10 things I’ve learned from The Motley Fool Australia

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Three-and-a-half years ago, I found The Motley Fool Australia.

At the time, my childhood friend and I were at a crossroads. We’d completed a couple of years of our economics and accounting degrees. But despite hundreds of hours of in-depth finance coursework and days spent hunched over in cold lecture halls, my investing strategy was akin to gambling.

Though I got lucky now and then, I soon realised I needed to get some guidance from seasoned investors. So when my friend forwarded me The Motley Fool’s Take Stock email, I couldn’t get enough.

10 things I’ve learned from The Motley Fool Australia.

  1. Andrew Page: Be choosy, you don’t have to buy everything

Anyone who’s watched Foolish investment advisor Andrew Page on Sky Business would know he’s a stickler for share quality.

Unless we are buying an index fund or ETF, our share portfolio shouldn’t look like Noah’s Ark, with ‘two of everything’. Our investment capital is limited, so it should be allocated sparingly. That means, don’t buy bank shares based solely on the fact that they are the biggest, or mining shares simply for the sake of diversification. Buy only the best shares you can find.

  1. Scott Phillips: Don’t let the market be your master

Scott Phillips, Motley Fool Share Advisor’s lead Investment Advisor, may speak quickly, but he’s usually spot-on with his calls.

Vividly, I remember Scott being quizzed again and again by TV hosts over his call on Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) a few years back. To be brutally honest, with shares down 23% in 2013, even I doubted his thesis for buying shares. Take a moment to look at its share price gains since 2013.

Scott reminded me that we should never let the market be our master. That is, focus on a company’s fundamentals and forget the market’s ‘noise’.

  1. Scott Phillips: If someone disagrees with Warren Buffett, back Buffett

Shock jocks, marketers, brokerages and other self-interested parties are always trying to find ways to prove Buffett wrong.

However, by some (many) measures, Buffett is the greatest investor that has ever lived, so he must be doing something right. As Scott says, get your hands on anything penned by Buffett, your future self will thank you for it.

  1. Claude Walker: Ethical investing works well

With a passion for small-cap investing in one hand and corporate responsibility in the other, Claude has made the case for conscious capitalism.

He’s shown it is possible to make a difference, while also making money. In a ‘better-for-you’ society with social media everywhere, the best companies of tomorrow are (albeit slowly) acknowledging their responsibility to the community, their employees, and the environment.

  1. Mike King: Don’t complicate your investing strategy — simpler is better

In my opinion, Mike’s ability to avoid investing ‘blow-ups’ is fantastic. Though some of us are often drawn into the heady growth of companies like Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH), Mike’s strategy has held up for many years.

Whenever I quiz him about his rationale for stock-picking, the answers are surprisingly simple. He keeps a calm temperament and tabs on his buy and sell decisions, and only buys quality businesses.

He spends a significant amount of time studying the qualitative features — rather than the quantitative features — of the companies he buys. It’s something we can all do.

Please tune back in tomorrow for part 2 of “10 things I learned from The Motley Fool.”

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Cochlear Limited. You can follow Owen on Twitter @ASXinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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