The Little Things Every Newbie Should Know About the Stock Market

So You Want to Learn and Earn from the Stock Market?

What is the stock market?

The stock market is simply a place wherein you can purchase shares of publicly traded companies. In plainer terms, you could get to own a part or portion of the company that you're buying shares from. It's like taking a slice out of the whole pizza. Let's say you're a Jollibee fanatic and would like to have a franchise of the said company. However, you still can't afford the minimum amount of requirement for every investors which is around Php 6-10 Million and store size requirement of 80 sqm, then you can still own a few shares of JFC (symbol used in the PSe) at Php 75.95 per share (as of writing, you see it varies per trading day).

I'd like to take investing in the stock market that way. While others are trading and play around with the purpose of "buying on low and selling on high" or short term investing.

Let's see, investors usually play for the long term while traders play for short term. Let's not touch the trading for now as there are myriad of resources which I would be sharing at the latter part of this post. Let's focus on how you could get started in the stock market. 

Ask yourself  and DO invest in the stock market if;

  1. You would like your money to work for you. Instead of the other way around.
  2. You would like to boost our local economy (You would then be included in the 3% of the total population in our country that invests in the stock market - elite much?! haha)
  3. You'd like to increase your financial literacy.
Do NOT invest if;

  1. You would like to stay an employee all your life and depend on your company's retirement plan.
  2. You would like to believe in the myths about the stock market forever.
  3. You would like to stay financially illiterate forever. 

Okay, the latter sounds rude but based on experience, I've learned to make wiser and much more informed financial decisions since I started joining the stock market investing bandwagon. I've become more interested in what's going on in our country and have a deeper understanding of what truly makes a country progress. For sure there are lots of things which I would yet to learn and discover but I'm glad that I'm on my way towards it. Now, before I'd get to sound overtly patriotic, let's get into the million-dollar-question, "How?"

So you've finally decided that;

  1. You'd want money to work for you
  2. You'd want to have your own retirement plan
  3. You'd want to get rich through the stock market
Congratulations! You've just made the single most important decision that would eventually bless your life in bazillion of ways. But wait, before you'd get too excited, remember that the stock market is NOT a money-generating machine that you'd just switch on and tada! Lots of money being released. Remember that there are actual operating companies behind those ticker symbols you're hitting "Buy" or "Sell"  so it's important that you "do your homework".

What are these homeworks, exactly?

  1. Determine as to how much money you're willing to invest. It doesn't have to be millions right away. What's important is that you do. And you do it now! (Well, again, once you're ready).
  2. Choose a broker - whether it be online or traditional. Decide which one. Online brokers are those that let you start with a minimum capital (which also means less or to no supervision). If you're going to start with Php5,000, Php10,000 or Php25,000, it's best to monitor your fund on your own so you could get to learn from your trading activities.
Below is a list of certified online brokers in the Philippines along with their websites so you can check them out and compare. 

AB Capital Securities, Inc.
Accord Capital Equities Corporation
BPI Securities Corporation
CitiSecurities, Inc.
F. Yap Securities, Inc.
First Metro Securities Brokerage Corporation
RCBC Securities, Inc.
Wealth Securities Inc.

Traditional brokers, on the other hand, are the ones who can advise you on which company to buy shares from. They're the people who "do the math" for a living so you can focus on what you do best and they too, do the dirty works for you. With that, I mean they spare you from the dreadful works of spending the nights with a cup of coffee at one hand and charts on the other. In short, they would have to deal with the complexity of the "homework" for you.

I started with an online broker, which is Citiseconline. So far, they're doing a great job in maintaining smooth and swift trading transactions. Also, they have probably the greatest and most responsive customer service people (Folks don't worry, I am not in any way affiliated or paid to do this, #justsayin). 

3. Determine your risk appetite. Are you risk-averse or risk taker? Also, you need to know whether you're investing for long term or short term.

4. Choose a company that you want to invest in. Learn as much information about it, monitor their earnings, download reports from the Philippine Stock Exchange website, monitor the price pattern so you'll know when is the best time to buy or sell . Oh yes, it helps to learn Technical Analysis and Fundamental Analysis (don't fret if you're yet unfamiliar with these terms as I will explain and provide resources later).

5. Be on the look out for the latest relevant news and issues about the company that you would like to invest in. The more good news and rumors, the better.

Alright, so you think you're good to go? Again, you need to determine the following in order for you to get started in the stock market.

  1. Risk appetite - risk averse of risk taker
  2. Amount of money you're willing to invest
  3. Type of broker - online or traditional
  4. Company (ies) to invest in
  5. Investment Time - long term or short term
Now if you're determined and have decided on your choices and wish to get updates from time to time, below is a list of forums, blogs that Philippine Stock Market investors and traders flock in. Most of them are on Facebook too for easier access and interaction. 


1. Market Mirror - Probably the most comprehensive forum of traders and investors. Big time investors like Jerry Angping has previously posted "tips" and news on the said forum. There are also seasoned technical analysts that share their views and forecasts on specific stocks. 

2. Philippine Stock Market Forum - Let's face it, Market Mirror can be a little intimidating for newbies as you get to read well thought and well researched posts from seasoned traders and analysts but that doesn't mean you can't have a place wherein you could just ask, share your frustration without worrying the "big guys" might laugh at you (well I don't think they really do that though), then this forum is for you. Personally, I am more comfortable posting questions and comments on here. 

3. Phil. Stock Market Discussions, Comments and Forecast - Perhaps the most newbie friendly forum on Facebook that allows newbies to hear and be heard. Maintained by Remigio Ocampo, this community is a great place to ask specific stocks and get insightful reviews and commentaries from co-traders and investors. Remy would also provide his fearless forecasts and lo and behold, the next trading day or week, you'll see significant movement (upward if you wanna be particular) in the said issue or stock.

4. LaidTrades - Well maintained and updated by seasoned traders and analysts Ron Acoba and Aldrich Sevilla, the community contains well researched updates and reviews on specific stocks not only in the Philippine Stock Market but also about forex and commodities. Oh man, it's like your one-stop investing  updates shop! 

5. Traders Pizza - Probably one of the pioneering, if not the oldest, forums that cater to traders. And with that I really mean traders. It's where tsupiteros would share and sometimes fight over their stock tips. Nonetheless, it's a great place for rumors and get a good laugh ;-)

6. Finance Manila - Network for traders to get the latest news and their forum is a great place to peak at the hottest tips too.  

I'm sorry folks, I don't really lurk around the last two forums as much I spend time on the others so I can't really give much review on them but I've heard much great and not so great reviews from those I know so I guess it's for you to see it yourself.

Blogs to Read and Learn About the Stock Market

1. Miko Sayo the Tsupitero - tsupitero is a Filipino slang for someone who swing traders or invests in short term. I love his style of updating his readers as he would mention particular stocks he like and why. Miko is a Certified Financial Technician (CFTe) and Technical Analyst.

2. Absolute Traders - We Take the Gambling out of Trading. That's absolute trading. Fearless. The company provides various services that educates their students with the necessary skills and techniques to be successful in the financial markets – whether it be stocks, options, commodities, or currencies. I guess Ron Acoba was once an Absolute Traders student too. 

3. Traders Delight - It is a community of stock market investors, traders, hobbyists, enthusiasts, self-learners and just about anyone that are interested in the glorious stock market. Anything goes baby, fearless forecasts, updates, rumors, etc. 

4. Thoughts of a Novice Trader - Maintained by Christina Hunt along with her colleagues, their random musing about specific stocks are fun to read. I like just how laid back their updates are. You sure would have a fun time reading their daily updates.

5. High Heeled Traders - While the stock market may be mainly dominated by men, they can't have all the fun, can they? Ms. Charmel Delos Reyes has a fun and fabulous approach to trading by likening it to shopping. She has this contagious enthusiasm towards trading and has actually dedicated several posts to help inspire more newbies, or newbabes as she call it. No silly charts, no jargon-rich posts. Just plain awesomeness to help newbies and women in particular to appreciate trading and get started. I would really recommend her Women are Natural Traders and Girl Power Trading sections. Be amazed by her passion for both trading and fashion by getting to know her more through this interview

6. Cliff the Investor - The only blog with no About Me as there's no need for one. He's determined to keep his identity cloaked. From being the Pinoy Swing Trader, Cliff has turned into an investor (for long term to be exact). Among all the blogs that I mentioned, he is the only person that is brave enough to show his portfolio and support his "claims" with well, his portfolio. The daily quotes on every post are pretty much spot on with regards to every point he's like to stress. Just like Gus Cusio's blog, Cliff's blog is every trader's tambayan. Not exactly as a haven but he's probably the most controversial investor-blogger ever. Having had the chance to talk with him on Facebook chat, beyond those portfolio and posts is a person that knows technical analysis and could truly support his "claims", it's just that sometimes people would easily get irritated with someone who seems to "know-it-all" or as his critics would put it, "he seems smarter than he actually is". Despite all that, I think Cliff is indeed a good investor, if not a good trader.

7. PSe Buzz - Direct links to the latest news and press releases of various companies listed in the PSe. Also, sometimes they would post news directly from the "grapevine" so go ahead and check them out!

8. Rich Money Habit - Allan focuses on the habits and attitude that drives one into investing. He chronicles his journey and habits that he has acquired through investing in various types of investment. He's pretty approachable as he was one of the first stock market investor friends I had. I had a notion that people who are into investing are aloof and won't share their wealth of knowledge but Allan proved me wrong. People who are into investing are actually eager to teach the newbies as they understand the path they've been through.

9. Stock Market Investing by D’ Intelligent Investor, Zigfred Diaz, is the most comprehensive, insightful and fully dedicated blog and the great place for newbies to start your investing journey with. The posts are well detailed and easy to understand especially for those who have no prior knowledge with the terms and methodologies in investing.

10. Gus Cosio says so - Maintained by a seasoned investor and analyst, his blog is probably every investor and traders tambayan as aside from those mentioned forums on Facebook, his blog is a place where lots of people are leaving comments, asking questions about specific stocks and he is kind enough give his insightful thought on them. A well respected person in his trade, his blog is a must read.

What about you, what particular blogs have helped you in your journey to investing in the stock market? Feel free to share the links below so other newbies could learn from them too :)

So you want to learn and earn in the stock market? You bet! Caveat! (oh that means, as baby James puts it, "Mommy, be careful) ;-) 

If you enjoyed this post then your donation would be appreciated!

3 Ways to Win an iPad! - A List of Contests

Turn Your "Like" into an iPad!

Are you still longing to get your hands laid on that iPad that almost everyone is craving about but avoiding shedding some dollars from your pockets like plague? Well you're not alone buddy! The good thing is, there are lots of companies that are willing to give out iPads as they're currently embracing the power of social media to promote awareness for their brands and one of the most trending technique to do just that is to give out freebies, schwags or run contests which would require engagement or some level of content from their targeted audience and develop some sort of "following".

Below is a compilation of existing contests (as of writing - mainly in the Philippines) that would give you a chance to win an iPad and turn your Facebook "Like" into an iPad (well, if you win!)

Win an iPad Contests

1. Pakyaw - they're giving away Wii, Macbooks, iPads, and the LCD TV each day until the 31st of January. To enter, you would need to sign up to their website to become eligible to their electronic raffle. Right, you have 2 more days to do just that so sign up now!

2. Deals Tent PH - By just "Liking" their Facebook page, you would get a chance to win an 16 gb iPad (with WiFi). Also, they have this "Experience Iloilo" contest wherein you can post your favorite place within the Iloilo City and get a chance to win P5,000. I've already submitted mine so it would mean the world to me if you'd "Like" this photo No "Like" button? You would need to "Like" their page first!  

3. - Win an Apple iPad in January, 2011 by following @BloggersDotCom on Twitter and Retweet this to win! #iPad #Giveaway

There you go, those are just some of the legit and easy ways to turn your "Likes" or "Follow" into an iPad (well, if you're lucky ;-)

If there are other contests that you'd like to share with us, feel free to leave your responses below in the comment section or tweet me on Twitter! Cheers!

Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Company Cancellation Letter Example

If you would like to cancel your Philippine Prudential Life Insurance policy and looking for a cancellation letter sample, below is a copy of the letter which I sent them to have my policy cancelled and successfully have my full refund in less than a month.

Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Cancellation Letter Sample

Cancellation Department
Philippine Prudential Life

Re: Policy Number: PPL(your policy number here) Cancellation

I am sending you this written notice to request cancellation of my insurance policy effective this day, (insert date). I would appreciate you sending me a written confirmation within 30 days that the cancellation has been put into effect. 

Please refund my initial payment for my policy plan and cease charging my bank account for payment of monthly premiums.

I wish to discontinue the policy as I am no longer interested with the benefits and coverage thereof. 

Thank you for your prompt attention in regards to this matter.


Name (and sign)

(Seriously, that's what I told them because that's exactly what I felt after reading the various threads of the non-insurance of having yourself insured with them! haha)

Other possible reason which others are actually stating is:

I could no longer afford to pay the monthly premiums.

There you go! May you have your insurance policy cancelled and get your money refunded successfully!

If you enjoyed this post then your donation would be appreciated!

Let's Switch to the New and Improved Yahoo Mail

Make the Most of Your Yahoo Mail Experience of the New Yahoo Mail!

I've had bazillion of email accounts since high school when me and my friends learned how to use the internet. Yeah, it is during those times when we would hurry and get to the nearest internet station and delight at mIRC, Yahoo Chat and eventually Friendster. 

Signing up for most social networking sites require an email address so I created a funny username because my friend told me to never give out my real identity. When you're in the APAC (Asia Pacific), you don't hear about Google, it's all about Yahoo! So, my first and surviving email account with Yahoo, that is.

Now, if your email interface still looks like  the one below, we both have been hiding under the cave as Yahoo has got a new and improved Yahoo! Mail

An older version of Yahoo! Mail

The New and Improved Yahoo! Mail
Introducing, the new Yahoo Mail -Beta Version

During their roll-out of the new Yahoo! Mail on October 26th, 2010, David McDowell, Sr. Director of Product Management of Yahoo! Mail identified the 6 exciting improvements in the new interface of the new Yahoo! Mail. 

7 Reasons Why You Should Switch to the New Yahoo! Mail

1. Speed thrills
We all things to be fast! Yahoo! did just that with their new and enhanced version of the Yahoo! Mail. 

2. Be gone, spammer!
The new Yahoo! Mail has an improved spam filter that automatically detects and blocks the unwanted and totally annoying spams! Your inbox won't be eating those again. Not ever. haha

3. Yahoo! Mail everywhere
Yahoo! Mail could now be accessed on your iPhone, iPad or an Android device. Hey, I guess we don't need to rush in those internet cafes we used to frequently go to. 

4. Beyond email
Social Media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook could now be accessed through your Yahoo! Mail. Oh well, they helped me get rid of those spam mails but here's another distraction ;-)

5. Photos and videos
Fancy browsing rich slideshows from Flickr or Picasa links and watch video clips from Flickr and YouTube? No need to wander, you can have them right from your email. Whooa! Talking about slacking ;-)

6. Find stuff faster
What I like about Gmail is that they have an awesome indexer or email finder, glad that my first love has that too! 

7. We’re just getting started
We could expect more from them so jump in the new bandwagon, switch to the new Yahoo! Mail now. ;-) These new changes makes me even more excited to check my email every 5 seconds! haha

If you enjoyed this post then your donation would be appreciated!

You Know You're Married to a Filipina When...

Despite the cultural differences, most Westerners still prefer to settle down with Filipinas. Below are just some of the funny cultures and habits your Filipina wife may have. Read on, you'll be surprised what do these Filipina wives have in common.

You may be married to a Filipina When...

(written by an American guy who loves his Filipina wife in spite of the numerous irregularities):

* Your refrigerator is always full but you cannot find any food that you recognize

* Instead of a dowry, you got the whole bill for the wedding and honeymoon

* Most of the decorations in your house are made of wicker

* You are expected to be able to read her mind just by watching her eyebrows move up and down and by the way her lips are pointed

* All her relatives think your name is "Joe"

* The instant you are married you have 3,000 new close relatives that you can't tell apart

* Your house isn't really on fire, you've just got a very charred fish on top of the stove burner

* All the desserts are sticky and all the snacks are salty

* She eats her fruit with giant salt crystals and her fried chicken with ketchup

* Even the ketchup tastes weird...very weird

* You throw a party and everyone is fighting to chop the leathery skin off a dead pig

* All your kids have 4-5 middle names

* Your in-laws take 10 years to acknowledge your existence and to call you by something other than "that white guy"

* You try to call her up on the phone and someone tells you "for a while" and you want to know "for a while, what??"

* You are trying to go to sleep and she keeps asking for the comFORT'r, and you ain't got a clue what she's talking about

* Your first Christmas present is some funny looking, baggy, see-thru shirt made out of leftover lace doilies

* Your phone bills are composed mostly of international and calls that average 3 hours each

* She sweeps with something that witches usually fly around on

* Her idea of classy, expensive champagne is Asti Spumante

* The rice cooker is on 24 hours a day and uses up 50% of your electricity and food budget

* On your first trip to the Philippines, you have 18 giant boxes that weigh 1000 pounds each and your "carry on" luggage requires a small forklift truck

* The same luggage is over filled with things that cost an average of 15 cents each like old magazines and M&Ms -- the worst part is when you get off the plane, the same stuff you've been hauling around half way around the world is available in every store in the airport for half the price!

* All her pajamas look like they were worn by the Dalai Lama until they got too faded and he discarded them

* The first time she's pregnant you have to go out at 4:00 in the morning looking for some weird type of greasy sausages, green mangoes and bagoong

* You buy a new $500 freezer so she can store 200 pounds of SPAM and CORNED BEEF that was on sale

* Everything in your house was bought on sale, even if you don't need it ... that it was a "bargain" is all that matters

* She gets really excited by sucking the fat out of pig knees

* Your daughter gets her ears pierced when she's 2 minutes old but your sons are not circumcised until they turn 21

* All your postage bills instantly double

* You hire a Ya-Ya because your wife ckeabs mirrors with soap and a sponge and the Ya-Ya seems cheaper than a divorce

* The only "white meat" she likes is YOU. And that's if you're lucky...

* Her favorite sauce is called "patis." Americans call it turpentine

* She actually thinks that bowling and golf and billiards are real sports and are more important than baseball and football

* You were married 5 years before she explained to you that "ARAY!" doesn't mean "ooh, baby!"

* She prefers bistek to beef steak

* Her idea of new upholstery is rinsing the bagoong stains out of the slip covers

* She can eat and talk at the same time; in fact that's her specialty!

* Her favorite meal is leftovers, her favorite fancy dessert is Jell-O mold and for something REALLY romantic, she'll offer you a halo-halo with 2 straws

* You still don't know the difference between manong and manok

* She and the kids are always saying "Daddy made utot" and you still don't know what it means, but they think it's pretty funny

* Other than eyebrow raising and lip puckering, her next most expressive form of communication is grunts and pssst's

* She goes to the movies just for the AC

* Her homeland has more Megamalls than islands

* Before every holiday and visit, her sisters fax you a 10 page "bilins" list which says "suggestion only"

* Your kitchen table has a merry-go-round in the middle

* All the vegetables she buys at the Filipino store look like they were grown at Chernobyl

* Her friends are named Chinky, Girlie, Boy and Bimbo and NO, you are not allowed to smirk

* Her home economics course only taught shopping, eating and siesta; cooking, cleaning and sewing were not electives

* Her idea of edifying reading is gossip magazines

* All your place settings have the silverware backwards and there are no knives

* She washes her hair with a bucket and her car with a broom

* Her favorite book (she has 3 copies) is "1001 New Recipes for Pig Parts You Were Gunna Throw Out"

* You are the only family in a 200 mile radius with 2 Betamaxes, 3 televisions

* She's done her best job planning a surprise party for you if she manages not to tell you about it until a week or two before

* She "cleans" her closet by throwing all the crap into your closet

Facebook and Goldman Sachs – Are They a Good Match?

Facebook is Now Valued $50 Billion
Image by Fastcompany

Even before Facebook reportedly sets its initial public offering in April 2010, it has already received a $500 million investment from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Russia’s Digital Sky Technologies thus making the social-networking company’s theoretical value at $50 billion. The investment bank also made an arrangement that lets its clients buy Facebook equity worth as much as $1.5 billion.

Goldman Sachs Investment Invites SEC Scrutiny

The hefty investment has caught the attention of Securities Exchange Commission. The Securities and Exchange Commission, whose rules require any company with more than 499 investors to disclose financial information to the public, is already scrutinizing the market for trading shares of closely held companies including Facebook and other private technology companies such as Zynga, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Would the Goldman Sachs Investment to Facebook Cause New Bubble?

The deal now makes Facebook worth more than companies like eBay, Yahoo and Time Warner. It is clear that Facebook seems to be taking the lead in the next wave of tech-stock enthusiasm. The number of Goldman Sachs investors that becoming interested in the unnamed “private company that is considering a transaction to raise additional capital” are increasing and might cause Facebook’s inevitable public offering.

Would these investors enthusiasm cause a new bubble just like what happened in the late 1990’s? Will Facebook be the new star of the technology sector or will it become a symbol of how overinflated expectations and over subscription social networking sites have? While the company might have an annual revenue of estimated $2 billion range, its new hefty valuation gained from the investment of Goldman Sachs and Russia’s Digital Sky Technologies of $50 billion might be difficult to live up to.

Though the social networking site may now have over 600 million users, the question as to how could they convert these numbers into successful advertising campaigns still has vague answers.

Facebook Still Banned at Goldman Sachs

While Goldman Sachs has been enthusiastically encouraging its wealthy investors to put their money to Facebook, it is interesting to note that the investment bank has prohibited its employees to use the said social networking site. While the issue may be regarding productivity, with the heightened interest over its investment on the social networking site, could this setup soon change?

Would the Goldman Sachs investment create a win-win situation to its investors and Facebook users? Or would it only create pressure to Facebook to live up to its current hefty valuation?