10 Key Lessons from a Decade of Investing

Today is the 10th anniversary of my first ever purchase of a Singapore stock.

Back in 20 October 2005, I made my maiden investment and bought some units of retail and commercial real estate owner Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust (SGX: T82U). I still hold those units and thankfully, they have been a very satisfying long-term investment.

My portfolio has come a long way since then. In my decade of investing, I have picked up my fair share of winners and losers. There are learning points to be found in both.

Here’re ten key lessons I’ve picked up from my investing journey so far:

Lesson No. 1: The value of simplicity – click here

Lesson No. 2: The power of long term investing – click here

Lesson No. 3: Find your investing home – click here

Lesson No. 4: Being Motley – click here

Lesson No. 5: Know when it is “too hard” – click here

Lesson No. 6: Investing is psychological – click here

Lesson No. 7: Staying humble – click here

Lesson No. 8: Keeping an investing journal – click here

Lesson No. 9: Being disciplined – click here

Lesson No. 10: Be a lifelong student of the investing game

“Warren is one of the best learning machines on this earth. The turtles who outrun the hares are learning machines. If you stop learning in this world, the world rushes right by you. Warren was lucky that he could still learn effectively and build his skills, even after he reached retirement age. Warren’s investing skills have markedly increased since he turned 65.”

— Charlie Munger on Warren Buffett

I have said before that one of the advantages of the long-term investor is the knowledge about companies that he or she has accumulated over time. By being a life-long student of the investing game, we can build up our advantage with each passing day. What you have learnt is rarely lost. Gains or losses in stocks both offer lessons that you can apply forward.

There really isn’t an end date for learning about investing and businesses. Here’s another great example involving Buffett. While he is able to size up some businesses and make an investing decision in a matter of days, if not hours, he actually read the annual reports of tech giant IBM for 50 years before finally making a decision to invest in the company in 2011.

Remarkably, as Buffett has shown, you could even get better with age. That’s where I hope to be when I’m older: Better.

A Fool’s take

There are many ways to approach investing.

My preference is towards long-term investing in growth companies with a simple investing thesis. At the same time, I remind myself to be flexible in my thinking and not be too dogmatic. Paradoxically, discipline is important as well when implementing my favored investment approach.

Meanwhile, I use the “too hard” pile often too. In the act of investing, I also try my best to take into account the possible psychological biases that can influence my decision making. Keeping a journal is one way I deal with my biases. It’s very important too, in my opinion, that one remains humble even if he has found investing success (the financial market can be an unforgiving place for the cocksure).

Lastly, my investing approach entails continuous learning for the rest of my life.

Ultimately, I’m investing the way I am because it fits my lifestyle – I do not have to tend to my companies on a daily basis. If the business keeps purring, I can enjoy a good night’s sleep and spend time on other important things in life.

I hope these lessons I’ve learnt can be helpful for you too.

Read more about investing and get more investing tips and tricks, FREE! Sign up here for The Motley Fool Singapore's weekly investing newsletter, Take Stock Singapore. 

Like us on Facebook to follow our latest hot articles. The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better.

The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong owns shares in Suntec REIT.