Holiday Meals and Portfolio Allocation







I like simple things, which is why I like analogies or metaphors (I can never remember the difference, which again is why I like to keep things simple).

There are entire books and high-level graduate courses devoted to portfolio allocation.  I have read a few of them, taken one course and never came away with anything I liked.  So, I will share my take with you…

Let’s talk Holiday Meals.

Imagine a large table with a variety of dishes spread across it.  You are new to the family this year (having recently married your lovely new wife), so there are a lot of unfamiliar items.  Trying to be a gracious new guest, you sample a variety of foods. Heaping mounds of food accompany you back to your seat.  You proceed to taste each new food and as expected, there are some that are obviously better than others.  Some are ok, some are bad and a few are great.

Fast forward ten years.  You are no longer the new one to the family, in fact, you have three little new ones in your own family, who you are trying to coral to the dinner table, but are instead chasing their cousins through the house.  This time around, your food choice is drastically different from before.  You know what three things you like, and couldn’t care less about offending that Aunt whose name has escaped you for the past ten years.  You tried her pea soup the first year and there’s certainly no need to try it again.

I don’t know the correct number of stocks to hold, but suffice it to say that I think about portfolio allocation the same way I put my holiday meal plate together.  I am less interested in offending other people because I don’t hold the right kind of stocks or asset classes.  I am fairly certain of what I don’t like, and like to think that I know what I do like.  Please pass the gravy…



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Munger’s ability to find great businesses is directly related to his ability to consistently discard bad businesses. He is excellent at inverting, and discarding the bad businesses as quickly as possible.

The Abominable No-Man and Bad Management

Some investors think a business is good, but know that management is bad.  These investors justify the investment based on the idea that the great price of the business is worth the bad management. This is akin to marrying a supermodel who is going to yell at you all day.  Whatever pleasure your eyes may derive from the marriage, your ears will endure a greater amount of pain in the long run. The pocketbooks of those partnering with bad management are likely to see a similar 50%+ decline in their net worth.

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