Poking fun at investing clichés

“You sell when people are greedy and buy when people are fearful.” —Warren Buffett

Do you ever wonder what the gurus are really saying when they speak in clichés? Typically in trying to draw your attention to what is happening in the markets.

Don’t fret. I often find myself wondering just what someone said or meant. I suggest poking a little fun at this topic is a valuable exercise.

As in practically every other part of life, the world of investing is full of clichés. Some are pearls of wisdom to behold.

Hopefully, poking a little fun at these investing clichés helps you better understand ‘guru speak.’

They are found throughout the internet. Let’s uncover some common clichés favoured by the pundits and what the translations really mean.

Guru speak gems
Here is my sampling of “guru speak” gems and corresponding translations that stand out for me:


1.) “It’s different this time”
Some wild and crazy logic is about to be let loose.


2.) “Markets never move in a straight line”

Take the ups and downs in stride.


3.) “You’re catching a falling knife here”

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.


4.) “Greed can be the achilles heel of investors”

Sell when you can, not when you must.


5.) “Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent”

You had better have some deep pockets.


6.) “All the weak hands are getting shaken out”

I’ve lost a lot of money on this, but I’m still right.


7.) “You have to be defensive here”

I have no idea what is going on in the markets.


8.) “My thesis is still intact”

I am so underwater on this investment, I see the ocean floor.


9.) “Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered”

Take the money and run.


10.) “It’s the start of a new quarter”

Expect new money to flow into the markets to keep things going


11.) “There are big headline risks right now”

Hide your cash under the mattress.


12.) “Buy on rumour, sell on news”

Buy as you hear something may happen, sell when the company confirms it’s happening.


13.) “The markets like it”

I have no clue why stocks are rising.


Hopefully, poking a little fun at these investing clichés helps you better understand “guru speak.” Listen attentively for the next ones.

The messages are typically short and simple. For example, Warren Buffett reminds us how to buy low and sell high.

I’ve only just scratched the surface.

Adrian Mastracci, Discretionary Portfolio Manager, B.E.E., MBA started in the investment and financial advisory profession in 1972. He graduated with the Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from General Motors Institute in 1971, then attended the University of British Columbia, graduating with the MBA in 1972. This blog is republished here with permission from Adrian’s website, where it appeared on May 29, 2018

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