Category Archives: Position Sizing
There’s an old joke that’s made its way around financial circles over the years. It goes something like this:
An investment banker walks into a room where his cohorts are in a meeting. “I’ve got good news and bad news,” he announces. “The bad news is, we’ve just lost $100 million. The good news is, it wasn’t ours.” An associate raises his hand. “What was the bad news again?”
It’s humor, but there’s more than a grain of truth to the story. Whether we’re talking about brokers, bankers, or even your most trusted financial advisor, you cannot rely on anyone else to care about your money and keep it safe.
At the end of the day, the only thing standing between your portfolio and catastrophic loss is your own caution and proper risk management.
I know it’s not the most exciting part of investing. But there’s zero doubt in my mind it is the most important.
That’s why it’s part of my Total Wealth Strategy.
One tool called position sizing stands out above all others as the most powerful – and not just for cutting risk either, but for boosting your profits, too.
To see what I mean, consider this anecdote from trading psychologist Dr. Van Tharp:
“We’ve done many simulated games in which everyone gets the same trades. At the end of the simulation, 100 different people will have 100 different final equities. And after 50 trades, we’ve seen final equities that range from bankrupt to $13 million – yet everyone started with $100,000, and they all got the same trades. Position sizing and individual psychology were the only two factors involved – which shows just how important position sizing really is.”
I got an interesting question earlier this week while in Las Vegas where I was speaking at the MoneyShow… what works best right now?
Usually, that’s a question related to which specific stocks, bonds, ETFs or other funds you want to buy. But in this case, the person asking wanted to know what kinds of investment methods work best given current market conditions and how you adjust to all the volatility gumming up the works.
That’s a savvy question, especially since there’s a very counter-intuitive answer.
Asking which stocks are “best” is only half the battle when it comes to big profits. To really hit the home runs you and I both know are out there, you’ve got to know which methods work best and when to use them.
Right now, for example, the markets are completely dominated by tweet-driven trading. This favors day traders and the institutional big boys because it caters to the short-term trading methods they use.