Seminars. Opportunities to learn new things, new ways of thinking, new (and hopefully more effective) ways of making money, new trends, meet interesting and like minded people… how could anyone pass that up? I could not.
And I am still touched by the ripples (a.k.a. benefits, gains, blessings) that simple “Yeses!” to seminars were able to earn for me: the MavenSecrets blogging seminar which gave me this blog, the Ricky Lee Scriptwriting Seminar from long ago that so inspired me but failed to make me a scriptwriter (which friend said can’t have it all?), the Truly Rich Club seminar and materials (mostly CDs I still listen to in my car) from Bo Sanchez that I still remember to this day (that jumpstarted the personal-finance-me – who would ever think?), the Inquirer.net financial planning experiment that gave me my financial-planners-partners in MoneyDoctors, Bob Proctor’s Six-Minutes to Success and Rich Schefren and Jay Abraham’s League of Extraordinary Minds that are still giving me new insights into the human psyche and the Registered Financial Planning seminar I am currently attending which hopefully will make me financial planner extraordinaire (hopefully).
Some readers emailed me privately wanting to know about stocks and financial statements. Here is my two cents worth.
I remember two things that my financial planner made me do so I will not be overwhelmed by stocks (well) and so that I can understand it:
1. He asked me to look at the business page of the newspaper everyday, the Stock Exchange page to be specific, and to choose at least 10 stocks that I will track and follow day after day after day.
He was right. This gave me more than what I thought it will give me. At the beginning, yes, there was confusion, and then after some time (six months… and going), illumination. I had a “feel” of the market, and somehow, my “gut” was developed. I would know if stocks are on the rise, or if it is on freefall, which is the time to buy. The green and the red arrows in the newspaper actually meant something, but only as supplements to the general, wonderful, engaging world of numbers. And when I recently had a report on my stockholdings and saw a 5% growth rate per month, I knew why a lot of other people play this game, and why they become greedy.
My friend Robert Kiyosaki said I should invest in increasing my financial intelligence. By invest he meant put in money, effort, and more importantly, time.
Financial intelligence is the foundation of great wealth. It is the understanding of money and how it works in the present day world. Understanding that debt is not merely debt, but that it could be good or bad; and assets are sometimes not assets but liabilities; and that expenses should be increased and income decreased to maximize the tax laws written by the rich for the rich. It is seeing not what is there but the totality of the picture. It is listening to the story of numbers, and using more numbers to create an extraordinary future.
Stocks are on the upswing again. How do I know? I look at the stock market reports daily.
This was one of the first tips given by my financial planner to me – to look at the business page, particularly the big rectangular block full of numbers and letters, read it over, pick at least 10 stocks that I would watch daily, and watch them daily (yes, it is a commitment). He said that this way, I would develop a feel for it. This, he tells me further, is how the pros do it – everyday, full time. I looked at him, half-smiling (I was trying to convince him that I could do it) and half-wincing (I imagined it as a painful exercise). Sure looked like it was a lot of hard work. But I found out – it was not.
Let me tell you, I hardly ever looked at the business page before. It screamed boring! to me. After all, who cares about companies and mergers and acquisitions when there’s news that Actress A is pregnant and the dad is Actor B who is married and their story is played till kingdom come and I had 30 minutes to spare? Even the cartoon page would get first dibs.
D and I have been meeting resistance from our financial planner these days.
We (okay, I) had wanted to purchase a lot at Tagaytay Highlands (fine, Midlands) which will give me a free club membership. He said no. I wanted to buy a foreclosed house for which I would pay a pittance for. He said no.
It could be quite frustrating to be told that you cannot buy something that you really, really want to have. But that is the function of a financial planner – he will tell you if you can, when you can, how you can. He is my personal financial brakes, someone to tell me that I am going overboard, or that I am just being silly.
Believe me, no one at the start really is. Some say the stock market is a simple game and playing requires only gut instinct, or no instinct, since the rule is buy low and sell high. Timing is everything and nothing in this game. No one knows when the bottom will come, even when a downward curve is on the horizon.
You can play two ways: online or live. You can see a list of trading participants (brokers, in street parlance) in http://www.pse.com.ph/. Click the link on the left side that says “Trading Participants”.
Financial advise comes from the most unexpected source sometimes.
I met Warren Buffett through a Chinaman, a name the Chinese were called a long time ago, and which I use here with awe and as a form of endearment. My Chinaman, let us call my Chinaman Mr. S, ushered me into the wonderful world of stocks.
He came one ordinary day into the office, wearing simple unassuming clothes, wanting advice for a tax problem. He did not impress me on day one, nor I him. He did not shake my hand when the meeting was over, only did some form of a bow, muttering that he still had a bus to catch. That would not have been odd except that I knew that his net worth was 290 Million Pesos, up from 29 Million Pesos, because he was a stock market genius. Having started learning about stocks that year, I knew I should have his ear, and he mine.