Here’s a simple question-what is trading? To answer, perhaps not so simply, we first need to understand what trading is NOT. Trading isn’t about buying the fanciest chart, hanging on to something because it is a good buy, or feeling good about yourself because you can go to a cocktail party and relate to what everyone else is saying. Trading is about making money.

nice.jpgThere are software systems that create pretty colors and tell you which stocks are safe to buy because they have moved a certain way in the past. If one particular stock has been going up and up and up, a trend follower concludes that the stock should continue moving UP! However, in order to follow a stock’s true potential progress, would you rather wait for a computer program, or be actively and directly involved in its ascent?

Picture an apple in the center of a room, surrounded by 10 traders. Consider for a moment, each trader buying the apple until everyone has owned it. What is that apple worth? It is worth ONLY what someone will pay for it. Person #1 buys the apple for $1 and takes a bite. Person #2 then pays $2 for the same apple and takes another bite. Person #3 pays $3, and so on until finally, the last person takes that final bite. Yes, the apple is STILL worth only what the next person will pay for it-no more, and certainly no less. The only person left to sell it to is the one who walked into the room an hour late, looks at the apple’s past price history, consults his software that says the smelly apple has had a great price performance, and determines that it’s a worthwhile buy. That is precisely the definition of trend trading.

Make no mistake, successful trading is about you versus the guy sitting next to you with the pretty software. Don’t waste your time trading with charts, spend your time leaning how the stock markets really work.

fmldphff1.jpgIf you are like most people, you do not feel that you “deserve money”. The simple fact is that most people are broke. Most people are broke because they do not feel that they deserve money.

To be financially successful you must: save prodigiously, invest wisely, and act like an entrepreneur. If you don’t believe you are capable of financial success, figure out why.

OK, maybe now you are thinking, “I deserve money…right?” Well, here is the thing, if you have the thought that “It takes money to make money”, or “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”, or “Money is the root to all evil”, then you do not deserve money…well, maybe not yet, but there is hope for you.

There are two sides to every coin, people can look at money as good or bad and often at times people look at money as bad to justify why they do not have any. I dont know, maybe someone with money or someone that was thinking of making money was with someone that did not have any and did not have any plans to make any. What they thought about having lots of money and they gave off one of the lame excuses as suggested in the previous paragraph.

Why do you deserve money? The answer is simple…because you deserve money! Look, making money is simply the result of exchanging your efforts or ideas for money.

There are a many ways to make a million dollars and most of them are quite fun ways to make money and thats the key! If you are willing to learn how to have fun, make money and teach others to do the same, then it should end up being easy to make the money for you.

Start with this; how much money would you like to have, then ask yourself how much money do I currently deserve doing what I am doing now? If the answer is not 10-20 times more, then you are not doing the right thing to attain the amount that you would like to have. Time to change…

Change…is the word “change” scary to you? If it is, then you do not deserve money! Broke people are afraid of change. Change is natural and should be embraced by everyone. If we do not embrace change in our life then we are accepting where we are and probably will stay where we are. If you are happy with what you are making and like where you work, then go out and buy your boss a gift basket, sit down, be quiet and stop complaining about your finances.

children_classroom2.jpgI was involved in a discussion some time back and we were discussing this and all of us thought it was ridiculous that they don’t teach a personal finance class in high school, at least not when we were in school. Is it any wonder that when kids go off to college they rack up so much debt? According to some statistics I read that the average undergraduate has credit card debt!

The logic behind teaching children and teenagers about personal finance is pretty obvious. Just think of all of the finance clichés that you’ve heard: start investing as early as you can, the most important factor in investing is time, don’t get into credit card debt, etc. – all things that are best to learn sooner rather than later.

And because many basic aspects of personal finance currently aren’t taught in school and are left to be learned at home, this current system seems to nurture the fact that wealthy people tend to stay wealthy and poor people tend to stay poor. I don’t think it takes a giant leap of faith to see the possible correlation.

A simple personal finance class with discussions on retirement, the negative impact debt can have on a person, automobile financing, and saving for the future instead of buying for the now should be implemented in every single high school across the country.

The best long term solution is educating people so that they want to save by making financial capability a compulsory part of the school curriculum and embarking on a public awareness campaign to show the potential hazards of not saving.

Did I really need to learn Chemistry if I had no interest in any fields that would need it? I would think that learning how to control one’s money would be of more help to most people. Thoughts? Did you have finance classes in high school? If you did, did they help? I would love to hear about your experiences!

A man explained inflation to his wife thus: “When we married, you measured 36-24-36. Now you’re 42-42-42. There’s more of you, but you are not worth as much.” – Lord Barnett.

sainthood.gifA man can never have enough of socks, women and cigarette lighters. Did I forget money?”
Zakman

Money isn’t everything but it sure keeps you in touch with your children.” – J. Paul Getty

Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That’s how rich I want to be.” – Rita Rudner

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” – Woody Allen

When you’ve got them by their wallets, their hearts and minds will follow.” Fern Naito.

All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.” Spike Milligan.

Money is something you have to make in case you don’t die.” Max Asnas.

It’s better to give than to lend and it costs about the same.” Philip Gibbs.

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”
– Dorothy Parker

Financial Joke: The Stock Report

Helium was up. Feathers were down. Paper was stationary. Knives were up sharply. Pencils lost a few points. Hiking equipment was trailing. Elevators rose, while escalators continued a slow decline. Light switches were off. Mining equipment hit rock bottom. Diapers remained unchanged. Shipping lines stayed at an even keel. Balloon prices were inflated. And batteries exploded in an attempt to recharge the market.

Fear is a huge issue with a lot of traders. And interestingly, not just fear of failure but also fear of success.

I think there are two keys to taming fear, you can never eliminate it so don’t even try. The first and most critical is the one noted above – action. Action can tame fear in an instant. But it needs to be the right sort of action.

robin_bungee41.jpg____I personally have a fear of heights; so going bungee jumping may not have been the best way to address it! But that’s exactly what I did. There I was on a platform 250 feet above water, cursing why I got into this, but the only way to conquer fear was to jump and that I did. Do what you fear and the death of fear is certain.

In the same way, if you have a fear of losing your trading account, trying to face it down by putting it all on the line in one trade is not the best sort of action. But taking considered, appropriate action, like the strict use of stop losses is a way of taming fear and getting past the paralysis stage that fear can create.

The second key is focus. By this I mean keeping in the moment and concentrating on the immediate action that is required to move you forward.

If your focus is too broad you can become overwhelmed by the possibilities. Or you might start to worry about things that are beyond your control or simply don’t matter – like whether interest rates are going up or not.

But when you narrow your focus and remain “in the moment” in regard your trading, fear will be sidelined. The simple reason for this is that you can’t concentrate on two things at once!

And again, this will help overcome the paralysis that can be created by fear. So if you suffer from fear in your trading – action and focus are the only keys!

There is an old saying on Wall Street that the market is driven by just two emotions: fear and greed. Although this is an over implication, it can often be true. Succumbing to these emotions can have a profound and detrimental effect on investors’ portfolios and the stock market.

fw-sale.jpg

Hold on a second Read (more…)

2004-08-25-investors-200.jpgApproximately eighty percent of our investors are male. But I am willing to bet that eighty percent of the most successful investors are women.

I have read many stories and I began to wonder why is it that women tend to be better investors than men. I thought about it over and over, and I could not ignore the facts that women make more successful investors than men.

While this recent research shows that potentially women are naturally talented investors, many are still put off by the macho image of the stock market. Men tend to let their egos make their decisions for them. They hold when they should sell and vice versa. They buy in for fear of missing out on that one big opportunity. They refuse to ask questions or to ask for help in fear of looking silly.

In other words, men are more interested in looking strong, knowledgeable or successful than they are in making money. They invest not to get the best deal out of the market but invest so that they look good.

Women on the other hand, are much more likely to ask questions until they fully understand what they are learning, and they are usually more interested in the goal, (in this case making money) than they are in impressing the people around them.

This quality makes women great investors from all that I have read are that rather than investing according to what will make them look good, women will invest according to a plan—not according to what mood they are in or whether they will be “right” or “wrong”.

Investing is not about being right or wrong. It’s about making money. Women are able to put their egos aside in ways men have trouble doing. This ability to set their ego aside makes women great investors.

Need proof? Ask yourself this: if a man and a woman are lost on a trip, which is more likely to stop and ask for directions? Being involved with Financial Services since a long time I have noticed women are more likely to ask investment questions until they completely understand the concepts. Men, on the other hand, can be too afraid to ask the necessary questions because he may look bad doing so.

Women tend to come to investing with a mind to learn. And when they learn, they execute solid plans. Men can be heard saying they “know that a company is good”, whereas women can usually tell you why the company is good.

“Are women better investors? As the expression goes ‘Men are from Mars and Women from Venus’… in the case of investing in shares it looks like Venus just might be a more sensible place to follow and put your money!”

pokerchips.jpgInvesting in conservative blue chip stocks may not have the allure of a hot high-tech investment, but it can be highly rewarding nonetheless, as good quality stocks have outperformed other investment classes over the long term.

Historically, investing in stocks has generated a return, over time, of between 10 and 15 percent annually depending how aggressive you are. Stocks outperform other investments since they incur more risk. Stock investors are at the bottom of the corporate “food chain.” First, companies have to pay their employees and suppliers. Then they pay their shareholders. After this come the preferred shareholders. Companies have an obligation to pay all these stakeholders first, and if there is money leftover it is paid to the stockholders through dividends or retained earnings. Sometimes there is a lot of money left over for stockholders, and in other cases there isn’t. Thus, investing in stocks is risky because investors never know exactly what they are going to receive for their investment.

What are the attractions of blue chip stocks?

Good long-term rates of return. Unlike mutual funds, another relatively safe, long term investment category, there are no ongoing fees. You become a part owner of a company. Very actively traded so, easy liquidity.

So much for the benefits – what about the risks? Some investors can’t tolerate both the risk associated with investing in the stock market and the risk associated with investing in one company. Not all blue chips are created equal.

If you don’t have the time and skill to identify a good quality company at a fair price don’t invest directly. Rather, you should consider a good mutual fund.

Selecting a blue chip company is only part of the battle – determining the appropriate price is the other. Theoretically, the value of a stock is the present value of all future cash flows discounted at the appropriate discount rate. In reality supply and demand for a stock sets the stock’s daily price, and demand for a stock will increase or decrease depending of the outlook for a company. Thus, stock prices are driven by investor expectations for a company, the more favorable the expectations the better the stock price. In short, the stock market is a voting machine and much of the time it is voting based on investors’ fear or greed, not on their rational assessments of value. Stock prices can swing widely in the short-term but they eventually converge to their intrinsic value over the long-term.

cs1818.jpgYou’re young, you just landed a new job and you’re going to be getting a decent pay check. You also have bills and student loans to pay and there are also a few items that you’ve always wanted so now you can finally afford them.

Investing for your retirement may be the last thing on your mind at the start of a new career. Especially being so young. Take some advice from those with a little more experience: Start investing early in your career. Start from day one and you will never miss that money you’re setting aside. Even if it’s only a few dollars a week. They add up to millions by the time retirement age rolls around.

It really does make a difference when you start contributing. It is important to invest in your retirement account early in your career for two reasons. First, if you’re fortunate to receive matching contributions, you don-t want to miss out on those added contributions that are a significant part of your benefit. Second, the longer contributions stay in your account, the more you stand to gain. Your money makes money in the form of earnings, and those earnings in turn make money, and so on. This is what is known as the “miracle of compounding.” As money grows in your account over time, the proportion resulting from earnings will become larger compared to the proportion resulting from contributions. And the best part is you don’t have to pay taxes on the earnings until you with draw them.

By investing the money wisely, typically starting off with investments that build slowly but steadily, you are able to better ensure you have money for your later years. And just because your later years are far away doesn’t mean you should wait to invest. The thing is that the best investments are the ones that take time to pay off. The ones that make you rich over night are few and far between and are also the ones that are risky enough to make you broke overnight as well.

The size of your account balance is going to depend on how much you (and your company if they match funds up to a certain percentage) contribute to your account and how your account grows as a result of earnings on your investments. To get an idea of what your retirement account could be in the future, look at the following projection.

A starts putting away $100 a month when she’s 22. Her money grows at 8 percent a year, and after ten years she stops contributing – and lets her stake grow. B waits until he’s 32 to set aside $100 a month, also growing at 8 percent a year, and he keeps it up until he hits 64. When they both retire at 64, she will have $234,600, and he’ll have only $177,400. Need I say more?

Looking at the numbers, it’s hard to imagine why someone wouldn’t start investing immediately!

You will need to make a clear plan of how to get where you want to. The financial plan needs to be broken down into realistic achievable goals with a clear deadline. The plan needs to include how much you are currently using to pay off debts, how much you are currently using to cover all living expenses and how much you are currently saving.

When you have that clear you need to look at where you are going to cut costs.financialplanlearnmore.jpg
What can you live without?
Do you subscribe to magazines or newspapers you do not need?
Do you have memberships you do not need?
Is your rent or mortgage very expensive?
Are you spending a lot of money on driving where you do not need to go?
Do you rather eat out then cook yourself?
Do you pay too much for electricity, telephone, Internet connection and TV?
Do you have the best credit card, insurance, rent or mortgage and bank account deals you can get?

The meaning of these questions is that you should not settle with what you have now. Then your situation will stay the same.

Always shop around for better deals and always look at how you can cut costs.
Maybe you find out you need to move to another place where it is less expensive.
Maybe you need to eat more canned beans.
Maybe you need to use your bike, or your feet instead of the car.
Maybe you need to read magazines only when you go to the dentist or to the hairdresser.

Whatever it takes to improve your financial situation; decide to do it.

Write down both the longer term goals, medium term goals and the short term goals and what you will do to achieve them.

You need to set time limits for when you want to achieve the goals you worked out in the previous step.

Write down exactly what you are going to do to achieve them.

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