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Career direction

Well, it’s been just over 9 months since I’ve done anything for a career. At the moment I’m just stuck as to what I plan on doing in the future. Some of the options I’m considering:

Investing

My top choice really, even though I don’t have much experience in it. There are a couple of investments that I’ve been looking at which seem pretty good as a source of income. One is investing in EPSI Canada, which does processing of Interac, cashback and Mastercard (basically swiped transactions). The investor gets to purchase the terminals, and they do all the maintenance, as well as guarantee a minimum number of transactions per month (24% ROI per year – which is written in contract). I’m currently looking at the contract agreement, trying to find a lawyer to view it and trying to call the references that they’ve provided. It seems a pretty good deal if I can get a steady income from this while in Indonesia, so I can concentrate on doing something else.

The other investment opportunity which has come up is a company in Indonesia where one of my friends works and has shares. He’s offered me to invest in a new spin-off of the company or the current parent company where his investment has grown 750% within the last 5 years.

The issue with these 2 of course is the capital, I’ll need quite a bit of money to invest on these, which means we won’t be able to buy a house in Indo for now. One solution I’m thinking of is getting a secured line of credit from a bank and use it for the investment. We’ll see how that goes since getting a secured line of credit doesn’t seem so easy after all.

Back to the workforce

My second option of course is the easiest, whether here in Canada or back in Indonesia. Back to doing development, systems analysis, programming, database etc. The problem with this is that I’m not sure I really enjoy it anymore and I’m 9 months behind on technology anyway. Going back to this means I have to find some specific niche that I truly enjoy such as Web Development or I”m just gonna find it dragging away again. Doing this in Indo also means mediocre pay and hardly worth the effort.

This was a subject that I had interest in awhile back: Project Management. Being involved in projects (specifically IT ones), dealing with people most of the time, new technologies, managing and yet not having to get down to the nitty-gritty stuff sounds like quite an enjoyable thing to do. Of course the stumbling block is that I don’t have the experience nor certification to get started in the field.

Work from home

Something I’m really serious on, especially if the investment in point 1 above can produce enough income. The 2 main culprits being online day/swing trading and playing poker professionally.

I’ve tried online day/swing trading with limited success (well, almost no success in financial terms :) ), and yet I keep thinking that if I persist in studying all the variables, charts, patterns et.all , I’ll be really good at this. During the times I traded with full concentration and no distractions, I managed to gain good profit. But since there was only a short period of time in a day I could do this (no more than 30 minutes, due to a toddler rampaging the house and a newborn asking for attention :) ), I tended to get sloppy and made transactions without fully analyzing it, hence lots of losing transactions. Tighter money management and better analysis would probably be necessary for me to be successful here.

Playing professional poker is more an indulgence than anything else. I do enjoy watching those people play on TV, and it seems like fun trying to get in the other person’s head, figuring out what they’re thinking and what they’re gonna do. I haven’t played with real money yet, just play money in Sit & Go’s and online games, enjoying winning quite a bit with (probably) inferior competition. I dunno what it’ll be like playing with professional players, but I sure would like to give it a shot if I get the chance :).

Well, all these options are just confusing the heck out of me. They all have their plus and minuses, and yet none that has a significant edge over the others. So right now, I’m just trying to figure out if I can spring enough money for the investment options, as that seems the best route, after that then maybe I can make a decision on what’s best to do.

Trading for a living

For the last few years, I’ve been interested in trading, whether stocks, indices, contracts, forex or some kind of securities. As such, I’ve taken some time here and there to learn about the basics of trading, with a focus on technical analysis. Of course fundamental analysis plays a part in trading, but in most cases I think traders rely more on technical analysis for their decision making. Personally, I think fundamental analysis plays a greater role in investing (ie, buying securities and hold it longer term for it to increase in value) rather than in trading (more short term).

With technical analysis comes the thousands of indicators and studies that one can use to identify potential buy and sell signals. Terms like MACD, RSI, Stochastics, Bollinger Bands, Moving Averages, Candlesticks and much more come up in technical analysis. This of course, usually leads to so much analysis and thinking that people end up not doing anything at all. After all, the various indicators usually send out different signals that can contradict each other. Expert traders (which I am not) can find a good combination of these and use it to their advantage depending on the situation.

A couple of days ago, I went to a free seminar that was sponsored by a company called GlobalTec Solutions, which promoted a software called 4xMadeEasy. Apparently there’s plenty of commercials on TV about this. Basically, the product is used to analyze 7 major forex pairs in a couple of different time frames (minutes, days, weeks, months etc), and shows the trend it’s going. For each time frame, you can get into more details, and see what seems to be 2 moving averages (it’s just labelled buying pressure and selling pressure on the demo) going up and down. The presenter went through some rules that are used to enter a trade, either buy or sell depending on the direction of the lines.

In short, the demo was quite interesting, but somehow I was hesitant to buy the software. A couple of reasons:
- It cost almost $3K, which I don’t have )
- Somehow seems to good to be true, and we all know what they say about things like that…
- Leverage can be a double edged sword. On the graphs, they look like smooth lines, but in between, the movement of rates could wipe out an account if you don’t have enough margin to cover the temporary loses.
- I’ve looked around the internet for research, and there’s mixed reviews about this product.
- I would like to know how many people actually fail making money using this product.
- If this software is as good as it says, why not guarantee it? Allow people to use it for free until they make what it’s worth in trades. Unless, most people don’t make the money back….

So, I stayed put and didn’t do anything with this product. I’ll keep on learning about trading until I’m ready with some capital to jump in. Some good points I’ve learnt so far, and are usually recommended by experienced traders:
- Do not trade money you can’t afford to lose.
- Do not borrow to trade )
- Use sound money/risk management techniques.
- Determine when to get out of a position before you get in.
- Use stop losses at all times.

I know I’m not an expert in these things, but I think I understand that the basics of it. Hopefully within the next year, I can find my style and combination of studies to use and trade in a market to see if it’s something I can do well. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

ps. A good place to start learning about investing is Investopedia.

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Financial Rants

Well, Baidu.com (BIDU) has a very interesting ride since its IPO days. After close to 1 month of trading, its stock currently sits at $78.88. It is still a good price if you can get it in the IPO-price; but not so good if you get in at $79+. Here’s a very nice article about the rise and fall of BIDU.

Looking ahead…
I think Nortel (NT) is a good price at $3.10.

Satellite radio… is it time to get into XM radio (XMSR) or Sirius (SIRI)? It’s all about potential.

Gas Price… I think it is about time we get a hybrid car and look into investment opportunities in Alternative battery cells (BLD.to)

Health… well, i think WebMD (HLTH) is quite attractive. But a bit pricey.

XBox Generation 3 – will it boost Microsoft’s revenue in 06? I think so…:) And so will NVDIA and ATI…

To sum up my rant… check this interesting article on Four Stocks Mispriced By The Market.

BAIDU.com and other news

Well, BAIDU.com (BIDU) price has dropped by 40% since it hit its high on Monday. Currently it is sitting at $91.75/share. Nonetheless, compared to its IPO price of $27, it is still good. A word of caution is that the volume has decreased significantly since its IPO. We’ll see its performance by the end of this week.

US Federal Reserve raised interest rate by 25 basis point.

Ruth Chris’ Steak house IPO… hmm… a restaurant going public? Interesting…

New Energy Bill
How about George Bush signing the new energy bill which will extend the daylight saving time by 2 months? What is your response to it?

Time to invest?

At the end of August 5th, 2005, the market closed at:
Dow Jones – 10,588.03
Nasdaq – 2,177.91
S&P – 1,226.42
TSX – 10,550.51

The last time Dow Jones and TSX close at 10,000+ were back in the “Internet Bubble” era.
So, now that Dow and TSX are at the 10,000 level, is it the signal to jump into stocks again?
Are we in the beginning of another ‘wave’?

Baidu.com
Baidu.com, the so-called, China’s version of “google”, ipo on friday and closed the day at $122.54, gaining 353.85% or $95.54. We’ll track its performance for the upcoming week to see if it is the real McCoy.

An Indonesian business idea

So I’ve been thinking, why should I try so hard to start my own online business when it can be bought for a price? What if I spent something like 20K and bought 3 or 4 sites that were making about 500 – 600 a month? Wouldn’t that be a good return on my investment? Invest 20K, and get a return at about 7%, which is not really high, but for someone like me who plans to live in Indonesia, $1500 a month would afford us quite a high standard of living.

Of course there are many drawbacks that have to be thought of, such as:
- Can I run these sites from Indo, where Internet is still 512K downstream at maximum and even less for upstream, and that for a price of about $100 – $200 per month.
- Arranging for the income to be sent from North America to Indonesia every month?
- Can I find sites for sale that make 500 bucks a month for 5000 dollars (1:10)? (probably rare, but not impossible to find, I know most sites charge about 2 years worth of income (1:20 to 24) as their price)

Even if the charge is 1:20 or something around that range, I spend 30K, and get $1500 a month, it’s still a 5% return per month.

Of course, this is assuming I’ll somehow manage to get the initial investment up there, but just an interesting thought for people like me who wanna live in Indonesia/countries where cost of living can be substantially lower than industrial countries, where $1500 a month is a director’s level at a major company.

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