Saul's Investing Discussions - Short Story on Becoming a Better Investor

Hello Fools,

This is not a writeup of my portfolio - what I hold, why I hold it and how well each position has done. Instead, it’s a reflection on how my style of investing has changed since joining Saul’s Investment Discussions and just how valuable Saul’s board has been to me over the past nine years.

Here is a table of all the positions I’ve held since the end of 2014. Sorry for the small print.

Here are some statistics on these positions.

I’ve gone from 24 companies in 2014 down to 10 companies (8 really) in 2023. There was a time further in the past where I had over 40 companies. I’ve learned to focus on many fewer companies, learning about them much better than I could have done had I kept a larger portfolio. Also, I no longer feel like I’m going to miss out on an investment. I’ve learned to be content with the positions I own and not try succumb to FOMO. It’s a lot better to understand the companies you own so that you can make the right decisions when things change.

Since the end of 2014, my returns more than doubled those of the S&P. I should have done a bit better than this. But I made a few mistakes and learned from them. I should have gotten out of AYX and (especially) UPST a lot earlier than I did.

Of the 24 companies I held at the end of 2014, I hold only 2, AAPL and CMG. I understand these companies and am very happy holding them for the long run, despite the fact that they don’t fit into Saul’s methodology. They also created a bit of insurance in 2022 when virtually all of our stocks got whacked.

Here is a look at what my holdings were at the end of 2023. Your eyes don’t hurt looking at this table, because there are so many fewer companies.

Basically, I have eight companies plus one potential future holding and another I kept to remind myself of what huge mistake I made. All of these companies were Saul stocks at one time or another since 2014, although none of them find themselves in his portfolio today.

Back when I first discovered Saul’s board, I was skeptical of but very interested in his style of investing. After all, the results were there. So I started teaching myself about how to be a better investor - reading and re-reading Saul’s knowledge base, company earnings releases and filings, industry blogs and publications, etc. and kept doing this consistently over time. I used to make myself believe that I was a good investor simply because I’d beat the markets by a few points in the long run. I know that I wasn’t bad. But I think I was more lucky than good.

Except for AAPL and CMG, I have detailed spreadsheet for all of my positions (IOT is in the works) and I built them according to how Saul does his numbers. If something adverse is presented on an earnings call or from some type of company or industry announcement, I can deal with such an event much better than I could have in the past. I know my holdings pretty well and there is little churn in the portfolio.

Over these last nine years I’ve been able to focus on being a better investor. Because of holding so few positions and those that I do hold I’ve held for quite a long time, I actually spend less time with research and understand the companies much better. Most importantly, my returns have been very good, much better that they were before being introduced to this board. Using this board properly will simply make you a much better investor.

Thank you Saul and the many others who make this board, by far, the very best investing source I know.



I like your calling out FOMO. The MF services I had did nothing to make me feel better about what I was holding, and they kinda highlight it by saying to make your purchases and hold on forever…stitchfix, irobot, jetblue, vail resorts…these are all stocks that should not have been held for ever. (I posted arguments against them at time many years ago, but people had FOMO and they bought just because MF said to.) ((Hopefully those are all old enough information, >5yrs ago, it won’t violate any rules.))

Since getting to Saul’s board I have a much better idea WHY I WANT to own a stock. Not just because a picking service told me, I own what I currently due because I know them.

I see you have SHOP, this is an example of knowing my stock. In the olden days, the pull back after earnings would have been blind panic time. It was own over 13% at one point yesterday. But, I know the numbers and I saw tht they were basically the same, the market reaction was just weird. I bought more, sold off some Crowdstrike (GASP!!!) to add a bit. (Basically, I was moving some profits around to better reflect my allocations.)

Yeah, same as you with huge lists that I could never have followed earnings season on them all. To today where I have more than Saul (I still have a mix of big/slow and sauldom small/fast stocks) but, I know why there are in my portfolio.