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The first stock that you should buy

Created on 21 Feb 2019

Wraps up in 3 Min

Read by 1.2k people

Updated on 11 Sep 2022

Planning to start investing stocks on  your own?  I am Glad you landed up here.

Innumerable times  we heard the advice  "Stick to the basics". Yet when it comes to investing, we idolize the person who uses the smartest jargon to mesmerize us. We somehow believe that investing is a complex activity in which the one who talks in the most perplexing way is a sheer genius. The reality though, is entirely different. Investing is a simple activity in which the one who has an average IQ  often outsmarts the genius.

Your first stock purchase should be a company you know very well

Peter lynch (the world's most successful fund manager) conducted a test where he asked primary school children to pick stocks. So  the children picked companies such as Disney, Coca Cola, barbie etc. He then compared the return of these stocks to  mutual fund schemes for 5 years. Interestingly, stocks picked by these kids out performed more than 50% of the mutual funds. Basically, we will succeed when we buy companies that we know. In the beginning of your investing life, this usually means companies that are into consumer business and sell 'touch and feel' kind of products. Colgate, Gillette, Bata, Nestle, Tata global beverages, etc are examples of such type of companies. "Buying what you know" works because   It is easy for us to determine the performance of such companies and we can analyze their business activities  on a day to day basis at the ground level. In the long run, the return on investment you will get will directly be related to the performance of the company, So buy a company whose performance you can actually observe.

Ironically, we adults do the exact opposite. Doctors (who should be buying pharma stocks)  buy technology  stocks  because everything about it sounds like magic to them. Similarly, engineers buy pharma stocks instead of all the engineering and capital goods options available to them. This natural human tendency of venturing in the unknown in the hope finding a gem is a very costly   practice in investing . 

But hey, I won't able to buy 95% of the companies if I follow that rule!

This is the first question that arises when the rule of "buying what you know" is discussed. You need not  worry  about that, because it only solves the problem of plenty (more than 5K listed companies in India).  The narrower your circle of competence, the simpler it is for you to pick out the investment worthy companies. 

Let's take an example to understand the  viability of this rule better.
Suppose you buy 2 companies, Colgate and an imaginary company called NextGen revolution. After 2 months, both the stocks are down 20%. Which company would you trust now ? My pick would be Colgate  because I know that people will continue brushing their teeth and Colgate is not going anywhere. So,  knowing the company that you hold helps in taking rational decisions in the face of adversities.

P.S. - The next time you hear about a revolutionary company that will change the world in day  Kindly ignore it !

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Abhishek Sahoo

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Abhishek has a love for numbers and words alike. With a passion for finance and interest in writing, he’s blending both as a Finance Content Writer at Finology. He writes to simplify the toughest of the technical stuff for readers and tries to make the reading exercise interesting. He is a CA Final candidate and aims to pursue a management degree from a top-notch b-school.

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