Thursday, December 28, 2006

Developing Your Own Method

The purpose of this blog is not to convince everyone that my method of trading covered calls is best or that everyone should follow it. My method was developed by me and for me. It's customized to my personality and style of investing. It may not be right for everyone else. Everyone is different. We all have different personalities, investment styles, philosophies, objectives, return requirements, risk tolerance, etc. No single method is right for everyone. There is no "holy grail". That's why I think it's important for everyone to develop their own method and trading plan.

I'm currently reading The Winning Investment Habits of Warren Buffett & George Soros by Mark Tier. If you haven't read this book then I highly recommend it. Buffett & Soros are the most successful investors of our time, and maybe of all time. However, their methods are completely different. If Buffett tried to invest like Soros, or Soros tried to invest like Buffett, they'd both probably fail miserably. That's because they wouldn't be comfortable trading the other's method. Although their methods are different, Buffett & Soros have many things in common.

In the book, Mark Tier identifies 23 winning investment habits. Here are just a few which relate to developing your own method.

3. Develop you own unique investment philosophy. The Master Investor has developed his own investment philosophy, which is an expression of his personality, abilities, knowledge, tastes, and objectives. As a result, no two highly successful investors have the same investment philosophy. The Losing Investor has no investment philosophy, or uses someone else's.

4. Develop your own personal system for selecting, buying, and selling investments. The Master Investor has developed, and tested, his own personal system for selecting, buying, and selling investments. The Losing Investor has no system, or has adopted someone else's without testing and adapting it to his/her own personality. When such a system doesn't work for him/her, he/she adopts another one, which doesn't work for him/her either.

13. Follow your system religiously. The Master Investor follows his/her system religiously. The Losing Investor continually second guesses his/her system, if he/she has one. Shifts criteria and goalposts to justify his/her actions.

The third point is difficult to follow if you use someone else's method. I don't know about you, but I've always been somewhat of a rebel and hated following some else's rules. When I studied various covered call methods there were some rules I was comfortable with and some rules I wasn't comfortable with. It was the rules I wasn't comfortable with that were the hardest to follow. I found myself always second guessing the rules, until I made them my own by developing my own method. I took from all these various methods the parts that I was comfortable with and discarded the rest. Now I have a method I'm completely comfortable with and can follow religiously, without hesitation or second guessing.

So again, I think it's important that everyone develop their own method of trading rather than following someone else's method. You have to be comfortable with whatever method you choose, so that you'll follow it without question. It's easier to do that with a method that you've developed than it is with a method that someone else developed.

I'm sharing my method and the information on this blog in the hope that it will be helpful to someone who is serious about developing their own method. Again, I'm not trying to convince you that my method is the best or even right for you, but hopefully it will give you some ideas that you can use.