Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nasdaq Q's (NASDAQ: QQQQ) and S&P SPYDRS (AMEX: SPY) Traders - Being Right, Or Making Money?

When a market timer trading index funds such as the Rydex Nova Fund and Rydex OTC Fund makes a trading decision based on a news event, fear of losing out on a rally or of losing money in a sell off, or even the stock broker neighbor's trading tip, he or she is trading on emotions.

Wishing Your Were Right

Trading on emotions, news events, market rallies, etc. is basically trading on a WISH.

There is no basis for the trade, at least none that can be counted on to last. There is nothing but "the moment." The trader wishes he or she will be right.

Odds of winning? Slim.

Trades made on wishes have no plan behind them. There is no exit strategy. Invariably, the trade is held until losses become painful enough to force the trader to emotionally sell at a loss.

Making Money

No one makes money on Wall Street without a trading plan. No One! There is only "one way" to be certain of being profitable.

Market timers and traders who have a strategy for entering and exiting positions, and who follow their rules, on a timely basis without hesitation, make money.

Those who trade by daily news events, daily or weekly rallies & declines, and TV hype, will "always" end up losing money. Remember, for every winning trade in the stock market, there is a losing trade on the other side. Only those who follow a plan consistently make the winning trades.

One of the most important questions you must ask yourself is:

Do you want to BE RIGHT for a short time. Or do you want to MAKE MONEY for a long time.

Ignore the news. Ignore the daily ups and downs. You have no control over them anyway. No one knows what the next day will bring. No one!

Wishing will not help. Watching the financial news religiously will not help. There is just no way to know what will happen tomorrow, or even what will happen next week.

But a successful trading plan that creates unemotional buy and sell decisions will, over time, make even the most emotional person, a successful market timer.

Frank Kollar has been timing the financial markets since 1982, with online service since 1996. He is a dedicated trend timer. Kollar is editor and chief analyst at ( which offers market timing strategies for S&P and Nasdaq index fund traders, as well as bond, gold, small cap, sector, ETF and stock trading strategies.

Real Estate Transfer Taxes Overlooked Sale or Purchase Expense

A real estate transfer tax is a one-time tax paid at the closing of a property, and is considered a stream of revenue for state budgets. This transfer tax though, once collected is not generally used for housing-related purposes. The tax is based on the value of a property as agreed to by the parties in a real estate contract.

In the excitement of selling or buying a home, often the real estate transfer tax cost is overlooked. Depending on locale, either the buyer or seller pays the tax at closing or escrow, but beware in New Hampshire both the buyer and seller pay, half of 1.5%!. In some states it can be a formidable amount, you should be prepared for what the transfer taxes will be, and who pays them, before you start a home search or list your home for-sale.

The good news is, thirteen states don't have a real estate property tax. They are: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

The bad news is that the remaining thirty-seven states and The District of Columbia charge taxes on the transfer of a property. The tax is only levied once when a property is exchanged between parties, unlike general property taxes which are paid annually and are based on the assessed value. Real estate transfer taxes range from a low of .01% in Colorado to a high of 1.28% in Washington state.

Variations on transfer taxes include; in Arizona only charges a tax on deeds. However Alabama and Florida charge on deeds and mortgages. To avoid financial surprises, inquire early as to who pays (buyer or seller) and how much transfer taxes will be. Some states dictate who pays the tax, and some just want the tax paid. This cost can typically be negotiated between the parties. Consult an experienced real estate attorney.

A handy online link for transfer taxes for all fifty states. Resource Center/Realty Transfer Tax/Transfer tax chart.pdf

Mark Nash, is a residential real estate author, broker, columnist and writer based in Chicago. His fourth book 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home received eighteen five star reviews on His latest book; Real Estate A-Z for Buying & Selling a Home will be published in December 2006. Mark publishes a free monthly ezine for real estate professionals. Agent to Agent features ten articles that offer free reprints for agents, home buyers and sellers through . Real estate news and book reviews, Celebrity Homestyles, Home selling and buying tips and advice, Joke-of-the-Month, Help this Agent, and agent marketing tips. Over 5000 subscribers in the U.S. & Canada. Subscribe at:

Harry, The Arrogant Bank Boss

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I promised I would share the story of what happened with the "bank boss" during the late eighties, early nineties. The story you're about to read was a time of tremendous adversity for me.

Every single person that appears on the stage of our lives has something to contribute, regardless of the outcome. They all take on the role of a teacher with a lesson plan or two.

David, the Bully, was one central character. If he hadnt approached me on the playground that day, I wouldnt have a unique story to share with my audiences. I would also not have known how much courage I really had to stand up for myself on that fateful day.

Harry is another such character. His name is fictitious to protect the innocent (or maybe not so innocent). Little did I know I was in for the ride of my life when I was transferred into his department.

It didn't take long to learn that this man had a reputation for publicly chewing out his subordinates over everything and anything that went wrong. Minor and major events were one and the same. Harry trusted no one and rarely promoted from within. His inner circle consisted of long-time cronies who were "yes-yes-yes-yes" people. Fear and intimidation often ruled the day -- no one challenged him.

Within a short period of time after my transfer, I faced each day with a sickly feeling in my stomach because I never knew what the day was going bring. Harry was like Jekyll and Hyde. One day he would be enraged and the next he'd do a complete turnabout, laughing, joking and having fun. We often knew first thing in the morning whether Harry would be in a bad mood. If he was, we joked amongst ourselves who would be the boss' "whipping boy"' that day. Yours truly certainly had his share of the whip.

At the time, Wall Street was undergoing massive restructuring due to the 1987 stock market crash where thousands were laid off. Job security was shaky at best. In fact, you were considered quite lucky if you had a job those days. This added uncertainty to an already pervasive work environment at the bank. Unfortunately, working for Harry only made things more a lot more challenging.

One day, I stumbled across Norman Vincent Peale's book, The Power of Positive Thinking. This gift of a book that seemed to come out of nowhere was exactly what I needed because one chapter, "New Thoughts Can Remake You" encouraged me to change my perception of the bank boss. In there was a powerful, yet simple idea:

To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently.

I took that sentence and ran with it as if my life depended on it. The moment I read it, I made a decision that I was going to change my attitude and perceive Harry in an entirely different light.

Every morning before going to work, I sat on my couch, closed my eyes and put the power of visualization to work for me. I imagined Harry as a frightened, insecure human being who might have ruled the office with an iron fist but was dramatically transformed into a loving, doting grandfather at home. In my mind's eye, he was seen romping around his backyard beaming and hugging his grandkids. I did this for months with dramatic results.

The reason I saw him in this way was because on the days when he was in a good mood, he would chatter incessantly about his grandchildren to everyone who would listen. As he was talking, his eyes -- often called the window to a person's soul -- gave us a rare glimpse beyond the Jekyll and Hyde facade. His million dollar smile literally knocked off your socks if you were fortunate to be nearby. It was an astonishing sight to behold.

Once this grandfatherly image took root in my subconscious, I couldn't help but transcend the illusion of power he had over me. It put a positive spin on my attitude toward him because I no longer perceived him as a tyrant.

Although he certainly wasn't aware I was doing this, he did notice a different, more positive energy about me. Naturally, this made him curious. He took more of an interest in my abilities rather than focusing on my disabilities. Eventually I was treated as an ally rather than as someone to keep at an arm's length, dramatically transforming the nature of our boss-employee relationship. No longer did I feel sick in the mornings - in fact, I actually looked forward to work!

Almost a year later, Harry did the unimaginable.

He pulled me into his office on the day of our performance reviews and gave me the shock of my life with an announcement that he was promoting me to a senior staff position! I almost fell off my chair. Within hours, the entire division heard about it. Everyone knew a miracle had happened. So did I.

A few months later, I received an opportunity to work for Merrill Lynch. It was as if the universe was telling me, "good job, you learned a powerful lesson and now it's time to move on."

Food for thought: Even people who pushed our buttons and make our lives more challenging are teachers put on our path to help us learn our lessons. They should be remembered too.

Profoundly deaf since birth, Stephen Hopson is a former award-winning stockbroker turned motivational speaker, author and pilot. He works with organizations that are ready to explore and overcome adversity because no one is immune from it - adversity does not discriminate. His professional speaking services, Obstacle Illusions, include fun and passionate presentations, especially the story of how his fifth grade teacher forever changed his young life with THAT'S RIGHT STEPHEN! You can view his website at Stephen also maintains a blog called "Adversity University" at

Currency Trading Courses - What Makes a Good Training Manual?

Many Forex courses use past information and facts as a basis for their training materials. The main problem with this is that they do not spend enough time on the practical side of investing. A better than average currency trading course should be able to help you understand the practical and technical workings of the Forex market which in turn will help yoin in developing and applying a strategy that you have formulated yourself.

Good courses should not spoon-feed you all of the information, sure they should teach you new things but it is important they also get you thinking for yourself. This is the only way you will learn how to apply the information they preach. You should be asked to think of your own approach to solving a particular problem.

Another sign that you have found a great course is if the manual is able to provide you with some first hand experience of the market or at least something simulating it. Video demonstrations, access to a safe, practice trading arena and a good level of support are always good signs that the currency trading course in question is worth purchasing.

Whilst Forex courses have their advantages, the one thing that has no substitute is confidence. A currency trading course must implant in you a confident attitude in making decisions related to Forex trading. Trading after all, is about taking risks and that is not possible until and unless you are confident about your own abilities.

When you are buying a currency trading educational course you must be sure that the material it offers you will prime you for successful trading in the real world not just in a practice environment. You will have to make a number of decisions in Forex trading and these actions that you choose will depend a lot on your instincts and on the knowledge. Therefore you are using the course to gain knowledge, which in turn builds your trading confidence and brings better results - thats the theory anyway!

It goes without saying that like any other field you want to enter, you need to have a basic understanding of the field. Forex trading is no different, if anything it is even more important to understand the fundamentals of the market than with any other market. Unlike stock trading you do not just need knowledge in one company or industry, you need global knowledge as a change in one currency can effect a change in another.

Most of the currency trading courses start with the US Dollars for the simple reason that it is the most predominant player in the market. With time, you should gain experience and knowledge about Forex trading with the US Dollar and after some practice you will find yourself more able to trade intelligently in other currencies also.

The currency trading courses can also teach you how to calculate the pip which, put simply, is the difference with which a currency rate increases or decreases. In other words, if the current exchange rate for two currencies is 1 to 45 and the next day it turns to 1 to 45.3, this means that the pip is 0.3. Calculating pip is not difficult but predicting it is essential in making profits and analyzing risk in any Foreign Exchange trade.

In summary, if you are looking to utilize a currency trading course to learn more and improve your Forex profitability then please do remember to consider the issues raised in this article carefully. A course should not be seen as a magic tutor that will bring you instant profits but should instead be viewed as a very useful learning experience that will boost your confidence and make you a more secure trader.

Paul Bryan operates Forex Reviews, News and Advice - A site aimed at bringing you the best and most independent Foreign Exchange information and articles.

Daytrading And How To Get Started

One working definition of a Day Trader is, A person whose goal is to make his or her profits from a security in the shortest amount of time [preferably during a single day.] Though this definition is simplified, the day-to-day job of a Day Trader is a far more complex series of events and strategies that must be learned and implemented.

My description of daytrading has largely been based on past experiences with the markets, as well as the changes in the markets and the global economies themselves. Keep in mind; the stock market is not your friend. Much like war, in day trading and/or short-term investing, you are pitting your wits against every other person in the market. Every dollar you make is on the back of someone else's losses. Your goal is to win with your investments and your trading, and that requires someone else to lose. Try to make sure it's not you. Never forget that, and you'll be off to a much better start in the markets.

How risky is daytrading? Well, before you read on any further, imagine taking about $10,000 in crisp, brand new one hundred dollars bills out into the backyard. Put them on the ground and douse them in lighter fluid. Then strike a match. Don't burn your money just yet, but just stand there. That's about how risky daytrading is.

Always remember: at any given time, when you are daytrading for a living, you are risking probably that much money (if not quite a bit more), and your money is in perhaps just as much risk. While we are not suggesting that you actually set fire to your money in the backyard, our analogy is fairly accurate. If that bothers you, then perhaps you might consider another line of work, or a good mutual fund, because I don't know any good day traders that haven't seen at least $10,000 go up in a puff of smoke during market hours. It's simply unrealistic to expect to be able to trade professionally and profitably from day one. Mistakes will be made; lessons will be learned; money will be lost as you learn. It's a never-ending process to a large degree. In fact, the day you feel you have mastered the markets, that's the day you get your head handed to you.

In the years I have traded, I have seen many people come and go. I've seen people make and lose large sums of money very quickly. I have made and lost large sums of money very quickly! I've seen stocks go from pennies to hundreds of dollars and back again, taking traders and investors for a ride in both directions. And yet, still, in all the years I have been in this business, I am sure of only one thing about the stock market--that I have not seen it all yet. If anyone claims to have all the answers about the stock market, or claims to be the only person you should listen to - run, don't walk away from them and/or their services.

One of the most frequently asked questions is, How much capital do I need? It is a somewhat difficult question to answer. How much do you really need in order to start day trading? How big a "stake" (a term used to refer to your starting capital) is required to get going? The only answer is that it's different for each person, and it's something you must consider for yourself before you start. However, I personally feel, in general, you should have enough trading capital to purchase between 500 to 1000 shares of any given stock. Ideally, this would be without having to use margin.

If you are in the habit of trading $40 to $80 stocks, this could mean you need as much as $40,000 to start. At the same time, one can trade with as little as $10,000 and get their feet wet. It also doesn't hurt to have enough capital to diversify into several different positions (two to five generally) at one time - each with say 300 to 500 shares. Just remember, if you are starting small, keep your expectations realistic. Certainly, someone trading with $10,000 to $20,000 is going to have a much more difficult time generating $1,000 per day than someone using $100,000 or more. As long as you keep this in perspective, it will help keep you grounded as you begin learning.

When you get into the bigger leagues of day trading, then it's nice to be able to "step on" (i.e. purchase or short) a "block" or two of stock. This would be generally defined as 10,000 shares of stock. This typically is going to require $500,000 or more of trading capital, plus some use of margin in limited situations and for a limited time. When you reach this level, it's easy to see how daytrading can become quite profitable (and quite risky!). A few points (or even a few fractions) across 10,000 shares can return quite a bit of money quite rapidly. Just remember it goes both ways; you can quickly lose quite a bit as well.

As you can see there's no right or wrong answer with regard to how much you need to start. Simply keep your objectives in perspective and reasonable. This will go a long way to giving you a good start in the markets. Also understand that if you are starting small, factoring in things such as equipment fees and transaction costs may become much more important.

Good luck in the markets!

No permission is needed to reproduce an unedited copy of this article as long the About The Author tag is left in tact and hot links included.

Ray Johns is the founder and Senior Market Editor of, Proudly serving day traders & short-term investors since 1996, at is the publishers of the award winning Morning Stock Market Report and the home of the Internets finest real time trading desk. Ray has been on the forefront of trading and investing in the markets and has appeared as a guest on a number of radio and television shows including CNBCs Market Talk. If you would like a free trail of the newsletter and the live trading desk log on to Comments and questions can be sent to

Ten Simple Investment Tips

When I first started trading the stock market, there was not the wealth of information available online like there is today. I read a lot of books and learned the terms and thought I knew everything necessary to make my fortune trading the market. I found a discount broker and started plugging away, and immediately lost my shirt.

Even though I had read these same tips in numerous places, I really didnt understand the importance of them until I had learned them the hard way. As they say, experience is the best teacher, if you survive the lesson.

These are things that I wish I had really used when I first started trading.

1.Never invest money you cant afford to lose.

2.Never invest money you are afraid to lose. If you are too uptight, you are guaranteed to make bad decisions.

3.Never buy a stock you receive in an unsolicited email or in a mass mailing. Many times, these turn out to be low cost, thinly traded penny stocks that some one is trying to pump up the price and dump them.

4.Most of them time, you should not buy stocks at the open of the market. The first hour of the trading day typically has a lot of volatility. Stocks tend to stabilize after the first hour; you could end up paying too much trying to get a stock, only to have it settle down in price 30 minutes later.

5.As a new investor, never buy stocks on margin. It is ok to have a margin account; just dont use the margin until you have enough knowledge to keep yourself out of trouble.

6.Dont worry if you think you just missed the biggest trade of the year. Never chase a stock trying to get on board, if you wait 30 minutes, another trade will come along that is just as lucrative. (This one tip would have saved me a fortune)

7.Learn how to use a trailing stop. Immediately after buying a stock, put in a stop loss order, and keep raising the stop limit. This will preserve your gains, but more importantly will preserve your capital.

8.Never buy until you have determined when you are going to sell. You need to know what point you will accept a small loss and move on. Then when you buy, keep that stop loss point; never change this point in the heat of the battle, because this is guaranteed to cost you money.

9.Never get greedy. The old market saying is Bears make money, Bulls make money, Hogs get slaughtered is very true.

10.Dont treat the stock market like it is your private Las Vegas gambling casino. Its ok for a small portion of your portfolio to gamble, but its called investing for a reason.

If you follow these simple tips, they will save you some of the misery that I went through early in my trading career. Try not to get bogged down in all of the information overload that is coming at you from all directions. Slow down, there will plenty of good trades available to you tomorrow, if your trading capital is still available.

If you would like additional trading information, please go to Trade The Stock Market or to my Forex Review Site.

Shaking Your Money Tree: Seven Ways to Make Quick Cash

Does your business have a money tree you can shake when a little extra cash is needed? Every business should have one!

What I mean by a money tree is something you can do to quickly generate revenue when you need it. Where can you find a money tree? Although you can't buy one at your local garden store, they are more common than you might imagine. Just as in a forest, there are many species of money trees, so you need to find one that is right for you. Here are a few common varieties:

The Sale Tree brings in cash by making a discount offer to customers. Buy before June 30th, and you get a lower price. This creates a sense of urgency for customers to buy now in order to save money and can create a new flow of sales for you.

The Bonus Tree can work like the Sale, but instead of a discount, customers get a free item with purchase. Buy one, get one free, for example, or buy this item and get a free accessory. You might make the bonus item something only available as a bonus, and not available to buy. Booklets, books, audio programs and other items with a low production cost and high perceived value are great bonus items.

Generate cash with the New Product Tree by introducing a new product. Customers love new things, so announce it with a flourish. You might cross the New Product tree with the Sale or Bonus tree to get a hybrid with extra appeal.

Shake the Personal Touch Tree by contacting current or former customers and reminding them it may be time to do business with you again. Perhaps the supplies they bought from you a few months ago are running low, or it's time for a follow-up service.

The Referral Tree should be in bloom all the time, but you can get better results when you tend it. Do a mailing or phone campaign to ask current customers to refer their friends and colleagues. You may be able to generate lots of sales quickly this way.

The Cold Call Tree can be hard to shake, but the results can be worthwhile. Identify your best prospects and call or visit them.

One of my favorites is the Publicity Tree. It's an odd one, in that you never know when it is going to bloom, or what it will look like when it does; however, the results are often magnificent. Provide a jumpstart in its growth by regularly sending press releases and pitches to the media.

Decide which money tree is right for your business, then nurture it and keep it growing. And, every once in a while, shake the heck out of it and watch the dollars come floating down!

Copyright Cathy Stucker. As the Idea Lady, Cathy Stucker can help you attract customers and make yourself famous with inexpensive and free marketing ideas. Get free tips, articles and more at

How To Learn Forex The Smart Way

Many people see the Forex market as a place to invest for the future. Many of these have previously invested in the stock market with mixed results and look to the currency market to increase their wealth. The problem is that most of these people ignored the fundamentals of the stock market, and are behaving the same way with the currency market. If you learn Forex trading properly, you will succeed. Ignoring the fundamentals will bring you the same results you had in the equity markets.

If you want to become a successful trader, it is important that you understand the basic principles about Forex trading. The best way of doing this is by finding a reliable trading platform that you can use to learn from. Interest in currency trading has been growing at fantastic rates. Online trading is even more spectacular because you can now trade from your home or office. Major currency dealers have met this demand by installing online trading platforms that are easy to learn and use. Once you register with one of these traders, you can begin learning currency trading without spending any of your money.

But it is not just these companies who have set up trading platforms who can help you to learn about Forex trading. A search on Google for "learn forex" will bring you hundreds of websites with different offerings. You will have to pay for some of these offerings while others are at no charge. You will also find websites run by traders who just enjoy sharing their knowledge with you. In addition, many websites provide general and specific information about the currency market.

Such sites offer a basic education to speed up your learning. You can watch videos online or download special software. You can also browse through forum posts or attend webinars. Also, these sites include ebooks and articles that can help you to gain basic knowledge about currency trading. Each site will provide you with a different method for learning about trading, and you can do all of it online, so no need for you to wait for CD's, DVD's or books to arrive in the mail. Some of these materials are also available off-line if you have a slow Internet connection. But, in almost all of these materials you will find the basic information you need to start trading.

However, if you are looking for a more personal approach, or want to speed up your learning even more, you can attend an off-line seminar. Of course, some of these seminars are also available in the form of teleseminars and webinars, but you get a physical person to talk about and discuss your concerns. You also get the support of the other seminar attendees who may have the same concerns as you do. They can also help you understand material that they have mastered.

Physical seminars are more expensive than other means to learn Forex trading because the organizers have to secure a suitable room and provide other supplies that help the attendees make the most of the training. For example, binders, photocopies of charts, graphs and other educational material. However, if you can afford the prices for these events, it is worth your while attending at least an introductory seminar. You would speed up your learning of the Forex market.

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