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Baseball, Investing

Successful investing is like playing baseball

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I sound crazy right? Investing and baseball. Have I really gone mad or do I actually have a point?

If you have ever played or watched baseball then you know the failures that involve playing America’s past time. If you have ever attempted to build a successful portfolio then you also know first hand how complicated it can be to keep your returns on the north side of the “Mendoza Line.”

Fact of the matter is, baseball and investing indeed go hand in hand.

First, as I previously stated, baseball and investing both require an individual to deal with failure. If a MLB baseball player gets a hit just 3 out of every 10 at bats over his career, he will find himself in Cooperstown (location of MLB HofF) not very long after he retires.( Not to mention the mega bucks MLB organizations pay guys to maintain a .300BA) So that means learning to coping with perceived failure 7 out of ever 10 at bats. If you have ever played baseball, then you should know the thrill of hitting successfully and on the other hand, the disappointment of getting out. So you may ask yourself, how can a professional fail 70-80% of the time and not go absolutely insane? It’s quite simple actually.

Approach.

Taking a discipline approach to the game of baseball requires you to keep your confidence and quite frankly, your sanity.

Now then, approach? Investing?

Yes, every investor has an approach to the stock market. The best take a disciplined approach everyday. Note I said everyday. Like baseball, investors cannot afford to show up and go through the motions. When they lose sight of their approach, they become a  sub-par amateur investor. Their job and your money depends on the intuition that has been developed from a confident, disciplined approach to each decision that needs to be made. All it takes, is the one bad investment, the one bad decision on the day you decided to slug it out and not focus on what you truly know. A batting average is hard to maintain, even more difficult to pull up, and quick to fall and an investment portfolio can be tanked by a wrong decision. Taking a confident, disciplined approach to baseball will only make you a better player and is what can be looked too when times are tough. Remember the best hitter never get too excited when he is hot and never too low when he is cold. You can never tell when successful investors are rising with the bulls or running with the bears because their disciplined approach will not allow it.

Just imagine you are 0-3, in the division championship game. You already have been hitting as bad as Alex Rodriquez in the 2012 playoffs and coach is on the verge of dropping you from the 9 hole. It happens like it always does. The baseball gods find the person who has been struggling the most and give him the opportunity. How did that happen? You were due up 6th in the bottom of the 9th and the game was suppose to end with a walk off home run by the 4 hole stud. Nevertheless it happened, bases were loaded, two outs and the game was tied. No chance to escape with a squeeze and your recent worst nightmare just became reality. So what do you do? Look back at the past 4 games and realize you haven’t got on base since your playoff mustache was in its infancy, or do you fret upon how the same pitcher is still in who sat you down on three straight fast balls last time up? This is where I relate baseball and investing.(I know I rambled on but  that story was actually from personal experience) If your answer was yes to either of the preceding questions then you have already failed. What is critical is that you learn from your mistakes, put the past behind and approach your chance of stardom with a confident grin.

In investing, you will fail. It is inevitable. The best fail and the worst fail a lot. It is your ability to cope with failure that will separate yourself from the rest of the field. When you are still wound up that $AAPL will probably not return to its $705.07 anytime soon, how on earth could you have been poised to jump in on $BA at the exact time when their new line of planes continued to show malfunctions. You had a bad call? So what. Everybody does. See where you went wrong in your analysis and keep your head up because your next call could very well be a big one.

As the great Benjamin Graham teaches, there are two types of investors. Enterprising investor and defensive investor. Most defensive investors either hire a professional or just put their money in an index fund or long term bond and not worry about it for years. For the enterprising investor it all comes down to research. Companies shell out multi millions of dollars on research and analyst. When you are investing, having a solid portfolio is the only path to prosperity. As much as I hate to say you cannot watch CNBC for a week and expect to have a great portfolio. As much as I love and respect Jim Cramer all of his calls will not turn out winners so you have to be prepared to put in time. Doing your homework is critical to a great portfolio. Knowing how to enter what, when, and why. If you cannot answer these questions then you are probably going to end up like A-Rod in October 2012, riding the bench while everybody else plays.

Do not be A-Rod and choke when opportunity arises. Definitely don’t be that guy who reflects on his past failures as to think it will do anything but worry you even more in the present time. And as always, learn and develop a disciplined approach to investing. Read, research, learn and enjoy gambling with Wall Street.

Andrew Wilkes

Discussion

One thought on “Successful investing is like playing baseball

  1. Great article!

    Posted by Suzanne | January 12, 2013, 8:51 pm

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