101-01 What Type Of Investor Are You?

What type of investor are you?

Before you start to buy and sell stocks, it is important to look at who you are, and what you want to achieve.  To begin with, you need to understand some basic terms.

The term investor has many different meanings. The Collins English dictionary defines it as “an investor is a person or organization that buys stocks or shares, or pays money into a bank in order to receive a profit”. But this is too generic to be used clearly for us to reference.

In the world of finance, investments, and speculation, the way in which you seek to gain your profit defines what you are.


PODCAST – What Type of Investor are you?

What Type of Investor are you and why does it matter? Do you speculate, do you Day Trade or do you really invest? These all have an impact on your effort vs reward.

  • Published: Sun, 26 Nov 2017 23:00:00 GMT
  • Duration: 00:07:30

The Speculator

A speculator seeks to exploit short term trends, loopholes, momentum, or news to make a profit on money invested. For example, if you see that there is double or triple the usual daily volume on a stock, you might want to trade into that stock to get a quick gain without having any in-depth understanding of the company, industry, or management team. You are essentially speculating that this event will make the stock rise.

Alternatively, someone who enters into an options contract shorting a stock, in order to make a profit is also speculating that the stock price will drop during a given time-frame. This certainly is not investing. None of the cash invested in the options contract will ever be seen by the company in question; therefore you are not investing in that company.

George Soros could be considered one of the ultimate Speculators, and indeed one of the most successful (his personal net worth is circa $7 Billion). Soros, known as the “man who broke the Bank of England”, took out a $10 Billion short position betting that Pound Sterling would fall.  Although the Bank of England did everything it could to prop up the currency, it failed and Soros bagged $2 billion profit from the bet. Soros was betting on a future event happening. Was this risky? George Soros does not take undue risk, his knowledge of the global finance and capital markets enabled him to take a calculated risk, which paid off handsomely. What he did is classic speculation.

Those who speculate in stocks usually use charts, and news events to trade upon.

The Investor

An investor is usually someone whose money is used to capitalize a company; the money is then invested accordingly by the company to achieve better business results. An investor will seek a reward for his belief in an investment, and seek a profit thereof.

An investor will have evaluated the worth of an investment, and seek a steady return from it. Someone who buys their own house is a property investor. An investor will often seek to minimize risk and maximize reward. A smart investor will look to buy an investment at a time where it will be good value, and this value will help to minimize downside risks. An investor looks at the business fundamentals of a deal and weighs facts not emotions to enable a thorough judgment to be made.

Buying Bonds, with fixed rates of returns are an investment for someone looking to improve upon the rate of return they get from their bank’s saving/checking account interest, but also unwilling to take the perceived risks of purchasing stocks.

The Trader

A trader is someone who buys and sells a product, to make a profit. However, someone who is an investor could trade stocks, and people who speculate usually trade contracts, stock, or use other more exotic tools. A day trader is someone who actively trades on an extremely short term basis to make quick normally small gains. This type of trading can be very risky.

What environmental factors impact your investment decisions?

While investing there are different elements that can impact your investment decisions:

  • Current Events: current events may be important if they lead to big events (for example the collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), but applying the Pareto rule of 80/20 would suggest that 80% of current events are none relevant to you making money on a stock and 20% of current events cause 80% of a bigger movement in stocks.
  • News: news is important, but does not mean you will make a profit or not, unless it is extremely macroeconomic “the government of Iceland just went bankrupt”, or microeconomic “General Motors has gone Chapter 11” and you own the stock.
  • Rumors: the Wall Street rumor mill which is based primarily on emotion and short term news may get you too emotional and lead to erratic investment decisions.
  • The latest hot tips: usually provided by people with hidden interests or less knowledge about investment than yourself.
  • Hot stocks newsletters: playing on your ignorance and lack of understanding of what constitutes a good investment and making you pay for the privilege.
  • “Pay for” stock trading systems: systems designed to make trading decisions and even trade for you.

What type of investor are you?

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