Stocks or funds? In this post I’ll talk about my self-professed finance-nerdiness, and why I prefer branch specific index funds over stocks.
I have to admit, I am a huge finance junkie. The same way some people go in and check facebook or instagram multiple (I really don’t want to give an estimate here for embarrassing reasons) times a day, I go in and check the stock market. I am perfectly content with peeking in without buying, the satisfaction comes from feeling up to date and “checking in”. As it is not hurting anyone, I have not tried to regulate this and thus let myself engulf freely in this little guilty pleasure.
A few posts ago, I talked about my investment strategy and mentioned both index funds and stocks as different investment options. As the above self-professed stock-market junkie I am, you would think that I am all about the stocks, options, warrants and all sorts of speedy hedgefund-y ways there are to up your capital out there.
In reality, this is not true. I am very much a vanilla-investor. I observe, and look, and wait, and maaaybe I’ll put in a little bit, just to check how it feels. And then some more. But I seldom buy stocks (relatively seldom, of course it happens). I have a very realistic expectation of what I know and don’t know, and when it comes to stocks I just know too little about most underlying companies to make a potential investment more than a gamble. In addition, since the price of the stock is not really about the price of the company (just look at H&M nowdays) but what the market thinks of the price, I know even less.
Why I prefer index funds
What I do know, however, is the general status of the world. Almost as much as I like checking in on SP500 et alia I am constantly hooked in on the world news. And because of this, I prefer branch specific index funds. A fund, essentially a bundle of stocks with a common denominator like geographic area, industry (or a combination of them) is by this definition spreading the individual risk of each company out over many similar ones. I don’t have to know much about each individual company, but I do need to know about the collective status of their respective industry, for example.
I love reading up on current events, and have been tracking world news since I was a kid (again, clearly one of the very cool ones growing up) so this suits me perfectly. There is a certain satisfaction in seeing the market in a specific industry unravel before you after a few indicative events. That is my medium. It also works really well because it is easy to hedge myself even more and step one macro level further out and go from very branch-specific to more global funds, and in this way spread the risk even more, if I want to.
For now, I stick to my active obsessive stalking of the financial markets, and my branch specific index funds, and we will see how this works out for now.
What is your take on this?