The multicultural equivalent of wealth

I grew up in a gated mining town where I was isolated from the world. Because of the mining company, the public school attended had better facilities than most public schools in my country. There were plenty of textbooks. There was a library full of books. The schools had everything.

I felt safe to walk through the streets at night because of the street lights. Since permits were required to enter the town, there were fewer people coming in town. This, for us, meant lower crime rates.

During my teenage years, my mother went back to university to further her education. Since she lived in a small apartment near her university campus, I went to live with my grandparents in their village. I attended a local junior secondary school (junior high) which was different from where I grew up. First, the classes were larger, and the buildings were rundown from years of vandalism. My new peers borrowed everything, pencils, sharpeners, anything. Most of them could not afford uniforms and had to bear the harsh winters since the principal did not approve of anything that was not the school uniform.

It made me uncomfortable to see people struggling while I had everything I needed for school. It was a shock. We were all around the same age, yet there was a wisdom in some of my peers’ faces. They had experienced more hardships than I could ever imagine. It made me feel spoilt. And I quickly grew out of the selfish, only child mindset and learned how to share my resources.

In addition to this, my grandparents lived near a bus rank (bus station). There was a constant bustle, with people either living or coming into the small village. There were constant attacks. Thefts. Harassments. The crime rate was high. At one instance, a young woman escaped her assailants by running straight into our house since the door was open. My grandfather kept it open because he wanted fresh air. This prompted my grandfather to put locks on the gates. I became paranoid. Every time I walked in the streets, I looked behind me to check if someone was following me. It was probably my own footsteps.

By luck, I ended up in a private school for my senior secondary school years, the equivalent of high school. I was in boarding school, so I was gated in again. I was safe from the outside world. I could walk freely within those gates. I could wear what I wanted within those gates. I felt lucky within those gates.

I was around “rich kids” during those years. They are not the selfish people who tv likes to portray, they just grew up having more. At times, I found myself longing for the things they had and their ability to travel the world. I was impressionable. I forgot about how lucky I was and how far I had come.

That school opened a lot of doors for me.

Now I live Australia. I attend the University of Queensland on a scholarship. My monthly allowance greatly exceeds the minimum wage of people who live in back home.  The university is amazing, advanced. Everyone has a laptop. Everyone has a phone. The internet is fast. Everything is fast. It is a normal way of life for people around me, they are used to it.

Here, I can walk in the street as late as 12 am, from the school library, and feel safe enough to walk, at a normal pace, from the bus stop to my apartment. Nothing is in the dark.

There is a sense of wisdom at having experienced this change. I was content. Now I feel lucky. I keep reminding myself to be grateful and to appreciate where I am. I keep reminding myself not to get used to it. Not because I feel as if it will not last. I never want to forget to be thankful.

 

 

Advertisements

Never-ending metamorphosis

I meant for this blog to show how confusing it is to start investing. I wanted to portray an upward progression. A progression of me, the beginner investor, initially receiving cents, as returns to my investments, to dollars, to hundreds of dollars. I wanted to show the other side. The real side. The chapter 1 instead of the chapter 20 we see portrayed by our idols. I am very ambitious.

I have done myself an injustice and limited my creativity to a few uninteresting topics that even I, as the author of this blog, would not read. This blog has the potential to be more than what I had initially envisioned. This upward progression could apply to anything. Learning how to write, learning photography, everything. Clueless Investor has the potential to include an array of topics.

My introduction to this blog forced me into a corner because I made a vow to only talk about money on this blog. That limitation I had put on myself made writing on this blog more of a chore than a passion.

I will talk about investing for what it means to me, constant growth and improvement. Not only financially but mentally as well. I will talk about chasing knowledge, creativity along with wealth. I will talk about periods of self-discovery. Because constraining myself will reduce this blog to repetitive talk about how the sporadic line showed a downward trend and how miserable that makes me.

I am lucky in the sense that the tittle Clueless Investor encompasses everything I am. A clueless person with eclectic interests. A person who wants to  improve and grow. More importantly, a person who wants to learn from others who are trying very hard to “hustle”. I know I am not alone.

I hope no one will hold me to my previous dreams and opinions. I read from Nassim Taleb that the world would be a better place if people were not held to their old opinions. If they changed their minds without the fear of criticism. Without the fear of being seen as absurd. I would never get better if I was expected not to change. Let us aim for never-ending metamorphosis.

The Black Friday trap

It is always a good idea to avoid the stores during the Black Friday sales. I have to back myself up, so please listen to what I have to say.

I know Black Friday has its merits. It has those attractive discounts that make christmas shopping more affordable. I do not deny that. Black Friday is the day where we all get those expensive shoes that we have been eyeing. That good quality belt we can’t really afford.

However, some of us do not have long shopping lists. We do not have things we have been waiting all year to buy. We have no plans. No budgets. Yet, we stroll through the mall (or shopping centre, depending on where you are from) and find ourselves buying everything because it is cheaper. We end up spending more than we planned.

For those without plans, please stay home. Avoid regrets. Avoid impulse buys. Be smart.

Books

This is a list of books that I have read in order to improve the way I think. The list will get longer as time progesses. I apologise in advance.

Investing: For a beginner

Stock Investing For Dummies (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance))

Finance/Phylosophy

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Incerto)

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (Incerto)

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: “On Robustness and Fragility” (Incerto)

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto)

What I learned when I let go of a bad investment

When the value of my investment went below the minimum amount I had set for myself, I was unable to let go. I watched for almost a week as the value plummeted until I had lost almost $50. It may not seem like a lot of money to a lot of people, but for a student who is starting out in this world, I felt the loss. I wasted a lot of time begging the screen to show me an upward trend instead of taking action.

I have always prided myself in being aloof. Almost detached and unaffected by a lot of things that bother a lot of my peers. Yet, I attached a lot of value to an abstract asset. One that I had not held for a very long time.

A contradictory, disruptive, thought I keep having is that I have to get used to losing money in order to make it in the end. That I should have waited the momentary blip out. That I should have tolerated the discomfort of seeing my balance going down. How can I train myself to be a ruthless, within reason, risk-taker?

The “test your risk tolerance” quizzes show me that I am more conservative than I am risky. There is a reason that I do not read horoscopes. They shape me even if the rational side of me knows they are worded to apply to anyone. No offence to the believers. I regret taking those tests.

As an autodidact of stoicism, I have been trying to accept the things that I cannot control in order to achieve the greatest possible control over my emotions and thoughts in order to  survive this world. I had no idea a test of my impulses would come too soon.