10 time-wasters that could destroy your ASX investments

You've been warned, investors. Just keep walking if you come across any of these things.

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Everyone is busy these days.

Many people lament that all the technology that's meant to help us feels like it's actually burdened us with more things to monitor and action.

"Excuse me then if I'm a bit too busy to comment on your social media post about the sunset, answer your email survey, or pick up the phone to your stupid call centre," said Marcus Today founder Marcus Padley.

"Sorry, but I've got a bit going on of my own."

Because of this rushing around, Padley said on the Marcus Today blog, "the most precious gift you can give anyone these days, especially your family and kids, is time".

"Simply turning up, ringing up, listening, and being there is now the biggest compliment you can ever pay anyone.

"Time. The most valuable asset on earth, and the most generous of gifts. Use it or lose it. Make it or waste it."

So with that in mind, Padley used his vast investing experience to identify the top 10 time-wasters that investors need to ignore.

Spending your most valuable asset on any of these is time taken away from taking proper care of your ASX investments:

Useless information

The first three are all related to information that add little value to your investment decisions: Powerpoint presentations, clickbait, and media talking heads.

"PowerPoint has empowered even the most unimaginative, reclusive, bland, but credentialled introverts to present 'well'. It is that good. Which is bad," said Padley.

"Clickbait journalism has degraded the integrity of financial content, which is now being written for the internet, not for the reader."

Padley himself appears on television regularly to talk about ASX investments, but he warns that it's just for fun.

"We may look good and put on a good show, but we have no more ability to predict the future than you do. Take it for what it is, an entertainment, a show. But we are not clairvoyant."

Human emotions

Paying attention to your own emotions is one of the biggest time-wasters for your ASX investments.

"[Emotions] do nothing for the investment process. Don't let them get in the way," said Padley.

"There is no 'liking' or 'hating' stocks. What you feel about a stock is irrelevant. Think like 'Spock'. Be an algorithm. Dispassionate analysis is the goal."

He has one tip to put this in practice.

"If you have a 'feeling' about a stock, you should be removed from your own investment process immediately."

Thinking about the price you paid for your ASX investments

There is absolutely no point in worrying about the price you paid for an ASX stock.

The market doesn't care, the stock doesn't care, and nor should you.

"What you paid for a stock is completely irrelevant. Whether you are in profit or loss has absolutely no bearing on the future share price. So be detached," said Padley.

"A client once said to me 'Telstra Group Ltd (ASX: TLS) owes me five dollars'. No it doesn't, it's not your brother-in-law."


Investors need to be acutely aware that all those economists from the big banks and investment houses have a financial interest in always being on the optimistic side.

Their predictions are not unbiased.

"They have a mission, to keep the clients of their large product selling wealth management companies happy and invested."

Economist forecasts are simply to provide "a perception of control and certainty"

"They cannot afford to speak their minds, and they simply cannot tell anybody to sell, ever."

False prophets and idols

Padley is not a fan of broker research, financial services peddling urgency, or anyone claiming to invest the same as Warren Buffett.

"Sorry, but you are not Warren Buffett, and you cannot do what he does, or someone would be doing it for us, and we would all be billionaires. 

"So stop pretending you can."

He cautions investors to always think about the motivations of a broker making a particular stock recommendation.

"90% is marketing. 90% of it is designed to promote a corporate client. 90% of it is designed to suck up to a corporate client. It is not independent advice," said Padley.

"It is not designed to make the reader money. It is designed to make the broker money. Read it with your eyes open to the corporate purpose."

And rushing investment decisions inevitably ends in tears.

"There is no rush when it comes to the core purpose of a stock market investor, picking stocks over long periods, not snagging a lucky rise tomorrow. 

"Being urgent has but one destiny in a stock market context."

Artificial intelligence

AI is wasting everyone's time, according to Padley.

"Send me an email written by AI, and not only can I spot it, but it's an insult. 

Not to me, but to you. To your intelligence. We're all going to become acutely aware of it, very quickly. It's not impressive. It's a bit pathetic."

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Telstra Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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