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Mistake #1: DIY investors forget all about the big “D”
The biggest mistake DIY investors make is to put all their eggs into a very small basket.
“How small?” you ask.
Well, you’d probably be shocked to find out that most investors only hold three to four shares. And that means a large portion of their entire investment portfolio is allocated to a single stock.
That’s an extremely risky move.
Imagine if Steinhoff made up 30% of your portfolio. Your wealth would have been completely decimated. When the share price imploded in December 2017, shareholders lost almost everything!
Solution: Diversification. When building a portfolio, the minimum number of shares you want to hold is 15. However, in a perfect world, I wouldn’t allocate more than 5% to any one single company.
Mistake #2: DIY investors try to time the market
It’s about time in the market, not timing the market.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard this common phrase before, but it bears repeating – often!
If you’re an investor, you buy to hold through thick and thin. Yes, I know it’s hard. After all, over a 30-year period, you’re going to experience at least two or three market crashes
. And yes, it hurts.
But what hurts more is anticipating a market crash, selling your positions, paying brokerage and a hefty tax bill from SARS only to buy those stocks back later at a higher price and pay brokerage all over again.
Solution: When the going gets tough, keep your eyes on your long-term picture. Unless you’re close to retirement, don’t worry about market crashes – celebrate them. They’re like the Black Friday sale of the stock market world. You get to buy high quality stocks at major discounts for even better returns!
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Mistake #3: Not understanding your personal risk profile
As I just mentioned, a market crash doesn’t really matter unless you’re close to retirement. The older you get, the more risk-averse you should become.
It’s one thing to go through a market crash when you’re 20 or 30, but it’s a different thing entirely when you’re 50 or 60. The younger you are, the more time you have for the market to bounce back. Later in life, there is a far higher chance you’ll need to access your capital while markets are at unfavourable levels.
Over and above your age, you also need to know and understand your personal risk profile. The more risk-averse you are
, the less exposed you want to be to high-risk assets like equities.
If you want to understand your risk profile, get a free risk analysis from Rand Swiss here.
Rand Swiss, Wealth Manager