I feel that most investors take far too many risks – often with borrowed money – and fail to diversify sufficiently. They also have little patience, very short-term time horizons and no tolerance for losses. Finally, their expectations about investment returns are completely unrealistic… Most investors buy a stock or make an investment with the view that within a month the return should be between 10% and 20%.
A real return of around 4% per annum is about what an investor (exclusive of costs, and without making the mistake to buy “high” and sell “low”) could expect to achieve over longer periods of time… If you can achieve an annual average real return of just 3% on all your assets (inflation adjusted), you will leave a huge fortune to your children.
For the average investor like myself, I prefer diversification and no leverage. I have seen time and again investors (including myself) be right about an asset class’ future performance but fail to convert those views into any capital gains… All I wish to say to my readers who are not managing risk on a daily basis is that the prime consideration should always be capital preservation and avoiding large losses.