Test Drive – Mclaren 570GT and Audi R8

I was fortunate enough to be able to test drive two cars thanks to Silver Arrow here in Victoria. They are an exotic used car dealership and have very unique cars in on a regular basis. I didn’t buy but i’m looking for something exciting. Here are my thoughts on these cars.

First was a 2017 Mclaren 570GT, which is like the baby of the product line but I haven’t driven any others to compare. In summary this car is like a very luxurious spaceship. With 560 HP it pulls really hard when you step on it which I love.

IMG_0229-1024x768

The paddle shift is natural and intuitive to pick up. When you slow down it will automatically down shift so you don’t have to worry about stalling it which funnily makes me miss standard.

IMG_0233-1024x768

The doors open out and up easily and it’s no issue getting in and out for me any way.

IMG_0235-1024x768

Some things I didn’t like, one visibility to the rear side only works through the side mirrors which makes merging and parallel parking nervous. The front pumper hood looks odd in my opinion. Also when I got out my left let had pins and needles because of a miss aligned seating position. It’s both a firm and comfortable ride but you have to adjust it to get the one you want. The other critical complaint is the price, at 240K cad + a 25% tax the price is high. While the quality is there I would be happy with half the car for half the price.

The second car was a 2012 Audi R8 with a manual transmission. This car is very elegant and indistinguishably just as fast as the Mclaren with over 500HP. It is very spacious on the interior with lots of headroom. One thing that can’t be conveyed in words or even a sound clip is the sound of the engine, it is a musical instrument both from the outside and in. The sound is amazing, you feel it and it’s not obtrusive in the cabin. I can see why people rave over the engine, it’s worth the price alone.

IMG_0241-1024x768

IMG_0236-1024x768  IMG_0242-1024x768

Driving the R8 felt natural and easy to get comfortable with. There is a price premium on the manual and they were asking for 140K. It checks a lot of boxes but i’m not sure I love it.

These cars are luxury purchases and here are a few thoughts on how I think about financing. Any money that would go to a car in this category would be excess from an amount I need to live off of the interest at a 4% return per year. I’m not looking to lease even though it means paying tax up front and 95% of customers go this route.

In addition to the purchase cost I will set up an investment of stock index funds so that a 4% return on the principal will cover the cost of insurance, regular maintenance and fuel. For an Audi R8 this looks like $2000.00 insurance, $3000.00 fuel and $4000.00 maintenance for each year. This means I would set aside $225K in diversified stocks and bonds just to hold to cover the costs of owning the car. The value will depreciate but I could keep the car or decide to sell it at it won’t cost me any additional capital. All of this depends on having investments that return my cost of living from a 4% estimated return. Personally I wouldn’t buy a car if I didn’t have twice a living savings because there are so many opportunities for investments now.

I will probably post more if I take a look at other cars later in the year.

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.

btc_mania

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.

 

Money, Hate it and Love it.

17121925920_f09ccf01fc_b

I wanted to share some interesting observations about money. I think a lot of people make assumptions about it that don’t make much sense.

The title is a play on words from the saying love it or hate it but the strange thing about money in particular is that people do hate it and love it at the same time.

People want money but don’t want it at the same time. Everyone wants a lot of money but as soon as people get it they want to get rid of it. If you put a stack of cash under your mattress people would say that is totally irresponsible, someone could steal it or there could be a fire and destroy it. If you instead put that cash in the bank the tellar will tell you you need to invest it because it’s not doing anything for you just sitting there. I.e. you need to trade money for somthing else that isn’t money. Such as a share in a company, a bond as a promise to repay or a physical asset that might appreciate. Inflation destroys the value of money but no one says it like that.

Using money is like putting watter in a bucket with holes in the bottom that everyone thinks of as beeing super important. It’s commical and tragic as most of my friends are spending their entire lives working to make money just to live while not understanding what money is or how it works.

The thing most people don’t know is that dollars are created as dept by banks in the form of loans as they are needed. Most people think that dollars represent the labour they traded to earn them and are simultaniously frustarated at rising prices and living costs. The truth is that while most people work for money, some people / companies / banks just create it from nothing and charge interest. The really tricky part that most people don’t grasp is that because banks issue the currency with interest attached there is always more money owed than exists. It’s like a game of musical chairs. This is why economists are fearfull of deflation in the economy. As soon as the currency supply starts to contract people become fearful and stop spending on non essentials in order to pay down depts. Unfortunately there are more debts owed than there are dollars to pay them off so all available currency quickly dissapears and you end up with a depression.

This means that there is a hidden penalty for holding debts that compounds with greater levels most people don’t realize.

What to do about it? Save as much as possible. There is a sliding scale between your networth being negative and positive. The more negative or in debt you are the more of your life you have to spend paying other people. Conversely the higher you are on the net worth scale the more easily money can come to you. Be on the positive side of the debt equity threshold.

There are a lot of social conditioning beliefs that we have to spend our money and finance debts to the same level as our income. In my area the average house price is $830,000.00 and everyone strives to buy one and finance it with thrity years of mortgadge payments. That is $4000 per month. Half of the payments to a mordgage go to interest charges by the way.  If not house then a car, toys, or vacations etc.

Reducing your expenses has a greater effect on your financial future than increasing your income in some cases.

There are a group of people that save large portions of their income and share their experiences online. They are known as the Fire community and it stands for financial independence and early retirement. Some popular bloggers on the subject include https://www.mrmoneymustache.com (US) and https://www.millennial-revolution.com (Canada). Check them out and leave me your comments.

Like Minded Persons Wanted

giphy

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.

What is Possible?

Mister-Duality-Leah-Palmer-Preiss-700x700

I have been thinking recently about this idea that there is a threshold in our thinking between two extremes of possibility that bifurcates the course of our lives into two completely different directions. We all fall into different ranges but the end result is that everyone having thoughts more or less than fifty percent one way or the other will be grouped with everyone else of like mind. The fascinating thing is that it appears people in each group do not see what the other group see despite occupying the same world and even interacting with each other.

The distinction that separates us is based on this world view.

Side A: Life happens to us because it’s outside our control and

Side B: I’m learning how to navigate life because this is what I choose.

This was sparked by several recent conversations I had with people while they were telling me about problems they were having in their life. For each case I explored with them some actions they could take to get advice, explore and test options, re-evaluate the role of the cause of the issue in their life. I was just exploring some ideas not trying to lecture or preach but I noticed they would always reset the track at the beginning each time and restate the problem statement as they had begun it. I tried backing up the context to come to some common ground because I felt the point I was trying to explain was being overlooked but in those moments at least these strangers didn’t want to let go of the way there story was told.

Did their problems really matter? Absolutely they were real problems that would drive anyone crazy. Has anyone else had the same issue and resolved them? Yup but it seemed simply describing an option to them did not change their intention on what they planned to do.

If you are not looking for change or new possibilities you will not find them. This gives the people in each group the illusion that the world only exists the way they see it.

On the extreme end of side B people exhibit a force of will that is total with complete disregard for feedback from their experience of reality. Their goal is all consuming and they view it as the only thing deserving of their attention. When or if their goal doesn’t materialize they don’t even observe it. These people can appear crazy to everyone in the middle.

The opposite end of the spectrum side A are extreme pessimists. They don’t try stretch goals, settle with what they think they can have without ever contemplating change. They view people who take risks as foolish and others with excess as completely unrelated to their way of thinking.

Obviously this is a generalization and we as individuals fall into different levels of this spectrum for each area of our life. What I have noticed from past experience is that the crazy things that seem beyond impossible actually happen for real when you hold them in your mind as certain to such a degree that there is nothing else. And conversely it’s impossible to move from a mindset of lack being placed on us by others into prosperity. No matter how much effort you put into, the universe meets that force with an equal opposite pushback. Thats the interesting key to me, how do you take the things in your life you believe to be impossible that you want to have or explore and cross the threshold? It’s hard, when I start out on one or the other it trends toward the extreme in that direction. Crossing back requires a big commitment, the ability to let go to things that feel essential and a leap of faith. It’s almost as if the trends towards helplessness become a part of you so letting go of them really is like jumping off a cliff.

Financial Independence

finn_1467374848946_3644081_ver1.0

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.

Subliminal Goal Achievement

cogs-brain

Your environment is almost certainly affecting your mood and productivity. You can make big improvements and achieve new successes by making simple changes to your work and living spaces. The idea is to choose specific objects, words, imagery, smells and music that you have a positive association to and place them in the areas you live. The intention is to create subliminal triggers that subconsciously influence you to act and improve on goals. These could include working on business ventures, doing chores, thinking more positively, getting more exercice, generating a million dollars or eliminating bad behaviours. It’s a good way to start something new or improve on what your currently doing.

The process starts by choosing some goals and laying out reminders for yourself. For each of your goals come up with related written words and phrases, images or objects and place them in your work and home spaces to guide action. Make them part of your daily experience. The reminders you choose should be associated with a feeling you want to foster but can include itemized todo lists. This means using words and pictures that you would experience with the successful completion of your goals.

The magic of this exercise is that the mind absorbs your experiences and influences your thoughts and actions without you even being aware of it. The semantic meaning of written words and images doesn’t even have to be fully comprehended each time you look at them. You just have to be exposed to the reminders and your reaction will be subconscious.

This process will also help you remove blocks to a more productive day. If you find yourself deliberating on decisions then adding more positive influences will encourage action. 

Preparation is critical to success. Because we are purposefully trying to encourage automatic behaviours we need to make sure those behaviours are chosen thoughtfully ahead of time. The reminders placed in your environment will also form habits and allow your subconscious to anticipate and plan moment to moment what to do next. This creates a calming effect on your overall state.

We have an emotional budget of decision making power available to us each day. If we exceed our limit we hit burnout and start making bad decisions. When you’re running low on energy you slow down and loose focus. Optimize your day by dedicating time once a week to choose tasks for goals. I.e. if you want to start going to the gym every day but find it difficult remove some unnecessary steps. Keeping all of the things you need in a bag by your front door so all you have to do is grab it and your ready. Then when you decide to go everything you need is in that bad and there is no time for deliberation and hesitation.

You can support new actions with rewards while transitioning to new behaviours. This can include tasty prepared food items, music you enjoy and planned activities that have pleasant experiences like walking through a park.

Here are some specific ideas for implementing reminders:

  • Use post -it notes, a chalk or white board or custom paper/card stock to hang reminder words on the walls. You could also create artwork with pictures and large print words to serve both artistic and influential roles.
  • Set up your computer to cycle through motivational desktop pictures.
  • If you share a space with others and don’t want to disrupt the feel you can change the medium and format to fit. This might mean todo lists on notepads in an office and framed word art work at home.
  • Create a board and place on it all of the associated images and text goals that you are working towards.
  • The size of text you prepare can also be used to influence the priority you have attached to it. Place multiple reminders to reinforce the message.
  • When using descriptive words or todo lists include words you associate with positive feelings. This way you will think of the feelings along with action goal based words. Your subconscious is not logical like your conscious mint and thinks more in terms of feelings.
  • Smell and scents can act as powerful reminder.

Use location to your advantage so that the objects you choose support the type of behaviour you want for each areas.

  • Work – At work you may want to create a mood of alertness, concentration and low distraction. Some starting ideas: Supplement low light levels with a lamp. Ambient non vocal music or flowing water feature. Light energy rich foods. Organization folders.
  • Bedroom – In your bedroom you may want to create a restful calming mood. Some starting ideas: Add a dimmer light. Use words like Relax, Calm Rest. Add smells with plants or scents. 
  • Living Areas – In your living spaces you may want to create a mood for brainstorming, health or long term planning. Some starting ideas: Use words, photos that support income/achievement goals or activity planning. Prepare a gym bag or healthy snack food next to written words or other objects.

When using written words choose the ones that inspire and make you feel good as well as words that describe your goals. Identify specific goals that you would like to achieve and select the words and images for each. Imagine yourself having achieved the goal and choose words that describe that state.

Ideas for working options:

  • $ 10 K / mo
  • Millionaire
  • Enjoying Physical Fitness
  • 4 Dates Out Each Month

The reverse of positive reminders also applies to negative influences in your life. Try removing things from your environment that negatively affect your actions. This may be clutter, excess furniture, excessive noise, unhealthy foods, TV, destructive relationships etc.

Optimize for results. Every once in a while review how you feel about the spaces you have created. Try changing the wording and placement over time. Some things may not work for you so try new things and experiment.

I have found this exercise very useful for goal achievement after just starting recently and noticed a few things. It’s good to have lots of reminders everywhere so that a lot of your time is spent around them. I don’t pay attention to them often I just let them be. Most of the reminders are subtle and just appear to be decoration by others. The build quality of words and pictures on any wall make a big difference. When using post-it notes or low quality card stock I notice it feels like clutter after a while so i’m switching to using  frames and other materials.

Let me know if you try any of these and any improvements you notice.