Financial Planner

I met with an old school friend that is a financial planner to discuss some available investment options. Currently I manage my own investments across different asset classes and re-allocate based on market trends and imbalances. I look to sell overvalued assets and reinvest in undervalued yet fundamental alternatives.

My primary hesitation with using an advisor is the commission structure and limited available asset options. I would be happy to pay an advisor a high fee for their time and advice on as regular basis but not on a commission of total invested assets. Commissions based on invested assets causes several issues, one being because the available investible assets are a subset of what I am interested in they are disincentivized to help allocate towards assets they don’t sell. Secondly the commission fees are disproportionately high when investing a retirement level of assets.

In my case I plan is to grow my assets and place one million dollars in index stock and bond funds and use the expected four percent yearly return as backup income to cover my cost of living. My current living expenses are around twenty something thousand dollars per year making my monthly draw about two thousand dollars. If I was to have a financial advisor invest one million with a 1.5% commission that works out to be $1250.00 a month. With a drawdown of $2000.00 a month to live that is a high percentage considering that the alternative is a $25.00 fee for managing my own investments through an online broker. Note that each of the stock index funds have a commission fee attached that applies weather they are self directed or managed through an advisor.

Ultimately I want to make my own decisions for where to invest and have the responsibility to research opportunities and learn from the experience.

 

 

 

 

Trading Bitcoin Manias

This post describes a trading strategy that I am using with digital currencies specifically Bitcoin. The system I use to trade is available online for free at http://algomega.com. To use it you would need to open an account on an exchange and that can take several weeks to complete.

My expectation of gains is high, 50% per year for the next two to five years. In my eyes this is an opportunity for gains if the market continues it’s volatility and or upward trend. Even as a small portion ones invetments this strategy could add a boost to financial independence.

These high expected returns make a big difference. As a comparison, I met with a financial advisor recently about managing my stock and bond investments. I currently hold self directed accounts and do rebalancing myself. The management fees of the financial advisor in the ballpark of 1.5% meant he would be making 65% of the income I wanted to withdrawal on for living expenses. That is a lot. If Bitcoin does go up by 50% per year it could be used to make gains not possible elsewhere at the same level of risk.

This strategy is based on the assumption that the price of Bitcoin will go up over the next few years. Trading the extreme peaks and valleys reduces the risk of buying at an all time high and also grow a cash reserve hedge. It’s pretty clear that Bitcoin has done well in the past but there have been times where people have bought in at a price that quickly dropped and then it took years to recover. This strategy hopes to reduce the likelihood of this happening by indicating times when not to buy when the market is overbought. This strategy also keeps a cash reserve as a hedge so that if the price was to drop unexpectedly you have some assets remaining to buy in or use for other purposes.

I personally believe that there are several reasons the price rise is likely but I won’t cover them all here. Some of the top reasons include the rapid activity of the developer community, improvements to the software and supporting infrastructure and businesses starting to work with digital currencies, the increasing user adoption rates and the gradually reducing production supply of the currency all play parts in my personal assessment.

The mania is a metric that measures rate of change both up and down over time. When the price rises at a rate that is higher than 99% of the past historical trading data then it is seen as a good indicator to sell a portion of holdings as the price and rate of rise always reverts in the other direction. The same applies to drops in price. When the price falls at a rate that is faster than 99% of the historical data it has always followed a reversal upwards and is a buying opportunity. When everyone is selling cheaply people panic but it has historically been the best time to buy.

The trends measured take into account a long term timeline. This means I look at trends based on the largest frequency of price cycling to reduce the risk of being caught out from an unexpected trend reversal. The long term objective is to accumulate bitcoin and trade when the indicators mark opportunities that only occur a few times per year at all. This makes it a low time commitment strategy.

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Here is an example report showing the Bitcoin price (Blue) against the mania (Red and black). You can see that durring the past price spikes the mania levels went above 1.5 and this would have been a good time to sell and definatly not a good time to buy. Durring the downturns when the mania droped below 0.4 the price has over time gone up and this has been a good time to buy in my experience.

A lot of people tend to think that they need to trade daily or weekly on short term trends but this is more work and not something that I do. I originally started out down this road and there is a reason why I don’t do this any more. I wrote a stock and crypto trading bot that used a genetic algorithm to learn an optimal strategy for profitable trading. After letting it run for months and years the bot did make a lot of money but less than simply buying and holding Bitcoin or dollar cost average buys.

This is not financial advice. Any investments you make are at your own risk. The value of Bitcoin or any other digital currency could for unforeseen reasons go to zero. It is important that if you buy into these currencies you are aware and can accept this risk. Only buy an amount that you are comfortable loosing.

 

Like Minded Persons Wanted

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I am looking to find likeminded people that share the same interest and passion.

My focus this year is on personal growth. To me this means reading on new subjects, building things people want, and most importantly meeting new people and sharing life together.

Most of the people that I know are limited in what they can do because of the amount of free time they have. They don’t have the opportunity to spend extended amounts of time doing things that would make them happier or allow them to learn or transform beyond what a certain basic level allows. Most people have a certain number of hollidays or a limited amount of money to travel or go to conferences as an example. Even the people I know that are high net worth are also highly leveraged with liabilities that bring them into comperable levels of work commitment and the stresses that come along with that.

How much of your day is really yours?

I have long been aware of common sayings about money not brining happiness or once you get a bump in lifestyle you will just acclimate to it and then feel just the same as you did before. I don’t agree with this though. I think this only applies to us when we are not growing or moving forward as people. Growth isn’t about comfort though and is mostly doing less with targeted action and letting go of bad habbits.

Are big changes realistic?

What does it feel like to hold an extravigantly rediculus idea of your future that feels impossible to achieve but unreasonably commit 100% to it? Uncomfortable and isolating, but in a good way that makes you feel alive.

There is an interesting phenominon I believe that if you could offer random people a life that they want more than any other they will sabatoge it if it is too far outside their comfort zone.

The difficulty in intending to change your life drastically also comes with a greater reward than can be gained by the regular toils of daily labour. This is because that impossible idea in your head will eventually and quickly become real and part of regular living as long as you hold it with mental certanty and conviction.

I made some investment descissions over the last ten years that brought me to financial independence. While the decape prior was pay cheque to pay cheque, I spent most of the day working just to have an hour or two to myself in the evenings. Now I have all the time to do what I want and need. The nuts and bolts of the investments are built on a strategy that was the result of several algorythmic learning systems evolving over the years.

One interesting observation about stepping through financial goal boundaries is that the expectation of what it would be like has nothing to do with reality. I had a belief that once I reached a certain dollar amount of investments I could live off the interest and then I would feel free. However when that happened to me and I reached that dollar amount I didn’t feel free I said to myself when I have twice that number then I will feel free. Then if the stock market crashes I will be ok because I can also invest in these other assets. Somewhere around the time when my investments reached just about twice what I needed to live on I was fired from my job. I wanted to leave but really was stuck in a mindset of conservative fear. I’m still trying to break off pieces of my personality that are over conservative to the detrement of my well being.

What is it like to be financially independent? It’s amazing, It’s a new normal and at the same time it’s an environment perfectly suited to figuring out what is important to my life now so that I can go do that. However I don’t know many people that are also in this situation.

What am I doing…

1 Ongoing projects, some I will talk about later. One is a car company I am starting called http://opencarproject.org. This is a passion project and I love working on it.

2) Network of investors to share or discuss investment strategies that helped me become financially independent so that more can do the same. The investment strategy I use is available to anyone on the website http://algomega.com

3) Youtube vlog I plan on starting to capture life, learning and fun with the intention of connecting with like minded others for growth and friendship.

Topics i’m brewing on for the blog and vlog inlude: health, fitness, travel, cars, money, investing, humor, food, relationships and more to come.

Rich, Safe and Comfortable

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This is a follow up on the idea that everyone wants to be rich but most people don’t prioritize it and don’t achieve it. I touched on this in yesterdays post titled Financial Independence that discusses a life transition I am starting.

The order of priority is important. Robert Keyosaki wrote in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad that we all want to be rich but not everyone achieves it. Most people put comfort and security ahead of being rich. Most people underestimate the potential upside of choosing rich heavy actions and overestimate the risks associated with those actions.

It costs money to be safe and comfortable. You end up trading opportunity in time, options, learning and raw capital that could be used on investments that return a higher rate. My suggestion is to sacrifice comfort and security in the beginning of your investment timeline. This will hopefully allow you to make higher returns with most of your resources then buy back your comfort later and be way ahead of those other guys who paid for comfort from the get go.
A lot of people worry about what would happen if the don’t have the safety of a regular job or guaranteed and stable returns from low risk investments. Most people don’t want to deviate from the investment strategy their friends, colleges and family use typically stocks and bonds invested through a fund at a local bank.
If you were to go against the advice of your peers and fail you may not only lose your investment but potentially feel foolish. But that’s actually in reality not such a bad thing. The idea of going to maximum growth up front means that if your strategy fails you can try again and again a few times learning as you go and you still have the opportunity when you are older to invest with time to save for retirement when you need it.
Iterations on ideas, strategies and investment types.
The more times you do something the better you get at it. There is a saying, when a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with experience ends up with the money and the man with the money ends up with the experience. Cheeky but the point is that while you may fail at your investment plan at first as long as you keep trying you will improve and overtake the vast majority of people who passively invest in the market.
Because of compounding most investments really pay off at the end so it doesn’t really make sense in my opinion to sit on investments without high potential when you are starting out or have a base net worth of zero.
Having a risky asset class or a risky allocation of only a few asset classes carries lower inherent risk when carrying a lower net worth. So the benefit of diversification or the type of investment you choose plays a smaller role than most people assume. For example if you are investing your first one thousand dollars and decide to buy Bitcoin rather than a stock index fund and plan on saving two million dollars for retirement, exactly what is the difference in the long run between those two options? The stock market could double or triple in thirty years, Bitcoin could go up five or ten times. Nobody knows but as you continue to invest you will have the opportunity to keep adding to each of these different asset classes and give yourself the most amount of time exposed to the highest gains you can anticipate.
Risk weighted against opportunity.
A lot of people look at risk factors in isolation but what should matter more is the ratio of risk relative to estimated gain.
Investing to be rich rather than safe can look like investing in an asset you think will return the highest after ten years rather than a good investment that will return a fixed consistent amount each year. The ten year play may sit at a loss for nine years and only pay off when its ready. This is where the price of comfort and safety is paid by you. If you need the money unexpectedly or want the reassurance of steady growth you will have to make do without or make other arrangements. But when the long term plays pay off you can usually buy 10x the safe consistent investments you would have otherwise because your investment capital would be smaller and spread out.
The method.
If there are fundamentals in an asset class or patterns that repeat the buying into undervalued assets and selling or reallocating overvalued assets is a good option.
When starting out in a wealth accumulation phase rather than a safe wealth preservation phase, I would invest in asset classes I think will have the highest risk weighted return. Currently in my opinion some precious metals like silver and cryptocurrencies fit into this bucket. I will explain in another post the some factors that could affect these asset classes both negatively and positively.
My personal strategy:
Buy assets with strong estimated future fundamentals. I.e. things people need that are rare or becoming more rare. Buy when the price is historically low and going up, Sell when the price is high relative to historical trends and starting to go down. Use the money to buy other assets that are undervalued. Use a ten to twenty year price history if available. Trade small amounts over time relative to the rate the price rises and falls in the past and based on your target allocation.
Examples: 
Some Random Asset Categories:
Realestate: REITS, Investment properties. In Canada the housing market is at a 100% fifteen year bull run.
stocks: Index Funds. Markets in the US and Canada are also in a ten year all time high.
bonds: National both foreign and domestic. Interest rates are low so these pay out low interest.
Structured Notes: Banks offer options for gains with some investment protection.
Private Quity: Business opportunities sold as Investment Bonds,  TFSA and RRSP eligible.
Precious Metals: PMs used in industry are at a ten year price low and could potentially become rare in the future.
Crypto: Bitcoin, and alternatives. Seeing increased user adoption and upward trending.
Allocations:
Rich- 
90% High
0% med
10% safe
Safe-
30% high
30% med
40% safe
These allocations illustrate a possible interpretation of investing for gain vs. safety.

Financial Independence

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Its been a while since I last posted and a lot has changed for me in the past couple of years. Going forward I am thinking about starting a YouTube channel for interactive dialog, both solo and with others, as it relates to some projects I am working on and in order to share progress and to create more fun experiences.

A big goal for most of my life has been to become financially independent so that I can spend all of my time growing personally, leaning what I really want and the skills I need to more effectively get there.
We are very fortunate to live in this time with so many other like minded people and also unlike contrasting ideas. We all make our own choices based on our desires and our understanding of what we want to achieve.
I have been thinking about this idea of effectiveness. Everyone has their own idea of what a fulfilled life looks like but not everyone can get there. While being happy or not is a matter of perspective in that a homeless person can live a life of ecstacey,
Eckhart Tolle comes to mind, and others with riches can feel perpetually empty, the take away is that we have lots of examples of others achieving different results from varied mindsets and actions.
One fascinating idea to me is that some people can make an obscene amount of money with very limited but targeted action. Being a software developer i’m familiar with a few other entrepreneurs starting successful online business that make a lot of money but primarily I think of Internet marketers who made staggering amounts of money buying ads to affiliate products. The market is always changing and these people rarely do it for long periods of time but the amount of money would set them for life.
Contrast that with someone who works a nine to five job from the time they finish school to retirement earning just enough to live, raise a family pay for all of the things most people buy like a nice house or condo, a car, a TV they spend every day watching, two weeks vacation per year, etc. In the social circle that I grew up in that is what almost everyone does and tells you to do. Go to school get a good job with benefits and work until you retire. Not bad but I can’t get excited about that. So what would it take for those few people who don’t go to work a nine to five every day and instead do something that makes them millions of dollars? Well they have to believe that they can find a way to make the money so they must spend their time learning about others that have different key pieces of information that they use in a plan and commit to it.
Someone always makes the comment, oh they were just lucky, implying the outcome they received just fell on their lap. This is the most tragic loss in my opinion. It reminds me of an anecdote I heard about an elementary school class experiment. They separated the students into two groups ordered my grade. Half of the top performing students on one side and the underperforming on the other. Each group was asked why they thought the successful students were able to perform so well. The students with the low score predominantly said they students with high grades were just born that way. The students with high scores predominantly said they received high grades because they work really hard. Thats the key, we all spend similar amounts of time awake living learning, trying, failing, changing, improving. By dismissing important pieces of information that especially pertain to skills or network opportunities is only to your detriment.
Everyone wants the same things, they just put them in a different order or importance. Do you want to be rich? Live in an ocean front mansion, traveling the world? Probably yeah. Do you want to feel safe and comfortable? Rely on a consist set of resources and routine? Have food and shelter? Probably yeah if I can put words in your mouth. But the ones that put being rich above security and comfort tend to get all of them to a much higher degree.
The Pareto principal applies so only certain actions result in your target goal. You can, and many do, spend their entire life working on things that fill a nine to five and never push them forward from their current more. Congruent beliefs with success are also required, If you don’t believe you can achieve your ultimate life changing goal why would you look for the opportunity and dive into the fear of actually committing to achieve it.
As for how this relates to me personally, I have made some investment gains over the past few years. It’s still early in my plan but so far I have paid off my living accommodations and in several scenarios have achieved financial independence. I have some investment diversification to do this year to reduce my exposure in some areas but if I was to lose my job tomorrow I would not likely have to find another one ever. My plan is to work for another year, make some planned investments then start a few ventures that I will document here in later posts.
Going forward I am approaching a life transition. Up until now I have been focused on my job but that has meant that my time is committed and my opportunity to pursure projects and experiences has been limited. So now instead of focusing on my particular job skills I will be expanding my social circle, committing time to new businesses outside the scope of my past work and leaning to have more fun.
I will be documenting these new business projects and the pieces that you can use as well as the investment opinions i hold and how I used them to achieve financial independence all coming soon.