Million Dollar Stock Market Blogger

December 3, 2008

A month ago I posted on entering into the world of stock market investing, just before the bottom fell out of the market. Some of my investments are “penny stocks” which means they are risky but if they go up, it is by a huge amount. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert, I am just dabbling in the shallow end. But Timothy Sykes seems to know what he is doing by short selling penny stocks and selling his own system online so compounding his income with internet sales. 

Check out Entrepreneurs Journey audio interview with him on making his first million, technology, blogging and trading.

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Your Money and Your Brain: Jason Zweig: Book Review

November 30, 2008

 

Your Money and Your Brain

Your Money and Your Brain

I have an interest in investing and psychology so this book was perfect! Jason Zweig’s Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich
is an excellent book if you are interested in why we behave in certain ways when it comes to money. Here are some of the sections I found interesting: 

 

  • We are human and the emotional parts of our brain cause us to do things that we even say we wouldn’t do. For example, you know you should buy low and sell high, so why do we bail out when the shares drop on a company we know is fundamentally good? why do we panic sell? why do we still think we can beat the market? The book focuses on educating us in the areas where our human brains focus on survival, reward and avoid risk. These are evolutional impulses we cannot just logically avoid. 
     
  • A monetary loss or gain actually has a physical effect on the body and brain. You are not just rational thought. 
     
  • The neural activity of someone whose investments are making money is indistinguishable from someone who is high on cocaine
     
  • After 2 repetitions of a stimulus e.g. a stock price rises twice, the human brain automatically expects a third repetition. 
     
  • Financial losses are processed in the same area of the brain that responds to mortal danger
     
  • Anticipating a gain and actually receiving it, are expressed in entirely different ways in the brain, helping to explain why money doesn’t buy happiness
     
  • Many investors fixate on the numbers that change the most i.e. daily fluctuations as opposed to the long term growth of their wealth which is where the significant gain may be
     
  • Zweig compares the market strategists, financial analysts and investment experts of today with the soothsayers of ancient history. They both claim to tell the future by “clear signs” – liver spots versus unemployment rates, new products, company launches. Randomness rules the markets and people cannot beat it consistently. 
     
  • So how do you react to this? Control the controllable i.e. your expectations, your exposure to risk, your readiness in the market, your expenses, your commissions, your behaviour…but don’t expect to control the market. Learn what works by tracking what doesn’t. Embrace your mistakes. Keep asking why and find out reasons why things are recommended. 
     
  • Positive thinking can be useful but over-optimism is dangerous. Don’t put too much trust in what is familiar e.g. putting all your super stocks into your own company. You might think it is safe, but so did the employees of Enron. We have an illusion of control if we are involved in something, but this is not true. Exposure makes something more attractive and easier to invest in, even if you have just heard the name and know nothing about the company. 
     
  • Risk tolerance is affected by  framing e.g. this stock has a 20% chance of falling will have less investment than one that has an 80% chance of rising. Beware of how investments are described and turn them on their heads before you make a decision. 
     
  • Keep an eye on your managed funds. You can move a percentage around to other asset classes. This may be your main future income so you should manage it actively. A study found 73% of people made zero changes in asset allocation over the life of a managed fund. 
     
  • Regression to the mean. Extreme growth carries the seed of its own destruction. Sooner or later, a stock or fund that performs much higher than average will crash or have a bad year. It will have to return to the mean.  
     
  • Top tips: Take the global view. Hope for the best, expect the worst. Investigate, then invest. Never say always. Know what you don’t know. The past is not prologue – don’t just buy because a stock has always gone up. Weigh what the experts say. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Costs are killers – watch your fees/commissions. Eggs go splat so diversify. 

I recommend buying this book if only for the Appendixes which are packed with handy advice. This book could save you a LOT of money. You can buy it from Amazon Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich
and you can also find Jason at his website JasonZweig.com which has a huge resources page for investors, articles and information. Learn more and look after your money!
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Even more knowledge available online…

November 1, 2008

Last week, there was a ground-breaking settlement between Google and American publishers that will allow Google to index in-copyright books for Book Search. Previously it has only been for books out of copyright. 

This will only be for users in the US but it marks the continuation of the change of modern publishing. You will be able to find out of print books, and using print-on-demand publishing, order a copy even if it has been out of print for years. This is great for the reader and seeker of knowledge, and potentially great for authors as Google will track revenue for “orphan” books and people can claim if they have the rights. 

I am a huge fan on print-on-demand publishing, and this demonstrates another use for it. No longer will books languish in libraries unseen but will reappear online for you and I to learn from. Brilliant! 

Now, if Google will please sort out the rest of the world so we can all benefit!

New Book “Living An Abundant Life” Featuring International Success Teachers

October 27, 2008

Are you interested in the Law of Attraction?

Are you a fan of the great success teachers, including Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Dr Wayne Dyer, Brian Tracy and Neale Donald Walsch?

Do you enjoy reading inspirational stories of people who have turned their life around and achieved abundance? 

This new book, “Living an Abundant Life” is packed with success stories, tips and strategies for changing your life and manifesting abundance in all areas. 

 

 

 

Here are some of the bits I especially enjoyed in the book

  • Brian Tracy has a chapter on “Be an Optimist at All Times”. He discusses the way you need to see situations in order to remain positive so you can develop self-confidence and be unstoppable in what you want out of life! 
     
  • Jack Canfield, author of “The Success Principles” and Mark Victor Hansen discuss Habits and how to use them to change your future. If you want to be financially independent, then you need to change your money habits. You need to have a “no exception policy” where you commit to the new habit and just do it! You can determine the quality of your life by changing your habits. 
     
  • Neale Donald Walsch, author of “Conversations with God”  has a chapter on “A Few Words About Life”. He talks about opening yourself up to discernment, to understanding that what you see is not true reality, but a reality that you construct. If you learn this way of thinking, you will be able to see the opportunities hidden in the problems you face today. 
     
  • An inspirational story of how a New Zealand couple are using their spare time to build a real estate portfolio that will enable them to retire early. They focus on creating wealth while continuing to do their day jobs as well. 
     
  • Think of you and your life as a garden. Do you have dark and shady places? riotous colour and flowers? zen water features and calm soothing tones? How would you like your garden to be? This brilliant chapter likens life to a garden that we need to tend so it blooms perfectly. You can turn your out of control jungle into a beautiful thriving paradise. The author, Lizzy Yates, encourages an active thought process for mapping out how you want your garden to be. Cultivate your garden with vision boards, workshops, education, life coaching, meditation, journaling and motivation. 
     
  • Dr Wayne Dyer’s chapter contains 12 specific tools for de-cluttering your life and allowing inspiration in. It includes slowing down… “There is more to life than increasing its speed” – Gandhi
     
  • The inspirational story of the retirees who took off for a round-the-world trip to 33 countries in one year – abundance is more than just material wealth! 
     
  • How Sandy Forster went from welfare to millionaire using the Law of Attraction – ask, receive, be grateful and act!
     
  • Goals are dreams with deadlines. Dream big and go for what inspires you. Then make your goals SMARTER – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound, Exciting and Rewarding. Choose your attitude actively and consciously. Make it creative, positive and open as attitudes are the essence of success. 
     
  • How to achieve business success through tough times by trusting your own voice and creativity, change thought patterns to focus on the positive and go for adventure in your life! How one writer started a quality magazine and set up an organisation of women yacht racing for charity
     
  • A lovely story about one woman’s move from people massage and healing, to pet massage. Her wonderful chapter is about how the energy we give off in life affects our pets health as well as our own. They can be a reflection of our true health.  
     
  • How one brave woman moved from a life of domestic abuse to one of abundance and happiness, after reading books on success and life change. 
     
  • How to believe and take action in order to achieve your dreams and make them a reality. Listen when your body tells you that what you are doing is bad for you. If stress, long hours and bad diet are wearing you down, then you need to listen and find out what you really want to do. 

You can find out more information, or buy the book here => www.AbundantEntrepreneurs.com 

NB. Yes, I am also a featured author in the book! You can read my story here.

Marketing genius Seth Godin says “Start”

October 25, 2008

Seth Godin is a success by any measure, a thought leader, a marketing genius and so prolific! Josh Spears posted this blog interview today with Seth, which is brilliant so I thought I would share it on.

What I learnt from Seth in particular: 

  • Ideas have to be “a purple cow” i.e. they have to stand out, be remarkable and noteworthy. Nobody wants boring. “The purple cow is rare because people are afraid. If you are remarkable, some people won’t like you. Criticism comes to those who stand out.” 
     
  • The Ideavirus was an e-book he launched as a viral book and it got round the net pretty fast – packed with interesting ideas in itself, and free
     
  • Permission marketing means only telling people who are interested in your product. Simple, yet brilliant stuff. No one needs spam. Treat people well, have a brilliant product and they will buy from you. 
     
  • His book, “The Big Moo” has a collection of essays from various people who are not identified. It’s very cool to try and guess who wrote what – my favourite section is “They say I’m extreme” which is a challenging poem “Everything has already changed. Tomorrow is the first day of your revolution…or you’re toast.”
     
  • His social media platform Squidoo.com is great with search engines so build a page for your passion or go rate other lenses – you can check out my lens for my book “How to Enjoy Your Job” here 

  You can find out all about Seth Godin at his website or his blog.

The Stock Market from a New Player’s Perspective

October 24, 2008

Economic cycle

Economic cycle

Warren Buffett says “Buy” and one of my favourite bloggers, Tim Ferriss,  is blogging on investments… so here are some of my thoughts as a newbie to the stock market this year. There are many misconceptions, so hopefully this will dispel some of them. I am just off the starting line in this area, so forgive my simplistic approach!

  • You don’t have to be a day trader to be into the stock market. You can buy and hold for the long term, although at some point you will sell in order to realise the gain. Or you will sell when the stock is a loser. The point is that you don’t have to be frantically watching the stock market all the time, jumping in and out. It does not have to be that stressful. 
     
  • You can do it yourself with an online broker and you don’t have to be on the phone to someone shouting “Sell..Buy” etc. You can decide on a particular stock, research it, put in your order online for spot price (price at whatever they can get it at) or at a particular limit . The broker at the other end then buys the stock and you get an email with your new purchase. You will have set up an account for the funds to be taken from and the money goes out of your account. Dividends are also paid into this account (from income making shares where companies pay out dividends). 
     
  • You do not have to be leveraged i.e. you can just buy your stocks with cash you have in your bank account. Leveraged means you borrow in order to invest, then if (or when) your stock crashes, you may get a margin call which is for a particular amount to cover the outstanding debt. This is what has happened with the current markets where people have borrowed far more than they actually had in assets e.g. Lehman Brothers. I currently buy small packets of shares in companies with 100% of my own money that is saved for this purpose. Some would say this is silly and I could buy more if I borrowed. But I have friends who have done that and if the shares go down, then they are servicing debt on assets worth less than that debt. I don’t have to worry as I am investing for the longer term and am not servicing any debt. Of course, if the shares go up, then I don’t make as much money, but hey, I am just starting out! 
     
  • You do not have to know everything about the company, you can listen to experts. You may not be passionate about a particular industry, or have the time to spend (or the knowledge) to pore over their financial statements. But if you want to play the game, you can pay for advice and then take the information you want for your own investments. I belong to a couple of newsletters for Australian shares, I read them and then make investment decisions based on their articles. I find this a great way to get information and tips on companies I would never even have heard of. 
     
  • It is surprisingly fun! and you end up enjoying the financial press as you can actually understand some of it. Paying a percentage into a superannuation fund that someone else manages is no fun (but Australian legal requirement), but making my own decisions and buying into companies is brilliant! I was never one to read the business pages but now I am getting addicted to them. 

So have I made any money yet? 

Of course not! I jumped in just before the crash, but hey, I am at an age that will see the next boom (and maybe the next one). So I am doing what Warren Buffett says and getting into the market now, with my own savings, and we will see what happens. I am certainly getting an education!

Plan for Success: Protect your Assets

October 22, 2008

Warren Buffett has said the time is ripe for buying into the stock market. Fear has driven prices low and we can buy now and wait for time to play its game again. Some companies are valued less than their cash value. Houses are available for cheap as mortgagee sales.

So if you are thinking of making the most of this time, then think ahead and plan for success. You want to protect your assets, ensure your returns are channelled in the most tax efficient manner and ensure you can pass the wealth onto your children (as wealthy, successful people plan to do). 

If you buy shares or property, what name are you buying them in? 

Your own name?  joint names? a company name?  a trust name?  
Do you know the ramifications of buying in each of these entities? (The laws differ by country so be careful with this).

You will need to talk to a professional about your situation, but here are some things to consider. What is the best entity to buy in for these situations?  

  • If your shares rise in value and you sell in 10 years time, you may have to pay capital gains tax 
  • You receive dividends on the shares over 10 years and you have to pay income tax – whose total income is being taxed? 
  • You receive investment property rental income which is liable for income tax, you also have capital gains if you sell it, and who would benefit if values do go up and you want to releverage?

Planning for success means planning for the life of your investments.
Think now about the best way to grow your wealth, and how your changing financial situation will be affected by growth in income and asset base. It is much easier to set structures up at the beginning and grow into them, than try to sell assets into them later (possibly triggering a tax event in the process). 

Wealthy, successful people plan their wealth. So even if the news looks dire at the moment, go see a financial planner about your financial future.

Successful people don’t watch TV

October 20, 2008

Successful people don’t watch TV. They don’t fill their brains with junk, but use the time productively. 

“American children and adolescents spend 22 – 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70, they will have spent 7 – 10 years of their life watching TV” 

The Kaiser Family Foundation 

What do you remember from a night’s watching TV? Do you want to waster 7 -10 years of your life doing something you don’t remember? Here are 8 reasons you should turn off your TV (in fact, get rid of it). 

  1. Wealthy people have big libraries, not big TVs. Who do you want to be like? Your mind is an amazing instrument, picking up information from all the input sources. Do you want to fill it with Idol, Desperate Housewives/other trashy drama? 
     
  2. TV is filled with the same old junk every day and it screws with your mind. I used to be a news junkie, but the news is the same every day as well. There are always wars, always violence, always awful things happening in the world. If you don’t watch it, you won’t suffer from lack of knowledge because people will tell you what’s going on. Or just Google news it. But don’t obsess about reading news or watching TV all the time. You don’t need to see murders, rapes, violence and misery on TV. It is not enriching your life. You have a certain amount of attention span daily. Fill it with information that will improve your life. 
     
  3. Spend that time on self-improvement. Reading, audio programs, videos and internet courses. You could even try university correspondence courses and work towards a particular goal. If you count the hours you spend watching TV in a year, you could have done half a degree by now. 
     
  4. Spend that time with your family improving your relationships. Success is about all areas of life and your emotional health is as important as your financial health. Instead of watching TV with the family, do something where you actually get to know each other better. It may sound wierd in this age of online entertainment, but board games are great. Or just eat a meal around the table instead of having TV dinners. 
     
  5. TV gives people a false view of what life is really like. It feeds insecurities, makes you think you are not good enough, that your life is not enough, that you want more. It can affect your body image, your self-confidence and make you question how happy you are. 
     
  6. Spend that time visualising your dreams and goals. Instead of watching TV tonight, write down your dream life, you dream job, your dream house, how much money you earn, your perfect day. Use your imagination instead of being anaesthetised by the tube.  
     
  7. TV makes you fat. People eat more in front of the TV, and they are exposed to junk food advertising that makes you want a burger in the middle of your sitcom. If you don’t watch TV, you could always use the time for exercise. [And no excuses about cycling in front of the TV, I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work for long!]
     
  8. TV has adverts that make you want to buy more stuff. Stuff you don’t need. Stuff that you don’t want to buy in this financial climate. [or in fact any financial climate]. If you don’t know about it (and your kids don’t know about it), you won’t want it. So no TV, means less excess spending on things you don’t need. 
     

I am not anti-media. You can watch other media if you want a particular series or movie or documentary. I absolutely think DVDs are a fantastic way of learning. The key is choice. Choose what you watch wisely and question whether it is adding to your life experience.

Is it improving your brain or killing some cells? I download “House” (love it) but with no adverts so I have viewing pleasure and no TV pain. I hire DVDs, but I haven’t had a TV for 2 years and I love it. I sound pretty militant actually, but this blog is about wealth and success. The people who have the most wealth and success do not watch TV. So do what they do. Turn it off. 

Check out loads of articles on this at http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/

    Goodbye comments from hedge fund manager

    October 19, 2008

    One of my recommended bloggers Tim Ferriss, author of “The Four Hour Work Week”, has just posted a brilliant letter from a retiring hedge fund manager. This guy, Andrew Lahde, produced 866% return betting on the subprime collapse and this is his goodbye letter, closing up shop and getting out of the dirty (and miserable) business. 

    Check out the post here => the goodbye and f**k you letter 

    Setting and Achieving Goals is a Key to Success

    October 19, 2008

     

    Smaller goals can help you reach your dreams

    Smaller goals can help you reach your dreams

    Goal setting is contentious as it seems to depend on the personality type and people have different opinions as to what is useful.

    I am a chronic goal setter. I love writing goals, I love ticking them off the list. I have huge big lifetime goals (to be a self-help author), and I have little daily ones (my to do list).

    I have perennial goals (maintaining my weight and fitness) , and ones that I have achieved and never need to revisit ( see the pyramids and tombs Egypt).

    Some people achieve amazing things in their lives with no apparent goal setting process. But I am not one of these people, and most success books and programs will use goal setting in their approach. So here are some of my thoughts on goal setting and achieving.

    • Goals give a target to aim for and a specific date to achieve them by. They focus the mind and allow your ‘mental filters’ to adapt to new possible realities. 
       
    • Dreaming about possibilities is important as it gives you somewhere to aim for ultimately, but goal setting is a more practical activity that actually maps the path to achievement. You can have a huge dream, but lots of little goals to achieve on the way to that dream. The picture above graphically illustrates this.
       
    • Write your Main Goal and your smaller goals in simple language that are easy to understand and remember. Word it in a positive way e.g. “I will be….” Or “I will have …” . Writing goals down is important as it helps you make it concrete and real. It is also there to be reread in the future when you will realise how much you achieved.  

    • Your goal must be measurable so you know when you have achieved it. It can’t be a matter of opinion as to whether you have achieved it.   

    • You should have a time limit by which you will achieve the goal. I set my time limits and strive to achieve by then, but I do not beat myself up if I don’t reach it by then. 
       
    • Speak your Main Goal and the specific goal you are working on right now either out loud or in your head every day. Speak with confidence. This confidence is important even if you don’t feel it at first, because the more you get used to the words and the ideas, the more you will feel that it will happen. 
    • Be thankful for the achievement of your goal before you have even achieved it. Know that you will achieve it. Be grateful for the opportunities it will give you and feel the excitement of having achieved it already. This may sound strange but it helps you to grow a confidence you might not have otherwise.  

     

    “Set a goal that is big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.”

    Jim Rohn