Just had a wet and wonderful weekend – no I didn’t go a waterpark, I was in fact with a few million people who attended the events celebrated by Pope Francis who was in Manila, Philippines. I felt I need to share my reflections that help in this world of investing and making money in the financial markets.
Before that, I say here again that Pope Francis makes a good point about “Women have much to tell us in today’s society. Sometimes we’re too macho, and we don’t leave enough room for women. Women are able to see things with different eyes than us. Women are able to ask questions that men can’t understand…” especially so in the world of finance, so I invite all women to share what we see and what we question .
The Pope talked about having mercy and compassion for the poor. BUT let us not be confused here. It does not mean we should be one of them. We are to help them. Many investors I have spoken to, (and even myself at the start felt) that I should just have “enough” or desire a “simple life”. Many call themselves “conservative investors”, and some in my workshops I have invited to rethink why. Those who have been investing for years, check your performance ( ie. your portfolio or bank account), if this has been your thinking all along, what results have you got? Have you reached your targets? Did your capital grow to the level you wanted to be when you set out to invest? Were you able to buy that house or saved up for retirement already, or replaced your income or whatever goal it was you had when you started to invest? I found that with this thought, this limiting belief about a “simple life” STOPS us from achieving our goals. It seems to be a teeny weeny belief but with it you are closing your eyes to the opportunities, allowing yourself to take only a little and that is the cause of the struggle. We should instead be open to the blessings and graces all around us (like all the opportunities the stockmarket offers!), do our utmost to become rich and have more to share. Not just to care for ourselves or own immediate family. As Pope Francis put it, to not just have “worldly compassions” that only provide the poor with temporary relief. “If Christ had that kind of compassion, he would have walked, just greeted three people, gave them something and moved on. So let us make the best of ourselves, build our skills, and do our very best in how we do this business. That means, we should strive to become prosperous and become responsible channels of God’s blessings.
In another event, he talks about many of us becoming mere repositories of information, he says that we should act so that information will bear fruit, I like to think that he is inviting us, that it is necessary to go, in financial terms, to take RISKS. If you don’t risk, you don’t get anything back. Pope Francis says, “It’s like real love. Real love is being open to the love that comes to you.”
I have another favourite message from Pope Francis, when he celebrated a mass for the victims of the strongest typhoon in history – Typhoon Haiyan (or locally named Yolanda). Many people lost their family members, their house, their livelihood, he invites us to be consoled and listen to what God tells us in our hearts. And importantly, to become like children, calling and clinging to our mother. Many of you are mothers like me, I am sure you are familiar with being the one who has to, and know, how to get past pain. That ability is so crucial in financial markets. Those losses that we have to take and get over with. Mothers are very well suited to be traders in the stockmarket because we can get past the pain and do the right thing. (And I know Paul Tudor Jones said something about young mothers unable to become good traders, but maybe try the ones past child-bearing age ). Anyway, I admit, being a “tradermom” is tough, I get asked how I manage — the children, the household and the investing activities. My answer, is, the mother will find a way, because the mother will do everything for love. I will share many strategies and thoughts on this in an upcoming book.
However, mothers are also human beings. I get overwhelmed too in life’s situations. I worry too and cry, weep, I have done. Yes it’s allowed. It’s actually recommended for traders to do that kind of release. Mothers must also take care of themselves physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally etc. One thing that gives me great comfort and strength is to think that “I am a child of God”, and I believe that the universe is good, whatever happens good or bad, you have to make it a part of your beautiful life. And so, we keep going. Pope Francis says, “Let God surprise you”.
Last night, the US markets had a weak start even with positive lead from Europe, China GDP wasn’t all that bad and the Housing report was a little bit weak but still has a positive (means Fed won’t hurry to raise rates), oil dived again following the IMF’s weakened global forecast. The market volatility is therefore a given. I try not get rattled and just see how my systems (and my personal mental state could allow) a profitable trade. First I noticed that AAPL, FB and BABA were green even when the major Indices were all red. Delta reported good earnings so it was green too. It seemed oil stocks were down following the commodity taking a dive after that weak global outlook. Now tech stocks were defying the downturn for a good few minutes at the open, I reckon a down move will occur on these tech stocks soon after within that morning — we have to understand such is the nature of the markets – there is an ebb and flow, within an hour, the prices then dropped. How do we win if this keep happening? Traders need to follow the market but it’s easier said than done. The way to win, either choosing up or down, is to limit your risk, have a position sizing strategy that will let you participate in the opportunities that will deliver the most gains. One particular position might lose, while the other wins, so yes, the golden rule — keep the losses small and let your profits run. I say time and again, that’s what mothers do — if you do the wrong thing, you will be stopped, if you are doing a good job, you get rewarded with more .
AAPL was +2.00 after the open but mid morning dropped +.80 but maintained a gain of +1, I reckon it will hold its gains, at the close, AAPL rose +2.73 yesterday. I’m hanging on to it but keeping a tight trailing stop. So I hope you picked up some tips here… Up or Down you can win.
Pope Francis’ Speeches and Homilies with thanks to ABS-CBN News
Dr Van Tharp’s Peak Performance workshops and courses for Investment Psychology.
Paul Tudor Jones remarks on female traders.