Don’t Move Your Stop Loss Orders

Stick to your stop losses! It’s better to risk the chance of giving up potential profits than to risk a more probable chance of losing money! Many experienced investors often fall into the trap where they move their stop loss orders lower, believing that the fall in market prices is only a temporary fall, and things will get better.

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Yakezie Holiday Badge Contest

The holiday season’s fast approaching!

As you probably know, this blog is a part of the Yakezie network, which is a network of personal finance blogs. I love being a part of the community! So I recently started a thread at Yakezie forums asking if they wanted to do a holiday contest (for Christmas), where Yakezie members would select the best looking (design-wise) Yakezie blog. Eventually, Aaron Hung and LaTisha came up with an even better and simpler idea: we should have a Yakezie holiday badge contest. After all, we’re fast approaching the holiday season! So in case you don’t know what  a Yakezie badge is, simply look at a few examples below. For the full list of current Yakezie badges, click here.

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If the Stock Market is a Zero Sum Game, What are the Implications?

You’ve might not have heard of this before. The stock markets are a zero sum game, no matter how much you’d like to deny this fact. Here’s the definition of a zero-sum game from Wikipedia.

In economic theory (this mainly applies to stocks), a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.

In other words, for every winner, there’s a lose. For every dollar made from speculating with stocks, someone else lost a dollar. It’s simple. But simply realizing that the stock markets are a zero sum game is useless. We need to take a look at the implications.

All stocks will eventually go to zero, given enough time.

Nothing stands forever, as the saying goes. No company (stock) will last forever. The big names of today, whether it be Wal-Mart, Google, Home Depot. All will one day be nothing but a memory in history books. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow Jones average was founded on May 26, 1896. Back then, there were only 12 stocks in the index (not 30 like there are now). Here’s what happened to them.

American Cotton Oil – no longer around

American Sugar – no longer around

American Tobacco – no longer around

Chicago Gas – no longer around

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Great Profits, No Stock Gains

So basically all the 2011 3rd quarter earnings are out, and not surprisingly, everyone’s been doing pretty well! Corporate America is sitting on a huge pile of cash that’s starting to be used to buy back shares and hand out dividends. However, they have not been hiring (at least nationally), because after the 2008 scare, Corporate America has realized that to survive this economy, you need cash (Cash is King!). Despite the huge profits, stocks have gone basically nowhere. Why?

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Your Greatest Enemy is Yourself

“Your greatest enemy is yourself” is an ancient Chinese piece of wisdom. The only person you need to beat and conquer is yourself. How many entrepreneurs have proclaimed that they plan on creating the next Wal-Mart, only to work a few hours a week on their “epic” business idea? How many times have you said that you won’t give up, but in reality, run away at the first sign of trouble?

Investing is no different. Without discipline (let me say this as harsh as possible), you are A NOBODY. You can subscribe to the greatest investment newsletters. You can buy a library full of investment books. You can attend every single investment seminar in town. You can probably even buy a $3 million investment system, but in the end, you’ll find that you’re no better than the average Joe Schmoe if you don’t have the courage to discipline yourself. You may have immense amounts of knowledge about “how to” invest, but without that discipline, good luck with your futile attempts to apply that knowledge into decent investment returns.

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My Monthly Blog Report – October 2011

Another month already. Wow. How time flies by. It’s been a crazy month, not really for my investment portfolio, but for my blog and personal life. I’ll get into more detail about that later in this blog post. But first, I want to show you some statistics.

Traffic stats.

  •  73 Facebook fans.
  • 66 Twitter followers.
  • 57 RSS subscribers.

Ad revenue from October 1 – October 31.

$492.5

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The Biggest Ponzi Scheme in History: Pensions

This post took me a looooooong time to write, simply because it was so painful. As much as I hate to admit it (and probably you too), pensions have now turned out to be the biggest ponzi scheme in history. Although there are no exact numbers, experts estimate that there are trillions of dollars worth of unfunded pension liabilities in the U.S. alone. Let’s use a little bit of logic here, and we’ll realize that there is ABSOLUTELY no way the problem with those unfunded pension liabilities will be solved.

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Foreign Real Estate – My Thoughts

So stocks are scarring the average person, because of all the volatility we’ve seen (40% fluctuations a year, anyone?). Bonds are terrible too, as they pay next to nothing.

So the obvious question is, should you invest in real estate? The two choices you have are: American real estate, and an international investment property.

My thoughts on American real estate.

Obama, through previous mortgage incentive programs, has made sure that all those who wanted to buy a house buy it last year. So basically, he collected all the housing demand we would have for a few years, and put that demand all into the time frame of one year (when the mortgage incentive program was still available). So what happens now? Where’s all the housing demand supposed to come from? The sky?

Now with all this talk about a double dip recession, what would happen to American real estate if the economy did indeed slip back into a recession (not that we got out of one, in the first place)? Owning a house is completely discretionary spending. One can put off having kids, move in with family or a friend, etc.

Also, I’m a firm believer in cycles. Real estate cycles tend to last pretty long (13-20 years). This housing bubble that just burst back in 2006? Could take a while before the secular bear market for American real estate is over.

Foreign real estate.

Obviously, one would ideally want to buy bmv property (below-market-value-property). However, the value of real estate in the first place is hard to judge. Back in late 2008-early 2009, the real value of many homes in America was $0, because no one wanted to buy them. So how do you judge an the value of real estate in a foreign nation? Truth is, you really can’t. Real estate is a highly localized investment, and unless you live in the area, you wouldn’t really understand how much the land should be valued at. That is why, as a real estate investor, you have two choices.

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Should you Close Your Position and Take the Profits?

An important decision when your investment is yielding handsome profits is whether or not you should close your investment (thus lock in your profits) or hold onto your position and hope for even more profits. Here’s how to decide.

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To save our Ailing Economy – Build Infrastructure?

Ok. So maybe repairing our decaying infrastructure isn’t the best thing to do. Or maybe it is. But it’s certainly better than spending billions on fighter planes and giving tax benefits to bankers (who end up destroying the economy). Over the past few years, we’ve seen the TARP and all these other American recovery programs. Funny thing is, I don’t see any difference. All these TARP programs did was temporarily bail us out (actually, they didn’t bail us out. They bailed out those who don’t deserve help a.k.a bankers). Cash for clunkers. Mortgage assistance. All these things did was to temporarily make the whole picture look nice and rosy. The instant the program ends, everything heads south.

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