Tuesday, June 30, 2009

OMG, This Can't Be Happening to the Citi That Never Sleeps

As a proud Citi common shareholder, I've just received proxy materials from Citi today. There's no denying it - it was a major mistake adding the shares I added to my position in C.

Amongst other interesting developments, the following points are the most painstakingly confounding:

• to increase the number of authorized shares of common stock from 15 billion to 60 billion shares (the Authorized Share Increase); This move is screaming value dilution.
• to (i) effect a reverse stock split of our common stock at any time prior to June 30, 2010 at one of seven reverse split ratios, 1-for-2, 1-for-5, 1-for-10, 1-for-15, 1-for-20, 1-for-25 or 1-for-30, as determined by the board of directors in its sole discretion and (ii) if and when the reverse stock split is effected, reduce the number of authorized shares of our common stock by the reverse split ratio determined by the board of directors (the Reverse Stock Split); I've been the victim of reverse splits before - never again.

• and to eliminate the voting rights of shares of common stock with respect to any amendment to the restated certificate of incorporation (including any certificate of designation related to any series of preferred stock) that relates solely to the terms of one or more outstanding series of preferred stock, if such series of preferred stock is entitled to vote, either separately or together as a class with the holders of one or more other such series, on such amendment (the Preferred Stock Change, and together with the Authorized Share Increase and the Reverse Stock Split, the Common Stock Amendments). What?? How can this be legal??

How can any of this be legal? What do they take us for?

My Dad was right for once - good things are not cheap and cheap things are not good!

I really have to think long and hard about what to do with C.

Oh, this is exasperating!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Eight Flights?

Looking at my summer holiday itinerary, I can't tell whether I've planned a holiday or an odyssey. I've got eight flights in total.

First, I'm going to Basel, Switzerland to see the
Van Gogh Exhibition at the Kunst Museum. Then, I'm off to London, the Las Vegas FX & Options Trading event, New York, and back to Belgium via London.

I've been doing a lot more travelling this year, but haven't visited any place new. So, maybe I'll try to visit Australia or Singapore some time soon.

I still can't believe I've been to Paris twice, but haven't yet seen the Eiffel Tower though. Anyone care to guess where I have been in Paris?

Gen X & Y: We’ve Got To Have a New Vision

I’m sure no one needs reminding that Michael Jackson passed away last week. Love him or disagree with him, part of the reason that his death is so shocking when taken in context with the broader state of the world we live in is that Michael Jackson was very much a mainstay in popular culture and now the cultural stability that he provided is somehow gone.

His music definitely spanned generational boundaries as even my Mom grew up listening to Michael Jackson. He was just 4 years younger than her, so she practically watched him grow up.

The reason I am bringing this up has not so much to do with our trading than it does with our broader philosophy as human beings.

Everyone is going to pass away at some point. But what sort of social, cultural, and generational impact will we be leaving the world when we do?

I’ve never quite figured out whether I belong to Gen X or Gen Y. To other people, not knowing exactly which demographic you fall into may not be that important, but to a marketing professional, it’s virtually a sin.

I tend to think of myself as a combination of both – not exactly Gen X but not quite Gen Y. But this is not so unusual considering I also happen to be amongst the estimated 0.0000001% of Chinese origin who actually don't gamble and at the same time have naturally wavy hair. Strange, but true. Whilst no one likes to be boxed in in that “ticks all the boxes” kind of way, the way Gen X and Gen Y are perceived today really makes people cringe at the footprint we will be leaving behind.

Prejudices aside, we are perceived as selfish and superficial in general. A study done in 2007 indicated that 81% of the Gen Y population view getting rich as the most important or second most important goal in life.

I agree with that notion and have been agreeing with that notion for some time. Yet, I really feel we should be thinking much harder about what we can do with our wealth and our time.

The global financial crisis is a wakeup call to everyone. It’s not just about the depreciation of assets, but it’s asking us: What are we doing with our time and money? Have we got our priorities straight?

And what exactly could we be doing today to constructively reshape our future for the better?

We are the leaders of tomorrow and there’s all this pressure for us not to mess it up. It keeps many of us from actually doing something about it. We have more power today than we realise. Our leadership roles will not start tomorrow – it’s already begun. In deciding to do only good with our money, we are in our own small way actively reshaping the world into a better place.

In investing, this could translate into investing only in companies that are ethical and fair-minded with a bigger global vision than just maximising profits.

In shopping, we can only purchase products from the better companies out there.

In our careers, we can choose only to work for companies that are genuinely concerned about their employees and just as concerned about leaving a positive blueprint for society at large. Well for anyone wishing to change jobs, this probably is not realistic right at this moment, but something to keep in mind for the future.

So survival of the fittest will have to take on a whole new meaning post-crisis.

How fast can our economy recover? I think this depends on how willing we are to actually do something productive and constructive about it. As much as we cannot alter the world as individuals, if we all do something small, the impact could be great.

As Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Credit crunch takes toll on super-rich

Um, this is for people who are into schadenfreude...

2009 World Wealth Report here...

Warren Buffett Still Bullish Equities

We're in good company! Warren Buffett apparently is still bullish equities, but thinks economic recovery may take some time.

Here I am still daydreaming about some of my four figure positions becoming five or six figure sums in a few years' time.

I should probably diversify into other sectors since my portfolio is so heavily concentrated on the financial sector.

This market is hopefully a once in a lifetime opportunity considering the damage the crisis has done already. I'd much rather have a market that's a bit rosier, but then again, it does keep you on your toes, doesn't it?

Why Should We Bother?

When I first started this blog, I thought I would be connecting with a lot more like-minded people. But now, it appears it has become more a monologue than a blog - probably due to the fact that it's too light-hearted for serious traders and not superficial enough for the fashion-conscious divas out there. Honestly, I would rather be concentrating on questions like... is it OK for me to have a French manicure whilst also having red polish on my toenails at the same time? For me, it is OK even if it's unconventional. Toenails should probably always be red.

Anyway, I finally feel like I'm almost getting there with my new and improved forex trading strategy.

Still, it didn't prevent me from having one impulsive moment today where I threw logic and common sense out the window. I traded FOMC. If I ever received any good advice, it was never to trade the news in the forex market. I did it anyway.

I didn't condemn myself as much as I would have had I been the old me. I had a rather good laugh about it, but hopefully, this time I've really learned the lesson and will apply it to future trades. A news announcement for me is rather like a stop sign - or should have been one anyway.

So why do I continue bothering even if my successes seem small and my losses seem big? Failure is rather like a stepping stone to success. We'll never know if the next trade will be a success if we don't try. And now, I know it has more to do with my mindset and discipline than my actual strategy. But consistency is key. We need to actually have a consistent strategy and test it out over a period of time before deciding whether it actually works or it should go in the recycling bin.

I read the most
inspiring article today at work which made me realise that even if we feel that we're somehow stuck and it's always one step forward and three steps back, we always have the power to change ourselves and our mindset. Once that shifts, the rest will follow.

So why should I bother? I've changed, so this time it will be different.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You Can Retire Rich... Really?

My stock portfolio was down 4.4% yesterday, which made me happy I didn't have a bigger portfolio. At the same time, when you've only got that little, it could get a bit unnerving.

To retire young and rich - or to retire at all? That is the question.

And what is considered affluent nowadays, especially when 2.245 million households in the US have annual household incomes of over $250,000.

This probably means that the multi-multi-millionaire is the new millionaire. The standards are higher, so we've got to think bigger than ever before.

People here in Belgium tend to really like the saying: "There's nothing we can do about it" and have a totally "C'est la vie" kind of mentality. I suppose approaching life with that attitude is OK once in a while. We can't be a diva about everything. But I really believe that we've got to rise above the recession attitude and start looking more optimistically at the future. Even if there's a market pullback, we've more than likely seen the worst of the recession.

The good news is that for people 35 and under, the economic crisis is a great shopping opportunity - both in and out of the stock market. And if we play this right, we can not only retire - but retire young and rich!

Am I wearing rose-coloured glasses? I don't know. All I know is they're Chanel.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Perfect Storm

Timing is everything. A few days ago, I was getting out of the elevator at about 9:30 am with a guy who’s been doing some work in my apartment - only of the renovation kind mind you. He was telling me how he wanted to visit New York one day when we bumped into my neighbours – an old married couple who are always so sweet. They go everywhere together. One look at the lady, her eyes and jaw wide open, told me that irreparable damage to my chaste, good Catholic girl reputation was done.

Embarrassed, I rushed out the door, not bothering to explain my chastity a la Bill Clinton with the “I did not have…” sort of speech. Margaret Thatcher said it best: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.”

Still, the incident got me thinking. Surely, this could happen in our trading as well.

What if we set out to create the perfect storm with all of our trades?

In my desperate search for a new silk little black dress, I’ve convinced myself that maybe Bergdorf Goodman isn’t even the right place to look. We’ve got to go couture!

So what would a couturiere be looking for to move probability in her favour? We must basically look to create the best fit possible with our forex trading strategy and this involves alignment of at least 60% of the following elements - the more alignment, the better, obviously.

1. Psychology. Are we psychologically fit and in the right frame of mind to trade that day?

2. Pattern. Do we see some sort of fashionable pattern in the market – such as a triangle, rectangle, or the coveted H & S and even more coveted reverse H & S?

3. Divergence. Is there divergence that supports the pattern we see?

4. Trend. Has a trend been developing in the longer term? If we’re trading with the trend, then the pattern and divergence we see must be in alignment with the prevailing trend.

5. Sentiment. Who has been guarding what positions? Even though we as retail traders do not have transparent information on who exactly is long or short what, we can nonetheless take an educated guess with a look at the candlesticks. Hint: timing is everything and the major market indices give us a good indication of market sentiment as well.

6. News Announcements. Is there an impending news announcement that would help drive the market in our direction?

7. Confirmation. Are the last few candles confirming our setup? This is often overlooked. We become so distracted by looking at past trends that we forget to look at the future and the last few candles are definitely a good indication of the future if taken in context with the other aforementioned criteria.

So, when the market opens this week, I’ll be turning over a new leaf – with a new age, a new couture creation, and greater self-confidence.

I reckon that’s what they mean when they say older and wiser.

Reckon – my new favourite word?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Diva, Cynic, or Ungrateful? Perhaps Plain Wrong

Have I become so cynical that I could be considered ungrateful?

I've been making use of a lot of the trading webinars, personal account reviews, etc. offered by my forex broker. I reckon I've gotten very comfortable with all the options available to us and maybe to some degree have become quite a diva about it. I just realised maybe I've never really given myself a chance to fully absorb all of the viewpoints and insights offered to us because there was really very much a self-protective mechanism in place.

I've always had the lingering suspicion: how can someone who's technically trading against you be offering you any good trading advice?

Yet, on the whole, they have. One obviously needs to also do some more homework and look beneath the surface. There aren't that many valuable forex trading resources out there and surprisingly, my forex broker seems to be one of the better ones. So perhaps it's time I start trusting people a bit more.

For me, cynicism comes naturally, which is probably why I like contrarian investing. But sometimes, we need to examine our natural inclinations and question those beliefs because in challenging those belief systems, we can free ourselves from boundaries that might have been limiting us without us even realising it.

FT:How to rebuild trust when it is in short supply...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ready for A Second Battle?

My colleague is always mocking me about my investing strategy. When I told him I added to my position in C, he indicated that "if you've purchased it, I'm sure it'll go down."

Guess what happened?

Yes, C has been heading south since I added to my position. Another friend was telling me how he's waiting for it to get to $1 again...

To be honest, I'm worried that the equities market rally might be short-lived and that the market will see a severe pullback. I've been bullish, but a number of sources are all bearish. I'm still condemning myself for ending up with the two weakest links in the financial sector (C and BAC).

But I'm gearing myself up for a second battle. This time, I'm unfortunately older but hopefully wiser. After feeling all self-defeated, I became my own cheerleader, telling myself
I'm down but not out. I have to pull myself up because no one else can do it for me.

I will be adding to C and NYSE at the very least if equities take another dip. I would like to add to other positions and initiate new positions, but it's now a question of too many stocks, too little money it seems.

As they like to say in London, keep your powder dry - and they don't mean Guerlain Meteorites Shimmer Powder.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

As If I Didn't Feel Bad Enough...

This E*Trade commentary is just not very encouraging for stocks. So they're now bearish??

This is totally like who blinks first.

Maybe my forex broker was not so wrong afterall.

The Un-diva

I'm feeling kind of beat up today - not my best diva moment, I reckon (did I say reckon - yes, I did). I keep wondering where I would be today if I had started investing and saving earlier - like maybe 8 years earlier. It just seems like I've wasted so much time and now I have to go through the motions of learning how to trade in an environment where batting your eyelashes gets you nowhere. Not that that's ever been a reason anyone's done anything for me since I only ever recall it working once (or twice?) and I'm not into emotional blackmail, but still... can't it be slightly easier?

I wish I could just accelerate my learning already. Finding a new silk little black dress isn't that easy it seems.

It doesn't matter that my debt to asset ratio is 0.17, which roughly means that I have almost 6 times more assets than debt, or that I just paid off another 21% of my debt. I still feel lower than low. Why? Do guys beat themselves up like this? Probably not.

The sad part is that even if I went to Hermes right now, I probably wouldn't be able to cheer myself up much because I'd be thinking about the financial consequences far too much.

I'm noticing a reverse h & s on the GBP/JPY 15 minute, but don't know if I should trade it. I think I'm supposed to wait for the neckline to break before getting into the trade, but I want to test a few of these patterns out and see if I could potentially get in at an even better juncture.

A New Financial Foundation?

A New Financial Foundation By Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers

Commodities Bubble Forming?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Harry Winston, Please Don't Bring Me to Tears!

HWD was recently upgraded multiple times, but going through this retracement is kind of painful. I'm still not breakeven on my entire position - but getting very close. It felt so good to be +100% with part of my position while it lasted though.

I'm just trying to focus on the longer term, telling myself I'm not delusional and hoping that it'll reach the target price that many of these banks are aiming for, which is in the range of $7-9. I have much higher expectations of HWD though as its
book value is $11.45.

Christie's recently had a good auction, selling another
blue diamond for a total price of $3.5 million.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Lovely Hermes Experience

Prior to this Saturday, I’ve never been to my local Hermes, although I’ve been to several other ones outside of Belgium, usually walking out with a silk scarf wrapped in the signature Hermes bright orange packaging.

I was able to accomplish two key missions there. The first was getting my boss a 60th birthday gift. I did the totally unoriginal thing of getting him cufflinks, but the sales representative reassured me that they were new arrivals and I purchased the one with the most unique story of all, although if budget were of no concern, I would actually have liked to get him the Tiffany Elsa Peretti Lapis Lazuli Bean Cufflinks. I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll get them for my future boyfriend - lucky man.

Anyway, these Hermes Sceau cufflinks are based on the concept of rubber stamps with the Hermes Paris insignia in a mirror image, so one could actually use them as a stamp. How original is that? They were also the most solid as there were some flimsy ones there.

What made the whole experience so lovely is that one is actually treated with true respect throughout the shopping experience. The doorman does his job very elegantly while the sales representative seems to intuitively know exactly what you are looking for.

The funny thing is that the sales representative kept wishing me good luck with my gift as if I were purchasing it for the love of my life. Do I seriously look like I’ve got a schoolgirl crush on everyone?

Anyway, I also checked out the Hermes Lindy while I was there. There was a black one, but it was a bit small. I didn’t get to see the Hermes Birkin or the Hermes Kelly, but I plan on going back once I’ve got enough cash saved up so I can make my purchase with total confidence.

If I get the Hermes Birkin, I’ll look at least ten years older and guys might be even more afraid of me since I’ve got the whole diva thing going on already. But whatever. I’ve been dreaming about it for such a long time it would be self-abusive not to go for it.

Originality vs. Fakin' It

I’m a real diva when it comes to authenticity, but I recently contradicted myself and purchased a replica canvas print of Van Gogh’s Starry Night from the Van Gogh Museum online (seems I've purchased the last canvas replica as there aren't any more available online). When I received it, I was really disappointed that the replica lacked any of the vividly gorgeous details of the real painting and realised that the artist’s bold brush strokes are what give the painting definition and value. How could I have expected it to be as good as the original painting when I clearly knew it was fake?

Prior to this, I had purchased a replica canvas print of Van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms, which is now hanging on my bedroom wall. Whilst this also lacks detail, it is definitely better than a simple print. So, I was really expecting the Starry Night canvas replica to be similar.

The fact is that with art in general there’s only one original in the entire world. This is what makes the original so valuable. But since MoMA’s clearly not going to sell the Starry Night any time soon, nor would I at this point be able to afford it even if they did decide to auction it off, I figured why not just settle for the replica (i.e. the fake)?

Throughout my earlier adult years, I’ve been settling and essentially leading a fake lifestyle that on the surface appeared every bit as rich and vibrant as an original Van Gogh. In hindsight, I was just mortgaging my future for the present – I was living a replica lifestyle. It started when I was at university. Being one of the unfortunate few at my university who wasn’t a trust fund baby or daughter-of-somebody, I knew what it meant to struggle financially – working my way through college and not knowing if I could make next semester’s tuition. The journey has nonetheless made me see I have financial survival skills and on the whole, I’ve been able to do it ethically. At the same time, that uncertainty is still embedded in my mindset even though I’m clearly not that girl any more.

I went from having a seriously negative net worth to a pretty positive albeit illiquid net worth. By next spring, all of my salary will be going towards my savings account rather than to my student loans, which have thus far made me an unwilling and unhappy indentured servant to the bank with no financial freedom. No matter how much you love your job and other aspects of your life, if there’s a financial sandbag tying you down, how can you actually and realistically be able to give life your all? You’ll feel the strain and it’ll reflect in all your interactions. I think it’s the same with a mortgage – as long as you owe someone somewhere something, you’ll never actually be financially free.

I reckon I’ll be able to save at least 63% of my salary after expenses and taxes every year thereafter. I know I’m going to be one of those people who are 70% cash and 30% investments all the time even though I’ve still got decades before retirement. I’ll get laughed at, but I don’t care. It took me almost eight years to be on the verge of actually claiming my financial freedom, but I’m totally doing it. As much as I wanted to prove myself to people around me, I proved myself to myself more than anything by finally knuckling down and making the right financial choices.

I had an interesting conversation with my forex broker recently during which he yawned and subtly indicated that I probably should deposit more money into my account in the same breath (nice touch, isn’t it, but I just couldn't bring myself to tell him off. This guy deserves a special mention in my trading journal for showing me the importance of asset protection...). He also mentioned that I was always looking to be right on the majority of my trades, which is causing me to miss a lot of opportunities. He may have a point there, but at the same time, I don’t want to just settle for any trade. I want to make sure I get the details of every trade right and that probability is in my favour with every trade.

There’s the expectation that you need to sacrifice your percentage of wins in order to profit in the forex market. That could be true for a lot of other traders. However, I don’t necessarily agree that that is the only way to improve. Suppose I’m a selective trader and I end up making very small gains on a lot of trades. The key for me is actually not to become less selective and sacrifice my wins.

What I need to actually work on now is to let myself take more profits on an increasing number of trades that I am right. I am finding it possible to limit losses with a stop. However, with my take-profit points, it seems to be like a box of chocolates in that you never know what you’re going to get.

What I want to experiment with is to turn my trailing stop into my exit strategy on a number of trades in the future. I will only do this with a percentage of my trades and experiment with multiple entries / multiple exits, single entry / single exit, multiple entries / single exit to see which turns out to be the most profitable.

Continue to keep your discipline and let the losers chip away at your account with the least possible impact. But also allow yourself to incrementally improve your gains on your high probability trade setups.

There was a guy on ForexFactory that posted his story about turning a low four figure sum into a six figure sum in two weeks. Everyone was laughing at him. In fact, we should examine what he’s doing right. That guy put himself out there and shared what he was doing right, but we instead turned around and laughed at him.

There’s a tendency for people to misjudge others who seem to be the odd one out. But if we look at the ones we’re laughing at in hindsight, they often turn out to be the Vincent Van Goghs of the world – the ones who are bold enough to go against the trend and end up producing masterpieces; the ones who end up being like Warren Buffett, George Soros, Carl Icahn, or Bill Gross. They are the ones who actually have the edge and aren’t fakin’ it because they see the world differently and are not afraid to implement their strategies accordingly.

I totally agree with Warren Buffett that “the first rule of investing is don’t lose money; the second rule is don’t forget rule # 1.”

I do over-analyse every trade. I want to make sure I’m accountable to myself first and foremost and that I’m really not just fakin’ it anymore. There’s just so much hypocrisy out there and I don’t want to be a part of it. I really want to keep it sincere.

Now, it is highly liberating to be able to say to myself: “I’ve actually got cash to pay for that.”

So saving’s my new mantra.

Hermes, here I come!

Or am I contradicting myself again?

Whatever… once a shopaholic – always a shopaholic.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

LOL Moment of the Day

When I picked up the July 2009 issue of Architectural Digest, I couldn't help but notice the outside back cover advertisement. It really stood out because it was so text-centric and frankly, unappealing.

It read: "We make money with you, not off you... Ally Bank - Straightforward." Intrigued, I went on their Web site. At first glance, I didn't notice that
Ally Bank is the new GMAC, although I did read a news article about it a while back.

When I finally caught a mention of GMAC (almost in the fine print - see home page section proclaiming no sneaky disclaimers), it totally became the LOL Moment of the Day. The 2.49% APY one-year CD or the 2.05% APY online savings account suddenly didn't look so appealing - or straightforward.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Coldplay, Goldplay: Limited Edition - 5 Ounces of Gold for 10,199.95 CAD

Even for someone who's not great at math, I could tell that this limited edition coin is a major rip off.

There have been reports that gold coins from various mints have been selling like limited edition hotcakes. Some mints are even out of stock on gold coins.

Everyone has heard that once an investment vehicle gains mass popularity, that market's basically over.

My theory is that once everyone realises that the economic recovery is taking place, there will be a big gold sell-off. People will want to divert their money to higher growth vehicles and this will include equities.

So, I'm planning a gold play...

Dealing with A Negative Self Worth

So enough about Gordon Ramsay, though I had no idea this story broke over the weekend when I was first posting this. Crazy guy! I do wish him the best, though. Obviously he's got issues. How does one go from being seemingly a nice guy to a full-blown jerk? Why his wife is still staying with him is beyond me. But that’s totally off-topic (as if I don’t go off on a tangent every day).

Anyway, my friend was telling me how she caught her boyfriend pumping up his muscles in the mirror one time. We were totally laughing about it.

But actually, it’s such a good exercise to do this with your own self worth.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed… I have no life. Over the weekend, I calculated my net worth to date in Excel.

At times, I feel like even if I technically have a positive net worth, my self worth is definitely not feeling it.

Throughout childhood, we are bombarded with messages that tell us we’re not good enough. From TV ads to classmates to family members, we have been conditioned on a daily basis that we’re below par.

If this doesn’t leave most people with a negative self worth, I don’t know what will.

So, to counter this effect, it’s important to count your financial blessings every once in a while.

And if you have assets that will one day appreciate, use that value as the basis for calculating your net worth and even adjust it for inflation.

The goal is to boost up your financial muscle in front of the mirror of self worth every once in a while and tell yourself how well you’ve managed your finances so far.

Another way this is beneficial is that it’ll show you in no uncertain terms if you’re making your money run the extra mile for you. It will show you all fixed assets, all assets that can appreciate or depreciate, and also any liabilities you may have. If you’re really Republican, then people can be included as well. I’ve included a few in my calculations, so I’m only semi-Republican.

I noticed that I’ve been investing too much in assets that might not necessarily appreciate in value to a very significant extent. Also, right now, I'm happy if I save 20% of my annual net salary, but I should actually aim to save at least 63% of my net salary per year. And this is perfectly achievable by making some sacrifices that will ultimately be very rewarding.

The Proverbial Sweeping of Things Under the Persian Rug

Warning: Rambling Ahead

Ever since I saw my first episode of The F Word, Gordon Ramsay has held a certain appeal for me. In that episode, Gordon and his family adopted a baby pig, which he was going to later prepare into a signature dish. He wanted to ensure that the baby pig was properly fed and cared for. His whole family was involved in caring for the baby pig. And yet, when it came time for him to actually go ahead with the task at hand, it was really, really hard for him emotionally. The whole thing was so inhumane, yet Gordon Ramsay turned it into a very human and emotional experience. It made me realise this guy sees things from a totally different vantage point.

So when Gordon Ramsay published his autobiography “Humble Pie” and shared with the world his incredible ordeal of overcoming a childhood defined by horrific domestic violence and poverty and how he subsequently turned his childhood challenges into the amazing success story he’s become, I was even more inspired to say the least.

Still, anyone following Gordon Ramsay lately cannot help but notice he’s taken some wrong turns. The alleged affair with a woman who calls herself “a professional mistress” was not only highly distasteful, but his business has also been adversely affected by his overly ambitious expansion plans.

It totally got me thinking. Gordon Ramsay would be considered a success by anyone’s standards. Yet, on some level, it’s quite conceivable that his recent behaviour is a result of self-sabotage. After reading his story, it’s highly likely that on some deeper level, he feels he doesn’t deserve success and happiness. Rather than dealing with his issues, he did the very clever but proverbial sweeping of things under the rug trick.

And why does it have to do with trading then?

In fact, thinking in even broader terms, it not only has a lot to do with trading, but also with asset protection in general.

As traders and as individuals, we cannot do the proverbial sweeping of things under the Persian rug and expect sustainable success. We have to deal with our issues on a deeper level and ensure these issues do not control us or our future.

So, I’m going to ask myself today: What am I sweeping under the rug? I know what’s right – why don’t I just do it? Why am I afraid of making changes? What am I afraid of finding out? Am I afraid of making progress?

Trading could be the scariest thing in the world sometimes. But if we are not brutally honest with ourselves, we will only end up limiting ourselves – and this will ultimately show up in our account balance.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Great Grandfather's 1913 $2.5 Gold Coin

My Mom recently gave me my great grandfather's 1913 $2.5 gold coin.
I'm still trying to figure out who he was, really. No one knows anything about anyone in our family. And sometimes, it's too late to ask. It's kind of frustrating when you're trying to figure out who you are other than your next Bulgari watch or Hermes handbag.
I'm looking forward to seeing my favourite uncle again this summer. As he lives in California, we haven't seen each other in ages.
I think it'll be a somewhat life-changing experience for me. I'll get to ask him all sorts of questions about my family history. As odd as it may seem, I really feel like it'll positively affect my trading as well. I really don't know where I come from other than superficial facts. I feel like if I find out more about my past, I'll feel more secure about my future, which would then have implications for my trading.
So, this 1913 coin is priceless to me. It's going to start me off on a journey towards finding the missing pieces - along with tons of shopping expeditions obviously.

Bing & Obama - Like Forever?

I wonder if anyone's really using Bing. I tested it out today and was shocked to see that all the SEO we were doing at work has basically been for naught on Bing. Luckily, a colleague reminded me that Google still has search market dominance. So, perhaps over the short term, there's nothing to worry about. But with such a huge marketing campaign, I'd be surprised if Bing doesn't capture greater market share. It would be the battle between two could-be monopolies. I'm pondering buying MSFT, but still would rather invest in stocks with better P/E and EPS ratios.

Speaking of the lesser of two evils, just for the record, I did vote for Obama - only because it was the lesser of two evils. But I'm starting to develop a newfound respect for him after reading
this article. He is diplomatic, but I'm not sure I necessarily believe him.

Here's another interesting article on the
20th anniversary of Tiananmen. Wow, I actually remember Tiananmen happening, so that must prove I'm getting (gasp!) old.

There's something going on with the stock market in general though. I noticed a lot of the "safer plays" such as food processing companies and utilities have not moved much since the rally began, whereas the financial sector in general has experienced the most notable share value appreciation. DJIA is now approaching its 200 day moving average, so this must mean it's a critical point in the market.

Oh, woe is me! I'm still so hurt over my recent GBP/JPY heartbreak it's like salt on the wound. But as long as
Harry Winston continues talking to me, life will be one fine day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Banks: Align Risk with Strategy

Banks: Align Risk with Strategy

Am I Going to Have to Change My Name to ForexBimbo?


In hindsight, my GBP/JPY short of yesterday would have worked out fine if I hadn't stopped myself out prematurely.

I'm really trying not to beat myself up over it. If I really wanted to be in total denial, I'd be saying it happens to everyone. But no, it doesn't happen to everyone and it does matter. Especially when it's about 80 pips down the drain.

I suppose the good news is I found out today that my local Hermes has a few ready-made versions of the Kelly, Birkin, and Lindy. Now all I have to do is choose which one I want. Maybe I won't have to save too long to actually own one, but I hope they have the colour that I want.

In a strange way, I'm more than slightly disappointed. The whole appeal behind the Hermes Kelly is that it's supposed to be totally bespoke and one has to wait years and years for it.

Well, I'll just visit Hermes and see what's in store. I kind of don't want something that everyone's sort of just placed their hands on.

You know, I hate that guy who took one look at me and read me like a book once. He hardly really knew me and told me that I just like things to be difficult and complicated.

Now that I think of it, he was so right.

Am I seriously so predictable?

And am I totally narcissistic for Googling myself? Because I totally do. Embarrassing what you can sometimes find.

Economic Report: The Trudge to Recovery

For all of you who are semi-bearish...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stop & Reverse

I mentioned earlier that targeting key technical levels is important to getting out of a stock position that's moving against you and that it may not necessarily work in the forex market, depending on the technical pattern being traded.

Just when I thought I'd be doing better with my forex trading after my couch-jumping incident below, I got into a short GBP/JPY position that mitigated some of my stock market gains today.

It really got me thinking. If I had implemented a cost-averaging strategy with this short GBP/JPY position, I still would not have been able to break even. However, if I had instead stopped and reversed, it would have worked out better.

So, I'm going to study this a bit more and see if I can figure it out once and for all.

I am so close to + 100% with a part of my HWD position now - how exciting is that!

Dow Deletions Often Outperform Their Replacements

I am a big believer in the blessing in disguise, so this news story on Dow deletions is really appealing to me - not least because I have a position in C and have just added to it today.

Brian Dolan Is So Refreshing

As we had our second long weekend in a row here in Belgium, I was able to attend the Weekly Market Call with Brian Dolan, which quite honestly, I used to find so boring. But Mr. Dolan had been so good lately - I love his technical analysis!

His opinion is like a breath of fresh air in a cluttered, claustrophobic market and I can seriously say I really respect his insight, which he's got plenty of. Not only that, but one can just sense that he's such a perfect gentleman - not that I've got a schoolgirl crush on him or anything because I really don't.