Making Friends with Poison

You’re thinking cruise control… 

… when life asks you to step in. 

What just happened? 

Is cruise control a myth? 

Life in the ’10s is about variables. 

Balance arrives, to become imbalance. 

Body-chemistry. 

Most of us are far away from equilibrium because of our inner and outer environments. 

We exist for the longest time in a poisonous state of pseudo-equilibrium.

It’s become a game of how well we cope with such state.  

What’s the fine line here? 

Shying away is not an option. 

To achieve, one delves deep into the world. 

One becomes habituated to body-chemistry being regularly out of whack. 

One makes friends with one’s poisonous state of non-equilibrium. 

One achieves. 

Simultaneously, one keeps killing accumulated toxins, or pumping them out. One doesn’t let them overflow. 

Exercise. Metabolizes toxins at a fast pace. 

Anti-oxidants. Straight-away attack and break-up cancer cells. 

Water. Dissolves water-soluble toxins and flushes them out. 

Smoothies. Micronutrients. 

Fruits. Micronutrients. 

Veggies. Micronutrients.

Sleep. Recuperation.

Meditation. Recuperation. 

Chanting. Recuperation. 

Family. Rejuvenation. 

Harmony. Rejuvenation. 

Recreation. Rejuvenation. 

Etcetera. 

Do what you’ve come to do. 

Make sure you do this stuff too. 

Cheers! 

ūüôā 

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The Collapse of Mt Gox and its Meaning for You

February 2014.

Mt Gox collapses.

It’s not a mountain.

Mountains don’t collapse.

The largest Bitcoin exchange in the world – gone.

What happened?

Hazy area.

If one reads through the company’s press releases, it seems they themselves are not sure. Or, they’re trying to cover up that they got hacked, big-time.

Company’s claiming a black-swan event. Software goes into a crazy loop. Transaction shows as failed. However, system releases Bitcoin. Do this over and over again. You’re down 750k Bitcoin. Half a billion dollars. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not buying it.

It’s probably not an inside job. Trail would’ve been too hot.

They’ve actually and probably gotten hacked. Possibly in the earlier days. Perhaps they tried to cover it up for the longest time, till it was no longer possible. There came a time then, it would seem, to throw in the towel and declare bankruptcy, coupled with the release of an unbelievable explanation.

Do the math. Conjecture.

We are down to conjecture, after an abominable event like this, where retail investors along with handlers, dealers and the works get fried.

For heaven’s sake.

Makes you rethink Bitcoin majorly.

Diversification is a safe thing. However, not at the cost of converting your computer into a big red flag.

There are two kinds of computers in the world. Those with Bitcoin or its cousins, and those without.

Currently, those with are targets.

There’s no better system of storing Bitcoin.

Banks aren’t taking it up systematically.

Dollar lobby is too strong.

It’s not letting Bitcoin settle.

Who was behind the possible hack?

You tell me.

Why would anyone sacrifice one’s sleep?

No tension, please.

We don’t wish to lose sleep over the fact that our computer might get hacked in the night. Also, will the cousin’s ever sort themselves out?

If criminals could hack Mt Gox, what are the chances of one’s desktop surviving?

Yeah, where does that leave you?

Till Bitcoin gets accepted more systematically, and till mainstream banks start storing it for you in their cyber-lockers, I’m afraid this leaves you off the Bitcoin demand-list.

Yeah, safety first.

Why Emergency Fund?

Why do you wear a seat-belt while driving?

Why do you purchase medical insurance?

Why does one carry two parachutes while jumping off a plane?

Why do you keep your spouse happy?

So you can live in peace, right?

Peace of mind – so important…

Without peace of mind, market decisions are warped. Disturbing factors cause you to take wrong decisions.

Once faced with a market decision, it is extremely easy to go wrong. There are many telling you what to do. Some have agendas, others speak wthout an agenda, for the sake of speaking. Topping that, Mrs. Market starts playing tricks on you. She’s almost always catching you on the wrong foot. You needs to be mentally alert to identify your initial error and correct it as per your outlined strategy. If your mind-control is compromised, you step deeper into the delusive web of Mrs. Market by not being able to identify your initial error, and then the error can get bigger, and bigger, and even bigger, till it has the capability to consume you.

That’s why emergency fund!

You are not bigger than Mrs. Market. No one is bigger than Mrs. Market. You might start thinking you are, because of a few successes. As a result, you might start to play bigger. Over-confidence will first cause you to make a small mistake. Because you will not have identified the mistake as a mistake, owing to delusional conditions, the small mistake might get bigger and bigger, till it becomes bigger than you, and your market career is over.

That day, your emergency fund will feed your family.

So, firstly, make sure that an emergency fund exists for you.

It needs to be accessible, i.e. liquid.

It needs to be sufficiently large.

Its contents should be safely parked.

If it is generating some income of itself, even better, but the emergency fund should not be locked-in. If it is locked-in, you should be able to access it in a maximum of 24 hours, even if you need to pay a small monetary penalty for full and irreversible access.

Your spouse, who you’ve kept happy, should know about the emergency fund, and how to access its contents. If you’ve not kept him or her happy, he or she might access this fund anyhow, and blow it up beforehand. So, keep him or her happy and in a responsible state of mind. It is possible that he or she is just not interested in finance, right, so then what do you do? Wait for your child to grow up, wishing that he or she has an interest in finance! Anyways, someone you trust should know how to access the emergency fund. If nothing else, write out all details in a file, and inform the person you trust of the file’s existence.

Why am I being so extreme about all this?

I’m big on safety. I don’t like seeing a market player blowing up, because I wouldn’t want that to happen to myself. Have you been to a circus?

The acrobats do have a safety line, don’t they? I mean, they practice all their lives, and pull of the most amazing stunts, again and again, day after day, but at the back of their mind, they know it’s over if they make just one mistake. Unless they have a safety line. If and when a mistake occurs, their safety line will save them. The existence of a safety line allows them to perform with peace of mind, and perform well.

It is exactly like that in the markets. One big mistake, and it’s all over.

Unless there’s an emergency fund.

It’ll allow you to survive, recuperate, and get back on track. When you’re back, you’ll most definitely not repeat the big mistake you made. Also, the first thing you’ll do is regenerate the emergency fund, before you get back to proper market action.

Here’s wishing that you never need to access your emergency fund, but also wishing that it exists in the first place.

Here’s wishing that its presence gives you the necessary peace of mind to perform better.

Your Personal War in Cyberia

Are you illiterate?

Literacy is not just alphabetical.

The meaning of literacy has expanded itself into your cyber world and also into your financials.

I mean, can you call yourself literate without knowing computer and financial basics?

I don’t think so. Not anymore. Times have changed, and so must you, in case you want to be called literate.

One of the first things one learns during one’s quest for financial literacy is the operation of one’s netbanking.

Once you are logged in, you soon realize, that your assets are under attack, and must be appropriately secured.

Login password, secure login, phishing filter, security questions, transaction password…you are learning fast. Your vocabulary is changing. Your defences are up. Yes, you are at war.

What kind of a war is this?

More of a cold war, till it gets hot for you, which can happen, but is not a must.

Worst-case scenario is that someone cleans you out. As in, a cyber thief steals all your money that was reflecting in your netbanking.

Your common-sense should tell you that your netbanking password is the all-important entity. Tell it to no one. Store it in a password safe. Keep changing it regularly. Don’t forget to update it in your safe. The safe of course opens with its own password, and is in sync between your mobile and your desktop. On both your mobile and your desktop, internet security prevails. Meaning, don’t use an el cheapo antivirus. Use a good one. Pay for it.

If there is a large amount reflecting in your account for a number of days without being used, secure it. Even if someone hacks in, available amounts should be as minimal as possible. Let the hacker first deal with unsecuring a secured amount. This gives you a time-window, during which you read and respond to any sms sent by your bank, that a secured amount has now been unsecured. The shot has been fired, your watchman has alerted you, and you now need to respond.

For the amount to be actually transferred out of your account, one more thing needs to happen. The hacker needs to set up a new payee under third party funds transfer. Some banks take three days for this, during which they coordinate with you whether or not you really want this payee to be set up. Other banks have a one-time password (OTP) system, where a transfer can only be activated by an OTP sent by sms to the registered mobile number linked to the account. Works.

Nevertheless, hackers seem to be getting around these systems, because one hears and reads about such cyber thefts all the time. However, the window created by your systems in place gives you crucial time to respond.

What is your first response, after becoming aware that you are under cyber attack?

Relationship manager (RM) –¬† call him or her. After you’ve alerted your RM, login if you can, and secure any unsecured amount. Change your login and transaction passwords, along with security images, words, questions and answers. Delete all payees. Logout. Close all windows on your desktop. Clear all history, cache, temporary files, cookies and what have you. Run a virus cum spyware scan. Clean any viruses, then shut your computer.

How does one go about securing unsecured amounts?

Make a 7 day fixed deposit with your unsecured amount. Or, configure your mutual fund operations through your Netbanking itself, and transfer the unsecured amount to a trusted liquid scheme offering 18-20 hour liquidity, all through your netbanking. Pretty straight-forward.

After you’re done, join your RM in finding the loophole. If you’ve incurred a loss, file a police report along with an application for reimbursal, citing all security measures you undertake as a given while also outlining the chronology of your actions after you realized that you were under attack.

That’s about it, I can’t think of anything else that you could do. If you can, please comment.

Right then, all the best!

So, When Does One Attack Here?

Ammunition.

Your game revolves around it.

We’re not talking war over here.

Or are we?

The marketplace is a war-zone, come to think of it.

Question is, how do you use you ammo?

Do you fire the bulk right away?

Who are you trying to scare?

This is the marketplace, people, overall, it’s not scared of your few rounds. There are just too many players, with varied interests and ideologies. Your few rounds might cause a mini-spike in the underlying concerned, but that’s about it. That mini-spike is not going to make it to tomorrow’s paper.

So, why bother? You don’t need to attack here. Straight away, that is. You can attack when the time is ripe, and when you are ripe too.

What does being ripe for an attack mean?

It means that your defences are fully in place and on auto-pilot. Your basic income is taken care of and suffices your family’s needs. Actually, let’s go a little further and say that your family is able to live comfortably on income generated by you which is independent from any of your speculative / risky activities. This is the first step. You need to work yourself into such a position, even if it takes you a long time. Without knowing that your family is safe, no matter how you fare in the marketplace, you will not be able to trade freely.

Then comes the second step in setting up your best defence. You need to have access to an emergency fund. Meaning, this kind of a fund needs to be salted away first. It then needs to be made accessible when required, and otherwise, it is to remain unused. Don’t let your emergency fund’s miniscule return bother you. In lieu of that, you are getting safety. Your emergency fund needs to remain safe, sound, and there, when you need it. This way, if and when something happens, and funds are required, a). you won’t have to tap into your family’s basic income, and b). you won’t have to tap into your trading corpus. You’ll access your emergency fund. Your family will remain financially undisturbed, and so will your trading, despite the emergency.

Now comes the final step, before you can get on with your trading, yes, even aggressively. In this step, the focus is on you. While setting up your family’s basic income and your emergency fund, you have struggled. Your health could have taken a knock. Your mind could be in a whirl. Normalize, my friend. Take time off. Stare at the wall. Get your body-chemistry back to equilibrium. Take a vacation. Take many vacations. Finally, when you are in shape, go for it.

Ok, so you’re in shape, and ripe for attack.

Now, the time needs to be ripe for attack too.

Mrs. Market has three basic modes of movement. She trends, moves in a range and then, she just plain goes nowhere, i.e. she’s flat.

Your aggression needs to be implemented only when she’s trending. Period.

That’s when it’ll yield mind-blowing returns.

Fire away when she’s flat or moving in a range, and you’ll keep getting stopped out.

How can you tell when she’s trending?

Through technical analysis.

So, study. Learn to differentiate between her three basic modes of movement.

Then, when she trends, and only then, use your ammo aggressively.