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How to pick the right shares

This is one of the questions that Iím asked the most and itís an answer that I like to answer in two ways. The more technical or objective way to answer it is to compare your performance to something concrete. For example the market average in your own country. For us here in Australia itís the All Ordinaries index which has returned well over 40% in the last few years and has averaged over 10 percent per year over the last 25 years. If you havenít made a return of at least this rate then you havenít performed at a satisfactory level. I know itís a fairly cold way of looking at things but thatís the facts.

So consider this, it is a well known fact that 70% of fund managers donít actually beat the market average. However, being an individual investor and not faced with the same constraints you should comfortably be beating this average to consider yourself successful. How do I beat the average you ask Ė well thereís a very logical answer to this question. It comes from three very important characteristics of any share. Firstly, the share should be a leading company within the industry.

For example within the top 100 largest companies. Those with a proven track record of success. Second the shareís price history should exhibit the characteristics of a long term uptrend. When you look at chart of such a company you should see it starting in the bottom left hand corner of the page or screen and finishing in the top right hand corner. Thirdly the share itself should be outperforming the market average. That makes sense if you want your share portfolio to outperform the market average as well. If these three criteria are applied to all shares within your portfolio you will be selecting shares that are performing well fundamentally. You will be selecting shares have been moving in an upward direction so it is easier to make money from them. And you will be selecting shares that are already performing better than the average. So logically the shares that you have will be giving you the best possible chance to outperform the market average.

What do you want? The second way I answer questions on how well people should be doing is by asking them how well they want to be doing. It is always fun to hear people umm and err at this question because they simply donít know. They donít know what returns they want so how will they ever know when theyíve achieved what they want. It is much easier to reach a goal if you define it up front. You also know if you are not reaching it and so can do something about it.


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