Stock market investment is not a get-rich-quick scheme, writes Isaac Moledi

Some fund managers believe that people are not that different when you look at the mistakes they typically make as investors.

Some fund managers believe that people are not that different when you look at the mistakes they typically make as investors.

These are some of the common pitfalls investors make:

Eldria Wagenaar, chief investment officer of Prescient Investment Management, named a get- rich-quick approach as the most common investment mistake.

It is this lack of patience that Walter Aylett, manager of the Nedbank Bravata Worldwide Flexible Fund, identifies as investors' greatest downfall.

Trying to time the market is also a common mistake, according to Rob Nagel of Cadiz African Harvest Fund Management and who is also manager of the Nedbank Equity Fund.

"It is not timing the market - it's time in the market" that counts, said Nagel.

Graham Mason, chief executive of Prudential Portfolio Managers and co-manager of the Nedbank Mining & Resources Fund, believes that "buying for short-term gain is wrapped-up in the mistaken belief that the investor knows something that the market doesn't yet know.

"Often these stocks are already expensive.

"Quite why investors believe that the information they've heard, often in the form of a stock tip, is not yet fully priced into the stock they are buying is never articulated."

Richard Gosnell of Taquanta Asset Managers and manager of the Nedbank Inflation Beater Fund, said "being swayed by current news and losing perspective of long term principles" is a common mistake.

But what are the long-term principles, according to these fund managers?

Aylett believes the best advice he ever received was "your return on an investment is determined by the price you pay and not the exit price".

Mason's best advice runs along a similar vein, "buy assets when they are [cheap], not assets with great prospects, not assets that are loved by other investors, not assets that have great stories surrounding them".

"Feed the ducks when they quack," is the phrase Piet Viljoen, manager of the Nedbank Managed Fund, uses to capture this principle.

Wagenaar, whose company manages Nedgroup's various investment products, appreciates the advice she once received "to keep it simple and to make sure you understand what you are buying".

Nagel said investors should analyse the fundamentals of a company dispassionately, rather than find false comfort in relating to a particular company.

Viljoen warns against confusing the share price with the value of the company. The latter is what the investor needs to determine.

The fund managers believe the only times the price of an investment should matter is on the days of purchase and sale.

Neil Brown, of the Nedbank Growth Fund, quotes American investment guru Warren Buffet: "In investing, just as in [cricket], to put runs on the scoreboard one must watch the playing field, not the scoreboard."