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All right, folks, we’ll welcome to Investing for Beginners podcast episode 163. Tonight, we are going to answer a listener question. We got a great question from David recently, and Andrew and I are going to take part, his question. It’s quite extensive, and there’s lots of great stuff in here. So we’re going to go ahead and answer that for David on air. So I’m going to go ahead and start and say, hi, Andrew. Thank you for all the resources you put together as a 25-year-old, who had no foundational understanding of stocks, your podcast has been immensely helpful. Hoping you could fill in some gaps. I currently have. The first thing you’d like to talk about is dividends. So do a little rapid-fire here. So dividends, are they pay out quarterly yearly or variable? Andrew?
Yeah, it depends on the company. Most are quarterly.
Perfect. What is the period between when a company determines a dividend versus when it is paid?
It depends. So what I like to do for a stock is I’ll Google. Let’s say I want to look at Apple’s dividend history. So I’ll just put in the ticker APL dividend history. And I like to use the NASDAQ website because it will show you the dates that they’ve announced, the dividend payout, the date, you have to hold the stock, buy to get the dividend payout, and then the date that you will receive the dividend in your brokerage account. And so, you know, that website has it, some other websites do have it. So there’s not like this golden period between those different deadlines, I guess. And you know, sometimes it could be a couple of days later, a couple of days early with announcing and everything like that.
But that’s just the general thing with dividends, correct me if I’m wrong, but every company is on their schedule, correct?
I mean, I know that’s, I’ll get like groups of dividends and in my email any given day. So it seems like some might be on similar schedules, but yeah. It’s pretty random, for the most part.
Okay. Right. So Wells Fargo is going to pay their dividend regardless of when JP Morgan or bank of America or it’s not really dependent on each other.
Yeah. Okay, perfect. Alright, next question. How long must you hold a stock before you’re entitled to a dividend? And is this determined by the time you hold the stock or the time between stock purchase and dividend announcement?
Yeah, just cover that. It’s called the ex-dividend date, and that’s the date. You have to hold the stock buy to get the dividend. Perfect.
All right. Moving on to the next section, we have diversification. So David says, I believe you’ve mentioned 10 to 20 companies is about the sweet spot for them. A diversification standpoint, out of these 10 to 20, do you try to place each company in its different sector? Do you place the additional weight in sectors that are growing faster than others? Example tech and health at the time?
So I look at a portfolio and its sector balances. And so, yeah, obviously you don’t want to have 75% of your portfolio in one sector at the same time. I don’t necessarily need each position to be its sector. So I could have two stocks. So there may be very similar sectors or overlapping sectors. I have a big theme right now in my bottle portfolio, where I’m trying to capitalize on the longterm secular trend. And so there’s maybe three different stocks that all profit from that single trend moving forward. So they kind of tend to rise at the same time, but they’re not all in the same sector, but if they were in the same sector, I wouldn’t necessarily care too much. But again, it’s all about moderation. So you don’t want too much overexposure to one sector, and you do play with the sector weightings.
I think that’s very variable obviously, but I’m not doing it intentionally in the sense that I, I try not to put a strict limitation on, I want to hit 30%, this industry, 20%, that industry, it kind of tends to play out that way sometimes. But a lot of times you’re kind of taking what you’re given and trying to take each investment on its standpoint. So like an example, right, I have some capital allocate for my recommendation tomorrow night, right? So I’m looking at that money, and I’m going to decide based on the positions I have in my portfolio already, you know? So do I want to make sure that one sector isn’t more than like 50% allocated or one stock and as long as that’s not the case, while then I’m going to put my money into what I think is the best opportunity. And so that might make a certain sector stronger waiting than others. And so, as long as that’s not a deal-breaker, then I’m fine with it, regardless of how I feel about which sector is growing faster than the other, or which sector I’m maybe more bullish on or not. Okay.
Good answer. And I would like to ask you a question along those lines. I think people would probably think about this as well.
How do you feel about plugging in a company to fill a sector that maybe you don’t represent? In other words, if you don’t have anything in maybe real estate, do you spend time trying to find something to quote-unquote, fill that quota or do you just kind of go with what you feel is more strength of yours and try to stay within the circle of competence or areas related to that?
It’s a good question. I think about a similar thing. So, you know, one thing that I worry about is losing out with big tech or losing out with cloud. So I think like an investor, it’s something you’re always going to have to deal with the problem being it’s going to be pretty impossible to keep up with every little thing. And so you had you just if you want to run your investment decisions based on opportunity cost, you’re going to have a ton of regret, and it’s just a game you can never win.
So I think, I think having a broad exposure to most of the economy, I think that’s a good thing. I don’t think you’re going to hit every single pocket of it. And I don’t necessarily think that you should target stocks just to reach an allocation. But I’ll also say that I think it’s, it’s good to keep some, maybe sectors in your wishlist and kind of keep it in that corner of your mind where you’re saying, Hey, I know maybe the sector is a little more expensive on average, over however many years I’ve looked at it. You know, this sector tends to be expensive, but maybe it’s relatively cheaper due to some troubles in the industry. And so maybe because you have that in the back of your mind, you’ll see when the right opportunity is to get some exposure to that industry without, at the same time, forcing yourself to get into that industry.
So, you know, kind of maybe again, taking what the market’s giving you and then being smart with your allocations, but not forcing anything. Perfect. Okay. Do you keep all the companies in roughly the same medium market gap or sprinkle in a couple of larger slash smaller companies? Yeah. I mean size, isn’t part of the decision making too much. It’s more about the individual company, it’s valuation, and the strength of its business. I would agree with that. All right. Moving on to the next section of David’s question, a current approach. So over the past threeish years, you have been making the podcasts, have there been any adjustments that you’ve made to your approach? So I think they’ve, I want to hear your opinion because if I’m counting correctly, that’s also The past threeish years that you have been on this podcast as well. Have there been any adjustments to your approach?
Yes, there have been for sure. I have, as I’ve learned more and grown more and just experience more in the world of investing and read more, just become more, I guess, well-rounded, I have broadened some of my theories and thoughts on how I value companies and kinds of things that I try to look for. And I’m trying to extend my circle of competence trying to step into areas that are, maybe are a little grayer than I’m not used to and comfortable with, but attempting to learn more about them because that’s the only way that I’m going to grow as a person and as an investor. My approach to debt has changed. I used to be very much all about debt to equity, and high debt to equity was bad, and that’s, as far as I took it, now, I spend much more time looking at the amount of debt the company has the ability of the company to pay that off.
And the schedule of when that debt is coming due because that has a big bearing on how a company’s cash flow will be handled. I’ve also started spending much more time analyzing the cash flow of the company as well as the balance sheet, as opposed to the income statement, which most analysts spend a lot of time working on. I have not spent as much time on that recently. So I feel like I’ve shifted my focus on the financials and where I look in the financials. And I also feel like my ideas about valuation have changed. And I’m trying to kind of broaden my horizons on that. And in that, I don’t get hung up on the actual final. This is the price where I try to look more at ranges of possibilities, as opposed to this company should be worth $24 and 62 cents. Now I’m more worried about, is it going to be 20 bucks or is it going to be 30 bucks?
And is that doable, and where do I see that happening? So I, I’ve worked harder on developing a more extensive, I guess, checklist and all those things that I just talked about. I try to incorporate all those into the checklist, and as I encounter different ideas and things, I, I guess, weigh whether I want to add those to the checklist and include those in things that would make me want to consider buying the company or not. And I think I’ve tried also tried to be more open-minded about things that may be at the beginning I would have been like; this is not Warren buffet. I’m not doing it kind of thing. And I’ve tried to, I guess, open my mind on some of those things. So now the spoken my piece, Andrew, what is your, what is your idea?
Those are, yeah, that’s, that’s cool to see that evolution, you know, of your approach and everything and your mindset and the way you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re looking at things. And I think for somebody who’s listening and becoming, I think a lot of the people come into this podcast as a beginner, and then you go through a sort of evolution. And so what’s, what’s tricky is learning just enough to keep your momentum, right. And then as you’re learning new things, not to forget the good things that you’ve already remembered, I was trying to think hard about how I could say this eloquently, but, you know, I think about my, one of my childhood heroes, Kobe Bryant. You look at the way that his career progressed throughout a couple of decades, he was with the Lakers.
He just had different parts of his game that were stronger at different times of his career. And it didn’t make him a bad or worse player or a better or greater player because he had certain strengths and certain of his abilities and talents versus others, and the way he approached it and the way he maximized those. And so I think as investors, we can take a somewhat similar kind of mindset. And so really the reason why I try to bring that up is that again, coming from somebody who’s a beginner and then trying to find your path through that and evolve and increase your mindset and get momentum and start learning things and start piecing things together and start building that puzzle. That’s in your brain until things start clicking. And then, you know, because it’s, it’s such a huge expansive world that investing is, and it’s so easy to get swept up in it.
And I am guilty of it all the time. I just love digging into the specifics. And so it’s, it’s very hard to pull back from that, but I think it’s very important for somebody who’s trying to come up and, and kind of craft their approach. And so I think I’ve seen areas where I have more of a focus than others. I constantly try to. And I guess the longer I’ve been doing this, the more I’ve been doing this, which is scary because it’s time-consuming and mentally exhausting at times, but trying to challenge
Why I think a certain thing and just challenging challenge it and challenge it, and, you know, as you put that thing through the fire, then you either master and understand it, or you realize it’s it. It wasn’t a great idea, and you move on. And so I think there’s a lot of that as it goes to investing in general. I guess particularly if you get down to the nitty-gritty of, of trying to pick your stocks, there’s been a lot of adjustments for sure. It’s something that I’m constantly evaluating, and it’s just something you’re constantly building on.
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I agree. And I think as you go along, that is going to be natural. That as, as you learn more, you start to evolve warring. You start to pick up on things that you may not have noticed before. And to me, a great analogy. I think basketball would be a great analogy. When you first start playing the game, it is super fast, and everything goes by you super quick. And it’s super hard. It’s really hard to catch up and feel like you understand the flow of the game and everything that’s going on, but the more experience you get and the longer you play, the more the game quote-unquote slows down for you. And you start to see things that you may not have seen before. And you start to be able to anticipate things that you weren’t able to anticipate before. And that all comes with more knowledge and it all comes with more experience.
And as you go along, you will start to notice things and pick up on things that you did not see before. And that will cause you to start changing your outlook and your mindset and the frame of how you do things. It doesn’t mean that your overall values change. That’s not, I don’t think what either Andrew and I are talking about, but you start to, you start to see things that you didn’t see before. And when I think about changing or how your approach is, I look at Warren Buffett and his approach has changed multiple times throughout the time of his career. And I think that that is probably a normal evolution of how you look at things and it will just naturally adapt. And so I think once you start to understand the basics and have a foundation of how things are, then you’ll start to experience things that you want to grow from and challenge like Andrew does. And I love that about him, that he challenges things and him, he, he pushes the boundaries of things. And that’s how you get better at things is by that, if you just do the same thing over and over and over again, yeah. Your muscle memory will kick in, but you’re not becoming better. It’s when you start to push on boundaries and try to expand on things that you don’t know as well as you do, that’s when you start to get better. And that’s when things will start to change.
I love that basketball example. That’s so perfect.
Thanks. Thanks. I thought of it while you were talking about the Kobe, and naturally, yeah, you inspired me, so, alright, so onto David’s next question. Over the past seven months, have you had to go back and reevaluate anything with greater volatility, uncertainty, et cetera?
So I don’t want to put words in Vitaliy’s mouth cause we’re supposed to talk to him soon, possibly. Right? He had a great piece about this. And so if he does end up on our podcast, we can talk about that then. But in a nutshell, ER, E the last seven months is a perfect opportunity to reset your assumptions because it is a different ball game, right?
Yep. Exactly. All right.
Moving on to the next question
With the current market environment, do you check company financials more often, quarterly versus yearly, to see how a company is handling any disruptions from lockdown, supply distribution and et cetera?
Yes. A hundred percent. So in the past, and on previous episodes, I talked about how my portfolio is very low maintenance, and it was just, you know, once a year when the annual reports came out, that’s when I was checking up on these companies. Now things are a lot more fluid. And so I have taken it is quite a time consuming, but, you know, I have taken that time to check up and make sure I have a good sense of what the post-COVID picture is, makes you realize, you know why people pay money for investment advice, because it can, at times like this, especially it’s quite important. And so not only am I checking quarterly, but I’m also looking for any news releases that come out from the company. So seeking alpha is a great place to subscribe to get email alerts on the companies you hold. And then as soon as they release the release, like an eight K or some other press release, you can be first on it to read, Digest, and see what’s going on.
I echo all those comments as well. I am checking much more than I used to. And I’m reading quarterlies and yearlies, and the news AKA is, yeah, anything I can digest about the companies that I’m either invested in or following, I spending much more time analyzing that. And a lot of it has to do with the fact that everything is so fluid right now with everything that we all know is going on. So yeah, it’s, it’s affecting that aspect of it.
All right. Next question. How do you view sectors most impacted by lockdown slash disruption caused by the pandemic?
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I’m going to be unloading it and unpacking it. And this e-letter issue that’s coming out tomorrow night, but three big sectors that I think are going to benefit. So basically, you know, coronavirus has created what I would like to dub a Corona economy, and it’s completely changing features of certain sectors and completely leaving in the dust, the future of others. So I think some obvious ones would be cloud construction and commodities with commodities being a particular subset of commodities, which we don’t have time to get into today. But, you know people are going to the cloud. There’s a lot of different reasons which I’ve talked about constantly in the past, either issue about why construction is looking pretty good and commodities are kinds of a beast on its own. And then on the flip side, you just have these sectors that they’re just in really, really bad shape. And it’s tough to see them recovering for quite a while, and that’s going to hurt investors and slow compounding. And so those bad sectors. I look at retail; I look at restaurants and refuelers like gas stations, particularly gas stations and restaurants. They have demanded that I don’t know how you can make that up. It just seems to be gone.
I would agree with that. I am looking at the sectors along the same lines that Andrew is. I’m looking at tech much more than I did in particular, for me, it’s more along the lines of semiconductors and 5g internet of things, those kinds of things, because I think that is going to be something that’s going to be much more prevalent in our economy in the next five to 10 years. On the flip side of that, I think something that I have been paying a lot of attention to because I have a lot of experience in it is the restaurant business. And as Andrew was saying that a lot of that demand is gone. I was reading something today on Yelp, which for those of you not familiar with that is a website that tracks restaurant reviews, I guess, is the best way of putting it.
And they were commenting on the fact that 23,000 restaurants have closed permanently in the United States since March, that will not be opening that is roughly around 52% of the sector of restaurants that are on that website now. Wow, what’s one thing about that. The restaurant is not every single restaurant is on that website, but the vast majority of them are. So there may be some mom and pop shops, for example, in some small towns that may not be listed on there, but the vast majority of restaurants that any of us go to are going to be on there, including the big chains, the not so big chains and the small chains, all that stuff, they’re all on there. And I’ll have all those restaurants over 52% of them have closed permanently. So that is a staggering number, and that does not include bars.
So that is, we’re just talking about restaurants, people, places that people eat food, the bar industry will probably be just as hammered as the restaurant business. So the other thing maybe hammered. Yeah, probably will be. Yeah, they probably will be because of all of this, but another aspect to take into him too, to think, I guess another couple steps past just the restaurants. So when you think about the fact that 23,000 restaurants are not going to reopen their doors again, if, and when they can, depending on where you are in a part of the country and how that’s being impacted by what’s going on now versus what went on in the past, every restaurant, even if you just take a, I think it was, if you average, I was guesstimating that that was probably going to be roughly about a million people that have now permanently lost their jobs to have to find something else to do.
And when you have 52% of other restaurants, 48% of the restaurants still open, that’s a huge demand for those employees. In other words, a lot of those people are going to have a hard time finding another job because a lot of people that work in the restaurant business are either transient type of jobs. In other words, they’re going from what this type of job to another job or they’re starting like this is one of their first jobs. And then they go on to some other career. Or some people maybe are lacking education. They haven’t had the opportunity, or they’re immigrants, people that have come here from another country and that are trying to learn the language and trying to get a job so they can live here. A lot of those people are going to struggle to find other, other jobs because there’s not a lot of the restaurant business employees, a lot of those kinds of people.
And it gives them opportunities to earn a living in and do the things that they want to do. And those opportunities are now going to be much, much harder for those people to get. So that is one, I guess, the economic impact of what’s going on. That’s not, not talked a lot about. And I think it is, is going to have a huge impact on a lot of different things. So a lot of different things that I’m mentioning, and now we’re talking about food processors. Now we’re talking about people that make alcohol; those impacts are going to be, it’s going to be a ripple back into those industries because, for example, most beer and alcohol are consumed in restaurants and bars. It’s not consumed at home as much as Andrew tries to drink all that tequila. He can’t keep the tequila industry open by himself. But so that being said, the people that are making all those products and selling those products and out on the streets, trying to push all those things, those people are going to have a harder time too, because now they have fewer places to go to sell their products.
The companies that make them are going to have fewer places to sell them. So it impacts the liquor stores. It impacts the people that make the process meats. So the companies are processed chicken. For example, the majority of the chicken that they process is for restaurants. It’s not for grocery stores; it’s for restaurants. And so now those places that are not cooking those gazillion chicken breasts to serve on sandwiches and salads and chicken tenders and all those things, those places are all gone. So where’s that chicken going to get sold? So I guess the point I’m trying to make without being Mr. Doom and Gloom is that sometimes we have to look beyond just the sector that’s being impacted. We have to look back at the ripple effect of how that’s going to impact other industries farther down the food chain. And so those are the kinds of things that I think about not just about, you know, looking at Darden industries and going, yeah, this is a great investment or not, but how is that impacting the other industries around Darden industries and what kinds of opportunities there maybe because of some of those things happening.
There’s a lot of very inventive, creative people out there. I was reading about a restaurant recently that was struggling to sell their food. And so they went to the city and got a license to sell their produce on the sidewalks like a farmer’s market kind of thing. And they were able to make extra money by doing that. And that was brilliant because people love the produce at restaurants and it’s generally very fresh, has to be fresh. And it’s a; it’s a brilliant idea. So there are a lot of great smart people out there doing the best they can. But I guess my point is is that yes, there are industries that are impacted not just for good, but also for the bad. And you have to kind of consider all that.
Those are very wise words. The only thing I will add is because I know there are plenty of Eleanor subscribers who are probably listening, and they know that we own a food processor, you know, a chicken company. We’ll just also keep in mind that certain stocks could be exceptions to the rule. So as an example of the one that’s still in my portfolio, because of the cares act, they were able to realize a really big tax reduction, basically not having to pay as much an interest, which saves them a lot of the cash from losses back in like 2017. So, you know, they’re, they’re like provisions in that cares act that allowed the company to do that and also to continue to do that moving forward. So it’s an example of where a company, the big picture does tell a big story, but there could also be different ramifications depending on the company.
And so, you know, if you are Eletter subscriber, and you’re wondering, wondering about that food processor, that’s the situation there. There’s also hope, you know, we’ll see what happens with the NFL and chicken wings being a big thing during that period, kind of see how that works. Also watching like poultry prices, which dropped pretty, pretty rapidly and now have come, come up quite a bit and could provide some, some recovery in that third and fourth quarter. So yeah, I guess a lot to consider. I liked that mindset. And I think that’s the huge takeaway from that question and our answers here when it comes to these sectors is to try to think of that ramification through the ripples and, and how that interacts with the different stocks in your portfolio and not just one or two that you might be thinking of.
Yep. I agree with that. It’s a very good point. All right, let’s move on to the next question. Do you put more slash Less weight in debt slash equity due to the Coronavirus pandemic due to the spread disruption across the economy as well?
So the focus is a lot different right now when it comes to like suddenly now everybody needs to be aware of like how much, how much a company owes in a, in a short amount of time. Cause liquidity is like a huge thing right now. And so if you listen to conference calls, if you listen to CFOs talk about their company, they’re talking about, you know, bank revolver’s and they’re talking about, you know, we were able to secure this bond issuance. They’re talking about; we have this much in cash and cash equivalents. So rail long accounting terms of basically the idea is, do they have enough cash? And so that right now takes the highest precedence over anything else. And like with the sector discussion, it’s really, you can sort of taking it on a case by case basis. And Dave, I like what you said earlier in the episode where he said, you’re not looking at it, you’re not looking at it the same as you did maybe before because When it comes to debt and liabilities, there’s a lot of details about it that could make some debt not equal to others. And so that’s, I guess you’re, you’re putting more weight, but it’s like a different way in some of the debt to equity ratios because of what’s going on right now.
Yeah. I would agree with that. I think that’s the right way to look at it is take it on me, that’s what I’m doing. I’m taking on a case by case basis. So I look at each company individually and try to assess how the debt to equity or any sort of debt that they have, how that’s going to impact the company, not only now, but in the next six months, as well as the next five years and try to project how the company is going to do in that period in handle those debt levels.
Andrew was talking about this great point where he was talking a little while ago about looking at a company’s financials and trying to determine if they had enough cash on hand to handle any debt that they had without taking any revenue. And I think that’s a great exercise to do, to get a good idea of how much debt the company does have. And how much is that going to impact the current cash flows that the company has? Because that’s really where the value lies is by, is from those cash flows. And if the debt is substantially diminishing those, then that could be a problem over the long term. And that’s why a lot of these companies have been doing some of these things that Andrew was mentioning, like doing bond issuances and taking it down debt from bank revolvers, which are lines of credit, which is for those of you not familiar with that, that’s in essence, a credit card without the actual plastic, it’s just money that you can borrow that the bank has given you. You pay it back at a lower interest rate then alone, for example.
And those are just ways that companies use to have liquidity. And most of these companies have always had those there; they just were not talked about as much as they are now because of what Andrew was mentioning, the liquidity issues that companies may or may not be going into. And, and in a situation, like we are in now, I think it’s much more prudent to go on a case by case basis, as opposed to just waving a wand over the whole market or sector and saying, this sector has too much debt. And I’m just going to, eh, where it’s, I think more appropriate to look at each company that you own and go, does Disney have enough or do they, are they, they, okay. I think that’s probably the better to go about looking at That kind of thing.
Yeah. I agree with that. I mean, I think it is a lot to kind of process and go through, and if this is your first episode, you’ve listened to, I’m sorry, just blamed Corona. But you know I think to take little bits and pieces as you can from it. And these are just fantastic questions and things that have been on both of our minds as we’ve tried to navigate through all of the fallout, and I’m sure we’ll be navigating it through it for months and months and years to come. But it’s, it’s, it’s a good eye-opening experience. I think for everybody to, to start to see that something, the big takeaway I think is like, this is, this is why diversification is so important because the world can change in an instant. And then all of a sudden, the whole game is different with different rules.
So be diversified. Remember, always like we try to say invest with a margin of safety emphasis on the safety dollar cost average. So you’re, you have a habit of putting money in the market every single month. And so you’re just consistent. You’re not trying to time the market and then be diversified so that you are covering your bases and lowering your risk.
That’s very well said. And I don’t think I can; I can add anything more to that. That is the perfect way to handle this. And I think what Andrew was saying about things changing in an instant; I don’t think anything could be more illustrative of that than what’s going on in our country, in the United States. For example, in, since March is just, is none of us have ever seen anything like this, and I don’t think we ever will hopefully again. So I think that’s a perfect point. So I echo everything Andrew was saying that was perfect.
New Speaker (37:26):
All right, folks, we’ll that is going to wrap up our discussion for this evening. I wanted to thank David for taking the time to write to us that great question. That was an awesome one. He had a lot of great questions in there. There was a lot of stuff in there for us to unpack tonight. So thank you, David, for taking the time to send that to us. And if you guys have any other great questions or any questions at all, please do not hesitate to send them to us. We will get to them as we can, and if we can read them on the air, we definitely will. So without any further ado, I’m going to go ahead and sign us off. You guys go out there and best with a margin of safety emphasis on safety, have a great week, and we’ll talk to you all next week.
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