What kind of investor are you? Active Investor or Passive Investor? Knowing and understanding yourself, what your goals are, makes it so much easier to make money. “Know Thyself” and you will know where your money belongs. This is the first step to becoming a successful investor. It is also advice that Warren Buffett completely agrees with.
Active Investors make the time and commitment to invest their money. These are the people that will watch their money on a daily basis. Sometimes these people will watch money all day long and others just spend a few minutes a day watching their money. Either way this is the type of investor that makes a ton of money off their time and commitment.
Passive Investors are investors that give their money to someone else like a Financial Advisor to watch their money. Many people like to do this because this is the only way that they know. It makes them feel safe and secure with their money. They are taught that giving their money to a Financial Advisor steadily for a few decades is the smart thing to do and it will allow them to retire comfortably. What many do not know is that this is no longer the case. The typical Financial Advisor/Retirement Plan system was set up on a system that no longer works. It is a system of work for one or two employers for 30 years and then have a happy retirement. In today’s world the average person keeps a job for about 5 years and then moves on. So does their money. We also live in a world where the dollar is dropping value and expenses are rising. Just look at gas and food. Robert Kiyosaki says, “Having a Financial Advisor between you and your money is like having preacher between you and God.”
In America we are lacking in education and lacking in financial education.
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Some of the best investing advice does not come from a super successful investor. It comes from a little known poet and philosopher that changed the world with new ideas. The advice comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, he said this:
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps the principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries the methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”
To examine this statement and see if it is true let’s go to Wall Street. If you look at the typical Wall Street investor you will see that they are working extremely hard. They put in anywhere from 70-90 hours per week and many reach the brim of a mental breakdown. They spend all of their time working, chasing methods and attempting to make the next million or billion. There is always a new method to make more money. The goal is to accumulate as much money as possible and as quickly as possible. The appropriate term would be a ‘Methods Investor’.
Next we have the other side of the spectrum. If we look at some of the most uber successful investors we will see that they do not spend much of their time on Wall Street. In fact, many of them recommend staying away from Wall Street. These are ‘Principles Investors’. They invest in sound, basic principles that gives them a foundation and guidelines for investing. The poster child for the ‘Principles Investor’ is Warren Buffett. Because he has this foundation and sticks to this he has became one of the wealthiest people in the world. Once they master their principles they can invest and still make tons of money without spending to much of their time investing. They have control of their time and money. A great way to describe a Principles investor is an investor that controls his money. A Methods Investor is more of a person that is controlled by his money.
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It’s a crazy time right now in the stock market and everyone is talking about a possible correction. There are two sides to every story and there are two sides to this one as well. In any case, your investment strategies need to be ready for the inevitabilities of either situation. It’s a good time to be nimble in the markets right now. I would also question the traditional thinking behind retirement planning and stock investments.
There are two schools of investing thought. One says that we are current experiencing a temporary dip in a otherwise long term rally and bull market. The bears are saying that this is a correction, and it will be a huge one when all is said and done. Both sides have their arguments, and both sides are very valid. If you are doing online stock market trading, you can play off of the bulls and bears for profit.
The bulls are saying the recovery, albeit slow, is real and will be sustained. Even those who don’t think the Fed’s policies will work over the long run, they don’t think they will give up on this economy. In essence, Ben won’t let the financial markets fail and he won’t be satisfied until there is real job growth and creation in the economy. This is a mandate from his boss.
The other side says that the government policies have failed and there is too much risk in the world for the markets to continue to rally. They point to the very slow recovery and potential double dip in the housing market. They also point to the serious events in Europe with various sovereign states in crisis over their debt.
Then there is the actual market and what they are saying. Gold is shooting up again, pointing to the fact that the market actually may be nervous about what’s going on. But on the other hand, the VIX, which is an indicator of volatility in the stock market, is relatively low given the fact that there is a lot of fear and bear talk going on.
The gas industry is really dependent on the prices of the commodity itself. This is especially true for upstream companies that do the exploration, drilling and production of this fossil fuel. That is why if you are investing in any natural gas ETF funds or individual stocks, you need to be watching the commodities market for price volatility.
There are a few things happening right now that could make or break any of the natural gas companies in this sector. Most of it has to do with the commodity prices. I would say that until the price settles into a comfortable range, good stocks to invest in for this sector are those diversified in oil as well.
Gas prices are pretty cheap right now. The main driver is supply. A new drilling method called hydro-fracturing is allowing a dramatic increase in production of domestic supply. That has been driving the prices down for some time.
The problem may be that this new drilling technique is very expensive. That may also mean that with gas prices down, margins may be very small.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is going to change. I believe the demand for natural gas is going to continue to rise. As more and more power generation seeks to use this fuel that is cleaner than coal and safer than nuclear, I think prices will start to rise.
There is a movement to start using gas more than crude oil as well. The main reasons are because it is cleaner burning and it can be found domestically. That means we can clean up the air, mitigate climate change and get ourselves off of dependence on foreign oil all at the same time.
I think this migration to gas will continue for years to come. That will lead to higher prices, which will help this sector. But until that happens, many companies in this industry are at risk of not surviving the low margins.