The Cheetah and How a Struggling Trader/Investor can Learn from It

 

Many people that traded and invested in the stock market (or any market, in this case) experienced great volatility for the past few weeks.

Some made a kill, nailing their yearly return goal in a week. For many, though, it was an overwhelming time filled with emotions and anxiousness.

You are (were) probably in the red. You are (were) probably underperforming. You are (were) probably beating up at yourself for this outcome.

The reality is, this is a path that every investor and trader MUST experience in his/her journey. The difference is how one handles this hurdle that makes up to an amateur and a consistent investor/trader.

 


 

How to Climb Back Up from a Slump?

To be clear, it is NOT EASY to recover from a slump. Mathematically, it is hard (eg. a 50% drawdown will take a 100% gain to breakeven). Emotionally, it is even tougher to get back on track.

In times like these, it is crucial for one to go back to the BASICS.

Stop looking around Facebook groups and investing/trading forums for tips for the NEXT big opportunity.

Quit those groups if needed – these are noises that hardly contribute to your recovery anyway.

The point is, stop making investing/trading so complicated and difficult.

 


 

Back to the Basics

What are the trades that work the best for you? Make a list and focus on only taking these trades for time being – with smaller size.

If you are a long-term investor that has just dumped your holdings due to panic and fear, look into your investing process – have you followed your entry & exit strategy? Do you have one? Work on them one by one.

The point is NOT to remake your losses immediately. Rather, it is for you to rebuild the mental confidence towards yourself FIRST.

 


 

The Cheetah

 

 

“The cheetah, while the fastest animal on the African plain and can outrun any of the prey it feasts upon, always chooses to go for the young, weak or sick.

Once identified, it attacks with laser-guided focus and effectiveness. It is only then that the kill is most likely. That is the epitome of a professional trader.”

This is one the of most resonating trading analogy that I’ve come across lately in an article by Mike Bellafiore of SMB Capital (one of my favorite role models in trading).

As extraordinary as a cheetah is, it still focuses on the most basic kills which are also the most effective ones.

Likewise, the goal for us as an investor/trader is not to try to be smart and predict whether the market is bottoming. Rather, it is to understand our strength and take the best opportunity with probability in our favor.

Know your strength. Go back to the basics. Be a cheetah.



My 2020 Goals: This Year, I am Allowing Myself to Say ‘No’ Without Feeling Guilty Anymore.

Have you ever been in a situation where you said ‘Yes’ to something or someone when deep inside, your answer was a big ‘NO’?

Even worse, have you ever felt really guilty after saying ‘No’ to something or someone?

That is, without doubt, one of the worst conflicting feelings ever.

But here’s the thing:

If you say ‘Yes’ to everyone and everything, chances are you will have to say ‘No’ when it comes to things & people that matter the most to you.


My Goal in 2020

2020 is an important year for me.

This year, if I were to put a theme to it, is the Year of Trading Mastery.

For me, I have always enjoyed trading, not for the reason that you may assume.

I am passionate about trading because it pushes me to become a better version of myself. Trading taught me to face my fears and ego. Trading inspired me to embrace my curiosity and keep learning. More importantly, trading empowered me to take full responsibility for my own emotions and life.

Hence, in 2020, my goal is to pursue a professional trading career in proprietary trading firms (firms that trade their own and/or clients’ funds).

Personally, I see this as a natural transition in pursuit of bigger opportunity, knowledge, and mastery in my craft.

With that in mind, having a goal is not enough. According to Jay Shetty in his recent podcast ‘4-Tier Framework to Effective Goal-Setting’, it is even more crucial to focus on your growth than the goal.


Eyes on Your Growth over Your Goals

As important as my goal is to me, the growth towards my goal is even more crucial.

This section definitely deserves a whole article on its own (which it will), but here is a brief idea of my action plan to improve and grow towards my goal, which I am presently (and consistently) practicing:

    1. Technical Skills: Allocate time daily to practice my technical & pattern recognition skills. (eg. Reading Price Action & Order Flow) – Practice, Practice & Practice.

       

    2. Mindset & Psychology: Spend an average of 2 hours daily in the study and practice of psychology, mindset & peak performance (which I really enjoy doing).

       

    3. Morning Flow Routine: Meditation, Affirmation, Visualization & Gratitude Practice (45 minutes).

       

    4. Health: Exercise 30 minutes daily (normally at night).

       

    5. Review & Feedback: Daily End-of-Day journaling, weekend & monthly trade review.

(Side note: For those who have an unrealistic expectation about trading, now you know the effort and commitment it takes behind the scene – which still DOES NOT guarantee an outcome)

The point is, all my priorities and the things that I am doing (and will do) in 2020 WILL focus mainly on the pursuit of my goal…


…Which is Why I must Start Learning to Say ‘No’

To be frank, I really, really, hate to say ‘No’ to people.

In the past, I will feel bad for rejecting a random long-time-no-see friend’s request to meet. I will feel guilty for saying ‘No’ to people/businesses that want to collaborate with No Money Lah but may not be of good fit to the theme and value of my blog (which, by the way, is my personal space).

And worse, I will feel shitty in the sense that I feel obliged to come out with reasons to say ‘No’ everytime.

That said, that WILL NOT be the case in 2020.

In 2020, I WILL say ‘No’ to protect my priorities without feeling bad.

In 2020, I WILL say ‘No’ to people and opportunities that do not contribute to my goal and values.

In 2020, I WILL say ‘No’ without feeling guilty and the need to give reasoning to do so.

For all of you – friends, readers and potential collaborators that are reading this, I am hopeful that you will not take any of my ‘No(s)’ personally.

By every means, all of you are my great source of motivation and inspiration, and I am eternally grateful that.


Here are 6 Things that I Gonna Say ‘Yes’ to in 2020:

    1. Experience & opportunities that will contribute to my career goal and my growth as a trader.

       

    2. Meeting inspiring people of the same values and goals that will drive my growth.

       

    3. Anything family-related & my 2-lifetime friends (you know who you are :P).

       

    4. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (eg. Meeting Bill Gates or Warren Buffett).

       

    5. Collaborations that will add value to me and my community of readers in terms of personal growth and finances - considering my personal capacity.

       

    6. Collaborations on disruptive and/or exciting financial products & services - considering my personal capacity.

Other than that, any kind of casual socializing and gatherings would be secondary in my priorities.

I cannot emphasize more about the importance of having clarity about what you would say ‘Yes’ to in 2020. Again, we MUST set boundaries to opportunities we will say ‘Yes’ to at the start of the year or we will end up achieving NOTHING by the end of the year.


Verdict: Say ‘No’ For More in 2020

You got to learn to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty in order to have more in life.

It might sound weird at first, but it is true.

The irony is, saying ‘No’ reduces distractions and enables us to place more time and energy to work on the growth we need in order to achieve our goals.

Nothing is more frustrating in life than to end the year knowing that you are nowhere near the level of growth you desired – all because you are working on so many other unrelated things.

With that, I wish for your breakthroughs and success in 2020!


Side Note: The Role of No Money Lah in My Life for 2020

First of all, no worries!

No Money Lah will remain my personal space where I will continue to write about intriguing personal growth & money lessons in my adulthood journey.

In fact, in 2020, I have built a more systematic approach towards my writing routine to allow me to work on my content efficiently.

I will continue to write about my personal thoughts and money & investing. Perhaps, I will even write more about trading and psychology too!

If you would like to see more people benefiting from my content, consider supporting me through any of the channels by clicking the 'Support Me' button below! 

As always, thank you so much for your support for the past year and I truly, truly appreciate it. :)


3 MUST-BUILD Mindsets to become a Better Investor & Person in 2020

Hey everyone!

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you Happy New Year! 2019 has been challenging yet really amazing for me. What’s more, the year was even better as I get to know everyone of you – your support and feedbacks have been tremendously motivating to me.

As I gather my takeaways as a developing trader, investor and, well, a person, I would like to share with you 3 MOST IMPORTANT mindsets that you must work on or cultivate in 2020.

From my personal experience and studies, these 3 mindsets are crucial for a person to develop and master in order to achieve any kind of significant breakthrough in his or her life & investing endeavors.

Now, it must be mentioned beforehand that building these mindsets would not promise immediate monetary returns. However, I am confident that having them will make your 2020 an extremely empowering year to live in.


#1 Mindset: Focus on Process over Outcome

A mistake that many beginning investors do is to anchor their investing performance to the return of their investments.

This mindset is what I call the ‘Outcome-based Mindset’, and it is THE BIGGEST mindset hurdle that an investor must overcome to stand a chance in the market.

Reason being, there is no 100% certainty that the market is going to give us what we want. When that happens, the confidence of a beginner investor will get shaken to the extent they may eventually develop a pessimistic view towards investing.

Hence, in 2020, focus on getting the process right. Aim to build a ‘Process-based Mindset’.

Focus on the process of learning. Focus on the process of executing your investing plan properly. Focus on the process of growing.

Amateur investors aim for the outcome, the successful ones focus on the process.

Focus on getting the process right in 2020 and the outcome will come.

#2 Mindset: Consistency is the Key

Now, when I mention consistency, I am not talking about the %/year that you can make consistently.

Rather, I am referring to one’s consistency in the execution of his or her processes.

You cannot control the market movement (external factor), but you can certainly take charge of how consistent you are in your process and effort (internal factor).

Be consistent in your routine to study financial reports & charts. Be consistent in your process to filter for quality investments. Be consistent in your risk management.

Ultimately, be consistent in your pursuit of mastery.

As cliché as it sounds, the consistency of ‘outcome’ that amateur investors dream of – they come from the consistency of ‘process’ that successful investors practice to heart.

Consistency in execution leads to consistency in outcome over the long run.

#3 Mindset: Relate to Challenges with Positivity

As the year goes by, it is for sure that there’ll be challenges in your life and investing journey.

In times like this, people with a mediocre attitude will look for someone or something to blame for their encounter.

On the other hand, people with a growth mindset will take charge of their life challenges and take it as an opportunity to improve.

Fear and challenges consume the people with a fixed mindset, but lift the people with a growth mindset.

Lady luck favors the positives.

Verdict

2020 is an exciting year. For the year and the decade ahead, things will evolve. The market will change. Some skillsets will become obsolete, and some will become high on demand.

However, a healthy mindset is timeless. No era of time will ever make a growth mindset irrelevant.

With that, I wish you the very best in your life and investing journey in 2020, and have a great, great year ahead! :) 

-Yi Xuan


Get Your 2020 Financial Goals Mapped-Out Strategically with Practical Action Steps!

Stepping into the new year (and decade) and still have ABSOLUTELY no clue about how you can achieve your ideal financial lifestyle & goals?

Or rather, you have some idea about your financials but are still 'kind-of' miserable about HOW TO REALLY ACHIEVE YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS?

Personally, I had a fair share of these experiences in 2019, until I finally consulted my first ever Personal Financial Planner to get my 2020 financials properly planned - and it is the BEST thing that I've done for myself in preparation for the new year and decade!

Hey wait - I DON'T WANT YOU TO PAY for your Personal Financial Planner if you are not convinced that they are not able to add value to your financials.

Hence, as a No Money Lah's supporter & reader, I am throwing in a FREE Financial Consultation just for YOU!

Find out HOW and CHECK OUT my personal experience working alongside my first personal financial planner BELOW!


Would we ever be ready in the pursuit of life?

It has almost been 2 years since I left my first job in a startup which paid me handsomely as a fresh-grad to explore my own path in trading and writing.

To be honest, it is one of the scariest decisions I’ve made in my life so far.

I knew nothing about trading at all when I first started.

I had no clue on how I could build a website at all, other than my neglectable experience with free website builders back in university times.

So, I did whatever I could – take a deep breath, leap, make tones of (noob) mistakes, and keep learning.




Fast Forward to Present Day

2019 has been a challenging year – and an amazing one as well.

This year, I had the opportunity to embark on many great adventures.

For one, after months of effort and painstaking mistakes, I finally made some significant breakthroughs in the skills & mindset in my trading journey (read: strategy with edge, disciplined routine & risk management, strong desire to succeed).

As someone with the goal to pursue a professional career in proprietary trading firms, this massively boosted my confidence to keep going.

Not only that, No Money Lah also opened me up to various great experiences.

First radio station interview? Done. First podcast interview? Done. First REIT investing knowledge-sharing workshop (and another 2 more after that)? Done.

Even better, I got to know and meet many like-minded readers and equally, if not even more enthusiastic folks of the personal finance & investing scene.

The best of all?

I learned a ton and enjoyed most moments in this adventure.


Gathering with other personal finance folks in 2019, courtesy of the StashAway team.




Outcast of the Norms

Whatever I am doing, I guess that made me an outcast of the societal norms with ever reliance on certainties.

I have a clear goal, but I can’t be 100% certain where exactly I will be by the end of 2020.

For sure, I can’t be 100% certain that I will have a fixed amount of income by the end of every month (Do you really think that No money lah is just my website’s name?).

When it comes to trading, it is even more obvious that I can’t be 100% certain of the outcome of my trade results every month.

In short, the only thing that is certain in this journey is risks and uncertainties.


REIT Investing Workshop – September 2019 Intake Group Photo




Lessons Learned in 2019

With that in mind, I have to take aggressive actions and mindsets to keep me going on this journey.

It is easy for one to slack off when you have no one to be accountable to. Hence, to progress in my journey, I have to:


  1. Follow a very disciplined routine to optimize my productivity (more contents about routine in 2020).
  2. Create a systematic workflow around my trading and content creation work.
  3. Be mindful of my personal expenses & financial decisions.
  4. Develop a very strong purpose and desire to succeed to keep myself motivated, and whenever needed, pull myself out of challenging times.

Most importantly, I have to embrace the fact that uncertainties are the only certainty in my journey, and make this to my advantage.


The Future Belong in Those Who Believe in the Beauty of Their Dreams.




What are your goals in life?

To be more specific, what is the ideal life that you visualize yourself in whenever you close your eyes?

For me, I want to give my parents a retirement life where they do not have to worry about money at all. I also want to have flexibility in time where I can explore the world of experiences.

Even more so, I want to be in peace and happy in my very own way of living.




Are we ever truly ready in this pursuit of ‘life’?

Why do I ask and share with you this, you might guess?

The reason is simple.

This is because I’ve seen and talked to people that want to wait for the ‘moment’ when they are ready to take the necessary actions to pursue their goals or ideal life.

But would we ever be ready for life?

If there is one key takeaway that I got in my nearly-2 years’ journey pursuing my goals, I am almost certain that most people are never truly ready for the adventure.

The fact is, you will always find hundreds, if not thousands of excuses on why you are not ready to start.

For me, it was the fear of not being enough. Not enough of a writer, not enough in knowledge, not enough in relevant experiences.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Truth is, you only need one of these reasons to make you feel overwhelmed to start. But since we are creatures with imagination, we flood ourselves with even more reasons for why we will not succeed.




You Don’t Have to Know Everything, and You Only Need One Reason to Start

Give this a thought:

Our parents never really asked if we are ready for school – we just adapt and learn along the way.

Our university never really asked if we are ready for that damn tough paper – we (most of us) just grit our teeth and went through it anyway.

Isn’t it obvious that for the most part of our lives, we have never really been fully prepared for anything at all?

Yet, we still make it through and conquered life like a pro – until now.

Now’s the time to decide if you really want to be ‘truly ready’ or ‘fully prepared’ to pursue that goal or ideal life in this new decade.

You will find strong mental resistance and excuses as it would be deeply uncomfortable.

But you only need one, and only one strong ‘WHY’ to go take the leap.

I wish you the very, very best – and I would love to hear your journey someday. 😊



2019 has been a great year, and it would not be possible without my supportive parents, 2 of my lifelong friends (Victor & Eddie), and of course – you.

Thank you for being such a great supporter and motivation to me – be it if you are a reader and/or attendee of my REIT Investing Workshop in 2019.

This journey is much more meaningful and fulfilling with all of you, and please accept my gratitude from the bottom of my heart.

Wishing you a great year, and the decade ahead!

Yi Xuan

 


If/Then Mindset: How this Hugely Overlooked Mental Skill will Transform Your Investing Performance

Have you ever been in a situation, where you were looking at a stock that you think you should buy, yet did not pull the trigger and ended up regretting your inaction?

How about the times when you think you should get out of an investment, yet too clouded by emotions to do so and ended up taking a huge loss?

When I first started in the market, I faced the similar problem over and over again. Not only it was frustrating, the huge emotional swings involved were also extremely tiring.

As times went by, I have learned an important, yet hugely overlooked mental skill by many that have since helped me improve my investing and trading performance alike.


What is the If/Then Mindset?

If/Then mindset is a simple, yet critical mental skill that is hugely overlooked by new investors and traders in the market.

In essence, the If/Then mindset is a mental simulation of the possible outcomes given a particular set of scenarios, and the actions that you will take should any of these outcomes happen:

“If A happens, I will do X. If B happens, I will do Y.”


Okay, So How Will the If/Then Mindset Improve My Investing Performance?

Let’s look at a simple ranging chart pattern, and how the If/Then mindset could help improve your performance:

What we are looking above is a stock price in a ranging (or zig-zag) pattern. For an inexperienced investor or trader, it is easy to conclude that there is no trend going on with this particular stock and hence no ‘excitement’ in the price.

This chart would be super boring to untrained minds.

However, using the If/Then mindset, one could easily simulate the potential price movements of the stock (scenarios A, B, C). With that, various interesting opportunities could be identified prior to any price movement at all.

Different possibilities can be simulated with If/Then mindset.

As an example, if scenario A happens, then one could buy at the pullback upon a small retracement. However, should scenario B happen, then one could look to buy at the support level. That said, if scenario C plays out, then one could look to sell upon a mini retracement.

Investors can plan ahead and respond to price movement accordingly with If/Then mindset.

Benefits of If/Then mindset

Believe it or not, there are many benefits if you are able to build up your If/Then mental skill:

(1) Early Anticipation of Price Movement

Training your If/Then mental skill will help you to anticipate price movement effectively.

We can never predict with absolute certainty where the price of a stock will move. However, we can use the If/Then mindset to anticipate the different possibilities of price movement, and devise our actions should any of the scenarios play out.

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(2) Reduce Mental Stress & Emotions in Decision-Making

By simulating the possible outcomes prior to price movement, an investor could plan ahead of what could be done should different scenarios play out.

This might look like a simple thing, yet it is extremely helpful in reducing any form of emotional bias (eg. Fear of losing, Ego) and mental stress in comparison to the times when you have to make an immediate investment decision on your feet.

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(3) Improve Consistency in Investing Performance

As you make progress in developing your If/Then mental skill, you can expect consistency in your performance.

Reason being, a strong If/Then mental skill will provide you with a consistent execution process (eg. If A happens, then I will do X) by filtering out a lot of unnecessary biases involved.

We can never predict with 100% certainty what will happen, but we can always anticipate the possible outcomes and respond accordingly.


How to Apply If/Then Mindset in Investing & Trading

By now, it should be obvious that If/Then mindset is a mental skill that is applied prior to making any investment decisions.

As such, most application of the If/Then mindset should be done during the preparation phase of your investing workflow:

If you are a fundamental investor (read: Value Investing), your If/Then mindset could be “I will only invest in a company IF it has a consistent profit growth over a 5-year period”.

If you are a technical trader, your If/Then mindset could be applied in a way IF price movement A happens, THEN I will do X”.

In short, practice and apply the If/Then mindset BEFORE you have to make any investment or trading decision live.

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"If A, then X. If B, then Y. If C, then Z."

No Money Lah’s Verdict:

If/Then mindset is a mental skill that is crucial for an investor or trader’s development to perform better and more consistent in the market.

That said, many tend to undermine the practice of this skill as it seems to be simple. However, ask yourself: How many times have you ever go through the If/Then thought process before making an investment decision?

If any, the If/Then mindset does not require one to be right at predicting the direction of a price. Rather, it trains a person’s mind to anticipate and be open to different possibilities of outcome and respond accordingly.

Personally, I think this is an important skill to develop, and one that I strive to improve on a daily basis.

I certainly hope you do, too.


Read my articles on REIT Investing HERE.

Every now and then, I organize sharing sessions to share insights on how I invest in the market. Book your slot for my upcoming session HERE!

 


Why Are You Still Suck with Investing after Paying Thousands for Courses?

Have you ever attended any of those investing or trading courses out there, and yet not getting the returns you expected?

Even worse, you paid thousands, and sometimes millions for those damn courses!

Hey wait, if this is not hurtful already, those experts even promised you a ‘consistent’ return if you learn their strategies!

If that’s the case, why are you – in spite of the hope and promises (not to mention an initial burn to your pocket) – still not making any money out of what you’ve learned?


Yup, You Are not Alone

I was there.

Sometime before graduating from university, I enrolled in my first ever 3-days investing course (in thousands). Just like many paying for these courses, I thought I will be able to make damn a lot of money (read: immediately) with my initial investment into my investing education.

You bet I was wrong. Super, duper wrong.

Instead of starting to make money from the stock market, I lost money instead. What the hell?


Can you relate?

Then, after losing money with the strategies that we paid thousands to learn, we embark on the journey to look for another course that could promise us a strategy that could provide us consistent and high returns.

Sounds familiar?

The irony is, for most of us, the cycle will continue to roll, and yet we will never find the one holy grail strategy that will make us huge and consistent returns.

Seriously, why is it so? Why do we pay that bloody money and yet not getting the returns we are promised?


‘Experts’ Overpromising Is Real

If you resonate with what I’ve written so far, I bet you will find what I am going share next even more relatable:

Firstly, there will be testimonies of students making X% within 3 months after attending the course. This gives people hope (the most important element in marketing courses).

Then, there will be a pitch to for you eventually quit your job through your returns from the market. This touches the soft spot of most people nowadays.

Wait, there’s more.

How about for everything above, you only need to ‘spend 5 minutes in front of the chart every week/month’? Or ‘get a sure-win stock-pick with a click of a button’ with their trademarked proprietary investing system (or some premium strategy with macam yes bombastic name)?

“Holy sh*t, this looks like something that I could sign up to I fire my boss sometime soon!”

Sounds like something that has slipped through your mind before? Well, it certainly did for me.


Marketers Tell Stories their Customers Want to Listen

Give what you’ll be reading up next a thought:

A weight management company will NEVER market their product as something that’ll produce results slow.

A hair-loss control company will NEVER market their services as something that’ll take a long time to see any effect.

However, we all know that both weight management and hair growth doesn’t happen overnight! In fact, it takes a grueling commitment and dedication to really get the results that you want (depending on your condition too, of course).

In short, a lot of marketing materials are likely not a reflection of the real deal. Rather, those are stories that leverage consumers’ emotions and desires in order to convert them.

It could be a ‘true story’ though. But it is likely not the WHOLE story.

Now, think about how an investment ‘expert’ that is real good in marketing would market his/her expensive courses:

Would you rather sign up for a course that claims that their students make 30% return consistently?

Or would you rather sign up for a course that claims that their students make 30% return consistently, BUT you will need to put a lot of practice and time into the system?

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"Earn quick and guaranteed profit by using our system and strategy!"

‘Experts’ Marketing Stories is NOT the most important reason WHY you still lose money in investing/trading

Humans are naturally born to the desire for instant gratification.

If any, I am willing to bet that 95% of the people sign up for investment/trading courses as a means to learn how to earn money – fast.

And again, I was there as well. The idea of seeing the ‘experts’ flashing their Ferraris, luxury houses and cash is simply too irresistible in a time where most people hate or dislike their jobs.

As a result, people are more inclined to succumb to too-good-to-be-true money games and overpromising marketing ads for investment courses.

The idea of earning money easy and fast from the market touches all our desire for an easy way out.

You may not like what you have been reading so far, but you know there is certain truth to these words.

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Humans, are unfortunately born with the tendency for instant gratification - especially when it comes to quick bucks.

Investing & Trading is a Skill That Needs to be Built Over Time and Practices

Now, think about one of your biggest achievement in life thus far.

It could be your piano grades, your career in consulting or a sports achievement. Did you achieve them by just spending ‘5 minutes’ honing your skills everyday?

Hell no!

The skills that you have today, is a result of the time and effort that you put into building that particular skill. It is the practices that you’ve poured whole-heartedly into your work that led to your mastery in that particular skill.

Becoming good in piano is a skill. Mastering the art of consulting is a skill. Becoming a pro in football is a skill.

If that’s the case, what makes investing and trading any different?

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Investing & trading are both skills that need to be developed over time and effort.

There is no Holy Grail in Investing & Trading

It took me a long time, but it eventually hits on me that there is no shortcut to investing and trading mastery.

They are skills that need time, discipline and practices to develop. They require passion so that you can persevere through the steep learning curves and losing streaks.

More importantly, no one strategies taught by courses out there will bring you results unless you are patient enough to allow for your skills to catch up to what you want to achieve.

If you haven’t got it by now, there is no holy grail to quick wealth in investing or trading.

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Can you become a world-class footballer by practicing 5 minutes everyday? Now relate this back to investing & trading.

The Takeaways

There are many factors that led to us not making any money from the market, even after signing up for expensive investing or trading courses.

If there is one key problem, though, then I would say that it is unfortunate that most of us that signed up for investing or trading courses started off with a wrong mindset.

We wanted to profit from the market quickly, and we thought it was easy. Then, course marketers make it seems like it is really that easy with stories we want to listen to.

But here’s the thing:

Investing and trading are skills that need to be developed over time, practices, consistency, and discipline.

Until we can accept this fact, chances are we will still see people jumping over courses and strategies, in hope to look for the quickest way to well, lose their fortune.


Disclaimer: The article above is not by any means a suggestion to sign up (or to not sign up) for any investment courses out there. It is just a personal opinion on the stated topic and does not reflect any interest in any particular party.


Always Remember: Live Your Own Life, Walk Your Own Pace (No Money Lah’s 1st Anniversary)

Always remember: Live your own life, Walk your own pace. 

The past 1 year or so has been like a roller-coaster ride for me. As a start, No Money Lah’s growth as a passion project has been amazing. I have always like to write and share my learnings and thoughts with people, and No Money Lah allows me to do just that in my new stage of life – adulthood.

As an added bonus, No Money Lah has opened me up to various opportunities and the chance to meet many fantastic people behind the entrepreneurial and personal finance scenes.

Furthermore, my little goal to share what I know about investing also comes true. The tremendous support from the friends and readers to my Breakthrough Your Wealth – REIT Investing workshop have made all 3 workshops, so far, a fully-occupied (and fun) one.

My June 2019 Intake Group Photo :)
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That said, there are times where I just got overwhelmed with fear, doubt, and uncertainties.

The overwhelming fear that people would dislike what I write. The miserable self-doubt where I couldn’t even convey my feelings in words. The struggle against uncertainties towards, well, everything – from my career, my future, time and basically stuffs that could choke one out of breath.


Remember the Times Where You Kinda Messed Up Everything?

Can you relate?

Looking at your peers rising to the ranks in their jobs while you kept on hitting bricks. Or maybe, when you start to receive (more) wedding invitations while you are still getting your own life sorted out. How about those friends who seem like they got everything under control when you are literally losing them?

If you do not feel any of these, good for you. But I feel right about all these emotions playing in my head every now and then.

Have you ever feel like a loser in life? I do.
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At times, they come and go just in a blink. But there are times when it hits, it breaks down even the strongest mental barrier within myself. It is suffocating. Suffocating, knowing that all these efforts could be going nowhere.

But despite all circumstances, these are the times where I felt more alive than ever. Alive, knowing that I hit bricks, yet I am progressing whenever I overcome them. Alive, knowing that I feel these emotions, yet I am not running away from them. Alive, knowing that I am vulnerable, yet I do everything to pursue my beliefs regardless.

Being alive means acknowledging both the good and shitty part of the journey - and still living a kick-ass life.

Here's the thing:

We'll never be perfect in the face of norms. Any attempt to do otherwise is never a smooth journey - filled with uncertainties, fear, and self-doubt.

You are 'lagging behind' if you take a one-year gap year in between college.

You are 'too slow' if you haven't become a senior manager by 25.

You are 'too late' if you haven't get married by 30.

You are 'too old' if you decided to start your own business by 45.

Everyone is different. But norms expect us to walk the same pace in life.


It's Never About People Outrunning You (or Otherwise), It's About Discovering Your Own Pace in Life

I used to run half-marathons (21km) quite frequently (until I have some knee issues). And unless you are the top Kenyan runners, chances are you will be outpaced and outrun by people along the journey.

At first, it sucks whenever someone outpaced you. The feeling is especially real when the person is someone you know, and I experienced that first-hand when my best friends just outpaced me during the journey.

Then, I’ve come to a realization that being emotional when someone outpaced you is not just physically tiring, but even more so, mentally exhausting at the same time.

Slowly, I started to run at my own pace, being totally okay with people getting ahead of me. When I do so, I enjoyed my journey a little bit more. I made some new friends along the way. I challenged myself to outpace not anyone else but myself. Most importantly, I appreciate the fact that for each step I take, I am still moving forward towards the finishing line.

Not all paths are smooth - you just got to believe that you will eventually get to where you want to be. 

The more you run a marathon, the more you'll realize that it is not a race between you and someone else. Rather, it is a race between you and yourself - just like life.

Your Life, Your Path, Your Pace

If that’s not clear enough: Yes, I Do.

Whenever I am not mindful, I will still get overwhelmed with emotions. I will still get anxious about uncertainties. And at times, I could even mess things up.

But it is at these times that, I get to learn to acknowledge my vulnerabilities, strengthen my self-belief and intuition, outgrow myself – all at my very own pace.

And I hope you do, too.


No Money Lah is now 1 Year Old!

If you haven't realized it already, No Money Lah turned 1 last month! 

If you are reading this, I would like to extend my full gratitude to each of you. Your tremendous support has been one of my main motivations to keep writing throughout this year. Regardless of how you got to know No Money Lah, I am hopeful that my articles will keep bringing new insights and values to you, just like how your support kept me going in this amazing year.

Here are my 3 Books Recommendation to Massively Transform Your Life:

Before leaving this article, I thought of sharing with you 3 books that have transformed my life in one way or another throughout this year. If you are looking to a massive breakthrough in life, I cannot recommend these books enough for you:

From left: 

(1) The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, (2) Atomic Habits by James Clear, (3) Grit by Angela Duckworth                  


 

 

 


Knowing WHEN to Pat Yourself on The Back is the Key to Personal Breakthrough

As a table tennis enthusiast, I have been coaching on and off since my time at university. Now, as a certified coach by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), my focus is mainly on coaching children during the weekends.

Having interacted with children for more than a year now, I have come to realize that acknowledgment, when done properly, could be one’s key to lasting breakthroughs.


Melvin is one of my youngest students during my weekend session. At 6 years old, Melvin has been with me since early this year.

As a relatively new coach, I have been facing one major challenge when it comes to interacting with kids:

Being pretty new with children, my initial assumption was that the more you acknowledge them, the faster they’ll improve. In turn, I have been using words like “Well done” and “Good job” too frequently during my coaching session.

As a result, I actually ‘Well-Done-d’ and ‘Good Job-ed’ Melvin way too much, even when he was only hitting 3 rallies in a row while he could already do more than 10.

In short, what followed was a series of stagnation in progress and improvement.

Praises & acknowledgment are like sweets - as much as we like them, too much of them are, well, not exactly helpful.

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Frustrated with my initial approach, I started to give fewer to none praises. I thought by being more critical, Melvin would eventually improve.

Well, as it turned out, Melvin did not achieve much progress. Even worse, he started to show less interest during the practice.

Luckily for me, I eventually found a crucial balance between when to acknowledge and provide critical feedback for Melvin.

So, knowing that Melvin could hit at least 10 rallies in a row, I set goals that are a little over Melvin’s comfort zone (eg. 11 rallies).

Then, I proceed to acknowledge him whenever he managed to achieve his goals. On the flip side, at times when he is unable to hit his goals, I will provide more constructive feedbacks rather than overpouring him with unconstructive praises.

When that happened, Melvin (along with the other kids) have been able to show steady breakthroughs and interest during the practice.

Finding the right mindset and balance between constructively critical and acknowledgment are the key to breakthroughs.

Alright, so what does that mean for us all?

You see, very much like the story of me coaching Melvin above, we tend to face similar ironies in our daily life:

As a human, we tend to be over-critical with ourselves when it comes to our goals. It could’ve been the failure to achieve your yearly goal of losing 5kg in weight, or missing an important career mark for the year.

Regardless, we tend to self-talk ourselves into thinking that we are ‘not good enough’ when we make some mistakes or fail in our attempt to achieve our goals – a.k.a. demotivating ourselves.

Being overly critical is killing our morale and motivation - don't you agree?

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On the other hand, on a daily basis, many of us are also prone to making it too easy for ourselves when it comes to the effort of pursuing our goals.

Remember the days when you tried to convince yourself that you have ‘done a good job’ for swimming 3 laps instead of the pre-planned 10? Or the times where you call it a day when you just made 1 presentation rehearsal instead of a decent 3?

In return, so many of us are denied our full potential – not by anyone else, but ourselves.  

In life, you become what you tolerate.

Now, let's face it: In life, we don't always get what we want, but we are most likely going to get what we tolerate. On the flip side, being overly critical to ourselves could also lead to demoralizing self-talks.  

Essentially, everyone's tolerance towards mediocrity and desire towards breakthrough is different. As such, we got to find a balance and the right timing on when to acknowledge our own effort – and pat ourselves on the back.

The problem is, it is easy for us to know when to acknowledge and be constructively critical to someone else. However, it is definitely not the case when it comes to ourselvesYET it is not impossible to do so:


Pat Yourself on the Back to Personal Breakthrough

  • Set realistic goals that are a little over your comfort zone

Firstly, whenever you set to start something – be very realistic with your current capability and dedication.

If you are new to running and you can only practice once a week, you cannot expect yourself to complete your first full-marathon below 4 hours, right?

That said, you could always test your capability by starting with a 5km run, followed by 10km and then 21km before really pursuing a full marathon.

Setting mini targets in line with your final goal is a great way to achieve breakthrough in stages without being overwhelmed.

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  • Strive to do your best – every single day

I consider this a mindset and attitude in living our lives. Imagine the satisfaction if you end your day knowing that you have given it everything you got – at least it feels much better than the opposite.

Regardless of the outcome of our effort throughout the day – we could have the best day ever, or we could screw up here and there, yet no one could deny us from giving our best.

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  • Keep a journal on your progress

Very important. Keep your goals in writing and your action plan towards achieving them.

On a daily basis, write down what you are on to do before starting your day, and check them out throughout the day – it is very satisfying!

Keeping a written journal will ensure your focus with your own progress – and appreciate your own effort along the way.

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  • Once you have done your best, give yourself a pat on the back!

Last but not least, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back!

Repeat this daily, I am confident that you will achieve some form of breakthrough in terms of progress, skill or mindset real soon.


Hey Wait…

Here’s the thing:

You do not always have to be making huge progress every day. In fact, you should not expect yourself to do so.

At times, there are circumstances where things are simply against our favor regardless of our effort.

That said, doing our best is a mindset. Doing our best is our attitude towards life. Doing our best is a promise that we made to ourselves that, no matter how things turn out to be, we make it a point to not disappoint ourselves by giving everything we got.

Live up with that attitude, and you deserve a huge pat on your back – including the personal breakthrough that follows.


5 Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s

I have spent the last 2 decades in formal education. Now that I think about it, there are so many things that schools should have taught us, but they didn’t do so.

Of all, how to manage money is one of the most crucial life tools that is unfortunately left out in our education system. As such, it is not without explanation that many of us tend to make irrational money mistakes in our 20s.

Being a 20s myself, and having observed my peers of the same age group and talking to people of older age, here are 5 money mistakes that I think should be avoided in our 20s:

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(1) Never bother to invest your money (AND learn how to do it properly)

One thing that I find particularly ironic about our generation is that we do not mind the hassle and time wasted lining up for milk tea, yet we never bother to spend time to improve our future lifestyle.

We love instant gratification, yet many do not really care about planning ahead for the future.

As a result, so many are either (i) finding excuses to NOT learn how to invest properly and/or (ii) becoming a victim of ‘Get-Rich-Quick’ money games and illegal MLMs.

In this case, investing is the total opposite of instant gratification. It is where an individual delays his or her current spending impulse and put that hard-earned money into an investment that will grow exponentially in the future – if done properly.

In other words, time is of the essence in determining your investment returns – the earlier you do it properly, the better. As shown in the example below, investing RM1,000 compounded at 6% yearly at 20 years old will make up to 80% MORE in total return when you reach 50 years old compared to investing the same amount at 30 years old.

In short, not learning how to invest your money properly at an earlier age is a costly money mistake that many tend to make in their 20s.

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The Science of Delayed Gratification: The earlier you start investing, the bigger the return. (Note: 6% return is on the basis of investment vehicles such as REITs and EPF)

(2) Being ignorant about financial protection

Let’s be fair: regardless of your opinion towards the insurance industry, all of us need to be protected financially from unexpected life accidents and events.

Another personal observation is that my peers that are in their 20s have extremely little understanding and awareness of financial protection – even when it is one of the most important aspects of their life.

Being protected financially is like a financial defense line that all of us tend to pay the least attention in, and let’s be honest:

Most of us do not know how well-covered we are financially. You will know what I mean when you are trying to reject an insurance agent, yet you cannot answer their simplest question of:

What is your coverage right now?

That aside, you do know that insurance premiums get more expensive the older you get, right?

Hence, stop being ignorant. Be mindful of how well-protected you are by reassessing your coverages constantly with your financial planners.

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Financial protection is the most fundamental financial decision in your life - the earlier you get it sorted out, the better.




(3) Acquiring assets (especially depreciating ones like cars) that you cannot afford

Having stayed in the Klang Valley for all my life, I know first-hand that not having a mode of transport like a car pose a huge inconvenience. As such, it is of no surprise when the first huge purchase by a lot of young adults is in fact, a car.

That said, many tend to overspend on the model of cars that they simply could not afford. In other words, instead of getting a car that they can financially afford, many young adults in their 20s tend to get a car that matches their IDEAL lifestyle.

As an example, with a starting salary of RM3,000, a second-hand Perodua Viva may be a practical and financially rational car to own since the loan payment is still within a controllable range of less than 10% of your salary. Yet, if you go for a whole new Toyota Vios, you would be paying nearly 30% of your salary just for your car loan payment!

Do I have to mention that you got to pay for your petrol, road tax and maintenance (which, without doubt, become more expensive with the size of your car) aside from your loan payment?

No one really cares about the car that you drive, really.

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Car loan calculator courtesy of calculator.com.my

(4) Obsessive spending on alcohol, drinks, and entertainment

Just scroll through your IG stories on Friday nights (or even other weekday evenings), you will always see the friend that will never miss his or her drinking or clubbing night.

 You do know these stuffs are not cheap, right?

Being obsessive with drinking or any form of similar entertainment is one of the easiest ways for you to flush away your hard-earned money. While you are not mindful of it, these expenses could compile up to a huge amount – which could be used to buy yourself a better protection plan, to learn how to invest, and heck, even to pay a few months off your loans!

Look, I have no problem at all with young adults in their 20s having some form of entertainment or drinking once in a while. However, if those are the only things that you are looking forward to every week – to the point of being obsessed, perhaps you got to stand back and start reflecting on your life purpose.

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Obsessive spending on drinks and entertainment - the fastest way for you to flush away your hard-earned money.

(5) Poor money management and habits

Let’s go right into the point:

Not tracking your expenses, have no idea of where your money is being spent, weak control towards buying impulses – do any of these sound familiar to you?

Having a poor money habit and management is, without doubt, the most common money mistake that people tend to make in their 20s. That’s why, among the 100,000 people that were declared bankrupt from 2013 to 2017, 60% of them are aged between 18 to 44.

If you are in your 20s, it is still not too late to change your financial habit right now. Start with baby steps, at least by tracking your expenses on a daily basis (I recommend MoneyLover).

Stop looking for lame excuses for not taking your financial life in control just because you do not have time or have no background in finance or accounting – it is a matter of priority after all.

Remember, as Tun M said:


No Money Lah’s verdict:

If there is anything about adulting, managing money is definitely one of the biggest challenges in this process. However, it is a responsibility that we have to take on eventually regardless of how much we dislike the topic.

As such, I strongly urge you to stop making the money mistakes above and start taking action to reach your financial goals by managing your money habits, learning how to invest (and start young) and taking proactive steps to build the defense line of your financial protection.   


Learn how I build PASSIVE INCOME in the stock market with MINIMAL RISK! More details HERE.


How I got into the verge of breakdown & self-rescued myself out of it.

Last month (March 2019) was a really challenging period for me. I was in the midst of preparing for my very first Breakthrough Your Wealth (BYW) – REIT Investing Workshop for 20 of my close friends and readers, and it was not easy by any means.

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Let me explain why:

First of all, since the workshop was (and still is) a one-man show, I got to handle everything from syllabus design, agenda planning, communication, marketing, logistics (food & venue) and printing on my own. Besides that, I also had to spend time to practice what I got to say during the full-day (9am – 6pm) workshop.

To add on to the challenges, the progress in designing the workshop syllabus was also slower than my initial expectation, and they were for obvious reasons: Instead of pouring everything that I know out into the PowerPoint slides (like any classic university tutorial presentation), I have to approach this process from the participants’ point of view:

“If I say X, would they understand?” “Would they be confused if I use Y jargon during the workshop?”.

As a result, the initial workflow of getting my syllabus design done during the Chinese New Year week became a month-long project (obviously, I underestimated the process).

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Stress Piled Up as Time Went By

As March came by, the need to get everything perfectly prepared for the day (the workshop was going to happen on the 30th of March) was overwhelming. Every day, I can literally feel the urge to fulfill every participant’s expectation piling up on my shoulder, and it almost drove me to the verge of breaking down.*

In short, I was way out of my comfort zone and was pretty damn stressed up.

(*Everything happened while I was also juggling between my full-time trading activities and producing content on No Money Lah)

Luckily for me, with some personal hacks and methods, I managed to brace through the stressful month and the workshop ended up pretty good – according to the participants. In this article, I want to share the 5 practices that I used to keep myself from screwing up while I was on the verge of breaking down:

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My very first REIT Investing Workshop successfully held on 30th of March 2019 - along with 20 of my close friends & readers. :)

(1) Whenever you feel overwhelmed, take 3 long, deep breaths.

The earliest symptom that you are experiencing a panic attack or about to breakdown is the feeling of being overwhelmed with the work in hand. Hence, whenever I felt overwhelmed (or the tension on my shoulders), I will go for 3 long, deep breaths.

As common as this hack is, taking long, deep breaths are extremely useful. As such, taking mindful, deep breaths help in activating part of the brain to release neurohormones that inhibit stress-producing hormones, thus triggering a relaxation response throughout the body.

In other words, long, deep breaths help to calm your nerves.


(2) Whenever you feel stuck, plan & write things down.

In my work with syllabus design for the workshop, I was often met with times where I got clueless and stuck on how to proceed with some sections.

Whenever I felt like hitting a wall and not sure what to do, I will take out a piece of paper and start writing. I will always start with my end goal and start working backward.

eg. In my case, my end goal always starts with the question of “What do I want my participants to learn from a particular section?”. Then, I will derive an approach to achieve my end goal on paper.

Identifying your end goals and planning them recalibrate your mind back to the mission/project, while writing things down on paper gives your mind a clearer picture of what you should do.

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When in doubt, plan & write things down.

(3) Whenever you feel as if your mind is messy & overloaded, focus on one thing at a time.

There will be times when you may feel like there are too many things to be done. In this case, try method (2) by listing down the tasks that you have to do.

In addition, use the Eisengrade Box to grade those tasks with 4 different priorities:

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The Eisenhower Box, courtesy of jamesclear.com.

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Then, focus on doing the one thing that is the most urgent and important to you, then only proceed to other tasks after you are done with them.

Another tip is to stay away from social media while you are overloaded – you will only distract yourself and wasting your time while not getting productive in your work.


(4) Whenever you feel unorganized, commit to at least one health-related routine.

When you are overstressed and overworked, chances are your life will start to go upside down. If this happens, you will start breaking down sooner than you expect.

For me, no matter how stressful the day or month might be, I will always organize my life around a set of morning and night routine – so regardless of how chaos my day is, I will always start and end my day in a positive note.

So if you are feeling unorganized in your life, try to pick up and commit to ONE health-related routine (eg. Exercising, meditation, yoga)

Surprisingly, my daily meditation practice (morning & night) has kept my life from falling apart many times, especially during the workshop preparation.

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No matter how stressful your life is, commit to at least ONE health-related routine.

(5) Whenever you feel that you cannot do this alone, get help.

I remembered fondly at the night before the workshop, I had to get all the printed notes hole-punched and filed properly. At the same time, I have to rehearse what I am going to say the next day during the workshop.

At that moment, I got really tight in time and resources. Hence, I got 2 of my best buddy – Eddie and Victor to help me out with the files.

No matter how good you think you are, there will be instances where you cannot get everything done on your own. So, put down that stupid ego (or ‘Asian Paiseh-ness’) of yours and go get help!

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My 2 best buddies for life - Victor (left) & Eddie (middle)!

BONUS: At any moment of time, always remind yourself on your purpose and goals

In the toughness of time, always remind yourself of your purpose and goal.

Why do you do what you do?

Keeping your purpose and goal intact will help you endure even the most challenging moments in your work and life. Just like how petrol fuels our cars, having a solid vision and purpose fuel our actions and keep us going at the lowest point and the steepest hill in life.

If these practices saved me at the verge of a breakdown, I am pretty sure it will help you too! All the best!