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We want to share with you some articles and videos that we have come across in the last week or so that we think provide insight and we find helpful, along with some of our content for newer readers. To save you time, we summarize what the content covers.

Articles and Videos

An old video of Mickey and Minnie. Animation has come a long way, and Disney has become one of the premier movie studio. In spite of having to lay off a lot of people at ESPN, they still make a decent amount of profit. But, maybe they should focus more on family entertainment, not so much live sports.

Ray Dalio giving some thoughts on the market in his LinkedIn post. Ray has founded one of the largest hedge funds. You can read it here. Here is CNBC talking about Ray Dalio’s comments.

Notes from This Week

It seems tech and semiconductor industry is bouncing back from lackluster earnings. The $QQQ continue to go higher at all time highs. This has helped the S&P 500 remain flat for the third week in a row. Many people have been talking about how S&P 500 has not changed by more than 1% in the last several weeks. This is considered a record streak of low volatility in the index. This all changed on Wednesday, when there was a significant drop in most stocks by more than 1%. It did bounce back somewhat on Thursday. Things will get very interesting in the near future.

Surprising for me, $UCTT continues to go higher, except for the large drop on Wednesday. I had considered selling earlier last week, but it still did not hit my stop loss, so I have been keeping the stock. It is up about $3 per share since I discussed it last time. It bounced back and I hope it continues on. The recent drop is making me uneasy, and I am considering tightening my stop. This still doesn’t beat my all-time 50-bagger on a silver mining stock back in 2005.

Weekly Podcast

In this week’s upcoming podcast, we’ll be covering the following questions that have raised concerns:

  1. Is the US Dollar done?
  2. What record US debt levels mean for investors and how to trade this.
  3. Is the cryptosphere headed for an obvious disaster?

We’ll also be reviewing the content for the week with some additional bonus information.

Blast From the Past

Since we won’t see any healthcare changes in the future, what are the best ways to protect against rising healthcare costs? The sooner you read that and take action in your life, the better your life will be in the future. Make no mistake: most people will be in poverty due to poor financial choices related to healthcare.

Posts This Week on FinTekNeeks

Four financial lessons from John D. Rockefeller

Should I invest in Apple?


We mention on FinTekNeeks that the ultimate form of wealth is discipline and John D. Rockeller lived a disciplined life with financial lessons we can learn. Rockefeller set the record for being the wealthiest man in the history of mankind with an inflation-adjusted amount of wealth at over $400 billion US Dollars. One of his most significant accomplishments came from balancing the volatile oil industry for both consumers and producers.

The Series

  1. 4 Financial Lessons From Alexander Suvorov
  2. 4 Financial Lessons From Genghis Khan
  3. 4 Financial Lessons From John D. Rockefeller

The Lessons

1. Never quit. When Rockefeller tried to find his first job, every job rejected him. He tried again starting early in the morning until late at night and failed. He applied for numerous jobs at companies that rejected him multiple times and he still tried again. After three months of looking, a company hired him. When he reflected over the countless rejections, he made it clear that his job was to find a job during that season of his life. He also later stated that anything could be accomplished with perseverance and that it was one of the most powerful virtues he knew.

In order to master discipline, we must first taste despair – there is no other way. If we’re not experiencing despair, how much discipline do we really have? We can do one of two things when we feel despair: quit, or realize that this is our moment. In Rockefeller’s case, he pressed on and remained discipline even though he continued to be rejected.

With money, we will experience setbacks – it’s only a matter of time. We should first prepare for these setbacks financially and mentally. When they come, we will be prepared and we will know how to react – with perspective: this is our moment to shine.

2. Money follows behavior. Rockefeller worked from 6 AM to 10 PM six days a week. Some of this was a reality for his time, some of this was his work ethic. In addition to working diligently, Rockefeller saved a significant portion of his earnings early in his life while he worked while faithfully giving a portion of his income to his faith. Rockefeller did not see either of these as losses; as a young man, he once stated that he wanted to accumulate $100,000 (he surpassed) and live to 100 (came within 2 years). If we were looking at the young Rockefeller today, we might describe him as a minimalist. This mentality preceded his later success.

What have we sacrificed today? How hard have we worked today? How do both of these relate to our vision? Rockefeller’s behavior mirrored his vision – if it did not fit his vision, he terminated the behavior. What we do should reflect our vision.

3. Mastery equals discipline plus vision. While we think of Rockefeller as being one of the richest individuals who lived, he actually mastered one of the most volatile markets for his day. Before Standard Oil began in 1870, the oil market experienced huge booms followed by busts. Producers would lose their entire business in a bust, while consumers would experience huge losses during a boom. Oil was one of the worst markets.

Being disciplined, Rockefeller saw the lack of balance in the oil market: when oil was high, everyone sold oil like crazy, but caused the price to crash. When oil the price of oil crashed, businesses would go bankrupt and create a shortage of oil on consumers, causing the price to spike again. Oil companies lacked discipline; in the good times, they should have been saving and preparing for the bad times, while in the bad times, they should have been accumulating the bankrupt companies. This is exactly what Rockefeller did and he built one of the largest oil companies in the world – Standard Oil.

As Standard Oil dominated the market, the price of oil began to stabilize and jobs losses in the oil industry were few and far between and consumers enjoyed a more balanced price. If you look at the below graph, you can see exactly how much the price of oil was impacted over time by the creation of Standard Oil:

What we see in that graph is the mastery of John D. Rockefeller. Mastery creates wealth for producers, consumers, and helps others impact the world as well, as they don’t have to worry about volatile prices or unstable jobs. When it comes to money, our mastery of money – discipline and vision – inherently creates wealth for others.

4. Charity should create self-reliance. I used to think that giving money to people was a noble thing to do. In college, when I read Titan, Rockefeller was the first challenge to my view on this even with my doubts. The nail in the coffin that changed my view on charity was a documentary called Poverty Inc and it showed that charity – or giving money to help – often undermines people who are actually trying to work for their community (entrepreneurs).

“No one wants to be a beggar for life” […] “Having a heart for the poor isn’t hard, but having a mind for the poor is the challenge.”

Rockefeller viewed charity as destructive, if the recipient became dependent on charity. The purpose of charity to Rockefeller was to create self-reliance. After considering this topic, I admire that Rockefeller really cared whether his money made people better off. It’s easy to give money and think, “That’s enough!” To Rockefeller, this involved no further investigation – did it actually improve people’s lives? True to his discipline, Rockefeller investigated, reflected, and chose charity that helped improve people’s self-reliance, most notably education.

Are we giving for others or for ourselves? If we’re truly giving for others, we should investigate whether our giving actually moves people forward or not. One humbling lesson I’ve had to learn is that “the return” is really proving value to others – “the market” (I fully admit that in college I thought that “getting a return” was always evil). Giving money and creating dependence does not prove value; in fact, over the long run, it’s completely unsustainable because producers will cease to exist, like we saw in the Soviet Union before its collapse.

Summary

One of my favorite reminders about John D. Rockefeller’s impact on our world is plumbing. Rockefeller’s investment into improving the lives of many poor individuals led to the eventual discovery of modern waste disposal, which has significantly led to the reduction of diseases. While easy to forget, at the turn of the 1900s diarrhea was one of the top ten killers of humans (diarrhea!). Humans struggled with basic hygiene, but a lot of the charity Rockefeller gave to help improve the lives of people led to eventual discoveries that allowed us to move past these errors.

Rockefeller shows how discipline, perseverance and mastery can impact the world even when we’re gone. Our lives may be limited, but our actions can pay dividends to people we’ll never meet.


We want to share with you some articles and videos that we have come across in the last week or so that we think provide insight and we find helpful, along with some of our content for newer readers. To save you time, we summarize what the content covers.

Articles and Videos

Here is a Ted Talk about the Marshmallow Challenge. It is an experiment done with wide variety of participants and their performance based on their groups. It may be anecdotal about MBA graduates, but it confirms our belief that sometimes it is a waste to spend all that money to get an MBA. Does having an MBA guarantee success for projects and programs?

One of my favorite satires by Juvenal, Satire 12. Preparation without excitement is a trap; excitement without preparation is foolishness:

Only remember in future, besides your bread and your bread-basket and your pot-bellied flagon, to take with you axes also for use in time of storm.

Weekly Podcast

In this week’s upcoming podcast, we’ll be covering the following questions that have raised concerns:

  1. Could investors be missing out on a major basket play?
  2. Is StorJ ripping off their user base?

We’ll also be reviewing the content for the week, while dropping a bonus.

Blast From the Past

Why I am holding onto my Bitcoin? Back in November, I presented why I am holding onto my Bitcoin. The price had dropped from $1100 to $900 in matter of days. Since I had bought it at a lower price, I was willing to take the risk. With recent price movements in Bitcoin price, I have to take caution. Going back to my reasons for holding, I need to make the determination to “hodl” or sell and wait for a pull-back. Right now, the price is still way above the 50 day moving average at around $1500. It would have been nice to see some sort of a slower increase in price, but that is just wishful thinking.

Like the content you see on FinTekNeeks? Provide feedback by supporting us as we take support into consideration every year when we review whether the site and time are worth our efforts.

Posts This Week on FinTekNeeks

What Is Tezos and How Will It Launch?

How Can the 3 Bitcoin Rule Help Investors?

How should I invest $10,000?

Should I invest in GBTC?


I see these types of questions a lot on reddit and quora. Many have opinions on what to do and how to invest. Some are good and some are great advice. It is overwhelming at times, considering there are so many ways to invest in a lump sum of money. Not all situations warrant aggressive investing. Whether it is to save, invest, or spend, the advice is vast and wide. So, what should I do when I have ten thousand dollars?

Goals, Baselines, and Perspectives

We have talked about having emergency savings in the past on FinTekNeeks. We also wrote about strategies using conservative certificates of deposit with laddering structures and alternatives to CDs. In the USA, there are many options for people to invest. Besides stocks, there are bonds, insurance policies, options, futures, forex, index funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and recently approved crowdfunding of startups.

Initially, financial planning first involves emergency savings. Once that is established, we can think about our goals, our baselines, and perspectives on various investments available. If you have not read our article regarding baselines, please read it now. Should I be more conservative or take more risk based on my baselines?

Three Hypothetical Scenarios

Since everyone’s situation is unique, it is not practical to give guidelines. One must choose and decide what is prudent in one’s own situation. Here, we provide three hypothetical scenarios that may offer some ideas for one’s situation.

  1. Alice is in her early 20s and she lives in an Asian country. She has a relatively decent job that allows her to save a considerable amount of her salary. After a couple of years, she has saved about $10,000 equivalent. She wants to invest in bitcoin but thinks one coin cost too much. After reading FinTekNeeks, she realizes that one can actually buy a small portion of a bitcoin, even down to a $1.00 US dollars worth, or even smaller. Because transaction fees are significant if she buys a couple of dollars worth, she decides to only invest about 1% of her savings to invest initially. She decides to save the rest for an apartment she can purchase or some sort of real estate opportunity. Even though her baseline is relatively low, she still has a bit way to go to make achieve her goal. Although most of her friends are going out and enjoying their early twenties, she decides that she wants to aggressively save and live way below her means, so she frequently declines invitations to party. She may partake in friends’ birthday parties, but she limits them to her few close friends. Because there is risk of inflation in her local currency, she decides to change 10% in to a foreign currency. She is able to make a small trip to Singapore as one of her vacations, using the discount airlines that only costs her around $30 US dollars round trip while being able to convert the 1% of her savings into Singaporean dollars. Singapore has a relative stable currency, where they do not immediately outlaw banknotes like what India just did last year. If need be, she can exchange the Singaporean dollars at the local bank, even though there may be hefty exchange rate fees. The last resort option is to visit the local black market, where she can get higher exchange rates for hard currency, if all else fails. The local banking system seems pretty secure for now and she is able to put the remainder into an account that achieves a decent interest rate. Keeping a close eye on inflation, she may decide later to convert some of the money into gold or silver bullion. Hopefully in a couple of years, Alice will have saved enough for a place of her own with prospects of advancement in her company, and her country overall has been growing at a rapid pace due to changes in politics and increased trade.

  2. Bob is in his early 30s, and have steady income above the median household in the USA. He already has 3 months of emergency savings per what he researched in reddit/r/personalfinance. He wants to invest his extra $10,000 US dollars, but he is not sure about his emergency savings. He already saves 6% of his income into his 401k, which he gets 3% total matching. Looking at FinTekNeeks baseline article, being in line with his baseline he is on track to meet his goals at retirement. He decides he can take more risk with the extra money he has. He adds $5k into his emergency savings to get towards a more comfortable cushion. He has been following news about bitcoin. He decides to read more about it and set aside $2k for cryptocurrencies. He has been thinking about investing in silver with the remainder. He has been tracking prices for months and researched historic prices. He learned the recent low was $15 back in 2016 and low as $12 in 2008. Also, he understands the uses of silver and thinks silver should be above $25. The US treasury has used up all their strategic stockpile back in 2002 and possibly holds only 7 million ounces. In order to mint more silver eagles, they have to buy from silver refiners. With the recent price pull back from $18.50 to $16.50, Bob considers that this may be a good time to buy some coins. This can in part be used as emergency and as an asset for inflation hedge.

  3. Charlie is in his mid 40s. You can say he has a good career and is way above his baseline. After 10-20 more years he will be able to retire and his children will take care of his basic needs. He has inherited an equivalent of $10,000 US dollars from a recently deceased parent. Although he doesn’t live in the US or a rich first world European country, he has access to high speed internet at home and the political and economic climate is somewhat stable. He decides to invest in cryptocurrencies. He decides done extensive research and understands the risks involved. He decides to keep 10% as additional emergency fund. He also keeps another 10% as local investment fund. He wants to invest locally, providing some capital to a small business who would provide a small return. He decides to keep $1000 to spend for his wife, vacations, and charity. He believes in giving as well as treating his wife. He decides to split up $5000 into several cryptocurrency exchanges. He thinks he has chosen several exchanges that he can trust, but wants to make sure things go smoothly and not keep all in the same place. He deposits a small mount to transact and make purchases. He then tests out a secure trusted wallet he has gotten. Making sure to keep security as priority, he encrypts his wallet and keeps his recovery key safe where his wife only knows. His purchases are transferred safely and he is not worried too much about the little transaction fees. With recent price movements, he decides to buy a small portion as a starter position. He has heard about Tim’s course on cryptocurrency and he joins the course and researches recommendations on value investing on various cryptocurrencies. As a side project, he decides to spend the rest of his remaining $2000 US dollars on learning more about blockchain technologies. He researches extensively and also takes a free course on Coursera.org about bitcoin. Even though he doesn’t program in java to complete the course, he gets a good foundation of blockchain technology. He decides to first learn how to build a bitcoin node with small components. He gets further interested in mining and builds a system he has learned online. He has a small system, but he is excited about the idea of “mining” where he collects small amount of cryptocurrency that is enough to pay for meals, if needed, since where he lives has very low cost of living.

These are some scenarios that may give you some ideas on what could be done. It is up to you, but one should err on the side of caution. The law of compounding is valuable and should be remembered.

Warning

This article covers a token or element in the cryptosphere. The cryptosphere is new and exciting, but changes rapidly and often in ways that do not benefit users. By the time this article is published, changes may have already occurred. Most tokens in the cryptosphere are complete scams that are get-rich-quick-schemes for insiders. Often, we cannot know this beforehand and only later discover this. A person should only trade with money that they’re willing to lose because losses are guaranteed. If you choose to participate in purchasing a token in the cryptosphere, you should do so with the full expectation of a loss and you should also expect it to change in a manner that does not benefit you. There are very few good ideas in the cryptosphere. Finally, by reading this post, you agree that you’ve read our disclosure.


Retire Early With Cryptocurrencies

With crypto-tokens in a bubble, when is the best time to sell? We discuss selling and timing sells in Retire Early With Cryptocurrencies over the next two weeks. These techniques apply to stocks, bonds and commodities as well.

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