Editors' pick: Originally published Sept. 15.
Donald Trump has had his share of investment and business blunders. Have you flown the Trump Shuttle or downed Trump Vodka lately? But he's also had a fair share of winners.
Even if you start ahead, thanks to inheriting a solid business, it takes acumen to build on it. And as humility isn't a strong suit, Trump has told us how to make deals just like he does.
In 1987, Trump wrote a book called "The Art of the Deal." In it, he discussed his top 11 negotiation strategies. They're not investment tips exactly. But they are strategies on making profitable deals. That's what investing is about.
Here are six of the strategies Trump outlined that are most useful to investors.
"I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing to get what I'm after. Sometimes I settle for less than I sought, but in most cases I still end up with what I want."
It's good to have ambitious goals while investing, as long as it doesn't mean taking on too much risk. Whether long term, short term or medium term, it's important to have a target, or a plan for what you want your investments to accomplish.
Plan for the Worst Possible Outcome
"I always go into the deal anticipating the worst. If you plan for the worst - if you can live with the worst - the good will always take care of itself."
Remember, no one will see the next economic crisis coming. So investors should always have a plan to protect their portfolio from catastrophic losses. You can do this by:
- Diversifying -- invest in different asset classes like stocks, bonds, cash and gold to spread the risk around.
- Don't borrow too much to invest - too much leverage only amplifies losses when markets take a turn for the worse.
- Hedging -- this can be done using cash, gold or a basket of non-correlated assets.
Give Yourself More Options
"I never get too attached to one deal or one approach...I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first."
Don't fall in love with a stock, sector or asset class. Make sure to sell an investment that isn't working out and move on. If you're a gold bug or think real estate is the only way to get rich, learn more about the equity and bond markets. Then when gold and property prices tumble, you'll be more willing to own other types of investments.
Look for the Best Deal, Not the Best Location
"Perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of real estate is that the key to success is location, location, location... First of all, you don't necessarily need the best location. What you need is the best deal."
That's true for real estate investors and stock market investors. Look for markets or countries that offer the best deals, or the highest potential returns. Those are often sectors or stocks ignored by other investors.
Diversifying by geography can also "enhance your location." Owning stocks outside your home country can help you at.
Stand up for yourself
"In most cases I'm very easy to get along with. I'm very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard."
Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous investment advisors and financial planners out there. If they've done something unethical, or worse illegal, and it has cost you money, it's okay to fight back. One way to do this is to file a complaint with the financial services regulator. In the U.S., that's the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Control your costs
"I believe in spending what you have to. But I also believe in not spending more than you should."
Investing involves risks that we can't control. They can be limited, but not eliminated. But we can control investing costs.
One way to do this is to save the fees that come with having a personal broker by opening a discount brokerage account. This is easy to do and will save you a lot in commissions.
You can also invest in low-cost index products like exchange traded funds (ETFs) and index funds. These products track a stock index like the S&P 500. Plus, they normally perform better than more expensive money managers over time. Lowering your investment costs is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall investment returns.
Trump has used these strategies to become a billionaire. When used carefully by investors, they can help your portfolio's performance.
You can download our report on Trump's impact on investors and markets. You can get your free copy here.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. Kim Iskyan is the founder of Truewealth Publishing, an independent investment research company based in Singapore. Click here to sign up to receive the Truewealth Asian Investment Daily in your inbox every day, for free.