A frequently asked question on value investing is this: how can you be so sure that the co’s intrinsic value is $100 (or any other no.)?
For those not so sure what the hell is going on, read these first
Well, the truth is, you are never sure, you can spend 20 days calculating the intrinsic value of the company and become so sure that the stock is undervalued. So you buy and the stock tank 20%. Shiok huh?
Intrinsic value goes hand in hand with margin of safety. Bcos you can never be sure whether you really got the intrinsic value right, you need to have a margin of safety. ie you will only buy the stock if the current price is way, way, WAY below your calculated intrinsic value. As a rule of thumb, I recommend 30-40% below your calculated intrinsic value. That is if you calculated that a stock is worth $100, you should be buying only when it hits $60-70.
Buffett used the example of building a bridge. If you know that the maximum weight of vehicles that will cross the bridge is 10 tons (based on historical statistics), will you build a bridge that will support 10 tons or a bridge that will support 30 tons? Read more…