Friday, September 18, 2015

Online trading is NOT gambling, but a legitimate investment and source of income

As some of you may know, I’ve been maintaining on my website a soon to be 6-year-old section called “The Filipino freelancers’ guide to paying taxes and securing social benefits.” I’ve included in that section a few articles such as “Spend less, save more,” where I’ve enumerated viable means to save up while working as a full-time, self-employed income earner (a.k.a. freelancer). I’d evaded many years ago the idea of engaging in stocks, but my perspective about it changed when I began to understand how it works—and that it works!

Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war. (Proverbs 20:18)

Legitimate, not gambling. With that understanding alone, I’ve been convinced informed trading is one of the legitimate means to invest and grow our hard-earned money. I must admit that part of that understanding came from my personal experience of losing from trading; allow me to stress that mine was uninformed. But just because I lost doesn’t mean I’ve ultimately given up as well my motivation to trade. I've realized though that trading doesn’t—and it shouldn’t—come from the lack of significant understanding. Many people consider trading as some sort of gambling; but I dare say that, for any endeavor, if we do things sloppily and without significant knowledge, we’re already gambling.

Trading brief. Most novices like me only heard much about trading stocks (e.g., Amazon, Coca Cola, etc.). But trading may also involve other assets, such as currency pairs (e.g., EUR/USD, GBP/JPY, etc.), commodities (e.g., coffee, gold, oil, wheat, etc.), and indices (e.g., NASDAQ, S&P 500, etc.), which can be traded online—without actually owning them—via trading websites (a.k.a. brokers), from around the world.

Inspired by a translation project. You’re probably wondering why of all activities I’ve thought about trading. Have I not been receiving editorial projects lately? You know, God has always been good. I was recently hired to complete an editorial project that I quite enjoyed doing: translating written content from English to Filipino. The subject matter? Binary options, a type of trading that novice and professional traders can achieve online. And so translating the material in about a month got me absorbed and interested in trading.

Looking back, I created a style sheet so that I maintain consistency throughout the translated manuscript. And when translating, I see to it that I achieve two things as well: clarity and retention of not only the original meaning of the text, but also the beauty of our language. I say clarity because certain words may be better left as they are (e.g., credit card instead of kard na pang-kredito). I say retention of beauty because Filipino is not meant to be unintelligent or casual Taglish (e.g., "Sobrang thank you" for "Maraming salamat").

So if I were to translate “Are you ready to trade?” instead of haphazardly and thoughtlessly writing, “Handa ka na bang mag-trade?” I write, “Handa na po ba kayong makipagkalakalan?” Note that I didn’t use “mag-trade,” which is a poor and lazy translation.  I also used the oftentimes forgotten word “po,” a Filipino expression of respect toward the elderly, the people in authority, and the general public.

Lessons learned while trading and incurring mistakes along the way. Reading and learning from the experiences of professional traders allowed me to identify the mistakes I encountered as a novice trader. I’m sharing these lessons with you so that you don’t go through them—unnecessarily—should you consider trading. My focus on this article is on binary options trading.

1. Don’t rush into trading without gaining significant knowledge about it. The worse part was I assumed I understood trading already, so I opened account in three trading websites. I should have paused there and studied the platforms, but I deposited funds to one of them and yep, started hitting, on each trade, one of two buttons (Call or Put).

Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth. (Proverbs 19:2)

2. Don’t over-trade. I had several winning trades and I should have, again, paused there awhile, but I continued trading, hoping to at least recover my losses, until I got tired. And as you know, when you’re tired, you ought to rest to regain the energy required to function and perform properly. I didn’t. So there I lost all my funds, along with my winnings. My bad.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. (Psalms 127:2)

3. Take your time to hear professional traders. This item is an expansion of item 1. Not rushing into something is taking your time to study and learn the right precepts to go by while administering specific tasks such as trading. Now here’s my DISCLAIMER: I’ll be sharing here a few links for information ONLY; I do not necessarily endorse them or the institutions they represent or are affiliated with. Please read them and anything else with maximum caution. Yes, underscore there “maximum.”

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. (Proverbs 19:20-21)

So far I’ve found useful general trading insights from (a) Joe Ross of Trading Educators and (b) Chaikin YouTube videos featuring Sandy Chaikin of Chaikin Analytics, along with (c) NASDAQ.

The NASDAQ home page.

My favorite trading topic is, of course, binary options and so far, I’ve heard practical tips about it from other binary traders online. (I've previously mentioned here Julian Wong of The Binary Lab, but it puzzles me now why he seems to be endorsing and using questionable brokers, such as CToption, GOption, and TitanTrade. So I'm thinking perhaps issues with these traders are isolated cases, and that I'm yet to find out.)

4. Read what other users say about trading websites. Three of the many trading websites I visited include TopOption, GOption (which has been a confirmed scam site by the Forex Peace Army or the FPA, as of July 2015), and BossCapital. Since I found BossCapital to be easy on the eye, I chose to try it first, which was also among my first mistakes, as I failed to read the reviews of people who’ve already used it. Although it was only yesterday when I read what Mr Terry Sneller, a 71-year-old, long-time trader, had to say about BossCapital, the link to the information he shared remains to be worth including here.

If you’re interested about what he has to say regarding BossCapital, you may look up his review with his name, Terry Sneller. From Mr Sneller's experience, I can tell that accepting bonuses from a broker's platform is definitely unwise; so it's best not to take broker bonuses at all, unless you fully understand and accept the terms involved.

Search also on Google the existing broker reviews, offering tips on what to do and what not to do when dealing with brokers (either individuals from, or account platforms of, trading websites).

He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. (Proverbs 16:20-21)

TopOption, which may be among the few brokers requiring low, minimum deposit ($100 USD), is still one trading website I haven’t tried using. But reviews I read seem to imply that starting with such a minimal amount is close to losing. Others are also saying that the site’s trading platform is slow, freezing, or lagging.

The TopOtion trading platform.

5. Discover which brokers are confirmed scam or getting there. I recently discovered that neither GOption (a confirmed scam trading site by the FPA) nor CTOption is a regulated broker, compared with TopOption, which is regulated (by the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission and the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom). Moreover, GOption reviews seem to be unfavorable, compared again with TopOption's favorable reviews.

Despite not being a regulated broker, CTOption, on the other hand, is said to be a trusted trading website by some. However, as of "June 2015: There is an FPA Traders Court guilty verdict against this company" according to the FPA.

So take your time to review broker trading sites. These brokers are mentioned here for info ONLY. Don't rely on who's using what. Find out yourself which broker YOU can trust.

6. Visit broker review sites. Most traders leave their comments published on broker review sites as follows:

7. Be sure your trading account has been fully validated/verified before you start trading. Another mistake I committed was that I started trading already just before I learned my trading account was not yet fully verified and validated by the trading site. Without that important knowledge I deposited funds and started trading. Call that excited.

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. (Proverbs 8:12)

8. Again, identify and stay away from scammers. I came across a scam website yesterday, and it’s called Millionaire’s Blueprint. I need not put a link to that. Just know that scammers abound the Internet. If you’re offered maximum profits—watch out! I suppose we have to eliminate beforehand the greed factor, should we discern it in our system, so we won’t be clouded with the illusion of earning maximum profits in a short time, just like what the get-rich-quick schemes endlessly offer unsuspecting victims.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience... Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:6, 17)

9. Fear not. Yes, you read that right. Amidst uncertainty I say fear nothing and no one but God. I’ve been striving to practice that principle even the first time I embarked into freelancing seven years ago and I pass it on to you. Eliminate unnecessary fear. But know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). With that wisdom, significant knowledge, faith in God, and obedience to His Word, we will succeed.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. (Proverbs 19:23)

10. On taxation: Be honest. I would like to add that honesty remains to be the best policy, which applies to paying income tax, particularly that which pertains to trade winnings. Traders usually ask if they should declare in their inland revenue reports their earnings from trading. The answer to that is YES. Unless you live in, and are a permanent resident of, an oil-rich country, which normally doesn't impose income tax on its constituents, then you can skip paying income tax. But if you are a citizen of a country whose laws mandate that income earners must pay income tax, then you have to include your trade winnings when you file and pay income tax.

Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool. (Proverbs 19:1)

In the Philippines, we can classify trade winnings under "other income." And yes, we fill out BIR-registered official receipts (ORs) for the purpose of proper documentation, as reflected in our cash receipts books. On the OR, we simply write "via [name of the trading website]" on the blank next to "Received from," and write "trade winnings on [date of trade] next to "...full payment of." We, of course, write the gross amount of our trade winnings on the blank following "the sum of [currency]."

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)

My learning on the subject matter (i.e., binary options trading) is in progress, so I conclude here with the following passage from the Holy Bible, my encouragement for trading:

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (Words of Jesus, Matthew 25:14-29

Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'...