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Having had my formative years during the 80s, there were several, sometimes conflicting, influences at work. For example, I started flirting with the Gothic Scene although it took me many years before I more openly associated myself with those romantic and independent-minded people. On the other hand, I felt drawn to the investment world. While I made some embarrassing forays into the shallow Yuppie way of dressing, what really fascinated me behind all this pastel-coloured nonsense was the idea of independence.

Basically, you can sit at home in your pyjamas and do your research and come to lonesome decisions. The quality of which, of course, will be decided upon by that strangely whimsical and powerful machine out there, the Market. In all money matters it seems advisable to speak to as many people as possible and have your opinions tested again and again. It is a continuing process of learning and, over the years, you develop a system of where to look for what and when to listen to people and when not to listen to them. You don´t have to be an investment banker to do it and the only job interview you have is the daily development between green and red of the figures on your computer screen. I have grown rather fond of this.

A second aspect I like is the research. Naturally, it incorporates reading balance sheets and trying to gauge a company´s possibilities through figures, which is a part most people don´t like. Actually, I see this as a mere technical part of the job that has to be done as well as possible. The more interesting part for me is something that I think is very much like sound journalistic work. It is about trying to form a model extrapolating from the present into the future, a model that has to have certain ground lines while at the same time being flexible enough to adjust to unforseen changes. Doing this on the level of a single company, an industry or the economy as a whole is another 3D chess game and, of course, quite a huge task, for which I can´t really claim being knowledgeable enough. But as the motto of Carlsberg A/S states: "semper ardens".

I have been talking so far about "investing", which I see as opposed to "speculation". I found out very early that I am not interested in buying shares one day to sell them the next. I always liked the idea of owning a share in a company. As, for lack of adequate firepower, I have mostly been dabbling with investment funds and not direct share ownership, I always loved looking at a fund´s portfolio and trying to get to know the single companies that I now owned a microscopic piece of. But there´s also a saying: Never fall in love with the companies you own shares in. I find this very hard to do and it has proven again and again to take a huge bite out of my performance.

Still, I try to follow the school that´s called value investing. Although I do have to put a big stress on "try". Maybe another point that fascinates me about this particular way of doing things is that people like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have developed a style that transcends mere business decisions but also holds lessons for other parts of life. Thus, I sometimes see them as Zen Masters or Yedi Knights doing things or not doing things as a result of a process born out of silence. That really gets me.

If I had put my money where my mouth is, I would probably not find it so hard to renovate my house these days. As things are, however, all my "investment" endeavours have simmered on a very small flame. Luckily, "social trading" has come along and offered a playground for penniless would-be investors like me. Naturally, I was quick to invent a flamboyant trader name. As a result you can have a look at how MonsfortCapital is bungling along on: https://www.wikifolio.com/de/de/p/monsfortcapital

I also set up a corresponding facebook site, which I use to post some articles and links of things I´m currently occupied with: https://www.facebook.com/MontSylvain.eu/

There are two more things I would like to mention. As stated in the "legal notice", I can only advise against doing anything I positively comment on (although I´m not allowed to advise anything which has to do with financial matters). The second thing is about ethical and environmental concerns. Throughout this website you might have seen that both issues are important to me. While I have used ethical-environmental investment funds for a number of years, I´m no longer convinced that this approach (alone) satisfies me. For a number of reasons. One, for example, is that I believe that precious metals and the mines producing them are absolutely necessary parts of a future-oriented portfolio. And those companies can´t excactly be called a boon for the environment. While I do have a blacklist of companies and industries I don´t invest in, quite a number of portfolio positions I hold wouldn´t make it into an environmentally responsible fund. This is still an ongoing internal discussion I have with myself and a contrast to many links and topics on this website.