Over the past few weeks, I’ve been updating my portfolio. The good news is that I locked in a gain with NVDA by selling 100 of my shares for $212 per share, which I had bought at an average price of $25 about two years ago. The bad news is that I lost money on other investments. I sold shares in a few stocks that had declined in price and didn’t seem to hold potential for gain even when priced low. The good part of my bad moves is that I’ve honed my ability to know what not to buy when investing.
Category: DIY Investing
A mortgage amortization schedule can be useful for: comparing my loan-balance calculations to the mortgage company’s records; identifying when mortgage insurance should no longer be required; planning the payoff of the mortgage prior to retirement or another significant life change; recognizing how much of the payment goes to insurance, taxes, etc. and will continue even after the mortgage is paid; analyzing the impact of extra payments (and later comparing this impact to the benefit of using those funds for a purpose other than mortgage payoff). Inside, there’s a link to a downloadable schedule.
When presented with general concepts or rules of thumb relating to personal finance, my brain resists automatic acceptance. My look-under-the-hood tendencies rebel when I hear a statement like “it’s always better to invest rather than pay off debt” or vice versa.
To truly understand an idea (and prove or disprove its claim), I love to design a spreadsheet. Using this tool, I can break down a concept and illustrate how it works or demonstrate where it falls apart.
In this article, I’ll explain the basics of setting up personal finance spreadsheets, including how to design formulas with financial functions like PMT (payment), FV (future value), and PV (present value).
In Chapter 20 of The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham covers the ” ‘Margin of Safety’ as the Central Concept of Investment.” This big idea or motto is the “secret of sound investment” distilled to three words.
Graham says “the function of the margin of safety is, in essence, that of rendering unnecessary an accurate estimate of the future.” When considering whether an investment carries a favorable margin of safety, calculations should be based on present circumstances, not overly optimistic or hoped-for future situations.
As I delve into this chapter, I learn that though the margin-of-safety principle is one of the main things, it’s not the only thing relevant to intelligent investing. Its companion is diversification. In addition, I discover that real-life adherence to safety margins isn’t simple or always achievable.
Still, the concept is important and mathematical framework, crucial to the task of selecting securities and building a portfolio.