The basic concept behind everyday value investing is straightforward: If you know the true value of something, you can save a lot of money when you buy it on sale. Most folks would agree that whether you buy a new TV on sale, or at full price, you’re getting the same TV with the same screen size and picture quality.
Stocks work in a similar manner, meaning the company’s stock price can change even when the company’s value or valuation has remained the same. Stocks, like TVs, go through periods of higher and lower demand leading to price fluctuations—but that doesn’t change what you’re getting for your money.
Just like savvy shoppers would argue that it makes no sense to pay full price for a TV since TVs go on sale several times a year, savvy value investors believe stocks work the same way. Of course, unlike TVs, stocks won’t go on sale at predictable times of the year such as Black Friday, and their sale prices won’t be advertised.
Value investing is the process of doing detective work to find these secret sales on stocks and buying them at a discount compared to how the market values them. In return for buying and holding these value stocks for the long term, investors can be rewarded handsomely.