Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Who dares wins!

What a morning! Three wasps found their way into our bathroom. Our children have been a bit freaked out by a wasp infestation in our roof. No-ones been stung but every other day they find a dead or half dead wasp in one of their bedrooms. I didn't want to leave the wasps for the children to find so had a mad five minutes trying to wack them, hoping I didn't wake anyone up and that I wouldn't miss my train.

Made it into Edinburgh and was unconcerned about the pouring rain until a bus swerved towards the lane next to the pavement and hit a massive puddle dead centre! I've laughed at people getting soaked in similar ways on TV. never expected to get caught myself.

Drying out before work, I decided to cash in some shares that had jumped 20 percent this morning. CAZA oil released positive news. Only, I got greedy. I though the shares would rise higher than 34p before re-tracing. I set a stop loss at 36p only to watch the price start to slip back, 33p, 32.5p. I then tried to sell and couldn't until 30.5p. Almost as soon as I'd sold, the price moved up again. I eventually decide to buy back in but even that seems to have been a mistake as the share price is now drifting South once more!

I'm in admiration of other traders who seem to read the signs correctly, selling near a peak, then buying back into a share they trust has a long term future once it has gone back down. If done well, one can increase their holding in a share substantially which results in greater profits in the long term.

I still have a lot to learn, especially about discipline! Still, I can't help setting new goals. Thinking about the plan to earn a million in ten trades, I realised I had not factored in tax or fees. I would want to spread the risk as well and so would pay more in fees as earnings increased. Level 2 share dealing would probably be neccessary after a while and it is slightly more realistic to imagine doubling value over a year, rather as over a single trade.



Year Start Value
Fees
Level 2
Tax
Year End Value

Start of Year 1
£1,000
£40
£0
£0
£1,960
End of Year 1
Start of Year 2
£1,960
£40
£0
£0
£3,880
End of Year 2
Start of Year 3
£3,880
£40
£0
£0
£7,720
End of Year 3
Start of Year 4
£7,720
£80
£300
£0
£15,060
End of Year 4
Start of Year 5
£15,060
£160
£300
£1,012
£28,648
End of Year 5
Start of Year 6
£28,648
£160
£300
£3,730
£53,106
End of Year 6
Start of Year 7
£53,106
£320
£300
£8,621
£96,972
End of Year 7
Start of Year 8
£96,972
£320
£300
£17,394
£175,929
End of Year 8
Start of Year 9
£175,929
£320
£300
£33,186
£318,052
End of Year 9
Start of Year 10
£318,052
£320
£300
£61,610
£573,873
End of Year 10
Start of Year 11
£573,873
£320
£300
£112,775
£1,034,352
End of Year 11

It is still a dream goal but who dares wins, right?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Goal 16: To be a millionaire

It is such a nice round number. Back when I was ten and day dreamed about having so much free cash, a million pounds would have been worth a lot more, but, back then, there was less to spend it on!

A post on Interactive Investors CAZA discussion board this evening sparked off a thought. If I have £1,000 to invest, it would only take ten trades where each trade doubled my money to reach £1,000,000.

1 £2,000
2 £4,000
3 £8,000
4 £16,000
5 £32,000
6 £64,000
7 £128,000
8 £256,000
9 £512,000
10 £1,024,000

I immediately saw a flaw in this wonderful scenario, once one gets to trading over £10K, it becomes harder to trade at the normal share price. One has to contact a stockbroker and place an order which the stockbroker will try and complete. The price is agreed with the stockbroker and depending on a lot of factors, will be higher than someone with only a few thousand pounds could automatically trade at.

Note that I didn't see this as just being a complete fantasy! I think it would be incredibly difficult to do, even though two of my trades have now more than doubled in the last year. If I was fortunate enough in trading to get to above £100K, it would be nerve wracking to risk all of that during each higher trade. Perhaps nerve wracking enough that someone would make a TV show about it, or has that already been done?

Still, I think this may be an interesting goal to pursue. I'm not going to raid my pension pot but if I can scrabble together a thousand pounds, I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Focused freewrites and cluster...

I've started reading through the Creative Writing study material on the train into work. The first chapter is all about finding inspiration and they have given us Freewriting and Clustering exercises to do.

Freewriting, for me as a concept, conjours up conatations of opening oneself up to spirit guides. Have I just read too many horror stories? I do believe in angels. I believe God's word when it describes demon possession. The idea of emptying oneself and letting something else write through me is what I associate with freewriting and I find myself recoiling from it. But, before you cart me off to a padded cell (and now I'm thinking that would just be a great place to get some sleep!) I can accept that is not what the OU are suggesting. Simply, all they are expecting is for me to begin writing and let my mind take over. Whether conscious or unconscious is not important.

I have used freewriting in the past and am both scared and awed by the experience. I do believe that all of us have capabilities that we do not use, that our imagination and intellect and even physical ability is far beyond what we accept on a normal day. But, believing this and experiencing it are very different.

Last year, when I forced myself to write 100 words a day, I did have to force it. I often had nothing and simply had to begin writing and hope that somehow, from somewhere deep inside, I would spark something off. I found myself creating situations and characters that I hadn't considered, at least at a conscious level.

Yesterday and today I have carried out some more free writing and it is helping spark some creativity. Clustering makes me think of brainstorming and mind mapping, both of which I already find useful. It has also sparked off a memory of a term from the film Platoon but I won't take that any further here...

I chose to do a cluster on the word purple this morning and only after that noticed the seat fabric on the train is purple, a woman in purple tights stood out as I walked through the crowded station, purple lining on a suit jacket blown aside on the wind, a fat, round white seagull stood on the steps outside the Tron church and seemed to step back as it noticed me looking at it; purple on the sign's in shop windows, purple lighting in the mobile phone shop that always looks a little seedy advertising second hand Blackberry's at £69.99; and a phone box covered in purple adverts:

"Get watered, not slaughtered."

"Don't Trust Anyone"

What!?

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Extraordinary learning

Has anyone been watching Gareth Malone’s Extraordinary school for boys?
I only caught the initial trailer and the last ten minutes of the series but that alone was one of those wow moments. A class of boys who have been disenfranchised by modern education were allowed to learn in ways that a few of my old teachers might have had heart attacks at. Despite having lessons outside and sometimes up trees, waging mock battles and playing football, they showed between six and twenty months improvement in their reading skills in just eight weeks!
I was summarising the first block in T306 Managing Complexity this evening and noticed a comment that the notion of grading and quantifying learning was only introduced in 1792. Was this when it all started to go wrong?
Block one introduced the concept that learning and experience go together. I've found this to be a powerful aid to learning. When completing my HNC in Computing, I was able to use a work based project towards the HNC. My work project benefitted from application of more theoretical ideas like Human Computer Interface and systems analysis and design and I was able to gain a distinction in the HNC by turning in a well rounded project.
I need to get some sleep so will summarise the rest of the block by saying it gave me hope. Hope that complex, messy, chaotic situations are not to be feared but can be welcomed and accepted and that there are methods I can use to understand them and manage.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

pension heaven

Wow! I was not expecting this: http://af.reuters.com/article/metalsNews/idAFANT24567320100922

One of my goals is to create my own pension pot. An ambitious, slighty insane scheme to out do regular pension plans by investing in shares.

I've made a bunch of mistakes over the last year, the most frustrating recently when I failed to spot a pump and dump of BMR. I could have sold at a 50% profit but had to settle for 7%.

Selling BMR this week I bought more AAZ. My first purchase was at 16p, second at 21p. I've held the stock for months, wondering if I'm doing the right thing as my initial gains evaporated but eventually came good. I believe this stock is worth 60p to £1 a share and bought yesterday at the peak of another mini spike. It just rocketed up another 24% today!

I still haven't worked out a proper exit strategy, I need to do this soon but for tonight at least one goal is on track.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Reflections

It's been so long since I last blogged that I forgot my user name and thought for a minute I'd been shut out, doh!

It has been a mad and hectic couple of months completing the final project for the Open University course I'm studying (T306 Managing Complexity a systems approach). Finally done and I was delighted to get 77% for the project which means I'm in with a chance of a level two pass if I can get 70% or above in the exam.

The exam is on October 12th so I've three weeks to get my head ready. Looking over the specimen paper last night I saw the exam is all about reflecting on the course. It sounds less scary to me than having to remember all the facts but as I understand it, to get a really good mark, I have to demonstrate much more than just knowing the facts - I will need to show I have 'internalised' them!

Fortunately we have a tutorial on Saturday so I'm looking forward to getting some advice on how best to prepare.

I have been considering using this blog as a vehicle for summarising my thinking on the course. If nothing else, it will force me to think through the material. Perhaps if I can present it in a way that others will find interesting, it will be good prep for the exam.

I have now signed up for my last OU course, at least until I'm rich enough to give up work altogether :) The 60 credits I will get from completing A215 Creative writing will get me a degree and enable me to complete one of my major life goals. I'm also expecting it to be a lot of fun. No matter what else I do, I always find myself gravitating back to writing. I will restart work on Fallen Warriors in November.

Anyway, back to studying...