A Farmer’s Approach to Wealth Making


farming

 

The universe is a perfect example of collaboration and interdependence. Nothing stands alone!

We are members of that system. Our lives exhibit different dimensions that must work together if we aim for harmony and prosperity.

Attaining financial wealth is the result of thoughtful and intuitive groundwork on our part. Just like love, self esteem, happiness. They are all fruits, of healthy roots!

To use farming as a metaphor, a wise farmer decides what he/she wants to grow, picks up good seeds, prepares the land (weeding, leveling, fertilizing, etc), waits for the right season (which takes knowledge), then plants the seeds carefully.

That is the bulk of the work. After that, he or she must keep tending to the land, making sure it’s well-watered, free from insects, and so forth.

The rest is not his/her job! The seeds, given the right environment, know what to do. A farmer can’t speed up or slow down their growth.

Aiming to create and grow wealth is quite similar. It starts with knowing what we want, in as much details as possible, while leaving ample room for creativity and spontaneity.

The next step is finding the right “land”, which is the right business or investment that would translate what we want into actual products and/or services, profitable investments, or both.

The “seeds” are plenty. The challenge is to choose the right ones for you and your dream. It is essential to give this enough thought and soul searching. Sit down, write down, reflect, talk to others, collect and analyze information, release negative emotions, then make your decision(s).

What we seek, seeks us! As strange as it may sound, I’m sure you could find examples from your own life to the truthfulness of this finding. Most of the time we meet halfway, but it won’t come knocking on our doors (it might for a few). We must “move” intelligently towards it, and while moving, we continue to be open to what the road might throw before us. That might be another opportunity we haven’t thought of.

Let’s summarize what we have explored so far:

  • Know what you want.
    • This can’t be emphasized enough. We either know what we want, or not. In the latter case, someone, or something, else would choose for us
    • The farmer, in the above metaphor, knows that he/she wants to grow, say, corn this season. What do you want to “grow”, and how would you know? Go back to the basics. Ask yourself fundamental questions about your life in general. Be as honest as you can when you answer. Let those responses come from “you”, regardless of others’ approval, regardless of your current circumstances, and regardless of past conditioning and limiting self-concepts (this is a tough one. Go through it gently and steadily)
    • The outcome is your vision/mission statement. The constitution of your life! Something that reflects who you truly are. Something that inspires you every time you read it!
    • Derive from that statement your wealth objectives. Write them down as intentions, in the present tense. Avoid woulds and shoulds. And stay away from “wanting”. Here’s an example: “I intend to reach $$ net-worth by end of 20xx
  • Find the seeds
    • Now that you know the destination, look for the vehicle(s) that would take you there. One source that is readily available for you is this blog. Read the articles from the beginning. You’ll find a multitude of concepts, strategies and techniques to help you decide what vehicle you’d like to ride
    • Once you find what seeds you like to grow, look for the right implementation. This is also covered in details throughout the blog. However, you can do your own research using whatever tools that are available to you. The point is to plant those seeds in a good, “fertile” environment
  • Take care of your new farm. Nonetheless, allow it to grow on its own. Give it time and be patient. A farmer wouldn’t wake up every morning, go to the cornfield, and yell at it: Grow, grow! Be watchful at this stage and well-informed, but not willful

Finally, what we set out to achieve in life follows timeless principles. The more we know and understand those changeless facts, the smoother the ride, and the better the outcome would be.

The Wealth Maker

© Image Credit: www.shermanfarmnh.com, From Google Images. © Google Inc.

How Can an Investor Read The Future?


Investing is not only an intellectual enterprise. It challenges all dimensions of an investor’s personality and character. That’s why it is an inner job, before it manifests in the outer.

Nonetheless, an investor is not a fortuneteller, a speculator, or a gambler. He or she sees the activity as a business, which is prone to loss and profit, rise and demise.

Human beings are bound by the laws of cause and effect, and governed by the flow of time. Is that so? We tend to “like” to surrender to such determinism because our minds need to find closure on everything. Without such “unconscious” obedience to these laws, without time, the mind gets lost.

Within each and every one of us is a potential greater than the mind. Tapping into that potential requires awareness and inner work. You may start by paying attention to the mind’s ceaseless thinking, and train yourself to be an observer, not a participant in the thousands of thoughts the mind conjures up everyday! You can reach a stage where you “choose” what serves you and add value to your life, while releasing that which confuses or troubles you.

The mind can’t stop working. This is a blessing. Nevertheless, it could turn into a curse when the mind starts using us to “entertain” itself, especially as it finds itself “free”. Keep it busy with something suitable to its nature, and useful to you and to the world around you. Apart from that, practice the art of “un-participation”. You are not your mind!

Here you might say: I’m confused! Are you telling me to be mindless?

Not at all. I’m asking you to be “mindful”. To be the master of your mind not its slave. There is a huge difference between the two worlds.

How is all of that related to investing? Surprisingly a lot!

When you become in command of your mind, and hence your life, all your activities start flowing effortlessly. You bypass the mind’s resistance to the new in favor of the old and familiar.

That leads to a very important fact, which sets the stage for the rest of this discussion: History does not repeat itself! Each and every moment is independent and new, and it may surprise you.

Does that make me read the future? You might ask.

Not literally. However, it advances you light years ahead in your ability to engage the moments while they unfold, which is, in my humble opinion, better than reading the future.

As you rid yourself of a troubling past, and be fully present here and now, you become “aligned” with true universal principles. Time becomes your friend. Cause and effect your servants. You are no longer asleep, spiritually. You start to “see”. You begin to “know” without thinking. You step into a new realm that has already been within you, but now you’re “awake” to its existence and brilliance.

From this new foundation, your investment decisions (and all your decisions) will change, for the better. You have on your side the best advisor ever, you! The real you…

This can only be proven through direct experience. Do not believe any of the above, but try it and practice it, honestly.

After all, whose life and whose money are we talking about? Doesn’t that deserve exploring something new? Haven’t we had enough of resigning to the old, only because it is familiar? And we all know, too well, that “familiar” does not equate to “successful”. Most of the time, it leads to the opposite.

Any breakthrough, throughout human history, has come about by challenging habitual thinking and exploring the frontiers that laid dormant behind the mind.

Gravity isn’t only physical!

The Wealth Maker

Beware of Binary Options (BO) Trading!


Despite its newness, BO trading has almost gone mainstream. The promise of fast and easy attainment of riches fuels its overwhelming proliferation.

People with no experience whatsoever embark on this adventure. After all, opening an account takes seconds. Placing a trade is swift and instant, and so is losing money!

The business model of the so-called binary options brokers (many of them are regulated by gambling authorities, if at all) is an old-fashion scheme, where the winners take part of the losers’ money, and the house keeps the rest. Does that remind you of any other business model?!

New brokers are popping up everywhere. The only region that doesn’t welcome them as much is North America. None of them is recognized or regulated by financial authorities in either Canada or The US.

The platforms, the graphs, the glamour, and even the so-called “rules” play on the psychology of the users, who soon become losers of hard-earned funds.

What is the split? Probably one winner in every 100 or more members. So let’s run a quick calculation. The winner is so good, he/she nets $1000 a day. The losers, on the other hand, give up an average of 50/member. Total loss: 50 *100 = 5000. The winner gets a grand, and the house keeps four; not bad at all! Keep in mind that this example assumes a very low-end of the game. Usually, the split is one winner out of at least 500. And the losers let go of more than 50 a piece.

Is that business, investment, or even trading?

No. It is not, by any measure. It’s a new form of online gambling. People talk about using technical analysis to “predict” the closing price of an asset, when the trade expires. What’s that called? Betting, right. Fighting the odds, with eyes less than half-oppened.

Financial markets are unpredictable on the long-term, let alone for minutes and/or seconds. A price graph may decide to have a “hiccup” right before expiry, costing you all the money you’ve put on that price closing higher (or lower) than the entry point. The reason could be a piece of news, High Frequency Trading (HFT), or any other unpredictable event that may have taken place momentarily, causing a trend to change direction, wiping out your “investment.”

Is that fair? Well, first, no one forces you to do it. And second, which is more important, this is an emotional rollercoaster. Very few people can maintain their composure in the face of such rapid changes. Those are the few winners, exactly as in poker, or any other money game.

Money is a vehicle to exchange real value. Playing with it isn’t healthy, both for the individual and the economy.

Please notice that nothing is being exchanged, not even futures (for example, commodities or stocks). The whole deal is about prediction and speculation. The “trader” buys the “right” to put money on a probability, which is affected by factors that are entirely outside the reach and control of the trader. Can you buy and sell probabilities? You can utilize statistical data to make an informed investment decision. Here, that piece of information has become the asset!

We need to know the traps so we wouldn’t step on them.

Go back to the articles on this blog, or any other source you trust. Gain the knowledge of real investment, real work. Know your options, and never commit money to buying fish in the ocean!

The Wealth Maker

Go Slow


Rushing is a form of greed. We can’t squeeze in a moment more than what it unfolds to offer. What does that mean? You might ask.

Each and every moment is a medium of expression and interaction. Our attitudes determine the way we interact with those moments, but nothing can “change” the nature of a moment, and what it has come to offer.

When it comes to investing, this is so rewarding, even if you can’t observe its effect immediately.

“Go slow” is not a synonym of “be lazy”. It’s an invitation to be mindful of your vision, objectives and actions.

Take your time researching a potential business; read, analyze, and discuss, but never rush to a decision under the pressure of timing the market. That strategy has proven to be misleading, at best…

Once you reach a decision, and you become ready to act, then go for it, do not delay. Here you can be bold and swift.

Now you have planted the seed. You can’t sit next to it and repeat: “Grow, grow, …”. Can you do that on a farm? Can you speed up natural processes, skip a season, harvest in February and plant in September?

The same principles apply across the board, in each and every human endeavor.

Your seed is the “wonderful business” you’ve mindfully invested in. Go slow! Learn to wait. Cultivate patience. It pays in droves at the right time.

How do you know if it is time to harvest? When the business ceases to be “wonderful”, or when it has already produced a handsome return. Before you sell, though, you should have already completed the same research process on another business, in which you intend to reinvest the profits from selling the first business. You need to have liquidity as part of your portfolio, but don’t leave too much sitting around, doing nothing (actually un-invested money becomes a burden, over time, as it loses some of its original value due to inflation and other factors).

Is that boring? You bet it is! But boring is better than losing, isn’t it?

Refrain from buying and selling for the sake of having fun and excitement. Find another venue to satisfy that desire. Investing isn’t a game to be played. It is a discipline to be followed…

Good Investing!

The Wealth Maker

The Trader: Financial Awareness


 

“When a proactive, constructive idea hits you, all of a sudden, never dismiss it, act on it instantly”

That exactly what happened one afternoon, two months ago. I felt so driven to create a LinkedIn group, and name it The Trader. No analysis or deliberate planning, just a strong gut feeling.

Are gut feelings, intuitions, inspirations enough to embark on a new business idea, take an investment decision, or get married!

Honestly, I am not sure. It depends on the person, the topic, and the circumstances. In this case, it was clearly a good idea. The only resistance came from this part that always says no!

I’m so glad now I listened to that hunch. The Trader has become an exemplary group, in less than two months. Not because I created it, but because of the fine people, who accepted my invitation to join, then shared their wisdom, expertise, and hearts. I owe this success to them.

So what is this group all about? Most LinkedIn groups are networking boards. It is different with The Trader. The vision, in three words, is to learn, share and grow.

The world today is filled with financial advisors, professional traders, investors of all types, wealth management experts, financial authors, or just novice beginners, who are eager to find their way through all the clutter, online and off-line.

The Trader aims to start a movement of “financial awareness”. When the right people get their heads, and their hearts, together, have a clear vision, and robust intentions, they can create miracles. You don’t need thousands of members, just a selected few.

The discussions are still spontaneous, which is perfectly normal and healthy. Down the road, and guided by the group’s vision, The Trader will step on its path.

I believe The Trader can present a robust and sane investing model to the industry. That could be the nucleus for a revolutionary trend, one that is rooted in the principles of value investing, yet flexible enough to utilize the best of evolving schools of thought.

It is still young. It has a bright future, and a rich potential.

The Wealth Maker

 

Intelligent Wealth Making


With the advent of the Internet, creating and maintaining wealth has become accessible to more people all over the globe. Throughout the posts of this blog, I have covered several methods, techniques, and concepts that, if followed properly, would lead to making, growing, and maintaining wealth.

Nevertheless, the explosive proliferation of “money making” tools, especially online, has not replaced the need for intelligence! On the contrary, it has made losing money much easier and faster than ever before…

What does it entail to be an intelligent wealth maker? Knowledge? Hard work? Yes, but on top of that, one should realize that this business starts within. It has so much to do with knowing who you are and what you want, with ultimate clarity.

Coming from a solid foundation like that would make you use your awareness to identify the right opportunity, and avoid everything else.

Does that require a 160+ IQ? Not at all. A decent IQ, supported by a good EQ would suffice.

Start by spending time and energy exploring your innermost orientations, motives, tendencies. Discover your values. Revisit your roles and mend your essential relationships. Know where you are going, and then set intelligent objectives and action plans on how to get there. Be flexible enough to learn and adjust as you go.

However, be aware that some things are changeable, while others are changeless!

The Wealth Maker

The Art of Prediction


 

Investing is a business that relies heavily on objective knowledge, such as statistics, probability, math, historical data and trends, analysis, logical judgment, in addition to several other fields of factual knowledge.

Most investors, especially those who rely on technical analysis methods to reach buy and sell decisions, stop there. If their analysis suggested that a specific investment did not fit the mathematical model employed, they wouldn’t invest in it.

There is, however, a small camp of investors who use something else, in addition to all the above. That is intuition.

You may have come across the notion of the two hemispheres of the brain. The left hemisphere is specialized in logic, analysis, the outcome of the data feed that come from the five senses. The right hemisphere is intuitive, subjective, spontaneous  It is responsible for our emotions and spirituality.

People differ in terms of which part of the brain they use more often. Accountants, for example, are mostly left-brained. Poets, on the other hand, tend to be more right-brain oriented. A low percentage of any population can use both sides of the brain effectively. Those are hard to find. If you stumbled upon one of them, and were able to recognize the gift, I’d recommend you stick to them as long as possible!

To be a true enlightened investor, you should not ignore your right side of the brain. Although that is a gift, it could be improved with training and practice (to some extent).

So how would intuition help you make investment decisions?

Let’s tackle that tough, and interesting question in the next article.

Till then, why don’t you get more familiar with your brain/mind? Observe your daily life and see which part you utilize more. Here’s a little drill: The phone rang. It’s your best friend calling from the airport, telling you he’s in town for two days. You already had plans, yet, you’d like to see your friend and spend quality time with him. What would you do?

 

The Wealth Maker

 

The Velocity of Wealth Creation


 

What’s the difference between speed and velocity? Speed has only a magnitude, while velocity has a magnitude and a direction. In other words, it’s a “vector” physical/mathematical quantity.

What does velocity have to do with wealth? A lot!

Like it or not, time is an essential variable in the wealth equation. We’ve seen in several places how we could use time to our advantage, as intelligent investors. For example, once you find a “wonderful business”, you don’t pay the “sticker price”. You “wait” till the share price of that business drops low enough to give you a Margin Of Safety (MOS). Please review the first few articles.

The velocity of wealth is the pace and direction at which you move towards achieving your wealth objectives.

There are several factors that affect that pace. Your age, the stage of life you’re currently at (a student, an employee, a family man  a retired person, etc), the geopolitical environment you happen to be in, the influence of your family, friends, co-workers, your upbringing, the level of your self-esteem, the amount and quality of the financial knowledge you have.

At some stages, it’s wise to focus a considerable portion of your time and energy on wealth creation. This would give you the freedom to slow down at other stages, and focus on other priorities.

So your wealth creation velocity changes speed, and sometimes direction, as you move from one stage to another, or as you change any of the factors mentioned above (the list is not inclusive, you could come up with other factors relevant to you).

You could also derive from the above that your financial wealth creation, is but one of your priorities. Hence, it’s essential to have a vision of your life that encompasses all your priorities, values and roles. And a mission statement, which maps out the distribution of all of these elements across your life.

A question may arise here: Can one increase or decrease his/her wealth creation velocity, without negatively affecting other areas of their lives?

Yes they can, but not randomly or abruptly. For example, when your family responsibilities are at their minimum, you can dedicate yourself much more to wealth building (instead of wasting your resources on meaningless activities). This would pay dividends later on, when you don’t have the same amount of free time.

As a rule of thumb, the earlier you start the better. I know people who started investing in their teens. Don’t wait till before retirement to think about your financial future. It would be late, but not impossible. There are always ways to start all over again, and as the saying goes: It’s never too late!

The Wealth Maker

 

Trading Secrets: When to Enter and When to Exit


 

Those are the two most important decisions a trader has to take. They sort out the winners from the losers, in this tough activity.

So how would you make these two calls?

First, let’s focus on the decision to enter a trade. Once you choose whether it’s going to be a “Buy” or “Sell” call (as explained in the previous article), you now need to pick the right entry point. For Buy trades, you need the lowest possible price. On the other hand, for Sell trades, you look for the highest possible price of the asset you intend to trade.

Let’s use an example. Suppose you wanted to trade gold on the upside (a Buy Call). You look at the price chart, and you notice that gold has been trading between $1595.00 and $1610.00 an ounce over the last 24 hours. Then you go through the latest financial news. The stock markets, say in  North America, have been going down for the last five sessions. You also look at world news: There’s a conflict in Syria, an earthquake in Japan, and the Russian army has just entered Georgia to aid the local government in its struggle against the rebels.

How does all of that affect your trading decisions? Let’s take them one by one. The slump in the stock markets makes most investors flee to safe havens, namely gold and silver, which means the prices of these two precious metals are destined to rise, at least on the short-term. The instability in Syria and Georgia points to threats to oil supply, and higher demand of weapons. Liquid cash is at play here. Again, gold and silver are easier to convert into cash than stocks. This supports the speculation that prices of these two instruments are expected to go up.

Now you are more confident that a Buy Call is the way to go. Your next step is to choose your entry point. This is tricky. If you jumped in immediately, you might lose the chance of entering at a lower price. If you waited too long, you might miss out on the window of opportunity, as prices already started to ascend rapidly.

Your target, as a wise trader, should not be to enter at exactly the lowest point, and leave at the highest possible price. If you insisted on that scenario, you would lose many trades. So what is your target? You want to have a piece of the pie, not the whole thing, in order to avoid the risk of making your pie and eating it!

Going back to the price range, you put an “order” to buy 10 ounces at $1600, and sell them at $1605. Why would you do that? To be as certain as possible that your net would catch some fish in the middle. The price may not go as low as $1595, or as high as $1610 again. But the probability, given all the analysis, of the price moving through the range between $1600 and $1605 is quite high, and that’s what you want.

This kind of trade may look modest, but it would give you $50.00 within a day. Keep in mind that this should not be the only trade you do. You should get involved in two to four trades concurrently. This serves the objective of diversification, which we’d talked about before.

In today’s online trading, all platforms give you the facility to set an entry price, a stop-loss price, and a take-profit price. Your role is to pick the right prices.

Once the trade is executed, you should keep an eye on it. If it behaved in a way that would indicate a bad result, you would need to interfere, by either closing the trade, or adjusting the stop-loss and/or take-profit prices. Your first and most important objective is to preserve your capital, then to make profits.

A wise trader would not discount a small profit if he/she felt that waiting for a higher profit might risk a good portion of his capital. A profit of $2.00 is definitely better than a loss of $10!

Another aspect of trading is repetition. If you couldn’t make the profit you had anticipated, you would go out at a lower profit, preserve your capital, then enter again, using the same asset, or a different one. The bottom line is to create momentum and good income. The kind of asset is irrelevant. It’s only a vehicle. What matters is how you handle the asset in a way that brings the best possible results, under the current circumstances.

To be continued…

The Wealth Maker

Online Investment – Binary Options


 

Binary Options (BO) trading is probably the furthest from Value Investing (VI), when it comes to investment fundamentals. While in VI we focus on the business behind the symbol, A BO trader is almost completely concerned with current price movements. Some BO platforms offer options with a 15-minute life span!

BO is a relatively new version of day trading. Most BO transactions finish within an hour. Recently, some platforms started giving the trader the option to choose longer expiration periods.

The basic concept behind BO trading is to “predict” if the “asset’s” price is going to move up or down relative to the entry price.

Here’s an example: Let’s assume the trader is interested in crude oil’s price movements. The trading platform offers crude as one of the available BO assets. The trader needs to have some funds in his or her account in order to trade. The minimum amount per BO trade varies from one platform to another. Usually between $10 and $50.

Let’s say the platform in this example requires $30 to trade one BO asset. The trader selects crude, enters the minimum trading value, which is $30, then he or she has to decide, or “predict”, whether crude price will go up or down from the current price, say at the top of the hour.

From looking at the charts; trying to forecast price movement trends, reading the latest news, and using his/her best judgement and “gut feeling”, the trader decides to choose the “UP” option. Once he hits “Buy” or “Submit”, the platform registers the price at which the trader “entered” the trade. Let’s say the price was $91.5 per barrel, and the entry time was 10:15 AM.

The trader can either wait, or look for other trades, if he or she still has funds in his/her trading account (because the $30 for the crude trade has already been deducted from the available trading balance).

Now let’s fast forward to 11:00 AM. It’s the time when the BO trade expires. If the price was above 91.5, say 91.51, or more, then the transaction is said to be “In the Money”, and the trader would gain a percentage on top of the original $30. That percentage ranges between 70% and 85%. Let’s use 80%. This means: 30 *1.8 = $54, would be returned to the trader’s BO account balance, with a net profit of $24.

On the other hand, if the price was below the entry price at the expiration (11:00 AM in our example), say 91.49, or less, the transaction is said to be “Out of the Money”. The trader would lose the trading deposit ($30), but some platforms return between 5% to 15% to the account balance. If the trader had started with a balance of $100, he or she would end up with $74.5 (assuming the returned percentage was 15%).

In rare cases, the transaction expires “At the Money”, which is exactly $91.5. In that case, the trader gets back the $30, without any gain or loss.

From the above example, we can see why this kind of short-term investment is called binary. Because it has only two possible outcomes at the expiry of the trading transaction.

BO trading is stressful. Although the potential of making huge returns rapidly is obviously there, so many traders lose all their capital, especially when they get emotional, and try to retaliate, by investing even more to recover their loses.

There is also a factor of luck, and another of speculation here. That’s why experienced traders enter several transactions simultaneously, with the hope that more than half of the trades would end in the money.

Another aspect of BO trading is its heavy reliance on technical analysis. If you lack that skill, the process becomes closer to gambling than trading.

Most, if not all, BO platforms require a minimum deposit of $100, or more, just to start trading (this is different from the amount required per trade). They also run strict verification procedures, before a trader can withdraw any profits, especially if the platform was regulated.

Before engaging in this risky investment, you should research the provider (the BO platform) extensively. Read the FAQ. Evaluate your technical analysis capability, and only use money which you’re prepared to lose! Never use your milk or bread money…

I strongly suggest that if you’re a novice trader, you should steer away from BO trading.

All the best,

The Wealth Maker