Attention Canadian stock traders – Get a free iPad mini from Questrade

questrade logo

Hello fellow Canadian stock traders. I just found out yesterday via e-mail that my current stock broker – Questrade – is giving away free iPad mini. An iPad mini is yours when you open and fund an account with $100,000. Or, fund a new account with just $1,000 and you will be entered to win one of 10. Questrade still offers the lowest stock trading commissions in Canada so I’d definitely still recommend using them. These free this and that promos they offer once in a while are nice and all but the main reason to go with them are the lower trading costs.

Enjoy and happy trading!

Alan out.

Cheers!

An introduction to Bitcoin (Video)

bitcoin

Greetings!

Bitcoin is a fascinating new form of electronic money that uses strong cryptography as the underlying support structure. Bitcoin is a form of electronic currency known as “cryptocurrency”. It is in my opinion a very revolutionary idea, but although it has been rapidly growing in popularity and usage it is still not completely “mainstream.” Those of you who have never heard about bitcoin may want to checkout the video I’ve posted below:

Now that you’ve watched the video and you have a better understanding of bitcoin you may be wondering how can you start using it. Well, there are several ways you can join the action.

1) Buy bitcoin at one of the numerous bitcoin exchanges (ie Mt Gox, Bitstamp, btce, cavirtex, etc – there are quite a lot more!)
2) Offer your products and services in exchange for bitcoins (ie. join the bitcointalk.org forum and post in the marketplace section)
3) Join the network of users that help secure the network by becoming what is known as a “miner”.

By mining bitcoin you essentially get to create bitcoins using your mining hardware. Later on if you wish to you can spend these bitcoins for goods and services or exchange them for US dollar or any other form of national currency. These days the bitcoin mining industry has progressed to the point that there are dedicated bitcoin mining chips out there. These chips are far more efficient than what miners were using before – mainly cpus, and GPU (graphics cards).

If you decide to buy bitcoin mining hardware I would recommend you invest in “ASIC” miners – mining hardware that use special purpose chips. There are quite a few out there but a good bet would be to invest in second generation ASIC miners from a company known as KNCMiner.

KNCMiner are due to start shipping their hardware in October (if you order now) and each unit is expected to produce a whopping 400 Gigahashes* per second – that is a lot compared to existing mining hardware. Granted there are other companies that plan to release mining hardware KNCMiner are likely to be the first to come to market as part of the second wave of dedicated mining hardware.

If you are a large investor reading this and you’d like to invest in the bitcoin mining industry I can offer my consulting services (recommended hardware to purchase, how to host them, how to set them up, etc). Use this blog’s “about me” section to get in touch with me for details.

*Worry not if you don’t understand what Gigahashes are. I will make another post hopefully soon explaining all of this.

Full Tilt Poker Affiliate Program is Back!

Full Tilt Poker Logo

Fellow affiliates! I have some good news. The Full Tilt Poker affiliate program is back! After being shutdown for a while due to running into some “difficulties” with the authorities and subsequently being bought by PokerStars their now back online. This also means that they’re re-opened their affiliate program. Since they’re under new management I feel a lot more comfortable telling you about this then if they were being managed by the same people. I have already signed up for their affiliate program and I will soon start promoting them.

If you’ve read my blog in the past you would know that I’ve had success with their affiliate program and I hope to resume that success. It sucks though that I lost all my previous referrals and no doubt some of you are in the same position as me. Ohwell, such is life.

So, if you are interested in signing up here is what you need to do:

Step 1: Click here to go to the Full Tilt Poker website.

Step 2: Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the “Full Tilt Poker Partners” link

Step 3: There should be instructions on that page as to what you need to do next.

If you run into any issues feel free to leave a comment here and I will try my best to help you.

Good luck! I hope you make tons of money!

Alan out.

Top 3 Money Protection Techniques

Money may feel somewhat scarce these days in comparison to the more prosperous times of the past. While we do not want to have to lock ourselves away and never part with our cash again, many of us do want to know how to protect the remaining finances we have and insure ourselves against further tough economic times.

Invest your money sensibly

With interest rates from bank accounts continuing to decline in several countries, more and more people are turning to alternative methods of investing their money. From stocks and shares to solid gold, with many other new and exciting markets also emerging; having a portfolio can be a great way to boost your balance. However, not only must you choose carefully where to place your money, you must also choose carefully how much money to place on each asset; early successes must not go to your head and spur you on to risk too much of your cash. While investing can be a great long-term method to grow your savings, you must always ensure you retain enough to survive comfortably in the meantime.

Be on the lookout for hidden charges

There are on-going calls for courts to be granted additional power in the fight against hidden charges that continue to lumber consumers with unwanted debts and over-inflated monthly payments. In the meantime, you can protect yourself against ending up in such a situation by remaining diligent to the small print of any contracts and by carefully scrutinising the terms and conditions of any deals long before you agree to sign them.

One of the most widespread cases of unsolicited, hidden charges came in the form of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). This policy was mis-sold by banks in poorly organised policies to thousands of consumers who had no need for it; most of whom were not even made aware that they were paying for it until they found their bank accounts sorely hit by extra charges.

While the likes of PPI has led to the public naming and shaming of those involved and a call from governments to reimburse wrongfully taken cash, other companies are still employing this rogue technique. From phone network providers, to supermarkets, to airlines; almost any business will try it if they believe they will get away with it.

Protect your identity

One of the best ways to protect your money is to protect your own identity. It is not just cancelling lost credit cards and informing banks of changes in address that can protect us however: Many of us now use smartphones as part of our everyday lives but fail to realise what a goldmine they are for potential identity (and monetary) thieves. Apps contain detailed information about us; they provide quick access to all our emails and contacts and many of us use them for remote, internet banking and fail to even bother logging out of our accounts.

Smartphones should always be password protected and passwords for separate devices, websites, online accounts, etc. should never be the sameor else if a hacker cracked it, they would immediately have access to everything. Software even allows you to lock your phone or wipe its data completely from another computer should it become lost or stolen.

About the Author

This post was written by Gladstone Brookes; a company based in the UK that helps consumers to reclaim money from mis-sold PPI policies. With an 87% success rate, they have already aided in the reimbursement of over £300 million so far and continue to accept applications from those who believe they have been wrongfully charged by their banks.

Jim Rogers – Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets

Jim Rogers Street Smarts

I recently came across Jim Rogers’ new book – Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets – and I’d figure some of you may enjoy reading a brief review of it.

For those of you who do not know who Jim Rogers is, permit me to give you his brief bio.  James Beeland Rogers, Jr. (born October 19, 1942) is an American investor and author. He is currently based in Singapore. Rogers is the Chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests, Inc. He was the co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros and creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI). Jim is a well-known investor who has appeared on numerous financial TV shows.

He has written several other books, some of which are: Adventure Capitalist, Investment Biker, A Gift to My Children, Hot Commodities, A Bull in China. I haven’t read any of his other books but I plan on grabbing a copy of each one soon.

Now on to the book. First of all I should mention that this book is not a “how to” guide on investing. Instead this books is part memoir, part investment primer, part history lesson, part travelogue, part sermon, and just an all around good read. Jim Rogers is a strongly opinionated guy and I for one can definitely appreciate and respect that. He has a wealth of investing experience so what he says is not a bunch of hot air or rehashed investment cliches. So if you get a chance to read the book (and I suggest you do) and you get to a parts where Mr. Rogers espouses his passionate opinions, take a deep breath and consider what he is saying before you react in a sort of “knee-jerk” fashion.

I’m not a literary critic by any means but if I was to comment upon how the book was written I’d say that Jim did a fine job. His language is simple, clear, concise, and empty of any jargon or run on sentences. Put simply, it is terse and pithy, which is precisely how a book should be in my opinion. It is also not a super long read either, so I think if you dedicate an hour tops per day you should be able to finish it in a week or two.

In this book Roger puts forth several personal viewpoints that I believe are worth considering. Some of them you may not agree with some of them you might. I found myself agreeing with quite a few of them. Some of them I can’t comment on as I do not happen to have the relevant background experience (such as the US educational system – I was not educated in the US , etc). Here are some of the interesting “core” ideas in this book:

  • The US is declining as fast as Asia is rising.
  • If you want to give your kids a good education, make sure they learn Chinese.
  • The best investment opportunities are in Asia.
  • The US spends twice as much on healthcare as the average nation and gets terrible outcomes.
  • High healthcare and litigation costs are the major reasons why American carmakers can’t compete globally.
  • The fourth leading cause of death in the US is hospital infection.
  • The US will go the way of Rome, Timbuktu, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Greece.
  • The cure for high prices is high prices.
  • Jim Rogers is always two or three years ahead of the curve.
  • Because governments are debasing currencies, commodities are the best investment.
  • Don’t believe government statistics.
  • According to government stats, there are more pets in Japan than children.
  • The school system in Singapore is far superior to any in the US.
  • Marco polo did not have a passport.
  • Throughout history, the most prosperous societies have been open ones.
  • In the US, the primacy of the individual has become subordinated to the state.
  • If you want to save America, change to a consumption tax, change our education system, institute healthcare and litigation reform, and bring home our troops (from over 100 countries.)
  • The only real failure is not to try; the only improper question is the one unasked.

What do you think? These ideas are definitely unconventional, but wisdom is rarely conventional – especially when one truly has a pioneering ideas. History will prove Jim Rogers right or wrong, and thus far he’s been right with a remarkable level of accuracy.  Let me know what you think of his ideas and if you get a chance to read his book let me know what you think.

So this concludes my humble review. Overall id’s give this book a score of 9 out 10. It is in my opinion a good read and I definitely recommend it. Now on to ebay and amazon to find me some copies of his other books.

Happy investing to you all!

Cheers,

Alan

BullionVault Gold Saving Plan

Hello dear blog readers. It’s been a while since I made a post about gold, but I just recently found out about this exciting news from BullionVault that I had to share. Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I’m a big fan of allocated storage/marketplace provider BullionVault. The exciting news is that BullionVault has launched a “gold saving plan,” and it is precisely what it sounds like. With this you can regularly and automatically invest in gold. Here is how BullionVault describes their product offering:

“You can now build up regular savings in gold without needing to place orders yourself or deal directly on BullionVault’s online market.
BullionVault’s new Automatic Gold Investment Plan allows you to buy gold regularly with minimum effort.
Simply enable the new feature in your account settings and arrange for a monthly deposit into your BullionVault account from your bank. Each payment will then be used to buy gold automatically at the price set at the next London Fix, the global benchmark used in the professional wholesale markets.
A dealing charge of 0.8% applies. Your gold will be stored at the usual costs in the Zurich vault. You can stop making deposits or sell your bullion and withdraw your funds at any time, without notice or penalty.”

This is a very neat ability to have and I for one am seriously considering taking advantage of it. Check out BullionVault’s homepage for further details.

Happy investing everyone!

Cheers,

Alan.