. I’ve learned from lots of different folks who post here and I don’t emulate any of them.
I apologize that I put you off with my message - especially as a complete stranger and being new to the Fool. I have a background in baking and cooking and mistakenly made a correlation between your position sizes and DD as a recipe of sorts I suppose. Fwiw, I was inspired by your conviction in these companies as well as the open letter to your daughter, the KB, and your years of experience and activity on the MF.
I’m in the process of discovering what I want to buy and what’s right for me as an investor. I’m sure I will be for some time. I’m not looking to stand on yours or anyone else’s shoulders - or back for that matter. As I mentioned, I have been tapping into lots of other resources - books, videos, audiobooks, podcasts, the web - pretty much anything I can absorb right now. When I read your January position post, I thought ‘cloning’ (as I put it in my message - a baking term) a scaled model version of your portfolio at ~$1k investment could be one way (not THE way) for me to get my feet wet and learn a different style of investing.
I understand that this ‘cloning’ approach (insane is a fair word though I’d take irresponsible too, esp. as it’s antithetical to all the other guidance I’ve received) doesn’t take into account the MANY external variables at play or your personal relationship to and understanding of the companies you’re invested in. I didn’t fully appreciate that there’s a person behind that portfolio who’s determined what’s right for them after putting in years and years of work. And with less resources available than there are to me/you/all of us today.
I feel a little foolish - and not in the way the Gardners intended I don’t think. In any regard, this has rendered a couple of useful lessons re: what-not-to-do. I appreciate you responding as you did, truly. I am grateful for the candor and sincerity of many of the Fools whose posts I’ve read on the boards so far. The previous responses to this thread have also been illuminating and encouraging, thank you.
I look forward to being a part of and growing with this community and hopefully having something more than a sour taste to contribute as time goes on.
My son texted this today.
I stink at predicting stock prices with news and trends. But cheating off of Saul’s homework feels good when most days I see this haha
Copying Saul’s port is exactly like this. Copying someones homework.