The Coffee Can Investment Strategy: A Guide

Coffee Can Investment Strategy

Are you looking for a long-term investment strategy that can help you build wealth without constantly monitoring your portfolio? Look no further than the coffee can investment strategy.

This simple yet effective approach involves selecting a handful of quality stocks and holding onto them for an extended period of time. In this guide, we'll walk you through the basics of the coffee can investment strategy and how you can implement it in your own investment portfolio.

What is the Coffee Can Investment Strategy?

The coffee can investing strategy is a long-term, buy-and-forget strategy that involves investing in a small selection of high-quality stocks and holding onto them for a prolonged period of time, typically at least ten years or more.

Robert G. Kirby coined the term “Coffee Can Investing” in 1984. The term "coffee can" refers to the practice of storing important items in coffee cans, such as stock certificates, and forgetting about them for a period of time. Coffee can investing takes a similar approach, with investors selecting a handful of quality stocks and holding onto them for an extended period of time to build enormous wealth, without worrying about short-term market fluctuations of the stock market.

How Does the Coffee Can Investment Strategy Work?

  1. Focus on high-quality companies: The coffee can investment strategy involves investing in high-quality, well-established companies with a consistent track record of growth and profitability. To be considered as a sound investment opportunity, the company should demonstrate that it has been in business for at least 10 years and sustainably generating returns of a minimum of 15% on its capital employed over this period.
  2. Look for market leaders: These companies are typically market leaders in their industry, with a competitive edge that allows them to maintain their market position over the long term.
  3. Invest in a small number of companies: Rather than trying to diversify across a large number of companies, the coffee can investment strategy involves investing in a small number of high-quality companies.
  4. Hold onto the companies for an extended period of time: Coffee can investors don't worry about short-term gains and market volatility. Once you've selected your stocks, hold onto them for an extended period of time, typically 10 years or more – don’t let fear and greed get the better of you.
  5. By holding onto these companies for an extended period of time, investors can benefit from the power of compounding, as their returns are reinvested and grow over time.
  6. By investing in high-quality companies with a strong track record of growth and profitability, investors can benefit from the long-term growth potential of these companies.

Note: While mutual funds can offer a diversified portfolio, they may not be the most effective way to implement the coffee can investment strategy. They often come with higher fees and may not align with the strategy's goal of holding onto stocks for an extended period of time. Instead, selecting a small number of high-quality individual stocks may be the most effective approach for implementing the coffee can investment strategy.

Benefits of The Coffee Can Investment Strategy

  • Minimal Maintenance: Invest in select stocks and let them grow over time, saving you effort in managing your investments.
  • Reduced Stress: A long-term perspective helps you avoid emotional decisions based on short-term market events.
  • Compound Growth: Allowing investments to grow over an extended period can lead to significant wealth accumulation.
  • Lower Costs: Less trading activity means lower fees and taxes, increasing your overall returns.
  • Long-Term Outperformance: Focusing on strong, well-established companies may lead to better long-term results.

How to Build a Coffee Can Portfolio

Step 1: Establish Your Investment Criteria

Begin by defining the criteria for selecting companies for your Coffee Can portfolio. Typically, focus on:

  • Strong business fundamentals (e.g., solid balance sheets, positive cash flow, low debt)
  • Competitive advantages (e.g., strong brands, unique technology, economies of scale)
  • Consistent growth (e.g., revenue, earnings, and dividends)

Pro Tip: Avoid companies with excessive debt or those in industries facing significant disruption. Use Wisesheets to create custom metrics and formulas based on your investment criteria for efficient comparisons.

Horizontal analysis template

Step 2: Screen for Potential Candidates

Leverage Wisesheets to import financial data directly into Excel or Google Sheets, streamlining the initial screening process. Easily filter companies based on your investment criteria, such as consistent revenue growth or low debt-to-equity ratio. Here are some other things you can look at using a stock data tool like Wisesheets:

  • Dividend Yield: Find dividend-paying stocks by filtering companies based on a minimum dividend yield, like 2%, for consistent income.
  • Return on Equity (ROE): Screen stocks with high ROE, indicating well-managed companies effectively utilizing shareholder investments.
  • Earnings Per Share (EPS) Growth: Identify companies with consistent earnings growth by filtering stocks based on their EPS growth rate over a period (e.g., 3 or 5 years).
  • Price-to-Earnings (P/E) Ratio: Use Wisesheets to screen for stocks with low P/E ratios, suggesting possible undervaluation compared to peers.
  • Market Capitalization: Balance risk and growth potential by filtering companies based on market cap, targeting a mix of large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks.
Graham number stock screener

Pro Tip: Explore smaller, lesser-known companies that may offer great long-term potential.

Related: Stock Metrics Every Smart Investor Should Know

Step 3: Conduct an In-Depth Analysis

After narrowing down your list of potential stocks, dive deeper into each company's financials, management, and industry position. Access key ratios, financial statements, and other relevant data points with ease.

Best Practice: Read annual reports, earnings call transcripts, and industry research for a comprehensive understanding of each company. With Wisesheets, you can one-click upload historical statements and balance sheets on a spreadsheet.

Excel stock add-in

Related: How to Analyze Stock Financials for Investment Success

Step 4: Diversify Your Portfolio

Ensure your Coffee Can portfolio is well-diversified across different sectors and industries. This mitigates risks associated with a specific industry or economic event.

  • Example: Allocate investments across various sectors, like technology, healthcare, consumer goods, and utilities.

Pro Tip: Aim for a mix of large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap stocks to balance risk and growth potential.

Step 5: Make a Long-Term Commitment

Once your Coffee Can portfolio is built, commit to holding investments for at least 10 years. This strategy is about long-term growth and minimizing trading activity.

Best Practice: Resist the urge to tinker with your portfolio based on short-term market fluctuations.

Step 6: Regularly Monitor and Reassess

While the Coffee Can approach is hands-off, it's important to monitor your investments and reassess their performance and fundamentals. You can set up a custom dashboard on Wisesheets displaying key metrics and data points.

Best Practice: Conduct an annual or biannual review to ensure your investments still meet your initial criteria and adjust as needed.

Elevate Your Coffee Can Investment Strategy with Wisesheets

Building a Coffee Can portfolio requires patience, discipline, and a focus on long-term growth. By following these steps and utilizing the power of Wisesheets, you can create a diversified, high-performing portfolio that can potentially outperform the market over time. Keep your eyes on the long-term prize, and you'll be well on your way to investment success.

Try it for free today!

Read next: The Wheel Investing Strategy: Making Consistent Income

Guillermo Valles

Guillermo Valles

Hello! I'm a finance enthusiast who fell in love with the world of finance at 15, devouring Warren Buffet's books and streaming Berkshire Hathaway meetings like a true fan.

I started my career in the industry at one of Canada's largest REITs, where I honed my skills analyzing deals and learning the ropes.

My passion led me to the stock market, but I quickly found myself spending more time gathering data than analyzing companies. That's when my team and I created Wisesheets, a tool designed to automate the stock data gathering process, with the ultimate goal of helping anyone quickly find good investment opportunities.

Today, I juggle improving Wisesheets and tending to my stock portfolio, which I like to think of as a garden of assets and dividends. My journey from a finance-loving teenager to a tech entrepreneur has been a thrilling ride, full of surprises and lessons.

I'm excited for what's next and look forward to sharing my passion for finance and investing with others!

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