History: A Story Filled with Buying and Selling… Investors Need to Know that Story!

I majored in history in college… some would say that was a waste of time. I’ve certainly agreed with that sentiment a time or two. I knew I didn’t want to teach, and after a while the idea of a career in academia or museum curating seemed absolutely dreadful. That didn’t change the fact that I loved history. It was a story to me, a million stories, a trillion stories! It was humanity through the ages, it was everyday life from an infinite variation of days. I’ve been hooked ever since I was a kid.

I guess you could say I majored in history in life, because it’s a big part of who I am. The number one skill I got out of college was the ability to read long, boring documents thoroughly. This has made me a better salesman when it comes to knowing technical details, and a better investor because I can read through those quarterly reports without flinching too much (I still need a cup of coffee to really peel through). Hell, it even comes up in my improv comedy…I’ve done way too many viking scenes…

Directly relating to investing, history is the story of humanity. And humanity spends a lot of its time surviving. Sure, we do other things. We read and we write, we share and build communities, paint pictures and build castles. What we do is endless… but that all starts with having something to eat and something to drink and a place to rest our heads. In those stories of humanity, one can see that much of that story at its base is economics. If you understand those fundamentals, you can have a better idea of where to put your money so that it grows.

Speculative opportunities become available when things are out of whack. When you see something that is so unbelievably wrong, uneconomic, and historically inaccurate…something that just does not add up, it is worth looking into… $10 barrels of oil in 1999? Are you kidding me? Anyone who knew the story of American industrialization knew that China’s rise was going to be that experience but on steroids. The template already existed and there are a lot more people in China then in the U.S… so when Morgan Stanley closed its commodities trading division, a perceptive investor/history buff could have stepped up to the plate and said, “WOW THERE, BUDDY…” and bought up a ton of cheap oil. We’ve all seen what direction those prices have gone in over the last 14 years.

Unfortunately, I was 9 at the time and not quite perceptive enough… but that example is a lesson for me and other investors. A bit of historical knowledge can go a long way when you’re looking at markets.

If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to comment!

The Feral Financier

Investment Biker by Jim Rogers: An Investing Adventure

If someone were to ask me if learning how to invest could be fun and interesting, I would respond with a resounding, “Yes!” and hand them a copy of Jim Rogers’ “Investment Biker”This thrilling adventure tale is Mr. Rogers’ memoir of his 1990 journey around the world on a BMW motorcycle. He travels on six continents, through twenty two countries on an almost two year trek, giving a vivid account of the exciting world we live in, while dispensing valuable investment knowledge.

Jim Rogers is a veteran investor, and his experience in markets dates back to the 1960s. He worked with George Soros at the Quantum Fund, where he was junior partner, and provided incredible returns for his clients and made a fortune for himself. His investment approach involved an international outlook when few were looking outside of the U.S. for investment, and as a result he has gone down as one of the great investors in recent history. He is the author of a number of books where he dispenses his insightful knowledge in an understandable and enjoyable fashion.

Beginning in Dunquin, Ireland (The western tip of Europe), Mr. Rogers travels all the way to Tokyo by way of China, back to Ireland by way of the U.S.S.R. (he was traveling in 1990), south through Europe and into Africa all the way down to South Africa, around Australia and through New Zealand, from the southern tip of Argentina and north into Alaska. Mr. Rogers takes readers on a unique and exciting journey throughout much of the world in “Investment Biker”. Throughout the story, using his decades of Wall Street experience, he gives actionable advice on how to examine any investment. Mr. Rogers uses a top down approach, where he examines the entire country, how the government runs the nation and how it sets economic policy, the culture, and the business climate of the nation before he begins to buy any stock. He advises on how to use currency as a barometer for a countries health, and explains why some nations succeed and some stagnate or fail.

His book is littered with advice that is simple and actionable for any investor. The first insight he provides is that it is important to know as much as possible about ones investments. This may seem like common sense, but Mr. Rogers shows examples of success and pit falls, and explains that arming yourself with knowledge is the best way to succeed in the markets. The first rule is always not to lose money, and knowing as much as possible is the way to keep that from happening. Other simple but essential rules: know supply and demand, work very hard, and know when something is cheap or expensive. Understanding value is key. When investing internationally, always know that you have to be vigilant about your investments and have a clear head. Know when to go in and when to get out, and know who you are dealing with!

This book is worthwhile for any reader who loves a solid, action packed adventure. For the investment enthusiast, this book offers a wealth of knowledge from an experienced and thoughtful investor who is not afraid to go against the grain. Along with his investment advice, one gets the genuine sense that the biggest satisfaction Mr. Rogers receives from the trip is a better understanding of how to world works from a perspective most will never have. If nothing else, any reader will finish this book with a desire for adventure and an urge to better understand the world.

Read Mr. Rogers book for the actionable and insightful investment advice, but most of all, read this book to be inspired!

Some Time Off…It’s Important

Hello World,

Work can be a lot. Work and investing is also a lot. Work, investing and a very intense hobby that requires your time is even more!

I’m a happy camper. I like being challenged, and I love being busy. Work has been good and so has life in general. My investments are doing well…my blog was unfortunately neglected.

That’s an important skill, though. Sometimes too much is too much. Taking a break allows you to process information and think about your moves going forward. I’ve been doing a lot of planning. In fact, I just sold a position that was up a bunch and moved it into something still undervalued. I’m in a consolidation phase. I want to own some high quality securities in quantities that matter.

I’m not just consolidating, though. I’m also planning my next moves. Once I grab some winners and free up some profits, I have a few new companies I’m considering buying. I want to grow my portfolio and make it more diverse. By focusing on companies that I know have a solid likelihood of turning into winners, I keep myself from spreading out to thin, and that’s important. In the mean time, patient planning allows me to know what I’m going to buy when I have the extra cash. Also, I’ve picked when I want to sell…and that’s just as important!

Also, it’s summer. I’m spending time outside with friends. I’ve been laughing a lot, but I’m still checking my investments everyday and seriously reviewing each one at least once a month. Things are looking good.

Questions or concerns? I’m looking to get back to writing on a more regular schedule again. Let me know what you think of the above words, I hope to hear from you all soon.

The Feral Financier

My Two Favorite Things Combine! Business and Improvisational Comedy!

My Two Favorite Things Combine! Business and Improvisational Comedy!

This brief article combines two of my major passions, improvisation and of course, business! This is indirectly related to investing, but very interesting for those of us trying to improve communication and business culture!

For further information check out http://www.magnettheater.com!


The Feral Financier!

Income-Assets-Aesthetic-Goals … My Idea of a Fulfilling Life

Speculation in and of itself is an interesting and fulfilling thing. If done properly, it forces you to increase your scope of knowledge, teaches you how to take risks, and forces you to own up to your mistakes. Nobody bails out a retail level speculator. You succeed or you fail on your own merit, that makes it interesting. It’s rewarding…especially when it works.

I’d be remiss to tell you it’s the end-all, be-all. It isn’t. First off, you can’t speculate without money. You need to generate income. Secondly, when you do make money…what do you do with it? You need something that grabs you, a rhyme and a reason to why you do what you do. Lastly, increased wealth and assets allows you to do more. What do you want to do? I think speculating and building my assets is part of a few things that make for a more fulfilling and complete life.

I spend a fair amount of my time in front of my computer reading articles, writing blog posts, crunching numbers, staring at charts and reading company reports. I enjoy it…to an extent. I have my limits.  I just don’t make enough speculating to only do that. I need a job, and so during the day I’m a salesman. I need that to generate income. I take a fair bit of my income and I invest with it. This helps me increase my assets so that one day I don’t have to sell anymore. I also use some of my money toward fun and, my favorite thing, performing comedy. This is part of my aesthetic. The reason for existing is different from person to person. For me, I live to laugh and enjoy the company of interesting people. I find loads of interesting people in comedy, all unique, almost all very intelligent. I’m never too tired for it, and I always try and make time for it. Finally, one day I’d like to not have a 9-5 job…I’d like to travel. This is an aspiration that I’m working toward.

There are many things people feel make up a fulfilling life. Some people want children and some want a home. Some want lavish lifestyles, some want love…and some just want to live a simpler life. I think those are all fine ideas. What I think is most important is knowing what you want and how to get there. For me, I established a long time ago that I really, really want to travel. At the same time, I don’t want to work a bunch of menial jobs in the process. I’d like to spend my time writing and traveling. In order to get there I needed assets that generate income. Well…that does’t just happen over night. To get there I needed a job…and the ability to increase my income, thus, selling.

These things can be a drag sometimes. I found comedy a few years ago and that is what keeps me going. I get almost as busy with it as I do with work, but it’s a busy that I haven’t gotten sick of. It doesn’t frustrate me, even when it does. When it goes wrong I view it as a lesson, when it goes well, I glow with excitement. I like progressing, and I don’t mind re-doing…I’m genuinely passionate about it, and that’s a gift in and of itself.

So find a job, it’s a drag sometimes but you need one. Then be smart with your cash, trust me…you’ll be happy you did. Don’t let those things bog you down though, do yourself a favor and devote a lot of time to something you love. It’s the reason we’re here after all. Then, don’t sell yourself short…take it to the next level, keep your dreams alive. I want to see the world and write a fantasy novel. I’ve wanted to both of those things my entire life, and I will.

I’m going to do some other things along the way as well.

The Feral Financier

A Community of Speculators…Reach Out!

Hello Citizens of the The Speculating World!

I implore you, reach out!

I know that most of you speculators are loners. You are introverts, risk-takers, rebels, anti-authority and anti-routine types. I get it… I am to. I often spend hours on end doing research, covering my bases, doing due diligence…recently, I’ve started speaking with other speculators…and you know what? It’s fun.

It’s competitive, informative and interesting. I find that fellow speculators understand the dream of financial independence. They like to bend the rules and take risks, they don’t settle for the typical rat race formula. They are voracious readers, rebellious intellectuals and independent thinkers.

In short, they’re the kind of people I find interesting.

And, not for nothing…but sometimes I get tired of reading reports and staring at my computer screen. Engaging in thoughtful discussion with other investors/speculators allows for learning that doesn’t feel like learning. It also helps me articulate my thoughts.

So, fellow speculators, I challenge you! Reach out and find your tribe! Be wiser for it, laugh more for it, enjoy life more for it!

Isn’t that what independence is all about?

The Feral Financier

Leverage and Speculation … Should I Borrow or Not?

For a long time, I shied away from margin, debt or any form of investing without my own money. It scared me. When I started investing, it was around 2008. I thought it prudent to only use my money…stay within my own means and all of that.

Personally, I still think it’s prudent. I have had a sea change in the last few months, though. I think that being prudent as a speculator…well it’s not always the best decision. The reason being is that right now money is cheap. I can borrow at low rates. If I think a high return is around the corner…well I can use leverage to collect on that without using capital.

Now, I know the risks. Cheap money isn’t free money. There are also no certainties. For this particular move, I am going to buy something that, if it doesn’t go where I think it’s going, I can cover it. I’d lose…but I wouldn’t be wiped out.

If I win… then I’ve really won. As the price of the asset I purchase (hopefully) goes up, my extra capital can then be deployed elsewhere. I can expand my portfolio, add to my profitable assets and generate a profit, all without touching my own funds.

I can also lose big.

Similarly to how I only trade on things I’d hold long term, I’ll only use leverage on things I can pay for if I really need to. The asset I’m buying I think has short term potential, I also think it has long term potential. So even if I lost and have to cover, I still think the asset will appreciate over time. 

So…that’s my new idea this week, wish me luck!

The Feral Financier