3 Timeless Investing Quotes from Sir John Templeton

Sir John Templeton was dubbed as “arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century” by Money Magazine in 1999. Templeton’s flagship Templeton Growth Fund posted an average annual return of 13.8% annualized average return from 1954 to 2004. This means that if one had invested US$1560 when the fund began operations, he would have had slightly more than US$1 million at the end of the 50th year.

To be able to perform well over many stock market booms and busts, Templeton would have been a disciplined contrarian investor. As such, let’s take a look at three of his famous investing quotes (emphasis mine):

“To buy when others are despondently selling and to sell when others are avidly buying requires the greatest of fortitude and pays the greatest ultimate rewards.

Bull markets are born in pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell.”

“If you want to have a better performance than the crowd, you must do things differently from the crowd.”

Every investor wants to buy stocks on a low and sell when they are high. However, it is easier said than done. The time when stocks are low is when people are fearful of the stock market. During the sub-prime crisis in 2007-2009, the stock markets dropped more than 50% in value. However, many were petrified of the market and thought it might never recover. The brave ones who had bought during the period saw huge gains in their stock portfolio.

When one buys a stock when there’s a cherry consensus from the market, then he will have the same results as everyone else. But, if you want market beating returns, you have to do what others are not willing to do – and that is to be different from the crowd. Being a contrarian reaps huge dividends in the long-term, as evidenced by Sir John Templeton.

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