The Unpopularity of Patience


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An eternal optimist, Liu-Yue built two social enterprises to help make the world a better place. Liu-Yue co-founded Oxstones Investment Club a searchable content platform and business tools for knowledge sharing and financial education. also provides investors with direct access to U.S. commercial real estate opportunities and other alternative investments. In addition, Liu-Yue also co-founded Cute Brands a cause-oriented character brand management and brand licensing company that creates social awareness on global issues and societal challenges through character creations. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Liu-Yue worked as an Executive Associate at M&T Bank in the Structured Real Estate Finance Group where he worked with senior management on multiple bank-wide risk management projects. He also had a dual role as a commercial banker advising UHNWIs and family offices on investments, credit, and banking needs while focused on residential CRE, infrastructure development, and affordable housing projects. Prior to M&T, he held a number of positions in Latin American equities and bonds investment groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Read (Swiss Bank), OFFITBANK (the wealth management division of Wachovia Bank), and in small cap equities at Steinberg Priest Capital Management (family office). Liu-Yue has an MBA specializing in investment management and strategy from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Marketing from Stern School of Business at NYU. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

In my view patience is the most important (factor) and this is where most
people fall down. They will not put enough time into the equation.
– John Lee (successful UK private investor)

Everything popular is wrong. – Oscar Wilde

Some of history’s greatest minds have held up patience as a key ingredient to success in life.

Consider just a few:

  • “He that can have patience can have what he will.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” – Aristotle
  • “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” – Leo Tolstoy

Why do you think they held patience in such high esteem? My guess is that they understood and sought to avoid the common human desire for instant gratification and observed the roles that impatience, anxiety, and stress played in the frequent mistakes people made in trying to realize that instant gratification.

The investing world is also hard-wired to be impatient, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the most successful investors value the uncommon practice of patience:
  • The secret to value investing is patience…(Value investing) works over time, and it’s quite irregular. But it does still work like clockwork; your clock has to be really slow. – Joel Greenblatt
  • Putting it in the simplest mathematical terms, both the odds and the risk/reward considerations favor holding. – Philip Fisher
  • When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever. – Warren Buffett
In a 1995 interview with 98 year old investor Philip Carret, Louis Rukeyser asked him, “What’s the single most important thing you’ve learned about investing over the past three-quarters of a century?”
His answer: “Patience.”
Patience allows our emotions to settle and promotes rational decision making. It allows our returns to compound and reduces trading costs. Yet few investors follow through, as patience requires an uncommon level of self-control to defer current gratification for future gratification.
It’s precisely the unpopularity of patience that makes it valuable.
What I’ve been reading
Stay patient, stay focused.

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