Why investors shouldn’t ignore stock market sentiment


Stock Market SentimentBuy when the blood runs in the streets. ~Nathan Rothschild

If wealth creation is your aim then investing at least some of your money in the stock market can be a great way to achieve above average returns, if you know what you’re doing.

The problem for most people is that they don’t really know where to start, so they avoid the stock market altogether. And that’s a shame really.

However if the stock market does have some appeal to you and you’d genuinely like to know where to start then my advice would be to take a close look at successful investors, the professionals, and see how they approach the process.

Look at what they do because if it’s worked for them then it’ll probably work for you.

The legendary investor Warren Buffett once observed that markets are driven by fear and greed. And greed always trumps fear.

When stock markets start moving quickly on an upward trajectory, amateur investors are tempted to join the party, particularly when the return on cash deposits is low.

The problem for amateur investors is that by the time they notice what’s happening in the market, all the real bargains have gone. So they tend to join the party at the wrong time and then over-pay for the stocks they buy.

Stock Market SentimentMy underlying point here is that market movements tend to be exaggerated, in both directions.

The collective herd behaviour of investors tends to cause the market to overshoot fair value when it’s rising and then fall way below fair value when it’s in decline.

Stock prices are driven by the economics of supply and demand.

When lots of money is chasing a relatively few stocks then the price of those stocks keeps going up. Until professional investors realise that the stocks have become overpriced, relative to the underlying fundamentals of the businesses involved.

At this point fleet-footed professionals sell and bank the profits.

Amateurs tend to be slow to notice a downturn but when they do, they lose their nerve and sell. Usually that means they sell at a loss but also, as the index has by now hit an exaggerated low, they actually sell for less than the underlying value of the asset. Thus creating more bargains for professional investors.

So what signs are professionals looking for to allow them to bag a few bargains?

The answer to that is simple. Successful investors know that the best time to buy is when everyone else is heading for the hills. When there’s a panic going on.

That’s when you’ll find the real bargains.

The market is always volatile of course but had you invested in 2008 for instance, when market conditions were as dire as they get, and you held your nerve, then you’d be sitting on some very good returns over the past 10 years.

And what sign tells successful investors it’s time to sell?

Well they know that the best time to sell is when the ordinary man and woman in the street are starting to talk about the stock market and the shares they’ve just bought.

When everyone has bought into the market, then professionals know that demand must start drying up and without demand prices can’t keep going in an upward direction. So they know it’s time to bank some profits.

Personally, I view the market through a contrarian lens and so far that approach has served me well.

I look for value but it gets harder to find the more market sentiment lifts prices to levels which defy sound investment logic.

Again to reflect on Warren Buffett’s investing philosophy; he suggests you should be greedy when people are fearful and fearful when people are greedy.

Stock Market SentimentThe key to successful investment is that you must never lose sight of stock market sentiment and signs for when the market might turn, either up or down.

And never listen to anyone who tells you that it’s different this time. It’s never different.

Markets fundamentals never change, not in my experience certainly.

So that’s what I think but what’s your opinion?

Please share your thoughts and experiences with me. I’d love to hear from you dear reader.

However if you’d like to know more about legendary investor Warren Buffett and his approach to investing then you’ll find plenty of books on Amazon if you CLICK HERE.

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Why anxiety about spending money is pointless

Anxiety about spending moneyIf you can afford to go first class and you don’t, your heirs will. ~Mike Spinelli

I am a firm believer in the need to manage money carefully and I have made that a constant theme in this blog. You really must look after your money.

If your aim is to create wealth for yourself, then you have to manage your money with great care, otherwise it will disappear faster than you can say “stone broke’.

However as with everything in life balance is very important too.

If you can’t enjoy a little of your money then it all becomes a bit pointless, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Putting off enjoying your money until old age is a bit like putting off sex until old age. Why would you?

We’re all going to die one day and you can’t take anything with you when you go. So if you don’t enjoy some of your wealth now then your heirs will; of that you can be sure.

My message today therefore is create wealth for yourself but don’t stress when you’re tempted to do something nice for yourself. It’s perfectly reasonable to reward yourself occasionally.

Why?

Why not?

You’re worth a little enjoyment occasionally, surely? Ultimately, anxiety about spending money is pointless.

It’s never a good idea to waste money but it’s a good idea to ensure you enjoy the fruits of you labour now and then too.

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The real cost of being a fashion victim

Fashion VictimYoung people need to develop a sense of being responsible with money. ~Joseph Crosby

Dear reader, are you a slave to fashion? If you are, you’re not unusual.

Young people in particular are often driven by fashion, as indeed are many not quite so young people.

People feel a need to fit in with their peer group, so they feel the need to dress like their peer group.

However the fashion industry exists ultimately to drive the sales of new clothes.

Fashion is an essential part of the clothing industry. It encourages people to buy new clothes constantly, despite the fact that they may have plenty of very good and serviceable clothes in their wardrobe already.

Fashion says, “Oh, you can’t wear that anymore, it’s so last year.”

And so people are encouraged to spend their money on things they don’t really need and could easily live without.

Next time you’re thinking of buying the latest fashion item, ask yourself this question, “Should I part with my money and make someone else rich or should I start being more responsible with my money and then I could start building wealth and financial independence for myself.”

If you line the pockets of other people by spending your money on things you don’t need then you’ll always be poor. That is a fact dear reader.

So start taking more care of your money. If you don’t waste it then you can start building your own wealth and one day you could be financially independent.

People looking back at photographs taken during their youth usually cringe at the fashions they wore. I know I do. How about you?

A nod to fashion is fine of course but being driven by fashion is a serious mistake and one that will prevent you from ever becoming financially independent.

Dear young reader, your parents were fashionable once. Do you look back at the fashions your parents wore and think to yourself, “Hey, don’t they look cool?” I rest my case.

Don’t be a fashion victim.

You’ll cringe when you look back at the clothes you wore but you’ll never, ever cringe when you look at a healthy bank balance. Trust me.

Calculate the cost of your improvidence:

We’re all guilty of buying clothes we don’t wear or wear very little.

So here’s a little task for you reader.

Take an inventory of your wardrobe and identify all those items you’ve never worn or worn very little. Then calculate the original cost of these items. Then ask yourself, “Was this money well spent?”

Share your conclusions with me in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.

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Here’s how to make extra money

How to make extra moneyWhere there’s muck there’s brass. ~English Proverb

If you’re short of money and you could use a little extra, what’s the best and quickest way to generate some cash?

How about making money from your old junk? All that clutter filling every available space in your home?

If you’re anything like me dear reader you’ll have accumulated plenty of junk and clutter over the years.

Old toys, bric-a-brac, old vinyl records, CDs and DVDs and so on. They can all be traded for money. Even old clothes can be traded. And if you have anything that offers some antique value then that’s even better.

A classic way to sell your junk and clutter is via a boot sale or yard sale of course but nowadays you can also sell using eBay, Craig’s List and similar websites. The internet makes it even easier to trade your old stuff for cash.

Believe it or not, even old, broken electronic gadgets can be traded to be used by people seeking spare parts which would otherwise be unavailable.

Old cars similarly can be mined for spares and therefore offer a means to make money too.

Then there’s scrap metal; there are plenty of people who make a decent living trading scrap metal.

Have you got a pile of old bricks at the back of your yard or garden?

You have? Then don’t just throw them away as someone might need bricks of that type and they could be prepared to pay you some cash for them.

There has always been money in old junk and clutter for those with a keen eye for hidden value. And there’s always someone, somewhere who might just need what you have but don’t want anymore.

Even dirt offers a money making opportunity. Many people have made fortunes by processing rubbish or waste materials.

Even if it can’t be sold it can be cleaned up for other people, hence there’s always money to be made somewhere.

For instance, houses where someone has sadly passed away will need clearing before they can be sold. Families are often willing to pay someone to clear it for them.

And don’t forget, trading in old junk can be turned into a profitable business.

For instance websites like MusicMagpie make good money trading old DVDs and CDs.

Then there are people who buy old books cheaply and sell them for a profit on Amazon.

And there are people with an eye for hidden value who will go round boot sales or yard sales looking for valuable items being sold cheaply. They will then buy them and resell them on eBay or at auction for profit.

For instance I saw a lady a few months ago who bought a vase for £1 at a boot sale and it was re-sold at auction for £800. Now that’s a decent profit.

As I said earlier, it’s never been easier to sell old junk and clutter on websites like eBay so there’s no excuse for not being able to make some extra cash.

Enterprising people will always find a way to make money and you can too.

Why not you? Why not now? Go for it!

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Money: Servant or Master?

Money Servant or MasterMoney is a good servant but a bad master. ~English Proverb

If you’re lucky enough to have some money then it can serve you well.

If you’ve got your money working for you then it can make your life both pleasant and comfortable. With enough money you can have the lifestyle of your choice. So in that sense money is a very good servant.

However owing money is quite another matter.

If you owe money to other people then that debt can control your life in all sorts of unpleasant ways. Essentially debt enslaves you.

And that’s when money can become a very bad master.

Owing money can be stressful and it can really take its toll on your well-being

It’s true, you can’t always avoid debt. For instance few of us can afford to buy a home without a mortgage. That would be true for the purchase of a car too without a financing arrangement.

However you should never take on debt to fund discretionary spending. That’s unwise. If you can live without it then don’t buy it until you’ve got enough of your own money to pay for it.

Today’s mantra is simple. If you can avoid incurring debt, you should.

Well you should if you want to sleep soundly at night, that’s for sure.

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Why you must earn before you spend

Why you must earn before you spendEarn it before you spend it. ~Author Unknown

If you want to build wealth then developing good money habits is essential dear reader. And if you’re a parent then it’s a good idea to encourage your children to develop good money habits too.

In fact, if you can only give your children one piece of financial advice then the best piece of advice is included in the quote above. Earn before you spend.

Far too many people today do the exact opposite.

People spend money they don’t have to impress people they probably don’t even like. The result is a burden of debt from which it is very hard to escape.

Occasionally we all want to buy those big ticket items. A nice television; nice furniture; a nice personal computer, tablet or smartphone; et cetera. Naturally, these are things we all want. The question is, does it make sense to incur debt in order to own these things?

My advice is to save the money first and then buy that thing you really want.

Financing arrangements are there to make other people rich. And by using finance that almost always means you’ll pay a lot more for items acquired using credit.

The ‘buy now, pay later’ deal usually comes with a high interest rate added. So inevitably if you go down this road then you’ll end up paying a lot more than you would otherwise.

Yes, you’ll get the item quicker, that’s true. However you’ll enrich someone else at your own expense. In what way does that make sense?

Now be honest with yourself; there really are very few things in life we couldn’t live without if we had to, surely?

Look after your own interests rather than lining the pockets of other people whilst impoverishing yourself and your family in the process. That is today’s message.

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Why you should respect your money

Respect your moneyRiches have wings. ~English Proverb

If you live in the UK, then in the last couple of days you might have read about the lucky couple who scooped £115 Million on the EuroMillions lottery. If you’re like me then you probably thought, “Wow, how lucky they are.”

In theory they should never need to work again. Although really they’ve just swapped one set of problems for another.

Winning money is one thing; keeping hold of it is quite another. There are plenty of examples of people who’ve won large sums of money through lotteries, or other gambling, only to lose it all within a few years.

As the English proverb above suggests, money can disappear easily if you’re not careful with it.

You have to look after your money; you have to manage it carefully.

Money can be like a bird with wings; it can fly away if you are not careful.

Too many people spend their money far too freely on things they really don’t need and things they could live without. And plenty of professionals will be offering them help, only then to help themselves, if you know what I mean?

Today’s message is that you should respect your money and look after it. Otherwise you won’t have it very long.

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Why you must spend some time learning the art of negotiation

Learning the Art of NegotiationYou have to ask for money because there’s always more money and they won’t give it to you because you’re a girl. ~Claire Danes

A new year is often a time when people decide that it’s the right time to change jobs. For whatever reason they decide it’s time to move on.

That’s fair enough; if you’re not enjoying doing whatever you’re doing or you no longer feel challenged by whatever you’re doing then it’s important to find something that really does get you feeling energised again.

However whilst finding a new job is one thing, getting fair recompense for the value you will add is quite another.

As a hiring manager I’ve always been amazed by how many people settled for the first figure offered to them. It’s surprising just how many people have little or no sense of their own worth relative to their skill-set and the real market value of jobs.

Now it’s important to remember that hiring managers work within budgets obviously and they have a duty to their employers to keep costs as low as possible.

When hiring managers are recruiting they’ll know the market rate for the job on offer, or at least the HR department will and they will have advised the hiring manager accordingly.

Nevertheless dear reader you must recognise that the market rate for any job is not a single figure. The market rate falls within a range and it’s the range that will have been supplied by the HR department.

So when the hiring manager decides that you’re the person they want to hire then in negotiating a package with you they will have that range in mind.

Naturally they’ll want to minimise the impact on their budget and so they will attempt to recruit you at the lower end of that range if that’s possible.

Yes, they’ll recognise that they have to offer you a premium on your current salary if it’s to make sense for you to leave your current employer. After all you’re always taking a degree of risk when you change jobs. And so a risk premium must be paid by the hiring manager.

That premium typically will be an uplift of around 10% – 20% above your current salary.

Beyond that, for the hiring manager, it’s all about securing your services for the lowest rate possible within the market rate range. And from a business standpoint that’s fair enough.

It’s the nature of business after all. If fact in our daily lives we’re all trying to purchase products and services for the lowest rate possible; so why should we expect businesses to be any different?

However as a jobseeker, you should be trying to sell your services for the highest price possible. That too is fair game. You must always look after your own interests because if you don’t then no one else will, that’s for sure.

Think about it. In selling products and services, businesses are trying to sell at the highest price the market will stand so they can generate the highest margins possible for their shareholders.

So why shouldn’t you get the best deal possible for yourself, relative to what the market will stand? You must know your own value and you shouldn’t just accept the first figure on offer.

Essentially it’s all a game of horse-trading. The company almost always makes a low offer, so you must try to negotiate a better offer.

To do that, before going into any negotiation, it’s important that you have some idea of the market rate for the role.

That means you need to have done some research to establish the likely range the hiring manager will be working within.

You also need to have a sales pitch available so you can highlight your own unique selling proposition and why you are worth a bit more.

The key message here is that you don’t just accept the first offer.

In today’s quote, originally recorded in the British newspaper the Financial Times, actress Claire Danes reminds us that there will be more money available and if you ask for more you might just surprise yourself.

In making this observation, modestly Ms Danes said that this was what she had learned from older actresses.

It’s a useful tip for every jobseeker, female or male.

Never be afraid to negotiate and when you leave the table make sure you’re taking away as much as you can within reason.

Once again I cannot emphasise this point too much. You must know your own worth, always.

Don’t be bashful; be business-like and make sure you get a fair share of the pie.

As I said earlier, if you don’t look after your own interests, no one else will.

In the year ahead I recommend that you spend some time learning the art of negotiation. It really is a very useful skill to develop.

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Habits of Success

Habits of successHave you ever wondered why some people are successful and others are not?

In this video Brian Tracy provides some useful advice on the habits you will need to develop if you really do want to be successful.

As always Brian provides us with some great insight into how successful people behave and the structured way in which they work towards turning their goals into achievements.

Whether you’re a fan of Brian Tracy or you just want to be successful, this video is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Watch and learn.

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Why your time is valuable

Time is valuableDo you want to make money from Facebook? It’s easy. Just go to your Account Setting; deactivate your account; and go to work! ~Author Unknown

Dear reader, if you’re not currently successful, would you like to be?

Many readers will answer in the affirmative of course but then they don’t quite know how to realise their dreams. You may be one of them, perhaps?

Well today I offer you one tip that will be useful to you whatever it is you’d really like to do with your life.

If you’re not sure how to become successful then start by looking closely at successful people and you’ll find at least a few clues there.

However allow me to offer you one of those clues now. And that is that if there’s one thing all successful and wealthy people have in common it is that they don’t waste their time.

They know that time is a precious and limited resource and they recognise that they must use it wisely. And in using it wisely they avoid ‘time sucks’.

The biggest time wasters by far are television and social media. People waste hours of their time on both, particularly on social media nowadays.

Now don’t get me wrong, social media can be a very useful tool as a vehicle for communication both professionally and with friends and family.

However it can also be a distraction. And if it’s a distraction then it might just limit your earning power.

Social media really is just a tool. It might be a useful tool but it’s still just a tool.

Use it by all means but be disciplined in your use of social media.

Your time is precious and, if you want to be successful and make serious money, then you need to use your time wisely. That is today’s underlying message.

Spending your time on social media might be entertaining and informative but it’s unlikely to be profitable.

You can spend your time on social media or you can work hard, with a sense of purpose, on realising your goals and your dreams. The choice is yours; and the consequences will be too.

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