Nath on Trading – II – Building up on Basics

21). You started small, right?

22). Ultimately, you’re staying consistently in the green, correct?

23). Then it’s time to scale up. Slowly does it.

24). Why the whole spiel about starting small? You make your biggest mistakes in the first seven years.

25). Hopefully, you don’t repeat a mistake once it has happened, and once you’ve learnt from it.

26). However, mistakes are good, because they teach you. Nothing else can teach you with incorporation into DNA. Mistakes can.

27). No university can teach you. No books. No professor. Play the market, make the mistake, and learn.

28). A big break early in the markets is a recipe for disaster. More likely than not, you’ll blow up later, when it matters.

29). The best possible way to scale up is using position-sizing as delineated by Dr. Van Tharp.

30). The good thing about position-sizing is that it makes you scale down, when trading corpus goes below par.

31). Day trading takes up the day. You’re exhausted and are not able to do much else.

32). Short-term trading also keeps you riveted to the terminal, mostly.

33). However, position trading and longer time frames keep you in the line for whatever else you wish to achieve.

34). Market TV makes it a video game. Switch it off.

35). Trading with targets caps big-win potential.

36). When you trade, you trade. You don’t invest.

37). Successful trading means buying high and selling higher, or…

38). …selling low and buying back lower…

39). …as opposed to successful investing, which is buying low, not selling for the longest time, and then selling for a multiple.

40). Read points 16 to 19 again.

What’s the Advantage of “Out of Sight”?

Trigger-fingers?

We are.

At some stage or the other, in our market-life. 

Is it good?

No. 

Why?

When we are in this mode, we shoot. 

We don’t look too much. 

We just shoot.

Why?

Either we don’t know any better. 

Or, we’re not able to control the impulse. 

We want to do something. 

We want action. 

If we’re not getting it, we forcefully create it. 

Is this wrong?

You bet. 

How do we rectify it?

Simple. 

Huh?

Yeah, just use the “out of sight” principle. 

Pray what’s that?

Well, if funds hit your bank account, pick up your smart-device and transfer them online to your liquid fund account. 

Advantage?

Funds are not present in your feeder account. 

Try firing now.

Nothing happens. 

No funds. 

However, the funds are not far away. In fact they are just a few button-clicks away. 

These few button-clicks are activation-barrier enough. 

They make you stop and think. 

You do your proper due diligence before moving them out of your liquid mutual fund account back to your feeder account. 

You use them for proper investing opportunities. 

You’re not trigger-happy anymore. 

All it took was a simple trick. 

Use it. 

There’s no law against liquid mutual fund accounts. Probably never will be.

Those five or six button-clicks have converted you from trigger-fingers to duly diligent!

🙂

Who gets 5 Stars for Fund Movement?

Movement?

Or lack of movement?

What will you have?

Who discusses such a topic?

Is this lame?

Is it that we have nothing better to do?

NO.

Fund movement is a central topic.

Funds are blood.

You need to be master of their movement. Winners are.

What’s there to discuss?

Aren’t things obvious?

Well, no.

To most people, things wrt movement of funds are everything else but obvious.

No pipelines are created.

No sheds for storage.

No safety mode in the firing gun.

Gun fires as soon as the load is available.

You see, all this leads to losing positions.

How?

One should not fire as soon as one can load.

One should fire when one sees a ripe target for the taking.

What should one do till then?

Store the load. Elsewhere. Give it some light work to do. Put it in a position that it can make its way easily back to you as soon as you call it in.

When do you call it in?

When you see the big fat target.

Again, isn’t all this obvious?

Again, no, to most people, no, no, no.

Most people are busy getting sophisticated.

They don’t focus on the basics.

Basics win you the game.

Sophistication might deceive you into the false belief that you are winning or are one up, but because you’ve forgotten to focus on the basics, chances are high that you’ll end up losing.

So here’s what one needs to do.

No gun in the house.

No load in the house.

Big fat target. Identify.

Go to load. Load = funds.

Direct load to gun. This is the movement process. It happens online. Funds are directed to a website.

Fire. Pull the trigger on the concerned website. Yeah, gun’s in cyber-space.

Wait for next opportunity.

Repeat.

So on and so forth.

This way, due to sharply controlled fund movement, one creates positions with high potential to win.

Come on, get your basics in order. Leave sophistication to the losers.

🙂

What’s it Gonna Take Today, Pal?

Indicators.

Fibonacci.

Moving averages.

Price action.

Isn’t everyone following all this?

Do the markets behave accordingly?

No. Not really. Sometimes, sure. Generally, no. Just my opinion.

So?

Where does that leave you?

How do you plan your trade entry?

There’s not much planning to it really.

Oh yeah?

Pray on what basis is one to enter then?

Study.

Then overall feel.

What?

Yes.

Gumption?

So?

With no study, direction’s a 50:50.

With study leading to overall feel translating into gumption, this ratio could well become 55:45.

You don’t need more.

Blackjack odds for the card-counter are perhaps 53:47 at peak.

Ok, so you’ve got your 55:45, what then?

Trade management.

You make your money managing your trade.

Formula?

Simple one.

You cut the wrong call. Nip it in the bud.

Let the right call continue being even more right.

Learn, perhaps the hard way, to let the winner continue winning.

Trade might reverse.

That’s the risk you have to take, to win more.

There are no free lunches in life.

What to do in the Age of Shocks?

Wait for a shock.

That’s it.

Then go in… a bit.

Sound simple?

Ain’t.

Why?

Firstly, patience.

Who has patience, today?

Few.

Secondly, psychology.

Shock brings pessimism.

You don’t want to go in, not even a bit.

That is the whole thing.

Punchline. Understand it, and you’ve won already.

Thirdly, funds.

Who has funds, when the shock arrives?

Few.

Why?

Barely anyone knows how to SIT on funds.

I didn’t either.

Self-taught.

Through mistakes and pain.

By putting money on the line… losing it.

Took eleven years.

Now I know.

So don’t tell me that one is only born with the ability to sit.

Don’t waste your funds. Save them. They are your soldiers.

Fourthly, energy reserves.

Who has energy reserves when the shock arrives?

Few.

Why?

We’re too busy doing this doing that, always, forever. We don’t know how to conserve energy and build up reserves. Those who do then use their reserves to carry forward their strategies upon the arrival of a shock.

Fifthly, focus.

The hallmark of a big winner is focus.

Who has focus?

Few.

We’re too busy diversifying. It’s safer. Investing in the wake of shocks requires pinpointed focus.

Sixthly, courage.

Who has courage?

Few.

Why?

We’ve been taught to avoid, and move on. Life’s too full of BS that needs to be avoided. However, coming out during shocks needs courage. Face the enemy, and fight.

Seventhly, and perhaps this should have been on the top of the list, common-sense.

Who has common-sense?

Almost no one.

Why?

We’re too busy being complicated and sophisticated. We want to portray falsehood. We miss the forest for the trees. However, shocks are tackled with common-sense. Simplicity in thinking is paramount. The simplest ideas making the most sense are also the most successful ones.

Eighthly, long-term vision.

Who has vision?

Handful of people.

Why?

We’re too near-sighted. We want instant gratification. However, a shock presents excellent ground to root yourself in for the long-term. Understand this, and you’ll have understood a lot.

I could go on.

That’s quite enough though.

Above are eight points to think about,  to be seen as eight weapons that need sharpening, to come out fighting in the age of shocks.

Be patient, optimistic, fund-heavy, energy-heavy, focused and brave. Use your common-sense. Have long-term vision. BASICS.

Wishing you successful investing, in an age riddled with shocks.

🙂

The Age of Shocks

We are in it. 

Bang in the middle. 

There’s some shock almost everyday. 

Even Yellen’s words have shock effects. 

Had anyone even heard of Yellen a few years ago?

Natural disasters, terrorism, scams, frauds, upheaval…

…well, you have no choice…

…but to incorporate them into your market strategy. 

If you don’t, well, God bless you and God help you. 

So, where do we stand. 

Definitely towards value. 

Growth – hmmm, we’ll take growth after we take value, in a stock picked up for value. 

We’re not following any growth strategies. 

Let growth happen as a matter of course. 

We’re not entering something which is in the middle of growth. 

We’re entering it before its growth potential is apparent to everyone. 

Why?

Stocks, whose growth is apparent to everyone, are very susceptible indeed, should they show even one bad quarter. They can be cut down to half their size even if one ruddy quarter goes out of line. That’s the problem in the age of shocks. 

What about stocks with growth potential which are in the doldrums?

Well, bad quarters are the norm for them, temporarily. One more bad quarter is not going to make much of a difference. It will make a small but digestible difference. Nowhere near the effect the bad quarter will have on a growth stock. 

Yes, the way to go is contrarian. 

We’re going contrarian with our eyes open. 

We’re not picking the dogs of the Dow, or the rats of the Sensex.

We’re picking gems people are throwing into the dustbin. 

What’s this dustbin?

We’ve made this dustbin. 

In cyber-space. 

It scans what people throw away. 

It couples 4-7 algorithms, makes them into a mother-algorithm, and scans. 

Today, one doesn’t need to know how to programme to achieve this. 

One just puts the algorithms together on any leading equity website. 

One concocts one’s dustbin. 

One looks in the dustbin everyday. 

What have people thrown away?

Anything that looks valuable?

No?

Let’s move on. 

Yes?

Lovely. Lets take a closer look. Let’s take this stock that’s looking valuable, and let’s put it through the works. 

Let’s fully analyze the stock. 

We do our analysis. 

Takes us a day or two. 

It’s yes or no time. 

No?

Move on. 

Yes?

Look at the charts. Pick up accordingly, in the next day or two. 

Quantum?

Small. 

So on and so forth. 

 

Cross-Section Through a Performing System

You’ve struggled, as a result of which you’ve developed a system. 

This is your system. it is invaluable to your market play. It performs. 

Your system comprises of structures.

A structure takes something to emerge. It doesn’t come for free. You need to pay for it with sweat, losses and tears. Once it emerges, it is yours to incorporate. 

You know its value. You’re not going to let it go… …unless a better structure emerges, which makes its predecessor obsolete. 

Normally, it doesn’t come to that. Structures don’t become obsolete just like that, and hence, you rarely let a structure go once it has emerged.

What you do is the following. You incorporate the new structure into your system by fine-tuning old and new, making them work in tandem.

Your system has become richer by one structure, although the combination of old and new outdoes 1 + 1 = 2 easily. 

Sometimes, a new structure starts to emerge, and blinds you. You want to plunge in. You want to raise the required funds by sacrificing your existing and lucrative structures. Happens sometimes. 

DON’T.

Yeah. 

Don’t sacrifice your existing structure. 

If the lure of the new structure is so great, well, then borrow if you have to against your old structures, but for heavens sake don’t sacrifice them. 

Squeeze your old structure till it coughs, but don’t kill it. 

Because you’ve squeezed it by borrowing against it to finance the implementation of your fancied new structure, well, you’ve been able to then implement this fancied new structure. 

Fine. 

You’ve got what you wanted. 

Now loosen the stranglehold upon your older structure to prevent it from dying. 

Yeah, bring it back. Revive it. Pay back what you borrowed against it from your ongoing cash-flow, till the complete debt is nullified, so that your old structure breathes easy again and resumes yielding you money. 

Voilà – now you have two structures adding to your income, presuming that the newer structure that emerged was ripe enough at birth to start yielding income immediately. 

That’s how you do it. 

What’s the Intrinsic Value of Inflation – FOR YOU?

Pundits taught about Inflation.

It ate into you.

Did it discriminate?

Nope?

Did life discriminate?

Or was it your Karma?

So you made it to HNI, without perhaps knowing what HNI stands for.

You’re a high networth investor, bully for you.

Here’s a secret. You’re not really bothered too much about Inflation.

What?

Yeah. Don’t bother too much about it. 

Why?

It’s eating into you, given, right. 

By default, you need to look into something that’s eating into you, right?

Well, right, and then, well, wrong. 

You had a hawk-eye on inflation till you made it to HNI. Well done, correct approach.

Now, you’re gonna just use your energies for other purposes, for example for asset allocation, fund-parking patience, opportunity scouting, due diligence – to name just a few avenues. 

Why aren’t you using even a minuscule portion of your energies to bother about the effects of inflation?

Well, simply because it’s not worth the effort – FOR YOU – now that you’re an HNI. 

Sure, inflation will eat into you. However, the way you handle your surplus funds will defeat its effects and then some, many times over. Use your energies to maximise this particular truth. 

What makes you an HNI? Surplus funds to invest, right?

Surplus sits. 

It waits for opportunities. 

An entry at an opportune moment gives maximum returns.

You’ve sifted through the Ponzis. You’ve isolated multi-bagger investments. You’re waiting for the right entry. 

Meanwhile, old Infleee is eating a few droplets of your wad. Let it. Focus on what we’ve discussed. A multi-bagger investment entered into at the sweet-spot could well make ten times of what old Infleee eats up. 

Go for it. 

A Secret Ingredient for Equity-People

Racking your brain about how to make Equity work?

Don’t.

Two words work here. 

Be passive. 

Learn to sit. 

Let’s say you’ve gotten all your basics right.

Company is great. Management is sound. Multiple is low. Debt is nil. Model looks promising. Yield is note-worthy. Technicals allow entry, blah blah blah…

Then what?

Yeah, be still. Learn to sit. 

What are the prequisites for sitting?

You need to not need the stash you’ve put in, at least for a long while. 

You also need to get your investment out of your primary focus. 

For that, your day needs to be full…of other main-frame activities. 

Make Equity a bonus for yourself, not a main-course. That’s how it’ll work for you. That’s the secret ingredient. 

How to… … is stated above.

Why to? Aha.

For it to work, fine, but why the sleeping partner approach?

Human capital needs time to show results. 

That’s why you’re in Equity, right, for human capital? The rest is ordinary stuff, but human capital is irreplaceable. Human capital works around inflation. One doesn’t need to say anything more. 

You’ve got your work all cut out.

Get going, what are you waiting for? 

Finding Structure Within

You are you. He is he. She is she. I am I. It is it. 

Even if the above is the only thing that you carry home from this space, you’re done already. 

Move on then, with your life, because you’ve understood something big. 

If not, do please read on. 

You are not I. I am not you. He is not she. She is not he. That’s it. 

Here’s the next biggie.

Those who come into funds need to know how to manage them. Period. 

Do what you want. Run umpteen miles. Put up a million facades. Muster up all the drama you’re capable of. After that you’ll come to this conclusion …

 … that nobody else is more capable of managing your funds than you yourself. 

Why?

Because you are you. You know yourself best. A third party is firstly (realistically) not bothered about knowing you, and secondly is only capable of seeping into a minuscule portion of you, if he or she makes the effort. Forget about third parties. 

So you realize you need to manage your own funds, what then?

Jump into the water.

While your corpus is small, make mistakes. Learn from them. That’s college. Tuition fees.

Recognize your strengths. Play to them. Pulverize your weaknesses after identifying them.

Then come the structures, from within. These are your structures. They’ll come from inside of you. 

There’s you, and there’s the battle-field. The two are face to face. It’s a do or die situation. You go into reflex-action mode. Your systems start to function at full capacity. That’s when structures emerge.

Yeah, structures need an activation barrier to emerge. 

There’s a protective structure. It’s your protective structure. It guides you to build your moat. It protects your family. 

Then there’s your post-protection bulk-game structure. It guides you towards building up your innings without the worries of basic bread and butter. 

Lastly, there’s your multiplication structure. It chalks out high-reward-high-risk strategies, tweaks them towards maximum possible safety, and tells you where to put that minute percentage of your corpus with the intent of achieving extra-ordinary gains. 

Allow such structures to emerge. Embrace them. Innovate. Improvise. Achieve. Educate.

Go for the jugular. 

So…What Does Trade Selection Hang Upon?

Feeling.

Feeling first, feeling last. 

Math in the middle. 

That’s my recipe for trade selection. 

For me, trading is an art. 

I rely a lot on gut. 

Many people tell me that’s wrong. 

Everyone’s got a right to their opinion. 

What works for Jill might not work for Jack.

People tell me to get emotion out of the way.

Emotion can be an ally too. 

Just try and get the hang of your gut feel. 

Let the trade speak out to you. 

You’re looking at a chart, and the chart should shout out to you – “Trade me!!”

That’s what I call “Feeling First”.

There’s something about first impressions. 

I mean, whoever made that proverb about first impressions sure knew what he or she was talking about. 

So, after your first impression tells you that a chart is tradeable, you then need to see some kind of a mathematical fit going for you. 

You plan your trade.

You try and fit some mathematical model into the underlying’s previous behaviour, and plan the trade into the near future based upon the future-play which your model spits out. 

You calculate a stop according to your money-management rules. Just more math. 

Now comes “Feeling Last”. You look at your chart, which contains the entire map of your trade.

At this stage, your gut must speak to you. 

Yes or no. 

Nothing else. 

Are you pulling the trigger or are you not pulling the trigger.

If not, then no whys. It’s a no. Learn to take a no. Look for another trade setup, elsewhere. 

If yes, then again – no more whys. It’s a go-ahead. Have the guts to follow through. 

Keep it simple. 

The best ideas in the world are – simple. 

And What’s so Special about Forex?

Imagine in your mind …

… the freedom to trade exactly like you want to.

Is there any market in the world which allows you complete freedom?

Equity? Naehhh. Lots of issues. Liquidity. Closes late-afternoon, leaving you hanging till the next open, unless you’re day-trading. Who wants to watch the terminal all day? Next open is without your stop. Then there’s rigging. Syndicates. Inside info. Tips. Equity comes with lot of baggage. I still like it, and am in it. It doesn’t give me complete freedom, though. I live with what I get, because equity does give me is a kick.

Debt market? A little boring, perhaps. Lock-ins.

Commodities? You wanna take delivery? What if you forget to square-off a contract? Will you be buying the kilo of Gold? Ha, ha, ha…

Arbitrage? Glued to screen all day. No like. Same goes for any other form of day-trading.

Mutual Funds. Issues. Fees. Sometimes, lock-ins. MFs can’t hold on to investments if investors want to cash out. Similarly, MFs can’t exit properly if investors want to hang on. And, you know how the public is. It wants to enter at the peak and cash out at the bottom. 

Private Equity? Do you like black boxes? You drive your car? Do you know how it functions? You still drive it, right? So why can’t you play PE? Some can. Those who are uncomfortable with black boxes can’t. 

CDOs? @#$!*()_&&%##@.

Real Estate? Hassles. Slimy market. Sleaze. Black money. Government officials. Bribery. No like.

Venture Cap? Extreme due diligence required. Visits. Traveling. The need to dig very deep. Deep pockets. Extreme risk. No. 

Forex? 24 hr market. Order feed is good till cancelled. Stops don’t vanish over weekends. Stops can be pin-pointedly defined, and you can even get them to move up or down with the underlying, in tandem or in spurts. You can feed in profit-booking mechanisms too, and that too pin-pointedly. You watch about 10-11 currency pairs; you can watch more if you want to. 10-11 is good, though. You can watch 4, or even 2 or 1, up to you. Platforms are stupendous, versatile, malleable, and absolutely free of charge. You can trade off the chart. Liquidity? So much liquidity, that you’ll redefine the word. No rigging – market’s just too large. The large numbers make natural algorithms like Fibonacci work. Technicals? Man, paradise for technicals. Spreads? So wafer thin, that you barely lose anything on commissions. Oh, btw, spreads are treated as commissions in forex; there’s no other commission. Money management? As defined as you want it to be. Magnitude? As small or as large as you want to play? Comfort? You make your morning tea, sip it, open your platform, feed in orders with trigger-entry, stop and limit, and then forget about the forex market for the rest of the day, or till you want to see what’s happening. Yeah, comfort. Challenge? You’re playing with the biggest institutions in the world. What could be more challenging? I could go on. You’re getting the gist. 

Yeah.

Forex is a very special market. 

Also, the forex market is absolutely accessible to you, online. 

If you decide to enter it one day, play on a practice account till you feel you’re ready for a real account. 

If and when you do start with a real account, for heaven’s sake start with a micro account, where 1 pip is equal to 0.1 USD. 

🙂

 

 

 

We Like to Move it Move it

We do our home-work.

We know our risk-profile.

Our systems are in place. 

We know the exact market-segments we are tapping into, and those we are leaving alone. 

Our fund-allocation profile is at the back of our palms. We know where what is, and when. We know how to move it. 

In our identified segment of activity, we have a feel for the underlying. We can sense it. We don’t need to preempt the underlying, but we can if we want to. 

We are not afraid of small loss. It can happen again, and again, and again, as far as we are concerned. 

We use stops. Definition of risk is our abc. 

We try not to follow news. It gives us a bias. We trade the setup we are observing on the chart of the underlying. Everything else is “egal”, as they say in German, as far as the trade is concerned. We are not going to be biased while trading. We are going to take the setup, in whichever direction it presents itself. 

We are nice to our families. We gel with them, and have enough time for them. We are happy in their company. They are not a distraction to our work, but a welcome change. We’ve got a substantial-sized emergency fund going for them, which more than takes care of their needs. This fund generates regular incomes for our families, and we don’t touch the emergency fund, come what may. We might keep adding to it, though. 

We take high risks with a very small size of our networths, everyday. Our risks are calculated, and can generate high returns. They can also result in total losses. We practise sound money-management, and put ourselves in line for big profits, again, and again and again. 

Yeah, we like to move it move it …

… from one trade setup to another, to another, to yet another, an so on and so forth. 

Happy Third Birthday, Magic Bull!

Hey,

We turn three.

You know it, and I know it…

… that this year’s been a slow going.

Sometimes, life is slow.

Such junctures are great times to recuperate and consolidate.

Inaction is big in the markets.

Very few know how to be inactive – and stay sane.

Those who do – well – they make big bucks when it’s time for action.

That’s only if they haven’t gotten rusty and lazy by then.

Yeah, inaction is an art.

In the markets, it is at least equal in importance to – action.

So, for the most part of the year that’s gone by, my market activity’s been practically zilch.

It’s not that I’ve been sitting and twiddling my thumbs. No! For heaven’s sake! Of course I’ve been doing other stuff.

Inaction in the markets must be coupled with action elsewhere, if one plans to stay sane, that is.

Also, inaction in the markets leads to preservation of capital. That, what you made during active times, remains safe, pickled and intact.

Then, when there’s opportunity, you’ve got your whole arsenal to cash in with.

While changing gears, don’t jump out of your seat with your saliva drooling, though.

Have some rules in place for opportunistic action.

I have some basic rules for myself at such junctures. I don’t put more than 10% of my networth on the line, while pursuing an idea. This rule applies for me while changing gears too, more than ever. Also, I don’t pursue more than two ideas at any given point of time. Most of the time, I’m not pursuing any idea, till an idea appears, refuses to break down, and just sticks.

Safe.

Simple.

Comfortable.

Ideal circumstances…

… to hit the sweet-spot…

… when it’s time for action.

Wishing you happiness, safety and profits in whatever market activity you pursue,

Yours sincerely, and just there for you, period,

Magic Bull.

What’s your Answer to Dictatorial Legislature?

Cyprus almost bust…

Money from savings accounts being used to pay off debt…

Five European nations going down the same road…

US economy managing to function for now, but without any security moat (they’ve used up all their moats)…

Our own fiscal deficit at dangerous levels…

Scams in every dustbin…

Mid- & small-caps have already bled badly…

Let’s not even talk about micro-caps…

Large-caps have just started to fall big…

Just how far could this go?

Let’s just say that it’s not inconceivable to think… that this could go far.

Large-caps have a long way to fall. I’m not saying they will fall. All I’m saying is that the safety nets are way below.

I see one big, big net at PE 9, and another large one at PE 12. Getting to either will mean bloodshed.

Inflation figures are not helping.

In a last-ditch attempt to get reelected, the government recently announced a budget for which it’ll need to borrow through its nose.

Oops, I forgot, it doesn’t have a nose.

The whole world is aware about work-culture ground-truths in India.

Things are out of control, and this could go far, unless a miracle occurs and Mr. Modi gets elected. Before such an eventuality, though, things could go far.

When large-caps fall, everything else falls further.

How prepared are you?

Hats off to those with zero exposure.

Those with exposure have hopefully bought with large margins of safety.

Those who are bleeding need a plan B.

In fact, a plan B should have been formulated during good times.

Anyways, how prepared is one for a Cyprus-scenario, where dictatorial last-minute legislature allows the government to whack money from savings accounts?

In future, you might need to find a solution for loose cash in savings accounts. It needs to be kept in a form where government doesn’t have access to it.

As of now, what’s serving the purpose is an online mutual fund platform, through which loose cash can be moved and parked into liquid mutual fund schemes. For government to exercise full control over mutual fund money, it’ll probably need to be more than a bankruptcy scenario.

That’s just for now. Adaptability is the name of the game. It’s always good to be aware of one’s plans B, C & D.

Where to, Mr. Nath?

Last month, I scrapped my market-play system.

Happens.

Systems are made to be scrapped later.

One can always come up with a new system.

I love working on a new system.

It’s challenging.

What I want to talk to you about is why I scrapped my last system.

I found four accounting frauds, as I did my market research, all online.

You see, my last system worked well with honest accounting.

It had no answer to accounting frauds.

Also, I got disillusioned.

Are we a nation of frauds?

How does one deal with a nation of frauds?

More importantly, how does one play such a nation?

Does one invest in it? Or, does one sheer trade it?

Questions, questions and more questions. These encircle my mind as I work to put my new system together.

I am in no hurry to come up with an answer. A country like India deserves a befitting answer, and that it will get, even if the sky comes down on me while I put my system together.

Slowly, I started to think. How many systems had I scrapped before?

Hmmm, four or five, give or take one or two.

I have an uncompromising market rule of going fully liquid when I scrap a system.

Full liquidity is a tension-tree state. It allows one to think freely and in an unbiased manner. Being invested during volatility impedes one’s ability to think clearly and put a new system together.

Ok, so what answer would my new system have towards fraud?

All along, it was very clear to me that future market activity would be in India itself. Where else does one get such volatility? I am learning to embrace volatility. It is the trader’s best friend.

Right, so, what’s the answer to fraud?

Trading oriented market play – good. Not much investing, really. First thoughts that come to mind.

Buying above supports. Selling below resistances. Only buying above highs in rare cases, and trailing such buys with strict stops. Similarly , only selling below lows in even rarer cases, and again, trailing such sells with strict stops.

Trading light at all times.

Fully deploying the bulk of one’s corpus into secure market avenues like bonds and arbitrage. You see, bonds in India are not toxic. Well, not yet, and with hawks like the RBI and SEBI watching over us, it might take a while before they turn toxic. If and when they do start turning toxic, we’ll be getting out of them, there’s no doubt about that. Till they’re clean, we want their excellent returns, especially as interest rates head downwards. In India, one can get out of bond mutual funds within 24 hrs, with a penalty of a maximum of 1 % of the amount invested. Bearable. The top bond funds have yielded about 13 – 15% over the last 12 months. So, that 1% penalty is fully digestible, believe me.

With the bulk of one’s returns coming from secure avenues, small amounts can be traded. Trade entries are to be made when the odds are really in one’s favour. When risk is high, entry is to be refrained from. A pure and simple answer to fraud? Yes!

You see, after a certain drop, the price has discounted all fraud and then some. That’s one’s entry price for the long side. On the short side, after a phenomenal rise, there comes a price which no amount of goodness in a company can justify and then some. That’s the price we short the company at.

Of course it’s all easier said than done, but at least one thing’s sorted. My outlook has changed. Earlier, I used to fearlessly buy above highs and short below lows. I am going to be more cautious about that now. With fraud in the equation, I want the odds in my favour at all times.

These are the thoughts going on in my mind just now. Talking about them helps them get organized.

You don’t have to listen to my stuff.

I’m quite happy talking to the wall.

Once these words leave me, there’s more space in my system – a kind of a vacuum.

A vacuum attracts flow from elsewhere.

What kind of a flow will my vacuum attract?

Answers will flow in from the ether.

Answers to my burning questions.

A Tool By The Name of “Barrier”

Come into some money?

Just don’t say you’re going to spend it all.

Have the decency to at least save something.

And all of a sudden, our focus turns to the portion you’ve managed to save.

If you don’t fetch out your rule-book now, you’ll probably bungle up with whatever’s left too.

Have some discipline in life, pal.

The first thing you want to do is to set a barrier.

Barrier? Huh? What kind of barrier?

And why?

The barrier will cut off immediate and direct access to your saved funds. You’ll get time to think, when hit by the whim and fancy to spend your funds.

For example, a barrier can be constructed by simply putting your funds in a money-market scheme. With that, you’ll have put 18 hours between you and access, because even the best of money market schemes take at least 18 hours to transfer your funds back into your bank account.

Why am I so against spending, you ask?

Well, I’m not.

Here, we are focusing on the portion that you’ve managed to save.

Without savings, there’s nothing. There can be no talk about an investment corpus, if there are no savings. Something cannot grow out of nothing. For your money to grow, a base corpus needs to exist first.

Then, your basic corpus needs a growth strategy.

If you’ve chalked out your strategy already, great, go ahead and implement it.

You might find, that the implemetation opportunities you thought about are not there yet.

Appropriately, your corpus will wait for these opportunities in a safe money market fund. Here, it is totally fine to accept a low return as long as you are liquid when the opportunity comes. There is no point blocking your money in lieu of a slightly higher return, only to be illiquid when your investment opportunity comes along. Thus, you’ve used your barrier to park your funds. Well done!

Primarily, this barrier analogy is for these who don’t have a strategy. These individuals leave themselves open to be swept away into spending all their money. That’s why such individuals need a barrier.

An online 7-day lock-in fixed deposit can be a barrier.

A stingy spouse can be a barrier.

Use your imagination, people, and you’ll come up with a (safe) barrier. All the best! 🙂

Happy Second Birthday, Magic Bull !!

Seasons change. So do people, moods, feelings, relationships and market scenarios.

A stream of words is a very powerful tool to understand and tackle such change.

Birthdays will go by, and, hopefully, words will keep flowing. When something flows naturally, stopping it leads to disease. Trapped words turn septic inside the container holding them.

Well, we covered lots of ground, didn’t we? This year saw us transform from being a money-management blog to becoming a commentary on applied finance. The gloom and doom of Eurozone didn’t beat us down. Helicopter Ben and the Fed were left alone to their idiosyncrasies. The focus turned to gold. Was it just a hedge, and nothing but a hedge? Could it replace the dollar as a universal currency? Recently, its glitter started to actually disturb us, and we spoke about exit strategies. We also became wary of the long party in the debt market, and how it was making us lazy enough to miss the next equity move. Equity, with its human capital behind it, still remained the number one long-term wealth preserver cum generator for us. After all, this asset class fought inflation on auto-pilot, through its human capital.

Concepts were big with us. There was the concept of Sprachgefühl, with which one could learn a new subject based on sheer feeling and instinct. The two central concepts that stood out this year were leverage and compounding. We saw the former’s ugly side. The latter was practically demonstrated using the curious case of Switzerland. There was the Ayurvedic concept of Satmya, which helps a trader get accustomed to loss. And yeah, we meet the line, our electrolytic connection to Mrs. Market. We bet our monsters, checked Ace-high, gauged when to go all-in against Mrs. Market, and when to move on to a higher table. Yeah, for us, poker concepts were sooo valid in the world of trading.

We didn’t like the Goldman attitude, and weren’t afraid to speak out. Nor did we mince any words about the paralytic political scenario in India, and about the things that made us go Uffff! We spoke to India Inc., making them aware, that the first step was theirs. We also recognized and reacted to A-grade tomfoolery in the cases of Air India and Kingfisher Airlines. Elsewhere, we tried to make the 99% see reason. Listening to the wisdom of the lull was fun, and also vital. What would it take for a nation to decouple? For a while, things became as Ponzi as it gets, causing us to build a very strong case against investing a single penny in the government sector, owing to its apathy, corruption and inefficiency. We were quite outspoken this year.

The Atkinsons were an uplifting family that we met. He was the ultimate market player. She was the ultimate home-maker. Her philanthropy stamped his legacy in caps. Our ubiquitous megalomaniac, Mr. Cool, kept sinking lower this year, whereas his broker, Mr. Ever-so-Clever, raked it in . Earlier, Mr. Cool’s friend and alter-ego, Mr. System Addict, had retired on his 7-figure winnings from the market. Talking of brokers, remember Miss Sax, the wheeling-dealing market criminal, who did Mr. Cool in? She’s still in prison for fraud. Our friend the frog that lived in a well taught us about the need for adaptability and perspective, but not before its head exploded upon seeing the magnitude of an ocean.

Our endeavors to understand Mrs. Market’s psychology and Mr. Risk’s point of view were constant and unfailing, during which we didn’t forget our common-sense at home. Also, we were very big on strategy. We learnt to be away from our desk, when Mrs. M was going nowhere. We then learnt to draw at Mrs. M, when she actually decided to go somewhere. Compulsion was taken out of our trading, and we dealt with distraction. Furthermore, we started to look out for game-changers. Scenarios were envisioned, regarding how we would avoid blowing up big, to live another day, for when cash would be king. Descriptions of our personal war in Cyberia outlined the safety standards we needed to meet. Because we believed in ourselves and understood that we were going to enhance our value to the planet, we continued our struggle on the road to greatness, despite any pain.

Yeah, writing was fun. Thanks for reading, and for interacting. Here’s wishing you lots of market success. May your investing and trading efforts be totally enjoyable and very, very lucrative! Looking forward to an exciting year ahead!

Cheers 🙂

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!

The Frog That Lived in the Well

Once upon a time, there was a frog.

It lived in a well.

Its cousin, however, lived in the ocean, and this particular cousin came to visit.

Cousin froggy was stunned. How could one thrive in such a small space? Our original froggy, however, did not believe that one’s world could get any better. It loved the well, and only after much coaxing did it agree to see what the ocean was like.

Upon seeing the magnitude of an ocean, our original froggy’s head exploded. This story’s from Paramhans Yogananda. 

I’m sure you’ve heard this story from someone. Something similar probably happened to you too, of course on a much smaller scale of magnitude, with no head explosions and all that.

I used to walk around pretty smugly with my Blackberry, thinking that I was like there, connected. Experienced kind of a head explosion upon moving to an Android smartphone.

What is it about us humans?

Why are we so limiting?

Why do we create barriers around our life-experience, around our possibilities?

Market conditions keep changing. Just as we get tied up into a rut and define a market as range-bound and going nowhere, it breaks out. Are you able to cope?

Be honest.

Can you adapt to such changes in conditions?

Are you quick on your feet? Or are you lethargic, and full of inertia?

What’s that song by The Black Eyed Peas?

“don’t…don’t…don’t … … don’t-stop-the-party!”

I know you’ve been humming this song during your continuing debt market party, but there is more to the scene than just the debt market. The debt market is not where things start and end in the world of investing. There’s more.

The world of investing is like an ocean.

The next buzzing market will make itself known. It’s only a matter of time. Be ready for it. Don’t remain clogged up within the claustrophobic walls of one market only, out of sheer laziness and a false sense of security.

Get out there.

Experience the ocean, without your head needing to explode.