041-2020 Intelligent Investieren

Title: Intelligent Investieren (in Sachwerte)

Author: Claus Peter Traut

Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve been well, and safe.

Today I’m bringing you some investment advice from the German shores. It was written during the pandemic of COVID-19 that we’ve been going through lately, and therefore gives solid advice for our current situation.

The introduction of the book brings into focus the two investment classes, “Geldwerte” and “Sachwerte”, which differentiates between real assets and monetary assets.

He classes the following assets as “Geldwerte”:

  • cash
  • cheque account
  • savings account
  • fixed deposits
  • life insurance
  • Loans
  • Savings plans

And the then he categorizes the following as “Sachwerte”

  • Property
  • Gold & Silver
  • Shares
  • Collectibles & exotic investments
  • ETFs
  • REITs
  • Cryptocurrency

The argument is that in uncertain and difficult times, the better investment for your savings should not be in currency, but rather in those investments that are not affected as materially as cash.

At all times the government and central banks need us to continue our spending as usual and accordingly amend monetary- (interest rates, or quantity of circulating cash) or fiscal policy (legislation and taxes) when the economy is heading into any one extreme direction so that the economy comes back to a stable position.

In uncertain times people tend to spend less on many consumable goods (clothing and furniture, electronics, etc.) and more on food and other basic necessities. Also, they tend to save a little more, because they are not sure what the next few months might have in store for them.

  • This saving behaviour, repeated by millions of people results in less cash being spent, shops selling less, and maybe even people losing their jobs.
  • Thus, governments sometimes opt to reduce tax %’es, and central banks either reduce borrowing rates, or even pump more cash into circulation

In Europe we are in negative interest rate territory (at least they have done it, and will do it if they feel that is what it takes to get people to spend) and sometimes also printing money

  • Due to low interest rates, putting your money in the bank to earn interest, will not bring you the returns you would wish
  • Due to more money being created by the central banks, the amount of goods that can be bought have remained unchanged, but the amount of currency chasing those goods have increased, thus, prices for those goods will rise to a new equilibrium —> inflation, the killer of purchasing power of paper currency (fiat currency)

These arguments, the author brings to the attention of the reader, and thus introduces the reader, on a high level, to the investment alternatives that are available. Now, even though the introduction to the different investment classes are good, and the risks he outlines for each of them are completely valid, my suggestion would be to read up even more on the investment you might be looking to go in to.

  • He does bring in the most relevant and basic things that every investor should keep in mind (like the period you want to invest for, whether the investments are liquid or illiquid, how much of your portfolio you should dedicate to each class) it remains your responsibility what you want to invest in and become an expert in everything you need to know on those assets

Summary:

Enjoyed the book since it gave a guide of investing when we are in slightly more difficult times than the majority of normality we are used to. Thus, time-specific investment tips. The high level introduction of what the investment class is, the risks and other things you would need to consider prior to entering the investment. The book is similar to another investment book for beginners, so serves also as a good intro. The book falls within my rating of 4.2/5

I want to leave you with a quote that I think every investor should keep in mind, since it holds high value in a times and ages.

“The further you look back in the past, the further you can look into the future” – Churchill

040-2020 Fed Up

Title: Fed Up (An insider’s take on why the Federal Reserve is bad for America)

Author: Danielle Dimartino Booth

Hi there,

my book for this week will be a much shorter review than generally have provided in the past. The main reason is that the book is simply a recollection of someone’s time working within the Fed, and telling their story of what happened inside the Fed before, during and after the last decades bubbles.

The Fed chairs that the author has seen at work were Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and then Janet Yellen. All of them PhDs in Economics, and no one with any experience in business (ie. theorists, and no practice).

The dual mandate of the Federal reserve was to retain price stability and maximizing employment. The tools it has at its disposal (ie. monetary policy) are the power to raise or lower interest rates (lending rate to the banks) as well as the quantity of money in circulation.

  • In the author’s view, the power that the Federal Reserve holds gives them much more power than the Congress itself, because their decisions on those two elements directly make an impact to the economy.

In her story she writes about how she started off writing and clarifying the jargon statements of the high economists, so that the general public could also obtain an understanding of what exactly they were saying. She was then later appointed by someone to the Federal Reserve itself, where she continued providing her reports to her heads Rosenblum and Fisher, and they continued their fight to oppose the policies that Bernanke was trying (and successfully) got voted effective. Mainly what they were doing was wanting to stabilize the economy and have it grow, by lowering interest rates and then later introducing more money, via QE (quantitative easing). However, Fisher held that the Fed shouldn’t interfere with the economy when it is in distress as much as it does, since its interference could have significantly more devastating effects in the future. However, they maintained to vote against Fisher, and continued to drop interest rates (to encourage borrowing) and introduce more money to the system (which only causes inflation, dropping the purchasing power of everyone’s current holdings).

Quite frankly, the extent to which central banks influence the economy has grown since its inception, and we have seen some economic shocks lately. Most people that invest in Gold/Silver do so because it is the only asset that the government cannot print, and maintains its purchasing power for years to come. I even believe that in the American Declaration of Independence they might have mentioned something that they are against the country of having a central bank, due to their experience of having a central bank in their own home countries from where they had emigrated previously.

  • That’s why investors advise you not to save the fiat currency that the government issues, because they can print more of it, and therefore reduce your current savings’ purchasing power (the hidden tax)
  • They rather advise you to take that money and buy gold/silver, real estate, stocks, bonds, other assets, because there your money has an opportunity to grow in value and hopefully maintain the purchasing power

I think it’s become more important that everyone become educated on how the system in a country works so that we don’t become blind subjects to a system that can take value from us, and we don’t see it coming, so we can be prepared and save our purchasing power from the debasement that is happening.

Summary:

The book gives the clear message that the Fed has become more involved in the economy than healthy for the economy, and that if this stays that way some of us (poor and middle class) who don’t understand it as well, need to become smarter and fight back, by investing better. The book gets a rating of 3/5

038-2020 Reicher als die Geissens

Title: Reicher als die Geissens

Author: Alex Dusseldorf Fischer

Hello all,

today’s focus will be on a German author’s finance book, which I don’t believe was published in English, so I’ll do my best to tell and translate you the value that I took from this book.

The book is split into three parts as follows:

  • Part 1 – Mindset & important knowledge as the business owner of your life, and is broken down into 23 chapters
  • Part 2 – The tools as manager of your life, which is broken down into 20 chapters
  • Part 3 – How to build your money machine, broken into 23 chapters.

If you read some of my past reviews, I think you will have caught a pattern to the structure of the chapters. Namely, that they start off with mind-set and your skills, before moving into the methods and tools you can build and use to build your earnings.

Since there is purpose behind this way of structuring a book with financial message, I will stick to this structure as well, in the hope that you understand the thinking behind it, and learn the way they intended us to learn from the book.

Part 1 core lessons:

  • Does money make you happy? – The outcome of the interviews from professional athletes, and successful individuals actually revealed that not the achievement of the goal, but actually the journey towards the goal was what made them happy. Thus, 1) you shouldn’t set yourself a financial goal, but a goal to achieve a purpose, and 2) consider updating that goal when it was achieved
  • Your mindset is an important factor – You can have the training and experience and support of many to undertake a project, but ultimately, whether something will work or fail will depend on whether your mindset is in the right place.
  • What is courage? – A normal habit for us is to get things under control and stabilize, which ultimately then forms our circle of comfort. However, when we start off something, it will take us outside of our comfort zone. An area that is new and uncertain and unexplored. In order to build a new income stream for yourself, you will need to take on something new, that is outside of your comfort zone.
  • What tricks does your mind play on you? – When you were taught values and lessons as you grew up, when you went to school and participated in extra curricular activities, and then went to college to study a degree and finally work, everywhere you would have interacted with people that tell and teach you different things. From these you would have set your own expectations of how things are, whenever someone asked for your opinion on those matters. However, many things you only learnt from being taught by word-of-mouth, not by physically experiencing them. This process has shaped your expectations……So, when you are now challenged to invest in shares, in bonds, in commodities, in properties or to start your own business, you may not have made such investments before, but because everyone else told you that it is hard, it scares you and stops you from trying. You haven’t even tried, and already you stop, saying it’s too risky. That’s where he brings in that you should be careful what expectations you set for yourself.
  • Illusion of knowing everything – If you want to start something new, it is your internal desire to know everything you need to know, so you can be under control (and sleep at night). However, there’s simply too much for one single individual to know everything. That’s why we have people in multiple professions to work together as a team so we can make it work….. Therefore, understand from the start that you need to become an expert in the field you would like to expand, but you will still need other people’s help.
  • Doing the same as everyone else – The message is that you should learn and study any new project you would take on before you actively become involved, so you can familiarize yourself before being caught in a bad investment. Thereby, avoid unnecessary and costly mistakes that you could have prevented had you invested some time before.
  • Know your Purpose – In a study conducted amongst prominent students, some indicated that they wanted to work at high-paying jobs and few indicated that they would work to achieve their purpose. Those that had chosen to fulfil their purpose were mostly among the highest earners in their class later in life. They knew their purpose, and built a career that would fulfil their purpose. And, because that purpose gives them a sense of achievement, that drive brought more happiness.

“If you don’t know what you want, or why you want it, you won’t stay on the road to achieve it” – reason is you will always be distracted, but only truly remain on the path if your desire is strong.

  • What is money, and why do most people not have any? – The key explanation here is that each of us has value to our society. When you deliver a service, you will be paid the amount that society values your services. Now, if that is the case, then the way to increase the money you have is to increase your worth to society, or, to pursue a profession where society values you services higher.
  • How do you achieve your purpose? – If you have a true intention of achieving a goal, you would make a plan of what you would need to do to achieve it. Since financial goals may not be a direct road, it will often be necessary to achieve smaller objectives (missions) before you can achieve the ultimate goal. Thus, the message is that you need to build yourself a roadmap of what you need to get done for you to achieve your goal. This way, you keep the perspective of what you are doing at all times, and how all those will help you to get to where you’d like to be.
  • Pareto Principle – Have you ever heard of the principle where 20% of what you do will bring you 80% returns, and where 80% of what you do only brings to 20% returns. Thus, there will always be some things that need to be done, which you feel are waste to your time since you spend too much time with it but it brings you less than other projects. Therefore, the suggestion is to either delegate/automate this project to someone else that works with you, so you may spend your time on other projects that will bring in more returns.

One way to find your purpose could be by following the following method:

  1. Split one page in two vertical sides
  2. On the left side, list all the things that you hate to do for your business, or business idea
  3. Reformulate the list of things you hate doing into a positive sentence
  4. Rewrite it so you find out what of that activity in particular you would enjoy doing
  5. Load it onto your phone and read it regularly
  6. Break down the list to identify those things that you like doing, and how it will help get you to your goal
  • On wasting time, patience and stress – The proper way to build a strong and lasting money machine is to build a strong foundation (roots) and not try and reach it quicker than the rest.
  • Learning cycle – The process is a never-ending cycle. Learn – Apply – Reflect – Repeat
  • Am I a good investor in my life? – It may seem to you that some people get ahead in life quicker or better than you are. The way that this is possible is that they have taken active steps to consider 1) how best to spend their time, 2) how much time to spend on certain activities, 3) who they make time to connect with, 4) what can they do to become better educated, etc. and so build up their skillset to become better versions of themselves.
  • Good time investment – Make a list of what you wish to achieve, then list how you will spend your time in the most efficient manner so you can achieve those goals. For the present moment, make a list of everything ou spend your time on, and then classify each activity as either an investment or expense. Investment = you can benefit financially in the future; Expense = you won’t derive a future benefit from this activity.
  • Everything is action to reaction – Forget the fact that luck will get you what you want. The way you achieve goals is by taking decisive and calculated steps, and those actions will cause a reaction, that someone recognizes your actions and will react to that
  • Becoming more charismatic – Make two lists, one of the people you like and one of the people you dislike. Write a reason how it came about to you dis/liking them, and whether you have a habit that you would like to get rid of, that you feel was holding you back.
  • Building instructions for Money Machine – Take 10% of your monthly earnings and put them away into an account from which you don’t plan to make any withdrawal in the future. Gradually the pot will grow, as will temptation, but you mustn’t let it get the better of you.
  • Parkinson Rule of Money – Your expenses will always eat away your income, regardless by how much your income rises. We tend to increase our expenses (redefined as needs) as we earn more income. Thus, to actively fight against this one should budget their expenses and clearly define whether those additional expenses are needs, or whether they only result in money flowing out.
    • When we budget, we generally only budget for the upcoming expenses of the following few months, and not much further
    • However, in your budget you should include upcoming expenses (such as car repairs, and replacement of certain electrical goods, etc.). This will ensure that you always save a fixed 10%, and not be tempted to use those reserves for unforeseen expenses.
  • How do you become a true professional? – 1. Know the rules and laws, 2. Know how to utilize them effectively, and 3. Practice, practice, practice
    • Something where most people remain stuck is with step 1 (theory), and don’t come around to implement what they learnt, or don’t practice regularly
    • That is another matter that keeps people from achieving greater success

Part 2 core lessons:

  • Personal toolkit – Everyone has their unique skills and talents. However, if you believe that achieving success will depend solely on your own skills, your wrong. We all have our own skills, but no one can have every skill. Therefore, to achieve truly significant things you need to know where you can get those other skills (ie. employ someone, consult someone, etc.) so that you can use their skills to get ahead.
  • Know the basics of marketing and sales – No one can be truly successful if they aren’t able to sell in the first place.
  • A problem exists only so long until you have asked the right question – When a problem arises, and we don’t ask the right question to get to the core of the problem, the problem will always remain present. Thus, for every problem, you must work to truly find the core, and then work to solve that problem.
  • Be honest and authentic – Surround yourself with people you admire, and believe they are necessary to get you where you want to be. Learn from them. However, they will only be willing to work with you if they know the true you.
  • Choose your partners carefully – When you want to achieve success in anything (not limited to business) you need to consider carefully who to let into your circle. If someone won’t be a good influence on you or your friends/colleagues, and could actually make you become less efficient, they may not be correct for you
  • Importance of setting a goal – The goal is the first active step that you take in making a conscious decision that you want something greater in life, something that you feel will bring value to your life. The next steps would be to set underlying goals, missions and targets that you need to achieve, which all add up to get you to your goal.
    • As important as it is to set a main goal, and the underlying targets, it is also crucial for you to keep perspective of the whole picture, so you will never be distracted from your route
  • The power lies within you – Direct your time and effort/energy towards a goal that will bring you fulfilment, and retain that focus until it has materialized to existence
  • The blind swimmer – If you direct your time and effort towards something that is too unrealistic and not for you, it is as if you will be swimming against the current of a river, it’s a waste of time. You need to redirect your focus, even if it’s hard.
    • Strive for your goals with persistence, and with power of will
    • The way you recognize that you are making progress, even when you hit failure after failure, is when you realize that the point where you failed is one step closer to success than the point before. Thus, you might be failing, but with every failure you came one step close to succeeding. Eventually you will have collected sufficient expertise and experience that you will know what the customers are/n’t looking for, and choose the right product for them from the start
  • From chairs to machines – Time is our most valuable commodity. Money can be earned again and again, but time cannot be bought. Thus, you goal should not be to work for more money, but for more time.
    • If you currently have a trade of building chairs, there’s only a certain amount of chairs you can manufacture p/day. The number of chairs you manufacture is directly equivalent to the amount of time you spend.
    • If you want to have more time, but produce the same/more amount of chairs, define that as your problem.
    • For that problem, find possible solutions, for example by having machines installed and take over some of the work.
    • When machines take over that work, you now have the same amount of chairs being produced but you also have bought yourself more time.
    • Thus, for everything you want to achieve, see it as a problem to be solved
  • Machines could include:
    • Books, videos, FAQ, Online course, Online channel, etc.
    • The point is to create something once that will exist forever, bring you revenue for ever without having to spend additional time on that
  • Why many ideas remain dreams – Dreams do NOT equal goals. Goals have action plans behind them, whereas dreams just remain in our visions without action plans.
    • Things you can change in your life to make sure you achieve a goal include:
      • Know your Purpose, and don’t become distracted
      • Seek for role models, and be reminded that what you’re trying to achieve was achieved by someone else, who also had to go through different troubles in life
      • Set active plans, and stick to them or refine them
      • Having a supporting community that backs you up to achieve that goal
      • Seek mentoring and coaching
  • Making mistakes – You cannot achieve anything in your life without making mistakes. As important it is to make mistakes, it is as important to learn from those mistakes and not make them again.
    • Every person must find their own way in life. No one will necessarily go through the same path as someone else, which is acceptable, since we all learn differently
  • Setting priorities – #1 – There are simply too many things happening around us on a daily basis. You don’t have enough time to get through everything. Thus, accept the fact from the start that you won’t be able to get through as many things as you would like to. #2 – Set priorities what is important for you to know, and everything else is ancillary
  • Discipline – With discipline it is about getting the maximum out of someone. Thus, retaining focus and perspective, and don’t become distracted.
  • Great power, great responsibility – If you wish to help others to achieve success, you first need to help yourself and achieve success yourself, so you can teach them more effectively
  • How to go viral – If someone has attained value from you, and gained your trust, they would share it to their community, if they feel it could benefit someone they know. However, by send it to their community, they gain a higher status from their community, since others feel they gained value from them.
  • Strategy and Tactic – Set your strategy/goal that you wish to achieve, and then develop tactics/plans that will bring you closer to the realization of that goal.

Part 3 core lessons:

  • Sub-goals to achieving financial freedom – You become financially free when you have created machines that generate an income, which cover your expenses, and without having to work for it.
  • Strive to follow these steps:
    1. Identify the most reasonable goals you should be working towards, and what plans you have in place in order to achieve them
    2. Set up your money magnet (ie. re-allocate 10%, and never use it)
    3. Know your expenses, and reduce those unnecessary ones that bring you nothing but bad debt
      • Only once you have increased your income to an amount that covers all your costs should you consider increasing your expenses (ie. you know they will be covered by income, which you didn’t need to put in additional time for)
    4. Increase your income, and spend some additional time for creative tasks (ie. brainstorming, reading, researching, educating yourself), according to the Pareto Principle
      • You shouldn’t ask yourself the question “How will you make more money”, but rather ask yourself “How can you make yourself more valuable”
    5. Find and follow your purpose
    6. Create and build your list of resources (books, courses, people, seminars, networking, etc.)
      • Resources include knowledge, contacts, skills, monetary resources, other asset resources, contact to people with certain skills
      • All of these will be necessary and helpful when you encounter a problem that you need to solve for when you want to achieve something new
      • Thus, the purpose of the list is to become aware of the resources you have available to you, and identify what others you may need to work to get
    7. Create a list of all your strengths, even those skills that you don’t see as a skill, but others do (ie. language, presentation, video making, etc.)
      • You may possess a skill that you don’t see as valuable, but someone else has set as valuable to them or their business
    8. Create a branch- /market niche list
    9. Increase your cash inflow
      • People who want to get somewhere find a way. People who don’t look for a way have reasons.
    10. Increase your owner’s capital (ie. your assets)
      • Money isn’t a good investment, because its purchasing power is eroded through inflation.
      • Thus, build your asset portfolio in such a way that it can generate you consistent cash flow, which you can in turn use to cover your costs and build your asset portfolio further
    11. Enter or invest in reliable and valuable enterprises, where your investments will bring you a return
    12. Improve your credibility with finance institutions (ie. credit worthiness)
    13. Build a business, using good credit, and a good credit reputation
    14. Permanently invest in good assets
      • If you want to be a magnet for money, you need to search for good investments
      • Differentiate between material and immaterial investments
        • Material investments are limited to content distribution, and thus earnings potential (ie. one home one income)
        • Immaterial investments are not limited by the amount of earnings that can be generated from the asset (ie. one online course, multiple attendees, and more attendees can partake when the course is popular)
  • Who wants to become a millionaire – Don’t ask yourself the question, how you will make more money. Ask yourself, what problem can you solve that many people will want solving.
  • Building your power network – Classify the people in life as
    • 1. Allies – people that have an interest in your well-being and help you advance
    • 2. Symbiotes – People who see that you influence their lives in a positive manner
    • 3. Neutral – You are not necessarily important to them, but you are still good to have around
    • 4. Antagonist – People who would rather not have you in their life

Bottom line, start with the mind, work your way from the back to the front!

Summary:

If you are serious to get your finances under control, and improve your financial well-being, then this is a good book to guide you through the mental and physical steps you would need to take to get on and stay on the correct path. The book deserves 5/5

039-2020 The Law

Title: The Law

Author: Frederic Bastiat

Hi all,

I have been quite intrigued by this book, and hope that you will get some great insight from this book as much as I have.

I must forewarn that some it may sound very upsetting, since it may challenge your views on certain things. I only want to ensure you that I am not writing the review in a way that I support and advocate it, but to bring a proper and fair review of the book.

The manuscript might have been written in the 1850’s yet, some of the content held in the book, you will find, still holds strong relevance to today.

The book goes into the very roots of the origin of the laws we have set for ourselves, and what their initial purpose was. Then, how people have changed the laws in such a way that those laws now deviate from their initially intended purpose.

“…Bastiat believed that all human beings possessed the God-given, natural rights of ‘individuality, liberty and property’. … These ‘three gifts from God precede all human legislation'”…

  • Because those three natural rights exist before the laws, laws were created so that people living in a collective would respect each others natural rights, and, should the need arise, defend one that has been wronged by another, by having harmed/damaged/broken the other’s natural right.
  • This, he argues, is the purpose for the creation of a law
  • Those in government are then solely responsible for enforcing the law, to bring justice, and nothing more

However, this perfect scenario doesn’t exist.

Government, he argues, is playing a larger and larger role than what it should, getting more powerful to do things for people and rule over them. In making this possible, they are granted the power to make/amend the law.

  • By making government more powerful, and having them bring in social programs so they can deliver those services to us, they need money.
  • So, they collect taxes (in the book referred to “legal plunder”) because they set the legislation, it becomes legal
  • He argues that the way Government would justify introducing/amending legislation, that would permit it to perform ‘legal plunder’ is for two reasons, namely 1) greed, or 2) misconceived philanthropy.
  1. Greed

When people have lost faith in the legal system they may choose to study the system, and then to become a part of the system, so they may enrich themselves, at the cost of other people’s suffering. Otherwise, it would be to obtain power, and by such means enrich themselves, since the legal system was already corrupted.

2. Philanthropy

Another reason why people may wish to bring about changes in legislation (which could deviate from the originating three principles) would be to help the majority, when it means fewer would be directly negatively impacted by this (ie. good for human kind in general). Thus, by this means they try and justify their legal plunder actions.

Thus, the argument of the book is that government is good as long it remains within the sphere of protecting our three natural rights, and not going beyond that sphere to gain more power and amend legislation to have a means to legalize plunder for the wrong reasons.

Summary:

I was quite shaken by such a written work, since it is a challenge to what I knew the system to be (very high level only). It introduces classic patterns that were true back then and still are now (that if you are wronged by the system, you might try and join the system so you can partake in legal plunder). The book is something really insightful for anyone to get to know, regardless of which profession you wish to enter, since this is about the general law. The book thus gets a rating of 4,8/5

“The further you look back into the past, the further you will be able to see into the future” – Winston Churchill

Learn as much as you can, and stay safe!

037-2020 1984

Title: 1984

Author: George Orwell

Hi there,

I think if you wanted to switch up your genres to something quite different than what you are used to, then this book is something to consider. This, and Animal Farm, might be dark stories to switch over to, but hey, it’s the way i prefer to learn how living in such a time would be, than actually living in that time itself.

Not to forget, (my favourite phrase i like to throw out there) the perspective one gets. The more you know and get to know, the more you can refer to in any decisions you make going forward. Experience and perspective are king.

Without further ado, here we go….

Only having read Animal Farm before this, my expectation already was that this would be a dark novel, and probably displaying the story of someone in Russia (whilst during its communist regime ruled), because that was the obvious conclusion.

Imagine my surprise when I find out that it is a story that plays out in Great Britain, or rather, Oceania. After the World War II the world is somehow split into three large countries, with approximately equal size and power, and in constant conflict with each other in an attempt to expand themselves.

As said, we experience the story of the life of Winston Smith, in a state where everything and everybody is constantly under surveillance. Imagine life and technology in the 1980s, where surveillance takes place in the manner of 1) bugs, 2) police patrols, and 3) brainwashed children giving up anyone they overhear naysaying the government.

Our character works in a factory where he assists the party to alter the records (ie. newspapers, etc.) in any way the leadership party wants those articles to be altered. All has to be altered in such a nature that the party always looks good, and is never seen to have made a mistake. The party is good and is always right.

However, Winston is quite aware of the brainwashing activity that is taking place, and somehow meets likeminded people, and secretly meets up. Well, not people, but a woman.

The story has really taken a turn. I was honestly surprised that this was now the course of the story, but quite happy, because it felt that even during a time of such suffrage, people find ways of making and bringing good to the world, even if they need to keep it among themselves.

However, as you might have guessed, this secret good time that they have started living, cannot go on for ever. The leader party finds them out eventually.

This is where Winston truly learns what the party is about. How far they are willing to go to keep them in power, and the current economic lifestyle as it is at present. These are the darkest chapters that you may ever read, because they are quite gruesome and cruel, which you would expect a communist party would be like.

Summary:

Quite a tale of ups and down, but quite a story to tell. In fact, it teaches quite a lot about human psychology, which I hadn’t seen could go so far, as they have shown in the book. The story collects a rating, in my opinion, of 4.2/5

036-2020 Why the Rich are getting Richer

Title: Why the Rich are getting Richer (What is Financial Education really?)

Author: Robert T. Kiyosaki

Hey everyone,

it’s time for another instalment of the Rich Dad Poor Dad books. In the book they describe the first Rich Dad Poor Dad book to be the entry level read, and this book is then the graduate level book.

The book goes to the next level after you were introduced to his main disruptive lessons about money in his intro book. The lessons are broken down into 14 chapters, and I will discuss a few of them below, which I believe hold the message that he wishes to teach:

Ch1 – What should I do with my money?

First, he will not tell you what to do with your money, because that defeats the purpose of his books. He will only tell you that the best thing you can do is to enhance your financial education, so your money may be managed better, grow, and be protected from those who are in control and lose other people’s money.

Ch2 – Why savers are losers

Never before the book did I learn the significance of this message as when I read his and others’ books about the history of money. When money was backed by gold there was a fixed supply of money and a fixed supply of gold. The only way to grow was for your country to increase its exports so gold from outside your country would flow in.

You were sure that your coins and paper were worth an amount in gold.

However, since 1971, the reserve currency of the world was taken off the gold standard, that last one to do so. Now, a country’s growth is not restricted by the amount of gold it holds to back its currency. Now, the country issues more money to people to use (ie. higher money supply, but no higher gold supply). And when the debt burden becomes too great, the currency hits a crash, and the value of your paper money in your account is debased, so paper in the bank becomes worth less.

All this is possible because those in charge have the say when more money needs to be printed to ‘help’ stimulate the economy.

Ch3 – Why taxes makes the rich richer, legally

What I first understood from taxes was that if you earned something, the government took a share so it could finance the basic services it fulfils to the economy that no one else wishes to undertake, or, that shouldn’t be subjugated to a monopoly (ie. water, energy, sanitation, safety, infrastructure, etc.).

The other tax they impose are on goods they do not see as basic necessities, but luxury (anything other than basic needs to survive). Another tax is to punish us for importing goods rather than buying locally since now money is flowing out of the economy, not in.

But then I learnt to see taxes from another perspective as well. As an opportunity. When you invest in the country they country generally permits you to obtain some tax benefits in the form of tax deductions. They don’t necessarily have all the resources to finance everything they wish to achieve. So, if someone comes along and is willing to invest money to finance something, they will be open to provide you with tax deductions that make the investment more attractive.

Ch4 – Mistakes make the rich richer

In school, was there ever a moment you felt alright that you made a mistake/s in your tests or sports or any other activity?

Probably not.

That’s because it doesn’t promote you to make mistakes and learn from them so you will do it right in future. Mistakes are actually essential components to learn lessons for the long term, because after committing the mistake, the lesson sticks much better. He also introduces you to the Cone of Learning, where the message is that the best manners to learn and retain what we learnt is not from reading, but more from simulations and real life experiences.

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Ch5 – Why crashes make the rich richer

What happens in a crash?

Or, let’s rather ask the question as follows, what happens right before a crash?

Ordinary people hear about the new in-thing, invest in it. More people hear of the amazing investment and more want to become apart of it. The supply is limited, but the demand for it surges, thus, the price of the investment grows higher and higher.

  • However, people forget to do their homework, and calculate whether the money they invest into the investment is worth it
  • How long will it take for cash flow or appreciation to reimburse the investor for his/her investment
  • As a result, the investments’ value grows higher and higher
  • Eventually, some will realize that they paid far too much for it, so they start selling it
  • The number of people wanting to buy at the current prices is low, so the sellers drop their prices, just to sell and avoid making a too big loss
  • The investments crash, many people have lost money because they paid for these investments, which no one is willing to buy at inflated prices

Eventually the smart investors step in, and buy the assets at/below the investment’s real value. They invest when the value is a true representation of its worth, not when there is a hype for it.

Ch 6 – Why debt makes the rich richer

The lesson is that there are two kinds of debt, good debt and bad debt. Good debt means taking OPM (other peoples’ money) and investing it into an asset that makes you cash flow. Bad debt is taking OPM (other peoples’ money) and investing it into goods that do not make you cash flow, but rather represents a conspicuous consumption (ie. no productive value).

The message is that they know the difference between the two, and use OPM to buy/invest in assets that will make them more cash flow. They learn to use OPM productively so that it earns cash flow that they then use to pay for conspicuous consumption goods.

  • Basically they will delay buying the same conspicuous goods, by first creating/buying/investing in something that will bring in additional income (which they didn’t have before) so that that additional income pays for the goods, and not your limited income from your first source of cash flow

Ch7 – What Financial Education is not

Ch8 – Are you financially illiterate

Ch9 – Why the rich play monopoly

The game he describes is investing in one property, then another, and then another. Afterwards, they switch those properties for another, bigger property that makes more cash flow. Then you start again, by investing in one, two, three properties, and switching it for more valuable assets.

Ch10 – Phantom Income: Income of the Rich

Phantom Income isn’t additional income like real physical money. It represents the benefits from taxes and debt that will result in more cash flow in the future.

Consider this example:

Investing in a property now vs. investing in a property in the future

Investing in a property now:

  • You can earn income from letting the property to someone else
  • As you hold onto the property, the value may be going up due to the economy becoming better, or the situation in the district becoming more favourable
  • Potentially, there are tax deductions available for letting the property
  • The net income you earn helps you pay off the property, and you gain an asset, so you use income from the property to pay off the asset, not your income from your salary

Investing in a property in the future

  • You save money from your salary to buy a property worth xx today, in the future
  • In future, your money will be worth less, the value of the same property is now xxx, so you would need to save even more to finance the same property
  • You still don’t have an asset

The message is clear, that using debt and taxes wisely, you can end up with more assets that will earn you additional cash flow. However, I wish to give caution that you will need to learn and study to make this a success, because many things could go wrong by just diving head first into buying any property. As described in the “crash” scenario, you shouldn’t simply invest because others are doing it.

Ch11 – I-Quadrant: Masters of Money

Over time, as you take on more and more investments, the effort you need to put in to make investments is somewhat less of an issue, because you now have a good understanding what you need to do, and you do that.

Whereas, when you are starting off, you first need to figure out what you are doing, and what you need to do. Thus, with practice and experience you become better equipped to be a much better investor in the future. And in the future, it would be generous to help someone else on their path to learn to become an investor, who in turn should hopefully help another to become an investor.

Gradually, we educate more and more people to become better educators.

Ch12 – Do you have a plan B?

Ch13 – How to end poverty: Students teaching students

Ch14 – How a Porsche can make you richer

The lessons above cover the the main themes of the book, however, there are smaller additional lessons within each chapter that add a little more background to help make more and better sense of everything that the author is trying to tell you.

Summary:

The message is clear, and the structure of the book is written in such a manner that it explains each component of the message well on its own. And at the end the reader brings it all together and sees the bigger picture, and how each individual component fits into that picture. The book receives a rating of 4.75/5 in my opinion.

035-2020 Hot Commodities

Title: Hot Commodities (how anyone can invest profitably in the world’s best market)

Author: Jim Rogers

Hey all,

I’m slowly getting through a few different investment books, each one making their case for their asset class.

I have already read on the following asset classes:

  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Real Estate
  • Exchange Traded Funds
  • Shares
  • Options
  • Commodities (only precious metals)

Now, I’m adding the asset class Commodities (all kinds) to the list. I’m not saying that I’m actively invested in all of these asset classes, but I’m gaining the background to what they are all about, and thereby identifying those in which I would like to take the next step and learn more to invest more effectively.

Now, you might ask why commodities?

I had shares in my portfolio for a mining company, then, the virus hit, and most of my shares’ value dropped, except for the gold mine shares. They were the only ones that actually went up. I had a chat with a former colleague to catch up, and also talk about how his investments were holding up against the current conditions. He confirmed for me the same had happened with him. His platinum mine shares had grown, whereas all others had dropped in value.

Intrigued, I thought it would be good to understand where this is coming from, and that’s where I stumbled on this book. I had heard of it before, but only briefly, and didn’t make much of it afterward. Then, with the intrigue, I ordered it and started to read up.

Just a disclosure, the commodities talked about here are all kinds of commodities, and not only one kind preferred by the author in particular. The reason for including all was to show the reader what is available out there to be traded, so should they wish to include some raw materials in their portfolio (to hedge or other reason) this would be a good point to start out at.

To start, the commodities are split into five broad classes of commodities:

  1. Energy
  2. Metals
  3. Grains
  4. Foods/Fiber
  5. Livestock

Different forms of commodities are then categorised below one of these categories. The author makes the recommendation to anyone wanting to start this journey, to focus their attention on one/two classes in the beginning, and then, if they want to, they can expand to other classes.

Next to advising the reader to start small he gives the following advice:

  • Knowing your personality – What is your risk tolerance, what is your goal with investing in commodities, will you be strong enough to follow your investment strategy even when everyone else is doing some else?
  • Picking the commodities class – After you have picked the commodities, you need to perform your own research and become an expert in the industry in order to make good predictions, and resultantly make good returns

Another great bit the author brings in is to explain the history behind how the Futures Market for commodities came about, and then also how it works, so it makes sense.

If that doesn’t sound like enough, there’s more….

He then dedicated a few chapters to individual commodities (oil, gold, lead, sugar, and coffee beans) where he in detail explains the different components of Supply and Demand, and how events in history (government actions, rebellions, terrorism, etc.) have influenced one side, and resultantly what was the impact on the other side.

  • How terrorist activities in the Middle East cut one supplier from providing resources to the market (world supply drops) and resultantly the price grows (world demand increases).
  • How a bad harvest of one edible commodity lowers the supply available for export (supply drops) and resultantly the price for the remaining goods being traded grows (demand increases)
  • ….

The argument goes that if you do your research well, learn to understand how the market (local and international) work, and how events within those markets can influence either the Supply or Demand, work out (ie. predict) what the effects may likely be on the Demand or Supply.

Summary:

To gain perspective on different investment classes, whether to become an investor or just to learn something in addition to your current understanding of world markets, this book definitely has something to teach everyone. It also explains it well enough to any new investor who wishes to start up in this line of investment, by giving clear explanations and guidance how it works, and what everything means, just to get started. For that reason, the book will receive a rating of 4,7/5

Best wishes!!!

034-2020 ABCs of Real Estate investing

Title: ABCs of Real Estate Investing (The secrets of finding hidden profits most investors miss)

Author: Ken McElroy

Hi there,

I have watched a few of the videos that Robert Kiyosaki has posted on YouTube now and then, and that has made me change the way I think of investing. One of them was how I think about investing in equities. Before, I was fixated that it was simply a good investment option and it made sense. And before that I was convinced that keeping money in my bank account was safe, and retained its value.

As you read more and more, and hear more and more, you quickly realize that not everything is as it seems, and that it is beneficial to become more acquainted with the different investment products, and investment strategies.

One investment I always wanted to get in to was real estate investing.

My first step was to watch a Udemy course, and learn something of this industry. Afterwards, I went to the property sites and started looking for properties in my area, but then before I decided to go ahead, I thought about reading a book of a real estate investor as well, and that’s where we get to this book.

Before I get to the book, the central lesson I took was that you should not jump into this (or any kind of) investment before really getting your facts straight. If you rush this, you may suffer dearly with a financial loss.

Right, the book….

The book gives you general guidance what he would say are the steps you should follow in chronological order when you approach this type of investment. They are:

  • Set your goal – before even getting started with research, you should establish the reason, why you want to enter this market in the first place. If you buy something but have no objective with it, then you are more susceptible to make a loss.
  • Get a team of different skills – realize that you won’t know everything there is to know in this industry, so it would be advisable to get a few professionals together to assist you with your endeavour. Different people are suitably skilled in industries and would be a good start to include as consultants, since your own lack of experience could cause you to suffer financially if you make irrational decisions
  • Engage in research – Before getting into investing, it is advisable to get to know the country/city around you. You want to invest in a property where people will still be living in the next 10/20/30 years, and not in a property where the location isn’t safe, or where more and more people are abandoning the area.
  • Find your market location – Next, when you establish the country/city is likely to remain attractive (and even become even more so) then you’ll become more acquainted with the different suburbs where people live, and find locations that are for you the most attractive, and you believe can still be in the coming years.
  • Find properties in that market – When you narrowed down your search to few districts, you can go ahead, and actually find some properties in those districts.
  • Five steps to financially evaluate the property – Now, when you have found a few properties, you will want to choose those that you believe present the greatest potential to generate the most cash flow to you that is possible. You will now actually go into the numbers and see which properties provide the greatest returns (ie. net income)
  • The contract – Once you found a property that has grabbed hold of your attention, you can likely take it another step, and write the owner of your intent of acquisition. However, he stresses here that you should only express an intent to buy, not the purchase agreement yet, because now you usually have the opportunity to dig much deeper and see more of the property, and confirm/disprove some of your figures that you estimated in your Five Steps earlier
  • Make a due diligence before penning the deal – As mentioned, now you would go into depth and inspect the property, the numbers in the books so you can get a good picture of whether the net income that can come from this property is attractive or not.
  • Finalize the deal – When the property value is within your valued price range (from the due diligence and five steps), then you can go ahead and take the contract to the next stage. However, should it happen that your due diligence found some matters that have reduced the estimated value of the property, you can always walk away and try again with another property.
  • Now manage the property – Once you have committed yourself to buying the property, you now enter a different role, landlord.

I think I captured a lot of the ground work that was covered in the different chapters, however, to get more insight into each of the steps, it would be advisable to read up a bit more and become better acquainted (if you will, become an expert).

Summary:

The book is easy to read, gives clear steps and guidance, and also gives some of his own experiences that he encountered in his years of working in this field. The book for me deserves a well-deserved 4.25/5

Happy reading!

033-2020 Dune

Title: Dune (Dune series)

Author: Frank Herbert

Hi all,

if you’re looking for an exciting sci-fi book, then look no further. This one was written in the 1960s (the same decade when we saw the first moon landing), and in my opinion, deservedly is titled to be one (and to some, the) of the best science fiction stories ever written.

Even more exciting is that they are trying for a second time to make a movie of this book. See the following link on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dune+2020) where they have released to first snippets of the story.

This book follows the life of a boy and his family, the House Atreides, in the Galactical Empire, where they move away from their home planet (Caladan) to another planet, in the hope of improving their political position and power, and therefore make the move to Arrakis, the dune planet.

The family hasn’t had time to properly get settled in on the planet, before they are attacked by another house, the House Harkonnen, who wish to wipe out the family to improve their own political power as well.

Paul (the son) and Jessica (his mother – a Bene Gesserit witch) manage to escape in the desert storm, and then join the ranks of the local tribes (the Fremen), where they build themselves into their communities.

In each chapter of the book the story switches to another character and follows their life as the whole story unfolds. And as the story unfolds you cannot but want to keep on reading to see how the next part turns out. It’s gripping.

Not only is it a terrific novel, but it is also a great story to see how the main character grows up, and becomes the person who he is meant to be. How he has a normal life of a royal, and then dramatic events come to pass and change his life forever, such that he has to become grown up much quicker, and become a leader even sooner than planned.

Summary:

Terrific story, amazingly told, fantastic plot and characters and simply great that anyone could enjoy it. I give the book a rating of 4.95/5

Keep well!

032-2020 Guide to investing in Gold & Silver

Title: Guide to investing in Gold and Silver (Protect your financial future)

Author: Michael Maloney

Hey all,

I know what you might be thinking….

Considering the last few books I have read in the last few months, you might get the feeling that I am starting to become distrustful in our monetary currencies, and that I am reading up on gold to invest my currency in that instead.

I’ll admit, I have started to read some books that sound a bit doomsdayish, but I’ll tell you the reason behind my recent collection. Perspective. Getting as much background on many different topics as possible broadens your view on many different topics.

You might have caught on by now that I have read a few different investment books, where the investors present their different investment strategies.

  • One gives a strategy to be conservative and only invest in large and established companies (ie. blue chip stocks), and invest whenever you have money available to invest
  • Another tells you his strategy of locating the companies that are valuable, and will be valuable in the foreseeable future, and then find the point when they are undervalued, so you can buy their stock.
  • Another tells you to only have maximum 40% exposure to paper assets (ie. stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, etc.) and the other 60% in tangible assets (ie. cash, rent-producing assets, gold, other assets)

Just from reading this book’s title, you might be persuaded that this one is about investing a significant portion of your investable funds into Gold and Silver. You’re halfway correct.

The book is actually so much more than just an investing strategy. It also includes valuable historic background on the role that gold and silver played in history (2000 years of history), what is the relation between currency, gold and inflation, and why it is something that you should consider including into your portfolio.

1…History

The author notes that one reason why the greatest empires might be always failing is due to deficit spending. Think about it.

If there is a small community, and everyone has a fixed amount of gold to trade, for a fixed amount of services, then the community could not grow. When an individual becomes more efficient to produce his goods he/she will be able to produce more goods for sale. However, there is only a fixed amount of gold in the exchange, therefore, the price of their goods drop. Here, the value of our goods become cheaper, or, our gold becomes more valuable because it is able to acquire more goods for the same pieces of gold. They have a leader who makes sure everyone plays by the rules, but he/she doesn’t have too much power and everyone is responsible for their own well-being.

If we switch over to a larger empire that has a ruling class that has taken on the responsibility to a) protect everyone with a military, b) provide everyone with clean water, which system needs regular upkeep, c) will provide money for people’s retirement, and a few more responsibilities. To make all this possible they collect taxes. However, to help the country grow it needs more goods and services to be produced so it can meet its future obligations. These do not come cheap at the present moment, so, in order to make these services happen, the leaders create more money (ie. currency) to be able to buy the goods. Note, they created additional paper money, but the number of goods in circulation remained the same. Traders notice this, and they realize paper is no longer worth what it used to be, so their prices rise. The burden of responsibility on the ruling class grows, so they create more ‘new money’ and again, the traders realize, the money isn’t worth as much as before, the prices rise once again.

In both scenarios the gold actually on hand to support the currency didn’t grow. In scenario 1, the economic factors would find the new equilibrium where the Price and Supply would meet, the healthy way. In scenario 2, the ruling class brought in more money (which wasn’t backed by gold), and therefore everyone’s paper now was able to buy them less, because traders saw the demand grew, so they could increase their prices.

When the ruling class, in scenario 2, creates more and more paper money, people realize that their $100 is no longer able to buy the same amount of ounces of gold it used to, it now takes $150, so whatever they saved has lost value by 50%. When this gap between currency-backed-by-gold and currency-not-backed-by-gold increases too far, eventually there will come a revolt, and a new price of gold will be determined against the currency (say $250 p/ounce), which now means all currency is once again backed by gold. This is what deficit spending does, IF a country aims to have its currency backed by gold. If it’s currency is not backed by and tangible resource, then it only has value as long as people believe it has money = fiat money (ie. Euros, Dollars, Yuan, Yen all today are fiat currencies).

2…Inflation (the silent wealth killer)

From the example stipulated above, I hope you noticed that the quantities of gold remained the same, but in scenario 2 the ruling class brought in more currency (ie. paper money) into circulation (whilst the number of goods offered remained unchanged), which then leads to the paper having become less valuable, and thus taxing away your wealth.

3…The strategy

Taking all this into account, the author describes himself to be a cycle investor. He invests in a different asset, depending on the economic cycle we find ourselves in. When people are positive of the economic outlook, they generally demand more paper assets (ie. stocks) and resultantly the price for resources drops. He then acquires some precious metals, and sells off some stocks.

When the cycle turns, and people have a less positive economic outlook they switch to an investment into assets that are more ‘safe’ (ie. precious metals). Then demand for these spikes, which is when he sells, and then buys stocks in companies that have been undervalued.

When the market then becomes better, he does the opposite of what everyone else does, and in the process, gradually grows his wealth bit by bit.

4…Why having some precious metals isn’t such a bad idea

If you’re a new investor and don’t know where to start, the recommendation here is that it would be wise to have a small portion of your portfolio dedicated to precious metals (physical gold & silver, and not shares in a mine), because he argues that whenever our currencies are in trouble, the value of the currency is dropped, and the value of precious metals always gains.

Summary:

I think the way the book is structured (history of gold and empires, relevance to today and our recent history, inflation, and then considerations one should make before buying commodities) is perfect for anyone to start off learning what it means to invest in precious metals. It shouldn’t be bought because someone has advised them to do it, but the book lectures you well on the lesson so you can make an informed decision yourself. The book for me deserves a rating of 4.85/5

Have a good one everyone!