You Really Need Two If Not Three Separate Piles Of Investment Money

Fading the gap. Earnings runs. Moving average cross over’s. Support and resistance. I could go on an on about all the “tools” a good “trader” uses to make a trade. In one form or another we have employed each and every one of them, and for the most part, if done right, they work. But, there is one issue that will always make you shake your head in wonder. What’s that? “Why didn’t I hold?”

One time we watched EBAY get to 104 dollars a share. Well, we went long EBAY on 8/11/04 at 76.30. We held it for a pretty long time, and sold a portion on 9/2/04, at 89.53. We had picked up $13+ a share, and yes indeed we were proud of ourselves. Yet, it went over 104. Suddenly selling it at 89.53, looked pretty silly didn’t it? Indeed.

One could easily ask “why on earth did you sell it?” One could easily answer, “did you “know” it was going to go to 100?” Do you see the point? There are indeed investments that you are going to make from time to time, when you will take your profit, feel like a king, and then feel like a fool because the stock keeps going higher. But, we have a short memory in this country. This is the same type of thinking that saw tens of thousands of investors get crushed in 200 – 2003. They all “knew” their stocks were going higher. They held onto them. They are still licking their wounds.

There is NO answer to this problem folks. Cocky talking head fund managers wrote all sorts of catchy books about “let your runners run, and cut your losers”. Peter Lynch had the good fortune of buying stocks during the biggest bull market in the history of the US, so he gets to act pompous and wave his hand in the air and say “I just buy good companies and let them ride”. Well, lots of “good companies” he bought in 99/2000 spent the next three years underwater.

How do you know when a runner is running? How often do you buy something, it gains 3, 4, 5, even 10 dollars a share, only to roll over and give it all back? Should one hold onto it as it loses another 7% from your entry as the “gurus” tell you that the proper play is to cut losses at 7%, and let winners win?

My theory is that you really need two if not three separate piles of investment money. First off if you are lucky enough to have a company sponsored 401K, well then, good for you! But if you don’t you should have an IRA set up. Then, for your personal investing you really need to approach this with two mindsets. One is the day to day, week to week trades we make, but secondly, what about some “buy and hold” type stuff?

I’m not a buy and hold sort of guy naturally, but the fact is we do put out story stocks that go on to make tremendous gains. Quite often we’ve suggested “Buying a few shares and putting them away for a year to see what happens”. Many of those very suggestions, have gone on to be three or four “baggers”. (tripled or quadrupled in price)

For short term swing trades, the thing that keeps us in the game is taking profits, setting some form of stops and moving in and out when the reasons line up. But that said, taking a longer view approach with a small pile of cash, on specific story stocks, can really reward you. No one knows the future, and hindsight is always 20/20. It’s easy to ask “why didn’t I hold that?” But you really didn’t “know” it was going to continue going higher. For that type of trade, find a story that’s compelling and take a SMALL position and put it away. If we’ve done our homework, we should see good results.

Buying Platinum Jewelry As an Investment

Investing in a precious metal like platinum can be a good long-term hedge against the volatility of the stock market, and there are many ways to invest in it. One of the best ways is to buy jewelry made from pure platinum. This allows you to hold a valuable commodity as well as wear a beautiful piece of jewelry – sort of like having your cake and eating it too!

Here are some great reasons to buy platinum jewelry as an investment:

  • The strength of platinum allows jewelers to make quite intricate, yet extremely durable, pieces without mixing in other metals. Thus, you can have a piece that is practical both as jewelry and as a bullion-type investment.
  • Platinum is about 30 times more rare than gold, yet is usually valued in the same general price range. Since it is so rare and so useful, many people believe that platinum could drastically increase in value in the coming years.
  • Platinum is stronger and more durable than either silver or white gold, and is impervious to rust or tarnish, and so is a great alternative to these metals as jewelry.
  • Platinum is important in the auto industry, for use in anti-pollution devices. As environmental regulations get stricter over the years, the value of platinum should continue to rise. And as emerging markets like China and India continue their explosive growth (car sales in China grew by more than 50% in 2009), the demand for platinum will continue to grow as well. All these factors point to a steady increase in the value of platinum jewelry in the coming years.

Financing Your Business With Vendors

Vendors are critical partners having the ability to seriously help or hinder your business. A good relationship with a vendor will help with cash flow, assist in quality service with your customers, and help you reduce the struggles of managing inventory. A bad relationship with a vendor can cause several headaches including seriously hurting the lifeblood of your business, your cash flow. Most business buyers never consider partnering with their vendors to finance their purchase. Here are a few ideas on how to work with vendors in financing a new acquisition.

1. Extend your terms – If you purchase a business that has a heavy need to work with vendors you maybe able to get your vendors to extend your terms after your acquisition. This can allow your business the ability to free up critical cash flow. Don’t be fooled into thinking that an increase in cash flow will pay for you acquisition. It may help with the temporary lull in business that naturally occurs after the change on ownership. One of my students got a primary vendor to extend his terms from net 30 to a one year, no payment no interest relationship. This worked well for my student and the vendor had established a relationship that can potentially last a lifetime.

2. Sharing a letter of credit – Depending on what type of vendor you have (and your relationship with them) occasionally vendors will be willing to extend or share a letter of credit with a client to help them. For example, a construction company that needs materials such as granite countertops maybe able to go to a granite wholesaler and in lieu of a profit they could share a portion of their letter of credit to finance a portion of the construction. Obviously the vendor would be compensated by future business and a spread on the letter of credit.

3. Trade services for materials or like-kind services- A general contractor could offer to trade services for materials. A grocery store could share space for warehousing with a food supplier in lieu of product. The possibilities are endless.

4. Equity investors – Vendors frequently become squeamish of investing in clients because there can be a change in the perception of the relationship. I think that this can be a perfect marriage between two businesses if it is done correctly and with consideration. For example, a struggling business has past due debt to a smaller vendor. A new party could acquire the business and share a portion of the stock in the company to resolve the past due debt. Vendors are not in the habit of investing in their clients; however there can be a time and a place where it is necessary for the survival of all parties.

5. Leaseback strategies- This is a strategy you can use with equipment vendors. An existing business owns $200,000 in equipment. You sell the equipment to the equipment vendor and in turn leaseback to you. Consequently you free up cash to assist in your business purchase.