Part 1 – Basic principles that each prospective investors should understand
A lot of people have asked me on whether they should invest in the Philippine stock market. Most of those who asked also wanted to know how to start doing it. I do not know if they are really serious about investing or if they are merely curious about it since it has been given emphasis lately considering its very positive performance.
Investing in the Philippine stock market is not for the faint hearted. As an investor you must have expectations as to how much you are going to earn for a certain vehicle of investment. Such is expectation is measured in terms of how much your money will grow at a certain period of time. (Most usually this is measured in interest per annum) Because the Philippine Stock market is in its all time high for several months now, people think that they should join the band wagon. They do not even understand the basic principles involved nor do they understand how the stock market works. I am not saying that you should be an economist before you should invest in the stock market. What I am saying is that you should understand the basic principles involved first before you could succeed in the stock market. While it is true that fortunes are made on the Stock market, loss of wealth has also been experienced by some. Some who just barge into the stock market without understanding the basic principles of investment end up leaving the stock market convinced that the stock market is no good at all as an alternative vehicle of investment. Nevertheless despite the risk involved in stock market trading, I still consider investing in the stock market as the best form of investment and is far more superior than any other forms of investment or investmenting vehicle be it real estate, forex, 1.) You must realize that the stock market is just another vehicle of investment – There are several investment vehicles where you could place your money. One is not more superior than the other. They have their advantages and disadvantages, but this will not be discussed in depth here. The stock market belongs to a category called “Capital Markets.” In the Capital Market there are several vehicles wherein you could place your money in order for it to grow. You could place it in bonds, pension funds, insurance, real estate, different types of savings and time deposit accounts and of course the stock market. Why is it important to know this? Well, you should know the different types of investment vehicles under the Capital markets in order for you to determine whether or not you should invest in the Stock Market as there are other vehicles of investment. As I said each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages. What I personally did is not to place all of my eggs in one basket. I have invested in most of the Capital Markets including the stock market, insurance, pension, deposits, and bonds through mutual funds.
2.) You must know that investing in the stock market is a roller coaster ride – One of the advantages of the stock market is that there are times when it really climbs up then really big profits are made. However when it really goes down then really big losses are also made. So when the market goes up we take advantage of the situation by selling and when the market goes down we take advantage of the situation by buying. When I first invested in the stock market almost 2 years ago, the Philippine Stock exchange index was only about 2000 + points. I’ve seen it go up to 2500 points and drop back to the 2000 level in the middle of 2006. It then slowly and steadily climbed up to the 3200 level in the 1st quarter of 2007 and then drop in a very short period of time during the final days of the 1st quarter of 2007. It then climbed steadily to a high of 3700+ points in July 2007 but dropped below 3000 points a month after. It then climbed steadily to its highest at 3800+ points by October and dropped to its present 3600 points. The point here is that it is really a roller coaster ride. Profits and losses are made during those up and down moments of the market.
3.) You should determine what type of investor you are – Are you a long term investor or a short term investor? This is a very important question that each serious new investor should consider. This affects whether you should buy or sell a certain stock. If you are a long term investor, meaning that you hold your stocks for 5 to 10 years or more it means that you believe in the company that you are investing in and that you have extra money for other things because you can afford to put in your money for a long period of time. Long term investors also do not have to worry about the gruesome day to day technical analysis that has to be monitored. For as long as they believe in the fundamentals of the company there is no problem if the stock is held for a long period of time. But if you are a short term investor, that means you decide to cash in within a months time to 6 months time, then you should consider several things. You have to monitor the day to day activities of the market. Like the long term investor, you have to make sure that you can afford to put in your money for a long period of time but not as long as the long term investor. The reason for such is because during the short period wherein you plan to invest and pull out your stocks you may incur losses during that time so you may decide to wait a little longer. There are just some things to consider on whether you are a long term investor or a short term investor. When I started out I determined to be more of a long term investor. I do have stocks whom I consider as short term but I consider most of the stocks I hold to be invested in the medium and long term period.
4.) You must realize that investing in the stock market does not take a lot of money but if you really want to make an impact on your portfolio you have to place in a substantial amount. – You don’t need millions or hundreds of thousands of pesos to invest in the Philippine Stock market. You only need at least P 20,000.00 to somehow play it out. I started out with only this amount. In fact you can invest if you only have P 10,000.00 but for me that is too small an amount. For example Jollibee shares cost only 51.50 per share as of today. The board lot (which is the minimum amount of stocks that you could invest in) is 100. 51.50 x 100 = P 5,150.00. This is the only amount you need to be a stock holder of Jollibee. Let’s say in 1 year time Jollibee stocks climbed to P 100.00 per share, you have gained P 5,000.00 more. But if you had invested 200 shares you could have gained more than just investing in 100 shares.
5.) You must be consistent in investing – If you start small make sure you do not stay that way. Discipline yourself to invest a certain amount of your income to the stock market in order to pump in more capital so that your portfolio may grow. For the past month now I have slowly added to my investment, I did not just stop at P 20,000.00. Make investing a habit.
6.) You must learn to minimize your losses and maximize your profits – If your stock goes down, remember that the loss is only on paper. There is no actual loss until you sell your stock at the “loosing” price. Hence the best way is to never ever sell at a loss. That is why it is important that the money that you invest in the stock market is considered as really “extra money” and not your emergency fund. If you invest your emergency fund or your savings you will be forced to withdraw sell your stock at a loss. Similarly if you sell your stocks and you profited from the sales, or you received dividends, utilize the profit or the dividend to buy more shares of stocks.
7.) You must realize that the stock market is not a get rich quick scheme – Don’t ever expect to get rich overnight in the stock market. In all investment scheme always remember that money takes time to grow. Investments that give you unbelievable rates of return in a very short period of time are mere scams. The stock market, especially the Philippine stock market takes several months or even years in order for you to really profit. There may be times that it will just take weeks or days perhaps but these are rare occasions like when there is a consistent bull run that is going on or that there is an unusual drop or climb of prices in a short period of time.
8.) You must devote your time to study – When you want to invest in the stock market you should devote time to study what it’s all about. You can’t just place in your money and hope that it will somehow grow someday. You have to read books and materials on the stock market. When I started investing I dug out materials in the internet related to the stock market especially the Philippine stock market. I bought books on the stock market. The Philippine stock exchange has an “investor’s primer” for those who are new to the stock market. (See the Philippine stock exchange website for more information.) You can also attend seminars on how to trade in the stock market. Several brokerage firms have conducted free seminars for those who are new to the stock market. About a month ago I attended a 2 day seminar by CITISEC Online. CITISEC ONLINE is one of the most innovative, well managed and most active brokerage firms in the country. The information that you could learn is astounding. Studying the stock market requires continual study. You should not stop learning. Read all the materials you can and attend all the seminars you can in order to learn. Don’t be discouraged when there are terms you could not understand. For example just reading this post alone, you would probably raise your hands and tell yourself not to invest anymore since there are some terms you could not understand. You don’t even know what “points” are when I was talking about them in point number 2. You don’t even know what the heck is the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) or what does “Blue Chips” or “Bull run” mean. Worse you don’t even understand what a stock is and how it basically works. But so what? I started out not knowing what some of these things are. Most of these things were never taught in school. But I learned slowly by reading and experiencing it myself. You should watch the movie “Pursuit of Happyness” You will be inspired on how one man’s struggle to learn the stock market has led him to make millions through stock market trading.
9.) You must know your current events – A lot of factors can affect the stock market. You should read the news paper as this may give you a clue on what direction the market may take. More importantly you should read the business news as this may give you an idea as to which stock you should buy. I read the Inquirer everyday in order to have an idea where the market is headed.
10.) You must start now – The best way to learn is to experience it yourself. Start small if you wish but start now. Don’t procrastinate. However don’t rush immediately without studying how to go about it. After you have at least learned the basics of investments then you can start buying your first stock. There’s nothing more exciting when you have made your first sale at a profit.
Next week, since my schedule is on post regarding financial management & investment is every Tuesday, I will talk about what are the advantages of investing in the stock market. So stay tuned and Happy trading !