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Using Peter Lynch's "Buy What You Know" Investing Style

By Motley Fool Staff - Jul 2, 2016 at 10:40AM

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Here's how to use your tech know-how to make solid investments with great potential to grow.

Younger generations are known to adopt technology faster and more easily than older generations. In this clip from the Motley Fool's Industry Focus: Tech podcast, Dylan Lewis talks with intern Eryn Ratcliffe about how young investors can use that tech knowledge to buy into the next big thing -- without getting swept away by forgettable trends.

A full transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on June 24, 2016.

Dylan Lewis: So listeners, if you've been tuning in all week you know it's Interns Ask Week. Eryn's on today's tech show because I thought she had a really awesome question. Very Foolish. Eryn, would you mind reading it for our listeners?

Eryn Ratcliffe: Of course. As younger people, we are usually the first to adopt and be comfortable with new tech products and advances like Instagram, Fitbit, Venmo, and I was wondering how we could better leverage our experiences and our friends' suggestions to research and buy promising tech stocks?

Image source: Fitbit.

Lewis: I love this question for a couple different reasons. One, I think it's incredibly Foolish. I think the average person can very often think, "I'm just a consumer, I'm intimidated by the stock market, it seems inaccessible to me." The reality is, as a consumer, I think you have a very important perspective on the tastes and trends that are going on, and how businesses are trying to meet them. That's one. Two, I think whether you realize it or not, I think it shows that you are a Peter Lynch style thinker -- more on that next. And three, it's an entryway to talk about a couple pretty cool new tech trends coming up, and some interesting apps and things like that. When you submitted this question to me, I responded with "I want you to do some homework on Peter Lynch." What did you find? What did you get for me?

Ratcliffe: I'd never heard about Peter Lynch before coming to the Fool, but I did some research like you said and found out that he's a famous investor. He managed the Fidelity Magellan fund from 1977 to '90 and during his time, during his 13 years, the fund's assets went from $20 million to $14 billion.

Lewis: Which is incredible.

Ratcliffe: So impressive.

Lewis: What about his investment ideology? How does he think about investing? What is he known for?

Ratcliffe: He's known for trying to invest in growing underrated and really easy to understand companies, and he diversifies a lot in his funds. His three main things that he hammers home in his books and in his speeches are: buy what you know, always do your homework, and invest in the long run.

Lewis: And that's the tie-in there, the "buy what you know," right? That is kind of what your question is getting at. The logic here with Peter Lynch-style investing is, this is a business you understand. It's something you can wrap your head around. You don't need someone else to tell you what is going on. It's not this black box that you're staring at, hands up in the air, "I don't know what's up." I think one of the other major benefits to thinking this way is, risks and the competition are going to be very recognizable to you as an investor. So if you have new entrants, new technology, whatever that might be disrupting the marketplace, you'll be aware of it, and you might pick up on it before some other people will, because you're very ingrained in that space.

Dylan Lewis has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Fitbit. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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