Sep 022017
 

Currently, the rage is “speculative investment” [i.e. gambling] in bitcoins. Mining them, buying/selling them. The “price” has been extremely volatile. In the last year or so it has risen ~800%, once again still compared to the USD.

Had you only got in at the right time…..! And now the mad stampede of the woolly masses gains momentum.

The value of bitcoin? Perhaps as a replacement to cold hard cash or Kruger Rands in the bilge as we sail south? The fundamental problem remains however. You can mine them [getting harder and harder to do], you can hide them [only if you don’t use them]. But, in the current world, there is still an interface in and out into the financial currencies we all need to buy food, fuel, fund daily life. And it’s this interface that governments will watch and tax. And watch very closely they will. And ultimately, even inside the Bitcoin system, your bitcoins and you transactions are, ultimately with a little computing effort it seems, traceable back to you.

The fact that the Bitcoin system takes away central financial control from the ruling elite is a very, very appealing lure to any with even a hint of anarchistic or libetarian thought. But then again, will it really? How likely is it that those with vast financial resources, those that rule the world, have not seen this and are also employing armies of vastly intelligent programmers to further their own agendas?

And then there’s also way, way too much emphasis placed on how transactions are “totally secure” because of the distributed Blockchain. There’s the argument that they are like gold, limited and finite and not inflationary like dollars that can be printed at will. Really? If they are divisable into smaller and smaller units, at will and ad-infinitum? I call BS on that.

Someone, somewhere, is waiting in the shadows, ready to turn on some code and transfer some wealth. You wait and see.

===================================================>

….here’s an interesting extract from an article from Startupboy.com…..

Silicon Valley knows a platform when it sees it, and is aflame with Bitcoin. Teams of brilliant young programmers, entranced by the opportunity, are working on Exchanges (Payward, Buttercoin, Vaurum), Futures Markets (ICBIT), Hardware Wallets (BitCoinCard, Trezor, etc), Payment Processors (bitpay.com), Banks, Escrow companies, Vaults, Mobile Wallets, Remittance Networks (bitinstant.com), Local Trading networks (localbitcoins.com), and more.

Looming over them is how governments view Bitcoin and the entrenched financial powers it threatens. The last few decades have seen a move towards a cashless society, where every transaction is tracked, reported, and controlled. Bitcoin takes powers from the central actors and returns it to merchants and consumers, savers and borrowers. Bitcoin brings back some pseudonymity in the transactions, and can be irrevocably traded like cash. And finally, it points a way towards a single currency – it is a bug, not a feature, that we have multiple global currencies with exchangers and transaction fees in between.

Governments have been cracking down on the bitcoin exchanges, making it harder to obtain and slowing its development. Strict and expensive Money Transmitter regulations, designed to slow terrorist and child porn financing, threaten the next great technological revolution – never mind that terrorists can use cash just fine, the means of terror are cheap, and that they account for an infinitesimal fraction of global commerce. Regulators in the US and UK would be wise to proceed with a light touch, lest they push the development of Bitcoin and its entrepreneurs to places like Canada, Finland, and the Sino-sphere.

The United States has benefited enormously from being home to the majority of global companies driving the Internet revolution. The country that is the home to the Internet of Money could one day end up as the guardian of the new Reserve Currency and the Global Money Supply.

Dec 162014
 

The early morning Ocean seems cold and gray and some wispy, weeny, dirty clouds scud past a gloomy and formidable Elsies peak, driven on a chilly SE’Iy. It’s all an illusion though as the Summer sun begins it rise in the Eastern sky.

The Owls are gently hooting, putting to bed for the day while the Hadedah’s are up, on passage to whenever it is they go. The distant crashing of the surf on Glencairn beach, the rapidly lightening sky, they all bode well for another perfect day in paradise.

The eastern skyline is an undecipherable jumble of mountain peak & everchanging cloud mass. As the Sun relentlessly climbs into the sky the infinite shades of grey on the horizon are transformed replaced instead by a myriad of pinks, purples and morning orange.

The summer sun rises far to the right this time of the year, behind the mountain. The winter sun rises behind Elsies. That’s an arc of about 40°! Unbelievable!

We’re in for a nice fresh SE’ly today, maybe 20kts or so, with bright, Sunny Summer Skies. the False Bay waters are still relatively flat but today’s south-easter will pack a punch. It’s already noticeable and after a few hours of this the bay will be wild and bumpy. Not the conditions the locals will choose for a day-sail. A morning like this is cold at sea. The pre-dawn watch, the cold wind-swept ocean, they leave a chill in the sailor’s bones that lingers long after the first cup of coffee and the sun’s first warming rays.

05:38 and the sun is peeking up over the mountain, like a child, standing on tippy-toes just managing to see over an obstacle. In an instant the cold, gray morning colours are magically transformed. With a snap of his fingers Old Man Sun has arrived. Hello day!!

Dec 292013
 

The average middle-class South African just doesn’t get it – at least not the one’s I know.

I have a work colleague, from a previous life, who reinforces this view.

A Facebook post I wrote: “Providing your own manual labour on a renovation sure saves you money but it’s a two edged sword. You end up with a greater emotional attachment which makes it that much harder to turn the place over to unknown tenants.

Solicited the following reply: “What I have learnt is only fix the things that will get u decent tenants and keep the property value. It is always tempting to fix it like u would want it if u were living there but thats the difference between an investment and a home

Firstly that’s missing the point. I didn’t say we poured ourselves into the building to make it a home. The labour I’m referring to has been purely painting, fixing holes, repairing what we can of what is falling off. None of it has been “to make it our home”.

Secondly, a house is not the most effective investment. There are better ways to make money. But as I’ve said before many times, you need to find some method of growing your money that works for you personally.

And thirdly, no matter what the world may think, we haven’t done to badly for ourselves doing things our way. I don’t see any of the “upwardly mobile” money grabbing MBA types and ‘business affectionados” living the way we want to live. And we literally are in a position to zero the debt and have a very nice lump sum to invest today if we so wish. I don’t see them being in a position to do that with their expensive new cars, nice comfortable and expensive houses in the most popular areas.

So, thanks for the advice but you’ll excuse us for doing things our way – like we always have and like we always will.

20131229_100909-1

Sep 012013
 

The underlying myth of the current world economy is that of scarcity. In a zero-sum game, whatever I win needs to come from someone else. Thus, the overriding behaviour to gather and protect ‘what’s mine’ at all costs.

This scarcity mentality extends to other fear-driven sectors. For example – insurance. While some insurance may just be prudent risk management, on the whole, it’s an industry driven by the fear of loss.

Retirement planning is another sector heavily fear-laden. The fear of ‘Will there be enough’ has spawned an entire industry of scare-mongers, preying on that feeling, throwing huge numbers in front of society. The effect is probably twofold: some earnestly and fearfully try and put more away while others, fearing the inevitability and unavoidability of poverty, throw all caution to the wind and just spend it up today.

Assuming the future is exactly the same as the past, I guess you could then, with certainty, put a plan in place, follow it and be certain you will have enough to live out the rest of your days. Anyone notice the faulty assumption there?

Bottom line, no one know exactly what tomorrow will look like. Charles Eisenstein in “The Ascent of Humanity” believes that the current world system is unsustainable and due for total meltdown. In the last decade we’ve had the ‘dotcom bubble’, the financial and housing market crash and an unprecedented rise in the cost of living. He may just be right…!?

Anyway, over-planning for the future at the risk of not living today is short-sighted and just plain stupid. Also, I don’t believe that saving for the future and personal finance fits into a ‘one-size-for-all’ mould. It is ‘personal’ finance after all. The choices you make, the habits you form, the savings vehicles you choose – none may make purely financial sense when analysed on the numbers alone. But, if they don’t resonate with me as an individual then they also don’t hold much appeal.

So, the Peninsular rental, from a pure ‘investment’ perspective is probably not one that may offer the best financial returns in the long run. But that’s not the point. The expected lifestyle and enjoyment returns are never factored into the paper sums and that’s more of what drives us than pure dollars!!

And …. physical land may just be a little more resilient to a financial “bubble-burst-event” than stock-market shares or money in the bank.

 

Aug 312013
 

And so, the moment we’ve all been waiting for is nearly upon us.

It’s close. Oh so close.

What? you may well ask.

Well, being totally debt-free I answer. That’s what.

And so the next question is “How to fund a totally debt-free future ?”

Debt-free is one thing but one still has to eat, pay the state, keep the lights on.

It’s way easier if that’s all you have to pay, but it still requires income.

And tuition, student cars and other unknown spends are lurking in the near future.

The real question is “Could I really take a lower paying job in a different field ?”

The next question is “Would I really want to ?”  I mean, what idiot turns down a decently average salary and purposefully chooses something less? You have to be really unhappy with the present to do that and I don’t think I’m that unhappy ? Am I ?

It’s something I think, or at least dream, of doing. Quitting and starting up a small business of my own that is. But maybe it doesn’t make any sense at all. After all, life is currently good and at least the incoming supercedes the outgoing at present. So maybe it doesn’t make sense to quit for something less but to revel in the knowledge that quitting is actually now possible, if I so choose.

So, back to another question at hand. “Do I delve into the bond to fund a rental [or build such] ?”  R600-800k will buy a decent little townhouse, bringing in at least R4500 to R7500 a month. but it does mean going back to having debt. And debt means “shackled to the cubicle” to a certain extent.

Difference is, I suppose, that the debt can [theoretically] be cancelled at any time by selling up the property and chucking the proceeds back to the bank.

And so the thoughts circulate, filling the days and dreams….

One thing is for sure, we don’t think it prudent to just sit back and revel in the comfort zone for the next 15 years. We need to prepare for the next step in life – LOK [Life After Kids]. While debt-free is the ultimate goal, we need to springboard off our current strengths and for the moment that means readily accessible finance at pre-2007 interest rates. If I was going to quit to sell tomatoes then I would have as soon as the bond dropped to current all-time-lows. No, I can’t just give up the current earnings potential that may be gone in the future. Right now we have to capitalise on those strengths.

And so off to the Peninsular we go, in search of a dual-living rental that will pay some of the bond and also give us a seaside cottage to use at the same time.

It’s going to be hard but hopefully worthwhile in the long run.

 

Apr 222013
 

The theory goes that having only a job, providing a single income, is a risky strategy. It’s fine if you are a run-of-the-mill wage-slave with no desire the break free of the cubicle, but if you’re serious about breaking free, then there are many people who would have you know – multiple, passive income streams are the way to do it.

The theory is simple really and amounts to not keeping all your eggs in a single basket. It seems to make a lot of sense. But here’s the problem that I have been struggling with over the last couple of years.

I earn a decent salary in my corporate project management gig. Maybe not good enough to have it all, but certainly good enough to live a very good life by focusing on the universal 1st commandment of wealth creation: “Thou shalt spend less than you earn“.  The problem is, the corporate gig takes a fair amount of time and energy. No! I don’t generally work more than a 40-hr week and haven’t for many years now. But the day’s are still very full and at the end, how much energy and free time is left to focus on building other viable income streams?

I’ve ventured online. I’ve tried sourcing and re-selling product. [And, yes, I’ve managed to make a few Rands]. I’ve listened to friends who’ve spent many draining hours outside normal work hours trying MLM and side-line retail businesses. It’s not that it’s impossible, it’s just very, very hard it seems. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

Sort of feeling a little like a failure but determined not to give up on what seems to have become my ‘holy grail’, I’ve taken a bit of a break in pursuit of this goal over the last couple of months; but never letting the concept slip far from my thoughts. Today, the first time in a while, I hammered “multiple income streams” into the searchbox again ……

Third site in – www.financialmentor.com – and I’m liking what I’m reading. Why? Because this guy seems to think very much like me. The article which caught my attention is titled “MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME – TRUTH REVEALED” which has some startling and thought provoking ideas that I had never before considered.

the clear benefit of multiple streams of income is classic risk diversification. Build a portfolio of non-correlated streams of income and your risk is reduced making your wealth more stable and secure.

The key problem is implementation – not theory. Few people ever succeed in building just one stream of income sufficient to achieve financial freedom … let alone several.

Reality One: We live in a competitive and fast changing world. Business has become highly specialized and niched because knowledge is growing exponentially requiring specialized skills to employ it properly. Successfully competing in many widely varying fields is contradictory to the specialization and complexity required by our current business climate.

Reality Two: You have a limited amount of time on this planet to implement your business plans and strategies while also trying to balance the needs of family, health, spirituality, recreation, relationships, and much more. Do you really want to spend your limited time nursing more than one stream of income? Happiness has more to do with balancing life than making tons of money.

The bottom line is you could easily skip the whole multiple streams of income thing if your goal is time freedom and personal freedom. After all, what do you gain from all the complication created?

 There’s a lot more food for thought in this article and there’s not enough space or time to list it all here. It’s worth the read though, so follow the links over to “MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME – TRUTH REVEALED” and see for yourself.

Bottom line is, this guy seems to have a holistic view of wealth creation and life, happiness and freedom that I identify with. There’s a lot here that seems to align with my own personal world view and approach, so I’ll be spending a bit time with my new Financial Mentor, all the while keeping an open mind and remembering, always remembering;

NO WOOLLY MASSES !