Early 2020, the world was blanketed with an off-putting atmosphere when it was clear that the virus escaped Wuhan and it was on its way to cause suffering to the world. There were lockdowns of massive cities in Asia and everyone in North America and Europe was confused on want to do with the exponentially spreading Corona Virus. And like everyone else in Great Britain, on March 23, 2020, I was glued on youtube watching Boris Johnson live to address the nation to discuss the government's plan to curve the R-naught of the seemingly unstoppable Corona. On his speech, he dropped that the United Kingdom will be put on national lockdown which would last for months.
Next day, the market crashed like a "soufflé under a sledgehammer". Absolutely, nothing was spared - equities, commodities, bonds, crypto - everything was slammed! My long term account hit a max drawdown of up to -34% and my value, dividend account, composed of LSE equities was a total wreckage. As a novice market participant, I had moments when I was unsure to even check my account. Bloodbath! 🩸🩸🩸
More than a month into the lockdown, I was intrigued by the idea of a "dead cat bounce" and, K and V-shaped recovery market narratives . Of course, there was really nothing much to do on my day offs other than the awkward social distancing at the Regent's Park of us who were getting our limited daily exercise.
It was almost a daily grind of mindless navigation of the app watching interviews that would interest me until the day I stumbled upon a decade old reality TV BBC show, Million Dollar Traders. I thought it was a great show! So, I watched the whole lot, 1 hour per episode. Whilst the participants were interesting, I decided to search who the manager was to know his credentials. This bloke's name was Anton Kreil.
And voila! He actually had a decent youtube blueprint, a twitter handle, and a website to boot.
Anton was an ex-Goldman Sachs trader, now a managing director of Institute of Trading and Portfolio Management (ITPM) which offers courses and bootcamps for retail traders. Truth-be-told, I had copies of his programmes that I parasitically got from the internet. What can I say, I was resourceful! 🕵🏻♂️I watched them all. And I wasn't even trading nor do I know about the complexities of macroeconomics, charting and indicators, and options trading. But I did and enjoyed every moment of it.
Then I started following Anton on Twitter, account was unverified but legit nonetheless. And the more I've read about his tweets, I realised how different he acts on twitter versus, say, during lectures, webinars and interviews. On twitter, he does not hesitate calling people bums, idiot or stupid. He is vocal with his politics and engages in social media petty smackdown. He had beef with other traders and even to one of this former ITPM educators. He doesn't give a sh**!
While that aggressive, chad persona he seem to exude could be discouraging, Anton has a viral video uploaded 5 years ago titled, "10 Secrets to Achieve Financial Success" I found valuable. I watch it multiple times I've lost count; and transcribed it for my reference. In fact, it made so much impact in my life, that I wrote it on my whiteboard for me to be reminded everyday.
Below is the list of the 10 secrets and thoughts about each one.
10 Secrets to Achieve Financial Success
Respect money and be indifferent towards it.
"What do you think of $20, $100, $1000, $5000? What do you think a $20 thinks of you? It doesn't think. It is a piece of paper with a number written on it. It is a commodity that is used to satisfy ones wants and needs. The problem with of people - all the problems with money exist with them not with money. Money doesn't think of you. The key is to be indifferent. Reduce your emotion to zero.
How can you be respectful and at the same time indifferent? Respect in this context is simply having awareness of what money actually is and being indifferent when you see more and more of it."
This is extremely powerful yet a mentality that is very difficult to tame. We may not react if we see 10pence under our sofa but the emotional impact of seeing and holding £1,000 (for example) is miles different.
I "gamify" the way I view money. I respect it because without money I won't have roof over head, nor will I have food to eat. But, I see the balance on my excel as just numbers now. And my task, like a video game, is to add zeros and more zeros. And if I have more of it, so what? It only means, I can afford even more wants and needs; nothing else.
Rent to own. Define assets and liabilities properly.
"Mortgage is the biggest liability someone takes on their life but for a bank, that is an asset. It is preferable to buy it in cash. To borrow money in order to finance a lifestyle that they can afford right now in cash. An alternative is to rent. Renting can actually be an asset because you have no risk, you can leave anytime and you have total freedom. And freedom is an asset. If you can, buy everything in cash. Rent for 10-15 years, even if the property price goes up doesn't matter. You own it for cash and you have no liability in between. This infrastructure that is built in the West where people borrow money to eventually own assets that have liabilities in between is not designed to benefit you. It is primarily designed to benefit the owners of the infrastructure."
Renting versus owning is wildly debated in the FIRE community. As a FIRE blogger myself, I'm convinced that I am better off renting versus owning my own place. The math makes sense to me and based on my personal circumstances, I refused to be eyeballs deep in debt while curtailing my freedom to move whenever and wherever I want. I must point out that this is not an exclusive world view because not all home ownership is bad. What is bad is getting into a 30% "shared ownership" 30-year mortgage of a 1 to 2-bedroom apartment in Central London for £400,000 only to downgrade your lifestyle because what is left of your bones 30 years in the future to afford the remaining 70%?
I have colleagues who are convinced that ownership is better that renting, who confusingly view such ownership as an asset because they argue that they could sell the house for more in the future to the next sucker. And then what? Move to a small bungalow? Or to a residential accommodation?
My goal is to buy my house in cash. Period.
Build and own your own infrastructure.
"From zero to owning an asset and having no liabilities during that period. Save and build your asset base. During that period, it is easy for you to get job somewhere. Build your own business. Live well within your means and having no liabilities like mortgages, CC, overdraft facilities, cars. Drop your pride and be prepared to share apartments. In this process, you are building your own pension. Across the US and Europe, the annual national average salary is equivalent to what an average person's pension value is when they retire. When means, everybody downgrades their lifestyle when they retire or rely on their children. In-source your pension infrastructure then insurance (home, health, etc). Become wealthy to create your own insurance. Next, credit report companies - it is absurd that you get scored on your ability to borrow - the higher your score, the more you can borrow. Do the opposite of what everybody tells you to do. It is difficult to begin with but it gets easier overtime. The key is to generate passive income and cashflow. Make money while you sleep and it becomes exponential. It take 20 years to become an overnight success."
I always wanted my own business but was too afraid to even start. This video literally was the final push for me to pull the trigger and just get on with it and open my shop. It's been 9 months since I started that business and now I am on the look-out of opening another one.
Travel. Get perspective.
"When you travel you get a perspective of other countries' economies, economic infrastructure and society. When you build your own infrastructure, you get freedom. Freedom of time, to work on your own agenda, create your own schedule. Freedom is the most valuable asset you will ever own. Traveling allows you to appreciate that. Be on the road for a year or two and see everything that the world has to offer.
How do you know what you like or enjoy or want until you've seen what's on offer. You don't have all the information. It will also give you the freedom to choose the life that you want and if you know what is out there, you can choose it.
If you don't like where you are and if you build your perfect life already, you can just get on a plane and leave. There is no downside in life because you got what you want already."
Summary: Traveling as early as possible in your life makes you appreciate freedom, working on your own schedule, time and agenda, and also what is possible, what you can possibly own as you find you perfect dream life. Once you understand that, you go to work to get it and you know what's at the end of the road. You know why you are doing it. It brings total clarify.
Risk is subjective not two dimensional.
"In the real world, risk is subjective to your own personal situation. For example, if you want to quit your job with no risk, you line up another beforehand and you agree to a higher salary with another employer. What if you just quit your job? What is the likelihood of you owing more than $50,000 (for example) in the future? When you calculate your downside vs the upside - your downside is $50,000 which in reality is very small. Your upside is all the money in the world (infinity), even if you have a very small chance of earning infinity, you are still earning more than $50,000. The person that has the $50,000 job to begin with tends to anchor themselves to that number. Then the next step is to take on liabilities that this number can pay for. That is riskier. In that scenario, you feel like you are not taking risk but you are. Because you are taking on lots of liabilities and therefore you can't assess risk objectively. Freedom allows you to look at risk with clarity. You will look at things with very small downside versus the upside. The ideal situation is to assess risk in terms of business where you see huge upside and getting yourself into that situation and repeat it an infinite amount of times so you can become wealthy. Step outside yourself, assess your current situation, then work towards freedom. Assess risk objectively. Position yourself in scenarios all the time where you have very limited downside and business risk but huge upside."
I didn't view risk the way Anton explained it here. The change on my frame of thinking landed me a promotion at work. I also eliminated head hunters who will not cater my own requirements. With this, I was able to filter only the best paying agencies. This year, I will hunt employers that will give me the hours that I want so I could pursue trading uninterrupted because I know these employers exist. For me, this is positioning myself to a situation with limited downside but with huge upside potential.
Seek out alternative education.
"How to make a success of yourself is not in the curriculum. When you think about teachers, school or University, they will champion the traditional educational system. However, they will always give you debilitating message which is not a requirement to become successful. Your parents are products of traditional educational system and they become protective of you. Because of that they are going to try to make sure that you do the right thing or they think is the right thing i.e. getting a job. Your parents conflict of interest is emotion. Imagine you get a new job or new business, when you go to your parents, they tend to default to an answer "that's too risky." You already know what is good for you. You have to seek out alternative education and seek mentors that do not have a conflict of interest. This begins when you leave University. Say no to your parents in terms of financial and career advice."
If you want financial and career advice, anonymously post your situation on reddit or FIRE blogs. You'll get matter-of-fact, quality, no bullshit comments. If someone opines, it is too risky, someone will argue why it is not. This way, you get different viewpoints and you make the decisions based on essential arguments from people who do not have emotional attachments on you.
I'm a member of a trading discord. This is where I ask other traders novice, advanced and highly profitable ones to challenge my assumptions based on what I see on charts. The more brutal the comments are, the better. This is my alternative education with zero tuition fee.
Value your time properly.
"The end result of traditional education system - corporate job, monthly salary and probably liabilities. They are working for nothing because at the end of every month, they pay their liabilities and spend what is left. Essentially they are swapping their time for free. The most important business card is your ATM card. These people do not value their time because they don't get anything in return."
This is common sense. Our future is created on what we do today not tomorrow. Elon once said that he works 100hours per week and that Hyperloop is only 2% of his time. How crazy is that!
Ditch the smartphone.
"I've been the most efficient after ditching my Blackberry. Email functions, messaging system are huge distractions. Totally unsocial. Ditch your smart phone to value your time correctly and get rich. If you understand the financial market, everything that comes on your phone form mainstream media will not make you money. Your job as a trader and portfolio manager is to predict the future. It will massively improve your life. You will become so efficient, your life changes really quick. What's your downside? Test it for a few months."
This is the only point that I do not agree with. I understand where Anton is coming from but my smartphone is my digital wallet. I live cashless for almost 4 years now and I do not want to carry any physical debit or credit card. I also use my phone to listen to podcasts, automate tasks, navigate London, and other useful cool stuff.
Mainstream media is useless. Don't consume it.
"General and financial news media are both pretty useless. The causality of objectivity on putting yourself to success starts with an understanding that this exist and allowing yourself not to be brainwashed. Have independence of thought and clarity so you see things in an objective manner. Just because it is available doesn't mean it is good for you. For TV they want viewers, for newspapers they want readers for advertising revenue. Online they want clicks. It is designed for you to keep coming back. Only consume what adds value to your own life and objectives. Be very disciplined not to expose yourself to it."
Indeed, media is useless. I'd say, I am no longer cultured. I only consume content that involves the following - crypto-assets, investing and trading. I could care less about anything else.
Choose role models that suit your objective.
"Mainstream media in the modern age glorifies celebrities end up by default become young peoples' role models. They are disposable commodities. Look for role models who are tangible and suit your objective. Someone with long lasting success and track record on what you want to do. Stick to that principle."
I have read biographies and stories of successful people --- from businessmen, venture capitalists, artists, politicians to celebrities. I only admire the following, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Sir Winston Churchill, David Goggins, Steve Jobs and the constantly attacked, Prof Jordan B. Peterson. These people changed my life for the better.
Anton on twitter is a troll. But watch his 10 secrets and I'm pretty sure you'll learn a thing or two.
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