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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Getting Organized



I found a need to come up with a system to help me remember. Over the years, the process has changed but the goal remains the same. Since moving to an Android phone I have been using GTask. 

GTask

GTask is a third party app build using Google Task (since Google did not provide an app). It works well to help me track my task, to do list and provide reminders for follow up. Calendars are useful to track your schedule but it is not convenient for task that require follow up or use as reference. I can easily create a task from my GMail.

GTask is simple and easy to use but provides text only fields.

I decided to explore Google Keep.

Keep

Initially I used keep as an enhanced version of gTask so I do not need GTask anymore. A few things I like about Keep are:

  1. I can now attach a photo to the entry. It provides a convenient way to use certain cards like Starbucks, Domino’s privilege card.
  2. Entries are available without network. I do not subscribe to mobile data all the time so it is great to have access while offline.
  3. Every line entry can be easily changed to a checklist (toggle on and off).
  4. Tagging is simple. It makes it convenient to categories my entries into
    1. reminders (usually one off task like shopping list).
    2. follow up (usually projects or task that require multiple follow up).
    3. cards
    4. checklist (items to think about when I make decision such as buying shares, or buying items).
    5. completed
  5. Once completed, I can easily archive it so that my list do not become too long and cluttered.

Recently, I started to explore Evernote (free version)

Evernote

There are similarities between Evernote and Keep, probably because that is where the idea came from.

I like the following features in Evernote:
  1. There are two ways of organizing entries:
    1. Books
    2. Tags
  2. It is easy clip a web page and make it an entry in Evernote. Before that I would share the page in my Facebook page or create an entry in my blog with notes attached.

However, I have some concerns (which may not be valid):
  1. Would I lose my web clip note if the original web page disappears?
  2. I am unable to see my notes when I am offline (unless I upgrade to a paid subscription).

I intend to use both Evernote and Keep for the moment since there are features I like in both apps.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Focus and Distractions

What occupies our thought most is what our mind will focus on and get good at. Recently I realized that I have allowed myself to get distracted and am no longer focusing on my goals. I used to ask myself the following question, “Is what you are doing useful?”

I have allowed too many distractions into my life - movies and comic/manga, computer games which do not benefit me in any way. Some distractions may be good to help us relax but I just realized that many of these activities seem to occupy more and more of my waking hours. None of them help me achieve my goals.

These are the goals myself back in 1999 but somehow along the way I got sidetracked.

  1. Faith in God
  2. Physical and Mental Health
  3. Financial Security
  4. Self Improvement

Now that I have come to this realization, it is time to take charge of my life again and redirect my focus and control the things that occupy my mind most. 


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Share Investment


Over the years I have been evaluating and evolving my approach to equity investment.

Mutual Fund
I started off by investing in mutual fund but closed out all my funds after following articles in www.fool.com. I was lucky because most of the funds I invested in made money. That is not true for everybody, the funds my wife invested in never made any money even though it is more than ten years. Most fund managers would like you to believe that if you invest in mutual fund for at least five years, you will at least be in the black but that is not always the case. It helps if you get help from someone who are familiar with the funds and are not just pushing the funds to earn commission from the sale.

Capital Gain
My parents approach to investment was to focus on capital gain and not on dividend. To them, capital loss and gain is a lot more significant compared to dividend. Consequently, they feel that dividend is not significant. I tried this approach for a while. I had some successes and failures with this approach. I used technical charts to help me make most of the decisions. I observed my parents and often my father would share with me charts that were accurate in predicting rising prices and falling prices. However, my mum depend too much on rumors and emotion.

I attended a technical training course which includes weekly follow up meeting. A few of the members were very successful in their predictions and made money but there were also those who did not. However, the successful ones were mostly traders.

Dividend Investment
Selecting investment based on dividend yield has been a better approach for me. I managed to get a few 10-baggers with this approach. One thing I noticed in Malaysian Market is that most of this 10-baggers when it goes up in price, it never comes down. Unfortunately, I sold some of them because my parents would nag me about selling them and lock in the profit. Had I kept those shares, I would continue to enjoy the high dividend yield. I realize that it is not their fault and ultimate decision should be mine since I am responsible for my investment.

I learned from one of my colleague that he has a target dividend cash flow for his retirement. I agree with him, at the end of the day, if our dividend can sustain our lifestyle we do not need to worry about running out of money. In order to achieve this, it is important to diversify since it is difficult to predict if the instruments we select can maintain their dividend in the future.

Emotions
One challenge is what to do when the share prices around the world are falling? How will it impact the companies I invested in? Should I sell and buy back later? I found that if I sell, I am not disciplined enough to buy the shares back later or the shares go above the price I sold it at.

It is extremely difficult to decide. In one situation, I cut loss on one counter at $8 and then see it go all the way up to $20. In another situation, I held  a counter and watch it fall from $200 down to $50 before I finally cut my losses.

Investment is difficult and unpredictable and I am still learning and trying to figure out which approach works best for me.