Value Investing Advice: Take Time Out for “Calm Contemplation”

Value investor and author Guy Spier discusses his philosophy on investing, which includes taking a long term perspective, not reacting to news and pundit predictions and keeping an arm’s length away from Wall Street (Spier lives in Zurich). Mr. Spier’s views are greatly influenced by that of Warren Buffett. He believes that Buffett, who lives in Omaha and works out of a simple office building “could not be further away from the vagaries of the stock market”. When markets are volatile, Spier says, investors would be better off not making any changes to their investment portfolios and rather engage in “calm contemplation” activities — going for a walk, reading or doing something that takes their mind off of the markets.

Spier drives home his point by referencing a recent Fidelity study, which “found that the portfolios of dead people perform better than live people. It is an astonishing result—but one that follows from the simple rule that for the vast majority of the time, the right thing to do with a stock portfolio is absolutely nothing—something that dead people are better at accomplishing than live people.”