Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why are we doing this?

Investing is a risky affair, I have learned it the hard way. I have been investing in stocks, mutual funds, and other such instruments for some time and I have had my share of profits and loses, though recently it's been more losses than profits. The recent losses are attributed to the recession and might have been unavoidable but maybe I could have limited the loses if I were a bit more deliberate in my stock analysis or I should have discussed it with my investor friends.

Stock analysis, as you all might know, is a tough task. I am told that it has been a tough task and will always be a tough task. In the past data scarcity was the issue, availability of relevant data that would help one make buy/hold/sell decision was very hard to come by. People had to rely on newspapers, business publications to do their stock analysis.

The advent of the internet should have solved this issue, information is no more scarce, everything is just a click away. Indeed it did, it solved the problem of information scarcity but in doing so it created a new problem of information abundance. Information is everywhere and is instantly accessible but there is too much of it. I googled "shares with high beta" and got 7,150,000 results!!!. My response to this is, as Captain Haddock would have said, "Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles!". Now I have to filter out what I need by reading through each of the pages and maybe the information is deep down somewhere in the results and I'll have to redo the search after tweaking the search text. My point is, it is still hard to get the relevant information. The sad part of all this is that somebody would have already done this research and we don't have a way to share this. Even if there is a way, how do I know whether I can trust this person? It would have helped if someone I knew well can vouch for the person and I can see a history of all the information/research reports this person has come up with. It would help even better if I could share my existing investment portfolio without giving away the net-worth of the portfolio.

I discussed this with a friend of mine and he also felt the that it would be good if we have tool that would let us do all that. Faced with this issue, we did what any enterprising techy would do... we googled for it (and would have even binged it) but couldn't find anything that would satisfy all the requirements. So after many deliberations we decided.. what the heck we will do it!!