Start the conversation
Editor's Note: When you understand your tech investing personality, you can tailor your strategy to better match your goals - and keep watch for the pitfalls you're most likely to fall into. With a new investing year around the corner, now's the perfect time to check out Michael's breakdown of the five main tech investing "types" below. Here's Michael...
In Plato's "Republic," protagonist Socrates takes the Delphic aphorism "know thyself" as his personal motto.
It's a great motto... especially for investors.
As a market veteran of many years, I can tell you that this is one of the biggest weaknesses most investors have.
They don't know themselves...
I watch as folks take losses and miss out on profits - mistakes they could have easily avoided if they'd only taken the time to know their investing personalities just a little bit better.
So today I want to demonstrate how to transform yourself into the "Socrates of tech investing."
It's easier than you'd think.
And the profits you'll reap will make it well worth your time...
One Simple Test
The whole "know thyself" philosophy is the basis of modern psychotherapy. In that realm, knowing yourself can involve quite a bit of sophisticated analysis and testing.
But we're not talking about "inkblot tests" here.
Indeed, when it comes to investing, knowing thyself can be a pretty straightforward endeavor.
Breaking: California's impending marijuana legalization could deliver unprecedented windfall profits - get in on the ground floor for the best shot at life-altering gains. Learn how here...
Here, in fact, I've narrowed this effort down to the five main tech investing "types" or personalities. I've related them to the five rules in Your Tech Wealth Blueprint. And once you've identified your type, I've also showed you how to avoid the pitfalls that are inherent with your particular investing personality.
When we're done here, you'll "know thyself." And you'll be ready to benefit.
Tech Investor Personality No. 1: The Race Car Driver
The Race Car Driver is someone who wants to profit from companies with above-average growth in sales, earnings, and cash flow. For this growth-investor type, those three financial categories are much more important than the stock's sticker price.
If you're a Race Car Driver investor, you're more than willing to pay a premium for growth as measured by key metrics. For instance, you probably won't mind paying 40 times forward earnings when the overall market trades at just 15 times next year's profits.
For this type of growth investor, paying five times book value (P/BV) or sales (P/S) is just fine - even though the general "rule of thumb" is a maximum of two times. The reason: Race Car Drivers are looking for firms that grow their earnings by 25% to 40% a year. With growth like that, a company's stock could double in as little as 18 months.
The Know-Thyself Risk: With a stock like this, the danger is quite clear: If it misses the expected earnings target by as little as a penny, the share price will get a "haircut."
A way to manage that risk is to follow my Tech Wealth Rule No. 4: Focus on Growth. When I first told you about my rules, I said that focusing on growth means you have to sleuth out firms that have strong fundamentals.
Good candidates are companies that have demonstrated consistent double-digit sales growth. That way, when the company's breakthrough technology finally achieves its potential, all that cash flow will fall to the bottom line.
Tech Investor Personality No. 2: The Banker
[mmpazkzone name="in-story" network="9794" site="307044" id="137008" type="4"]
The Banker values income and is more concerned about the size and quality of a company's dividend than the firm's earnings growth.
While this may seem contradictory for a "tech investor," it's become surprisingly prevalent since the bear-market bottom of early 2009. There's a growing sense among investors that getting a steady dividend stream is a great way to bring in extra cash and increase the stock's overall return.
Consider this: Over the last several years, the tech sector has steadily courted this type of investor by either introducing a dividend or by boosting the "payout ratio" on an existing dividend program.
A big reason for this is that tech firms can generate huge amounts of cash. U.S. firms today hold a combined $1.9 trillion in cash and equivalents, and tech accounts for about 40% of the total.
The Know-Thyself Risk: If you're a Banker, the biggest concern is that if you tie up most of your capital in these "Steady Eddie" stocks, your returns may fall short of what you need to save to live on.
A way to manage that risk is to take a balanced approach to building a tech portfolio, getting an overall blend of both growth and income.
For this, you can use my Tech Wealth Rule No. 5: Target Stocks That Can Double Your Money. These are companies that are growing earnings at high rates, but that also have the ability to sustain their operations and reward investors with cash.
Tech Investor Personality No. 3: The Power Player
If you're a Power Player, you're a "momentum" investor who's looking for share-price action. You tend to focus on stocks that are on the move, often without regard to any underlying fundamentals favoring the company or its industry.
At its most basic, this approach appeals to investors who eschew "brand loyalty." All that matters is that you're invested in a stock... and that stock is headed up. You're looking for "fast movers" capable of providing a quick profit.
Power Players are far more likely to go long on the way up, but then turn right around and short the stock once it tops out.
Back in 2014, small-cap Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG) exemplified "momentum investing." The company was losing money hand over fist, had negative cash flow, and traded at 130 times the next year's earnings. But the stock zoomed from $3.63 on Feb. 21, 2014, all the way to $11.71 on March 10 - and then collapsed when the "momentum" faltered.
The Know-Thyself Risk: To be a successful Power Player, you must be able to quickly and unemotionally pull the trigger quickly at the first hint of trouble. But you have to take care that you don't engage in so much trading that your gains are eaten up by transaction costs.
This is where Tech Wealth Rule No. 3: Ride the Unstoppable Trends comes into play. To make these plays profitable over the long haul, you must differentiate between a stock that's benefitting from a temporary surge and one that's getting a run thanks to meaningful catalysts like a "disruptive" new product.
Tech Investing Personality No. 4: The Opportunist
The Opportunist is a personality type I know well. During the summer, I sail two times a month with a group of tech investing friends of mine.
One of them is Bob, a retired engineer. It's not unusual in a single two-hour sail for us to discuss turnaround stocks, initial public offerings (IPOs), dividend plays, and small-cap biotech firms that are reporting progress on blockbuster drugs.
So, he's always on the lookout for a great opportunity, whether that's growth, income, momentum, IPOs, workouts, or spin-offs - as long as there is a strong investment case.
In the past, we've discussed several opportunistic plays at Strategic Tech Investor. Most of them fall in the category of "special situation" plays, including corporate turnarounds.
For us, Adept Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: ADEP) was an opportunistic play on a small-cap turnaround in the robotics industry. After I first told you about this stock on March 19, 2013, Adept reached peak gains of 574% - before getting acquired by OMRON Corp. (OTCMKTS ADR: OMRNY) in October 2015.
The Know-Thyself Risk: Opportunists must remember that there are many "moving parts" to investments like this. So if you don't have the time and discipline to review your holdings several times a day - as Bob does - you run a very good risk of being blindsided.
If you want to be an all-around player, you can mitigate the risk by following my Tech Wealth Rule No. 1: Identify Companies with Great Operations. Focus on companies that have proven leadership, as they are more likely to be innovative and nimble and thus able to execute their vision to deliver wealth-building opportunities.
Tech Investing Personality No. 5: Good Time Charlie
This type of investor likes to be "in the know" at all times and jump on the latest trends. Good Time Charlies can chew up a lot of time and energy trying to stay abreast of investment news from newspapers, blogs, television, and the Internet.
These are people who take a lot of pride in picking the right stock at the right time. But just like teens who swoon over the flavor-of-the-month pop stars, Good Time Charlies focus heavily on the stock du jour.
The Know-Thyself Risk: The downside of being a Good Time Charlie is when a stock or the whole market heads down, they take it personally - or blame the tipster. They often sell too early because they can't stomach the dips or the volatility.
Because they really only love big rallies, these investors tend to "gut out" the sort of choppy, sideways markets we've experienced recently. Thus, they often miss great buying opportunities.
Take the case of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). As long as the company seemed invincible, it was an easy stock to love. But the minute it hit a bumpy patch in mid-2012, investors dumped it en masse - and they did so again in mid-2015.
This is where Tech Wealth Rule No. 2: Separate the Signal from the Noise comes in handy. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the constant buzz, Good Time Charlies should ignore the hype and discern whether the touted stock has the rock-solid fundamentals needed to generate strong returns.
Bringing It All Together
Let me be clear on one thing. There is no right or wrong approach here. Any investment strategy can work well - and pay off big - as long as you are consistent in its application... and are honest with yourself.
By that, I mean you have to be honest with yourself about your true goals and motivations. And it's even more important to be honest with yourself about your weaknesses or flaws. It's there that "knowing thyself" can pay off the most.
So pick an approach that suits your sentiment - and run with it.
Do that and you'll remember this as the day that you really came to terms with yourself - and put yourself on the road to wealth...
Breaking: Marijuana Legislation Sparks the Most Profitable Opportunity of 2018
$20.2 billion... that's the amount of money expected to pour into California's cannabis market following their upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana.
Forget Nevada, Washington, or Colorado - even the marijuana industry in the entire country of Canada is about to be dwarfed by the impending California legalization.
In this crucial interview with pot stock expert Michael Robinson, you can learn the ins and outs of California's marijuana markets and get details on three tiny pot stocks expected to hand you the biggest gains.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is a 36-year Silicon Valley veteran and one of the top tech and biotech financial analysts working today. That's because, as a consultant, senior adviser, and board member for Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Michael enjoys privileged access to pioneering CEOs, scientists, and high-profile players. And he brings this entire world of Silicon Valley "insiders" right to you...
- He was one of five people involved in early meetings for the $160 billion "cloud" computing phenomenon.
- He was there as Lee Iacocca and Roger Smith, the CEOs of Chrysler and GM, led the robotics revolution that saved the U.S. automotive industry.
- As cyber-security was becoming a focus of national security, Michael was with Dave DeWalt, the CEO of McAfee, right before Intel acquired his company for $7.8 billion.
This all means the entire world is constantly seeking Michael's insight.
In addition to being a regular guest and panelist on CNBC and Fox Business, he is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter. His first book Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings warned people about the coming financial collapse - years before the word "bailout" became a household word.
Silicon Valley defense publications vie for his analysis. He's worked for Defense Media Network and Signal Magazine, as well as The New York Times, American Enterprise, and The Wall Street Journal.
And even with decades of experience, Michael believes there has never been a moment in time quite like this.
Right now, medical breakthroughs that once took years to develop are moving at a record speed. And that means we are going to see highly lucrative biotech investment opportunities come in fast and furious.
To help you navigate the historic opportunity in biotech, Michael launched the Bio-Tech Profit Alliance.
His other publications include: Strategic Tech Investor, The Nova-X Report, Bio-Technology Profit Alliance and Nexus-9 Network.