Friday, May 22, 2009

At Least I Can Work from Home...

Rico recently took over managing my IRA portfolio, as my strategy was to simply invest a couple thousand dollars in a diversified fund and not look at the money again until I was 65 years old. I'm not a motivated trader, it seems, as the fact that I lost a good 40% of the value of my IRA with the economic downturn didn't really bother me.

Rico, instead, is a huge trader at heart. He completely revamped the IRA, bought new stocks, started doing some short-term trading, and managed to totally recover my previous losses and earn a modest return on the portfolio within a few months.

These days, Rico spends a significant amount of time ferreting out new stock opportunities and honing his investment strategy. While I obviously couldn't be bothered, I do have one clear recommendation based on my state in the previous 48 hours:

Buy Kleenex or TwinSaver shares, for the love of God, because my single-handed consumption of tissues seems likely to boost the earnings of any company that turns out a nose-blowing product.

I caught a terrible cold while in South Africa, and to add insult to injury, was hit with a whopping case of allergies yesterday. I swear I went through 3/4 of a box of tissues within a few hours. My poor nose is totally chapped, and I'm still not through the thick of it.

I will be back to regular blogging once I am feeling better, once I have finished my pending translating job, and once I have completed a giant jewelry order for a colleague. Oh, and then I'm heading to Nampula and Zambézia for field work...I guess look for regular posting in June.


Fly Brother said...

Wow...that first part, on IRAs n such, read like Mandarin Chinese to me. Trifling, I know.

Anyway, get well soon, be safe in the field, and bring back lots of stories.


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

My father daytrades on variations in a few financials-Wells Fargo and BOA. He's making small profits (between 500-2000 daily) but steadily. He holds when they go down, sells when they go up and buys more as they go down.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Oooh, yes, and have fun in the field. Avoid mango flies.

Colin said...

have you tried a neti pot? works wonders on sinuses. not sure if you could find it, and the purified salt needed, here in maputo though. maybe that alternative health store in polana shopping?

Mike Hu said...

The best jobs in the world, are the ones you create for yourselves.

The Individual Retirement Account is one of the most useful and powerful tools ever created for individual money management. You should also create an account for Rico.

It sounds like Rico has a lot of talent and passion for trading -- which is what is required to be successful in any field of accomplishment. The ultimate bottom line is to enjoy what you are doing. That's what a lot of people make money hoping they can eventually do -- but the obvious is that nobody can stop you from doing what you really love to do, especially when money is not the limiting consideration.

The real value is the knowledge and confidence you gain in doing anything -- and not any set amount of money that you think you have to obtain before you can feel successfful and accomplished.

That's why a lot of these people who win these windfalls, lose it just as easily and quickly -- because they don't have the money management skills to even keep a fortune, so it doesn't matter if they're given a fortune.

As you may be aware, it is a difficult time for jobseekers, so if you can provide your own employment, you're way ahead of the game.

With an IRA, you can make as much money "trading" as you can -- and then only pay taxes on what you actually withdraw. There are also provisions for early withdrawal without penalty for buying a house, paying for an education and medical expenses beyond the extraordinary. But the penalty, is only 10% -- on top of your regular income rate.

But if you only draw out money if you have no other income, that 10% is all you would have to pay -- which is like the lowest marginal income tax rate of 10% once you subtract for your $10,000 or so personal deductions and exemptions.

A lot of people think you need to have a separate retirement account, education fund, medical emergency fund, etc., when in fact, an IRA serves that purpose wonderfully, and anybody who has the foresight to create one and maintain it throughout their lifetime, will find iit an invaluable resource.

In most calculations for financial assets and need, the IRA is not included as an asset. The downside is becoming too attached to it rather than just seeing that it serves one throughout their lives as a contingency fund to be used when it can do the most good.

Alexandra said...

~Fly Brother - It's worse than Mandarin Chinese to me - I understand all of the investment stuff in principle, but I still don't bother to get engaged. Perhaps Braile is a more apt simile in my know there's something with meaning on the page, but for all practical purposes all you see is white.

~Monkey - I think that's the strategy all traders dream of getting right and having the capial to sustain. Rico is quite good - I really appreciate his efforts to turn around my crappy investments!

~Colin - You are now the 4th person to recommend one. Gotta check one out, even if it is only when we are in the US.

~Mike Hu - So nice to see you here again and catch up a bit. I agree - Ricardo does have a passion and talent for trading. I am grateful for that, because 1) he's found something he loves doing and is able to pursue it as a career, and 2) I am not interested in investments per se, so it's great to have a partner who is.

I originally opened an IRA several years ago when I realized that my lifestyle was not conducive to a stable job with a US company who might pay me some sort of retirement benefits. I figured the chance I'd be self-employed and working non-traditional jobs outside the US was pretty high, and that I'd have to look out for myself when it came to an investment or retirement fund. So I opened an IRA, put in some money, and let it sit. It was one of the best decisions I've made in recent years, although it's obviously much better managed now that Ricardo is involved.

So on another note, it looks like we've finally taken your advice and are moving to a more temperate climate!!

Mike Hu said...

Ten years out of the University of Texas at Austin, I hadn't held a job longer than two years, and realized at the rate I was going (with an independent streak), it was unlikely I would ever be vested in a pension, and so I realized I had to create my own (IRA).

I've made more money in stock investing than I ever made working (which is not that unusual)-- although money was never a major motivator for me but valued doing what I wanted to do -- like many artists and people of talent who have to manifest that as their calling in life.

However, that made it possible for me to make a fortune -- as well as to lose it, periodically and regularly -- so I just regard it now as the normal ups and downs of life, whereas those who haven't experienced these "fluctuations" in life, may be fearful, overwhelmed and devastated by such events.

Life is both winning and losing, and when you get to experience both, or all of it, that makes one rich -- and not any amount of money, that comes and goes fairly easily and quickly at times.

Then your life becomes the proverbial good book -- that you learn to savor and enjoy whatever is happening, realizing that too will change.

All that career planning stuff is pretty much out the window these days -- but some people lived their whole lives by that manual, only to see that world disappear when the finish line was in sight. Life is just change and dealing with it -- and I know you feel that you should have a better idea of what you are doing and be well on your way to a great fortune and castles in every country, but life has other plans, and you just have to listen to it and sometimes will be better than others.

I know how uncomfortable I was in tropical climates even though others proclaimed it "Paradise," but there is an optimal operating environment for individuals too. Temperate climates allow one to be a lot more productive than stifling heat allows -- enervating creativity, initiative and innovation a lot more than many realize -- and creating a culture of not caring and feeling one can do much about to change.

A lot of those problems just disappear when you're in the right climate and environment for yourself. San Francisco is renowned for that temperate moderation -- as well as most places on the West Coast of the US.

You should feel totally at home in the right place, and not like a stranger in a strange land -- wondering why everybody around you acts so unpredictably and mysteriously.

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