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Happy returns – Investors need to rely on a bit more than luck if they want to be successful

25/06/2013

Andrew Lyddon

Andrew Lyddon

Fund Manager, Equity Value

If you have recently celebrated a birthday, then many happy returns – but could that also mean you are more likely to enjoy happy investment returns? Here on The Value Perspective, we thought it was at least worth asking the question having recently reacquainted ourselves with an academic paper entitled Born lucky? The relationship between feeling lucky and month of birth.

In it, psychiatry Professor Jayanti Chotai and psychology Professor Richard Wiseman investigated the relationship between season of birth, someone’s belief in being lucky and personality attributes related to this belief and, in doing so, unearthed some statistically significant relationships between when someone is born and how lucky they feel.

Focusing on the UK, for example, the pair found, for both genders and in all age groups, birth during the summer was associated with a significantly higher belief in being lucky, as compared to a winter birth, with a maximum around a May birth and a minimum around a November birth. Meanwhile, Britons are less likely to consider themselves lucky than non-Britons and, in the UK, retirement-age men are more likely to consider themselves lucky than women of the same age and younger men.

Interesting though this may be, however, anyone looking to be successful as an investor ought to rely on a bit more than a lucky feeling. Some people may even be ‘lucky’ insofar as a significant event works in their favour to make a big difference to their lives – a lottery win, for example, or managing to forecast “one thing right in a row”, such as the end of the dotcom bubble.

Here on The Value Perspective, however, we would argue a more reliable strategy than trusting to fortune is the tried-and tested one of taking a longer-term view of at least three to five years and buying a portfolio of good businesses with strong balance sheets on low valuations, leaving you free to enjoy your birthday – whenever it may fall.

Author

Andrew Lyddon

Andrew Lyddon

Fund Manager, Equity Value

I joined Schroders as a graduate in 2005 and have spent most of my time in the business as part of the UK equities team. Between 2006 and 2010 I was a research analyst responsible for producing investment research on companies in the UK construction, business services and telecoms sectors. In mid 2010 I joined Kevin Murphy and Nick Kirrage on the UK value team.

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