Patient capital

People are generally too impatient. Unfortunately, this doesn’t serve them well.

Whether chasing crash diets, miracle cures, or playing the lottery, most people want quick fixes. They understand that longer term paths to success–eating less and exercising more–work, but they aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to succeed. They want results NOW, so they end up with results alright–bad results!

One reason people do this is they get fooled by randomness (to use Nassim Taleb’s phraseology). Short term solutions sometimes appear to work, and long term solutions sometimes appear not to work. Luck and timing plays a much bigger role in the short run, and this throws people off. If they were more patient, they’d figure out what works over the long run and stick with that instead of chasing quick fixes.

This phenomenon is readily on display with investing. Value investing–making investments with low price to fundamentals (sales, assets, earnings, book value, etc.)–consistently beats growth investing–high price to fundamentals–over the long run. But, randomness leads growth to sometimes out-perform value for a period, which leads impatient investors to chase what is “working” in the short run. They begin their chase only to find value out-performing growth yet again.

Why not just be a value investor through thick and thin? Because it requires a lot of patience.  

Just like people jump into fad diets, they won’t stick to value investing because it isn’t “working” right NOW. After all, it’s hard to stick with something that isn’t working, especially because this under-performance can go on for years (the last 7 being a good, but not historically unusual, example).  

But, just as night follows day, value investing will win over time, and patient investors will be the one’s retiring on time while their impatient brethren are putting off retirement for a few more years.

Such is life.

Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, financial, tax, or legal advice. The opinions, estimates and projections contained herein are subject to change without notice. Information throughout this blog has been obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable, but such accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

Patient capital