Kenya boasts a diverse economy, improving infrastructure, and a young, dynamic population. But high-interest rates and instability in the banking sector have left many Kenyan stocks trading at multi-year lows, offering investors a great entry point for exceptional long-term returns.
So, how do you get started investing in the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)?
Although no sure-shot formula has yet been discovered for success in stock markets, here are some golden rules which, if followed prudently, may increase your chances of getting a good return:
Avoid the herd mentality
The typical buyer’s decision is usually heavily influenced by the actions of his acquaintances, neighbours or relatives. Thus, if everybody around is investing in a particular stock, the tendency for potential investors is to do the same. But this strategy is bound to backfire in the long run.
No need to say that you should always avoid having the herd mentality if you don’t want to lose your hard-earned money in stock markets. The world’s greatest investor Warren Buffett was surely not wrong when he said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful!”
Take informed decisions
Proper research should always be undertaken before investing in stocks. But that is rarely done. Investors generally go by the name of a company or the industry they belong to. This is, however, not the right way of putting one’s money into the stock market.
Invest in businesses you understand
Never invest in a stock. Invest in a business instead. And invest in a business you understand. In other words, before investing in a company, you should know what business the company is in.
Follow a disciplined investment approach
Historically it has been witnessed that even great bull runs have shown bouts of panic moments. The volatility witnessed in the markets has inevitably made investors lose money despite the great bull runs. However, the investors who put in money systematically, in the right shares and held onto their investments patiently have been seen generating outstanding returns. Hence, it is prudent to have patience and follow a disciplined investment approach besides keeping a long-term broad picture in mind.
Don’t try to time the market
One thing that even Warren Buffett doesn’t do is to try to time the stock market, although he does have a very strong view on the price levels appropriate to individual shares. A majority of investors, however, do just the opposite, something that financial planners have always been warning them to avoid, and thus lose their hard-earned money in the process.
Don’t let emotions cloud your judgement
Many investors have been losing money in stock markets due to their inability to control emotions, particularly fear and greed. In a bull market, the lure of quick wealth is difficult to resist. Greed augments when investors hear stories of fabulous returns being made in the stock market in a short period of time.
Instead of creating wealth, these investors thus burn their fingers very badly the moment the sentiment in the market reverses. In a bear market, on the other hand, investors panic and sell their shares at rock-bottom prices. Thus, fear and greed are the worst emotions to feel when investing, and it is better not to be guided by them.
Create a broad portfolio
Diversification of portfolio across asset classes and instruments is the key factor to earn optimum returns on investments with minimum risk. Level of diversification depends on each investor’s risk-taking capacity.
Have realistic expectations
There’s nothing wrong with hoping for the ‘best’ from your investments, but you could be heading for trouble if your financial goals are based on unrealistic assumptions. For instance, lots of stocks have generated more than 50 percent returns during the great bull run of recent years.
However, it doesn’t mean that you should always expect the same kind of return from the stock markets. Therefore, when Warren Buffett says that earning more than 12 percent in stock is pure dumb luck and you laugh at it, you’re surely inviting trouble for yourself
Invest only your surplus funds
If you want to take risks in a volatile market like this, then see whether you have surplus funds which you can afford to lose. It is not necessary that you will lose money in the present scenario. Your investments can give you huge gains too in the months to come. But no one can be hundred percent sure. That is why you will have to take a risk. No need to say that invest only if you are flush with surplus funds.
We are living in a global village. Any important event happening in any part of the world has an impact on our financial markets. Hence we need to constantly monitor our portfolio and keep affecting the desired changes in it.