Wednesday, March 29, 2017

10 Truths Newbie Stock Traders Should Know

2017 marks my 10th year trading in the Philippine Stock Market. Looking back, I'm glad that I didn't quit and lost hope on the market when my portfolio went down by more than 50% during the 2008 global financial crisis, which is considered by many economists as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the past 10 years, I've learned a lot from books, online resources (articles, e-books, market reports from brokers, etc.), stock trading forums, and stock trading EBs / meet-ups. I've also had a lot of realizations when it comes to stock trading based on actual experience. These things helped in my portfolio recovery and enabled me to beat PSEi and index fund performance consistently since 2012 without having to trade actively.

In this article, I will be listing some of the lessons and realizations I've had for newbie traders and for those planning to enter the stock market. I hope that with this, I can give you a better idea of what to expect from the Philippine Stock Market, as well as clarify some misconceptions about it.

1. Stock trading is simple, but it's not easy

It may appear that stock trading is simple: buy low, sell high, right?

The truth is, earning from the stock market is not easy. You can study all you want before plunging into the market and still find yourself in a string of losing trades. Even buying a fundamentally good stock doesn't guarantee a gain.

There are just so many factors that affect the market. Aside from political and economic issues in and out of the country, you also have to look at personal issues that can make you lose money: fear, greed, hope, ignorance, dependence on others, and dependence on luck.

You need time and experience to be a consistently profitable trader. Sometimes, you can be lucky and win big on highly speculative plays. But if you want to stay long in the market, you must not rely on luck alone.

Study, plan your trading strategy, check the results, then re-assess your strategy. These are the things that you need to do in order to improve your trading skills. These will also help you determine which strategy works for you.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Book Review: 7 Reasons Why Filipinos Will Change The World by Mike Grogan

The story of the Filipino is like the story of the butterfly, it cannot see how beautiful its wings are. Sometimes it takes an outsider to remind them of that beauty.

- Mike Grogan

When I first posted the cover of Mike Grogan's latest book entitled "7 Reasons Why Filipinos Will Change The World" on my Facebook account, a friend guessed singing, beauty pageant, boxing and OFWs as some of the reasons. While it's true that these things help put the Philippines on the map, the book focused on the unique traits that make Filipinos excel not just in singing, beauty pageant, and boxing, but in other industries as well.

In his book, Mike Grogan, an Irish national who has been living in the Philippines since 2014, described the different traits and culture unique to Filipinos. Culture passed on to us by our forefathers, such as bayanihan (being helpful without expecting compensation or reward), being madiskarte (resourceful), and being mapagbigay (generous), to name a few, that a foreigner like him couldn't help but notice.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Your Zoo in the City: Ark Avilon Zoo

Whenever we need a quick fix for zoo activity, the first place that comes to mind is Ark Avilon, an indoor mini-zoo located in Frontera Verde (near Tiendesitas), 10 minutes away from the concrete jungle of Ortigas. Ark Avilon is operated by the Avilon Wildlife Conservation Foundation, the same group that operates Avilon Zoo in Rodriguez, Rizal.

As an early summer treat for my 2 year old son, my wife and I decided to take him to Ark Avilon last Saturday, March 18, 2017. We arrived around 10:30 am, and as expected, there's not much zoo visitors. This is one of the things I love about this place (but something they probably don't want :P). It doesn't get crowded, so you can comfortably walk around and view the animals at your own pace.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Switch to Inverter Air Conditioner

After almost a year of contemplating on the switch to inverter air conditioners, we finally decided to buy one last March 4, 2017. We got the Kolin 1-hp window-type inverter aircon (KAG-110RSINV model) after considering other options from Hitachi, Gree, and Carrier.

Why Kolin?

We initially thought of getting the Hitachi brand, but realized its air vent was small. The location of the air vent (left side of the unit) also became a concern because we will install it in the leftmost side of our room (we thought that air flow coverage would be somewhat limited). We then saw Gree as an alternative, but it's a bit expensive. Further research showed that Gree air conditioners has the same manufacturer as Kolin, Mabe, Sharp, American Home, and Fujidenso. We found no reason to pay more for practically the same product offered by the other brands mentioned, so Gree was also scratched from the list. Carrier, on the other hand, was the most popular in my list but also the most expensive. According to the person who assisted us, when it comes to inverter aircons, brands don't really matter much (the premium you'll be paying is for the brand name and customer service). I did a quick research on the Kolin window-type inverter aircon, and it appears to be the bang-for-buck and proven effective option, albeit a high pitch / hissing compressor "noise" reported by some users (but noise level is subjective per user, and most said that it's something that you can get used to after some time).

Kolin S-Series Inverter Aircon

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Grab Over Uber

Since 2014, whenever it's the color coding schedule of my car, I use app-based transport service such as Grab and Uber to take me from my home in Mandaluyong to my office in Pasig, and vice versa. Although they can be more expensive compared to traditional taxicabs and other mass transport options, the convenience it brings plus peace of mind when it comes to passenger safety are enough reasons to reconsider the additional cost.

Lately, I find myself using Grab (GrabCar) more often compared to Uber (UberX). Here are the five reasons why I prefer Grab over Uber:

1. Grab arrives faster than Uber

Whenever I book a GrabCar, the unit usually arrives within five minutes. There were even times the unit arrived within a minute after booking! From my experience with Uber, the unit usually takes around 10 minutes to arrive. There was a time when I was asked to wait for at least 15 minutes because the driver was still in BGC while I'm in Pioneer, Mandaluyong! You know how bad the traffic in EDSA could be on a Monday morning so 15 minutes might not be enough

This could either mean there are more Grab units available compared to Uber or more people in my area use Grab instead of Uber.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Book Review: Break Free by Don Soriano

Ever since I started my advocacy for financial literacy, I've always wished that financial literacy will be included in the school curriculum, as early as high school, if possible. I believe that if only Filipinos will learn proper money management way before they start working, less Filipinos will get into bad debt, more will invest / get into business, and the earlier they can achieve financial freedom. While waiting for my wish to happen, it's good to know that we now have a relatively wider selection of financial literacy books from Filipino authors (when I got interested in the topic in 2006, it seems that only Francisco Colayco's "Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo!" series was the option), the latest one coming from Don Soriano entitled Break Free: 8 principles to get from employee to employer in 3 years or less.

Break Free by Don Soriano

Break Free is an 81-page book that discusses the 8 principles that Don used to get out of ₱500,000 debt and become financially free in less than 3 years.