My Worst Investment Ever

When initially considering what my worst investment was, I thought about the 50-year-old Royal Enfield motorcycle that I bought in my early 40s (guess why?), which is so delicate that it never works and just stands in my mother-in-law’s garage in Switzerland. But on further reflection, it still makes me happy that I own this bike, which means: I’m such a cool dude.”   

Q1 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc

Ignoring expert means false bottom also ignored 

My worst investment has to be when I convinced my wife (who is also my asset manager) to buy UBS Group AG (Swiss multinational investment bank [UBSG:SW, UBSG.S, ]) shares in 2009 or so after the bank had almost gone bankrupt and its shares had tumbled from 68 Swiss francs (CHF) to 20 CHF.  

Disliked bank takes on flawed new luster 

Actually, I had never liked UBS as a company, but I had thought that its share price had hit its bottom, that such a solid bank would never go under and that it would recover quickly. My wife thought it was a stupid idea but she allowed herself to be talked into the play.

Investor shuns inner voice, cheers for wrong underdog 

The share price has never really recovered (remains at 13.64 CHF at the time of writing). Which is only half the reason why this was my worst investment. The main reason is that despite not liking UBS, I was suddenly forced to wish them well, even having to follow the news about these idiots.

What was learned 

I gained two valuable insights: a) leave financial matters to my wife (a financial professional), b) only invest in companies that I actually like (their business model, passion, image, culture and the like).    

Andrew’s takeaways – Avoid these errors to become a better investor 

Just because it’s cheap 

When I was young, my mother often said: “Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean you have to buy it.” Many people jump into an investment because they think it’s at a once-in-a-lifetime price. When the price is “cheap”, they ignore so many factors, such as the future outlook. Think about when you’ve gone shopping and found a deeply discounted item. It was neither exactly the right color nor exactly the right size, but the price was so low it was irresistible. This type of buying is usually a waste of money. 

Write a plan and follow it 

One of the most important steps in the process of investing is to write a plan and follow it. The benefit of writing a plan is that it requires you to think ahead about what it is you want to invest in. The plan also serves as a guide that you can compare your actions to see if you are investing the way you want. So, make a plan and follow it. 

Mistakes in this story 

1. Failed to do their own research 

  • Failed to test the investment thesis 
  • Ignored a professional’s advice 

3. Driven by emotion or flawed thinking 

  • Let emotions drive their investment decision

Article by Andrew Stotz, My Worst Investment Ever

Saved Articles

The Life and Career of Charlie Munger

Charlie is more than just Warren Buffett’s friend and Berkshire Hathaway’s Vice Chairman – Buffett has actually credited him with redefining how he looks at investing. Now you can learn from Charlie firsthand via this incredible ebook and over a dozen other famous investor studies by signing up below:

  • Learn from the best and forever change your investing perspective
  • One incredible tidbit of knowledge after another in the page-turning masterpiece of a book
  • Discover the secrets to Charlie’s success and how to apply it to your investing
Never Miss A Story!
Subscribe to ValueWalk Newsletter. We respect your privacy.

Are you an intelligent investor?

ValueWalkPremium is a website and newsletter for smart investors like yourself. We focus on the latest hedge fund industry news much of which is not in the public domain and obtained via our sources.

We also have 10 years of resources on how to use this information to better your investment process.

Sign up for  today for only a few dollars a day and get a 3 day no obligation trial with a targeted 20% discount coupon code.

Cancel anytime during trial and you are never charged.

Limited time offer: For first 50 subscribers