Value investors are treated like the maggots of the investing world, eking out a dreary existence chewing through the remnants of once-majestic businesses. Even on a good day, we're seen as little more than carrion-eaters, with no greater ambition than finding the next corpse to pick apart. We're the farthest thing from glory.
Well, on behalf of value investors everywhere, I'm taking a stand. Value investing is no longer the way it was in your granddaddy's day. In fact, the three things you most believe about value investing aren't true any more.
Delusion 1: You can't make money in value stocks.
I think this delusion got started when some guy bought Starbucks
And the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary. Value investing easily beats other investment strategies over most time periods. According to Ibbotson Associates, if you invested $1,000 in growth stocks in 1926 and held through 2002, you'd have about $1 million. If you simply put it in the S&P 500, you'd have about $2 million. But if you instead chose value, your $1,000 would have turned into more than $8 million.
Study after study shows that value investing outperforms. As if that weren't enough, you have the second-richest man in the world as an example. Warren Buffett's made a ton of money. And he did it by buying value.
Delusion 2: Value investors don't care about growth.
People seem to believe that value investors don't care about growth, when nothing could be further than the truth. I love growth. I'd give away my last Beanie Baby simply for the chance to pick up a superior growth stock at a great price. But the key part of that sentence is at a great price.
Growth, by itself, isn't enough. If all that growth is already baked into the price of the stock, then you really aren't gaining anything by buying the shares. In fact, you're taking a huge risk if growth falters. So value investors love buying growth stocks, but only at prices less than their fair values.
Buffett, on the other hand, saw in 1973 that the Washington Post
Delusion 3: Value investing is boring.
Value investing could be boring if you're in the game for action rather than profits. After all, value stocks tend to not blow up and crash nearly as much as growth stocks. The fact that value stocks are already trading for less than their fair values tends to limit the downside volatility. But personally, I'm willing to accept less downside volatility, even if it makes my life less exciting.
How about on the upside? Well, value stocks can take some time to achieve their potential. But, in my experience, this is no different that most stock market strategies -- getting amazing returns simply takes time. And sometimes value stocks do reach their potential quickly. In our July Inside Value newsletter, we recommended MasterCard
But really, as far as I'm concerned, the most exciting thing about value investing is that it wins.
The Foolish bottom line
So if you've scoffed at value and called me a maggot, you might want to take a second look. Value investing has delivered superior returns over the past 80 years, and I believe it will do so over the next 80. And if you're looking for value stock ideas, we can provide a bit of help. You can check out our best value stock ideas in Inside Value using a free pass here.
When Fool contributor Richard Gibbons grows up, he wants to graduate from maggothood and become a fly. He does not have a position any of the stocks discussed in this article. Berkshire Hathaway and MasterCard are Inside Value recommendations. Starbucks, Amazon.com, and Moody's are Stock Advisor picks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.