5 Tips to Maximize Research and Investing Time


You may feel that you never have enough time to invest, but I believe otherwise. By utilizing time better and eliminating unnecessary distractions, you could increase the amount of time you spend analyzing a company.

Warning: You will be at risk of being called a geek.

1. Learn to Speed Read

What I want is to greatly improve the speed of my reading while still comprehending everything that I’ve read.

You may want to be a faster runner, so you practice and work at it to increase efficiency, or since you are reading this blog, you want to be a better investor, so you try to improve your skills.

Reading is the same, but a majority of people never realize.

Currently I can read about 400 wpm (words per minute) with a comprehension of 80%. The average person is 250wpm at 85% accuracy. My ultimate goal would be to get to 1000wpm.

Why: Rip through annual reports, conference call transcripts, letters to shareholders, books and other lengthy material.

2. Clean Up Your Blog List

If you read blogs, I bet you have far too many on your list. You don’t read more than 30% of them anyways.

Most blogs don’t help you with what you are trying to achieve. This goes the same for many of the news sites.

Why: You will never be a better investor by reading blogs. You may make some money following people’s moves, but you won’t understand why and your investing skill will be based on searching for people to follow.

3. Eliminate Noise

Is CNBC really that important to your investment and analysis?

Why: You learn nothing. Why not spend the 30min reading some good investment books instead?

4. Take reading Material with You

You likely spend your day with frequent idle times where you do nothing.

Try reading something when you are waiting in line at the bank or the post office, waiting for your wife while she is clothes shopping, doing your business in the toilet, waiting for your car to warm up, on the bus, train or plane etc etc

Print out an annual report, proxy, financial statement or take a book around everywhere you go.

Another way is to convert the sec filings to a PDF and then read it off your phone, e-book reader or any other capable gadget.

Why: You may only get to read 1 page at a time but it all adds up. It also sticks with you throughout the day and by the end of the day you could have read 20 pages.

That’s 20 pages more than the next guy complaining that they don’t have time to read and learn.

5. Eliminate Finance Podcasts

Listening to the news or an entertainment program via podcast is fine, but finance related podcasts I find to be a waste of time. Podcasts are much like verbal blogs so there is no set topic or structure that flows from one to the next.

I can never remember what was mentioned and it’s literally in one ear, out the other.

Why: Just another example of how impatient and demanding human nature is. Learn to speed read and you’ll never need podcasts, except maybe while you’re driving.

  • Siddharth

    Hi jae,
    Excellent post as usual & very useful tips. I feel speed reading is the most important one among them. Any recommended books or websites on speed reading courses??

  • Paul

    The reading speed and comprehension is something I want to improve. I find my mind wanders and if I get another thought in my head I usually end up online looking at something else.
    I found this but haven’t really looked through it yet.
    http://www.mindtools.com/pages/main/newMN_ISS.htm

  • peekay

    Nice post Jae..!

  • Rocky

    Jae,

    Been following you for about 2 months now. I also was curious about speed reading. Have you taken any courses or anything to improve your reading rate.

    Thanks,

    Rocky

  • I just searched for “how to speed read” and there are tons of information. Read the things you shouldn’t do and you’ll be able to read at 400wpm easy. Keep practicing and you should be able to do 600wpm for easy material.

    Youtube has a lot of videos as well. Some good, most bad, but still worthwhile.

    I don’t believe you have to take courses, because it’s something you can do already. Just learn what you are doing wrong to improve your efficiency and soon you should be reading at least 3 annual reports per day easy.

  • Mechanonuke

    I agree with 2-5 but not so much with 1.

    Speed reading may get one thru financial reports more quickly, however its the thought and reflection on what is being read that’s important (imo).

    Also, get a whiteboard. A 3′ x 4′ one goes for ~$50 at Grand & Toy/Staples/B.Depot. Just the cheapest is fine. It really helps track one’s thoughts, visualize (i.e. graphs/trends), and later recall what you thought about, or should follow up on. (if nothing else its fun for the kiddies to draw on.)
    d

  • Thanks for you suggestions Mechanonuke

  • assman

    I think speed reading can work. Its really a way of indexing information. The idea is that you will have perused an enormous amount of material and will have an idea it exists. Later if you see something important you may have to go over it in greater detail. Its a relatively effective method of consuming a lot of information. But the even superior method is skipping information completely and knowing where to look and where to probe. But his only comes with experience.

  • Hitch

    Yes, but what is your track record as investor. Then I’ll listen to what you have to say.

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