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What You Should Do When There is Nothing to Buy


Written by

Jae Jun

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Investing is difficult.

But not investing is even more difficult.

What I mean is that, when markets are frothy or volatile, it takes a great amount of skill to sit and do nothing.

It takes character to sit there with all that cash and do nothing. I didn’t get to where I am by going after mediocre opportunities.– Charlie Munger

To Mr Market, activity equals achievement.

So I asked a simple question to fellow investors on facebook a month back.

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What Do You Do When There is Nothing to Buy?

What to do when there is nothing to buy

The most common answer and obvious answer is to continue reading. Keep it up to prepare yourself for the next opportunity that pops up.

It also helps because it keeps you busy so you don’t have to constantly check what the market is doing.

Other than that, here are some additional ideas of what you can do while the market marches forward and there is less to buy.

  • Re-evaluate your stocks
  • Read that book, you’ve been meaning to get to
  • or re-read a book that you enjoyed
  • Go through the investing journals and papers you downloaded
  • Analyze your prior holdings to learn from your mistakes
  • Flip through as many stocks as possible using the OSV Stock Analyzer or screener to come up with a list of stocks to watch
  • Examine your investment philosophy
  • Talk with a mentor regarding businesses. If you don’t have a mentor, read past letters and papers written by the greats.
  • If you own a stock with physical locations or products, visit a store and ask questions

Happy investing.

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10 responses to “What You Should Do When There is Nothing to Buy”

  1. Daniel Victor says:

    Really tricky.I’ve lost money by holding the wrong sort of cash – Norwegian Kroner,following a change of government and policy in Norway.Cash is losing value faster than the official figures suggest.Real Estate is a bubble,and Gold is falling.

  2. Jason says:

    Surprised no one mentioned “improve your balance sheet” by paying down debts.

  3. deepvalue.com says:

    When action grows unprofitable, gather information;
    when information grows unprofitable, sleep.
    – Ursula LeGuin

  4. mhrand says:

    Arch Coal

  5. that’s what I’m personally trying to do too

  6. you do bring up a good point. But ultimately cash is still liquid and if you stick to Norwegian investments, I still think you’ll be better off because the opportunities you can take advantage of will outperform the falling value of the currency.

  7. I think the best thing you can do is double down on learning. The more you learn the more you can bring to your investments.

    What each individual investor has to learn is different. Someone might need more accounting knowledge while some accounting majors may have to learn more about their own emotional makeup or character. Everyone has a weakspot that they can improve on to improve returns.

    It doesnt have to be directly relevant to your own current or past projects/investments, either. Even learning about a specific industry/sector/country/region or how other great investors think can be very valuable and you may never realize where you could use it.

    -Evan

  8. Even though it loses value it is still better than a lot of other options, such as getting stuck in an over valued or fairly valued stock when the market tanks.

    Peter Cundill said that there was always something to do. I think investors can find some promising investments in international markets if nothing appeals to you back home. Increasing the number of rocks you can flip over makes it more likely that you’ll find something.

    -Evan

  9. Mike says:

    Stay disciplined, don’t be afraid to hold cash and wait for a better price from Mr. Market down the road.

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