Capital One 360 Savings Review - Online Savers Banking

Sep 15, 2014 -

Non-Traditional Banking with Capital One 360 Savings [Review]



Summary:

Interest rates - (as of 9/15/2014)- 0.75% APY

Pros

1. No fees and no minimums
2. Free transfers between accounts including outside linked (i.e. Chase, Wells Fargo, etc.)
3. Currently they are offering a sign-up bonus.
4. Customer Service - 7 days a week 8AM to 8PM speak to a live U.S. person. (The few times that I've had to call them, my issues were resolved quickly via phone support.)

Cons

1. Takes 2 business days for transfers to be completed.
2. Deposited funds from outside Capital One accounts are subject to ten business day hold before it can be withdrawn (however interest is still being accrued on that balance).

I've been a customer of Capital One 360 (formerly known as ING Direct Savings) for over nine years now since 2005. In it's hay day it was offering upwards toward 5.00% APY (annual percentage yield). Now due to a low federal interest rate environment, the interest rate fluctuates from 0.40% to 1.00% APY. Quite frankly, the main reason that I am still with them is because their site is very easy to use, I rarely have issues and if they arise they are resolved quickly via their 7 days a week phone support. They also offer higher interest rates than the traditional savings accounts.

As we are all well aware, traditional savings account such as Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo offer minimal if any interest on the balance you hold with them. For example, my Chase Plus Savings account yield a paltry 0.03% APY. This means for every $1,000 I deposit with them, I will earn approximately 30 cents of interest a year. While there are definitely better interest yields out there in terms of bonds, stocks, and mutual funds, for emergency funds and cash you may need within six months, those investments might not be the best place to put your money.

We want a interest yielding vehicle that is liquid like a savings/checking, but has interest yields higher than the traditional savings. At first thought you might consider CDs. Certificate of deposits are good alternatives, but typically you are locked in to having to hold the balance for a couple months at the very least.

Enter in the online banking savings account. These companies are able to offer higher interest rates because they don't have a brick and mortar operation. Their costs are lower and therefore they are able to pass on their savings to you. Now you might wonder, if they don't have a branch, how is it that you can withdraw from the account or even make a deposit?

For starters you can link your traditional banking account to the Capital One 360 via ACH. After that you can easily send money for free to and from the accounts online. If you prefer, you can also call their 24/7 access line at 1-888-464-7868 to make a withdrawal or deposit. They also have live phone support 7 days a week from 8AM to 8PM. From my personal experience, each time I've had to call them either because I forgot my password or I needed to make deposit, they were absolutely professional, cordial, and quick in resolving my issue.

What would prevent you from opening up a Capital One 360 savings?
Transferring money can take 2 business days to be completed. However, if you have other Capital One Bank accounts those transfers are available immediately. For all other accounts, there is also a ten day business day hold on your funds after which they will be available for withdrawal. In other words, don't expect to pay someone tomorrow on the funds your deposited today.

In accordance to federal regulations and consistent with all other savings accounts, you are allowed a limit of six withdrawals per calender month. However, right now if you are referred by me and you open a 360 Savings account you will receive a $25 bonus! Best of all Capital One 360 Savings has no fees and no minimums. All of the money is FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor just like all traditional banks.
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Stock Of the Week - Gentherm (THRM)

Sep 7, 2014 -

The Hidden Gem in the Automobile Industry (Gentherm)


Gentherm (THRM) is the premier leader in thermal technologies specifically their focus is on the design, development, and manufacturing of innovative thermal management technologies and cable systems. The climate controlled seat system is the main focus of the company. It is designed to provide thermal comfort to automobile passengers. 

The company's strategy is to "market to the major manufacturers that our products represent an attractive feature that will be embraced by consumers and have favorable economics, including high profitability, to these customers."

Highlight Fundamentals

Gentherm's revenues have grown at a tremendous rate since 2009 from a paltry $60.9M to a whopping $662.1M in 2013. In only five years, revenues has increased over ten times the amount in 2009. What is even more astonishing is the fact that net income attributable to Gentherm Incorporated has grown at an even more blistering pace. In 2009, net income attributed to Gentherm was $256,000 versus in 2013 it was recorded at $33.8M. 


Much of this is riding the recently hot automobile industry. Per the LA Times, in August 2014, automakers sold about 1.6 million vehicles which is about a 3% increase compared to the same period a year earlier. This August has been quoted to be the best in over a decade! One of the latest trend in the industry is to have heated seats in cars. What I can gather is that this is truly Gentherm's bread and butter at the moment. Gentherm is by no means a small player in the market as they are supplying big name manufacturers such as General Motors, Hyundai, Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, and Renault/Nissan and Honda with auto parts. Why have you not heard of them? This is well-kept secret to many investors as they do not sell directly to consumer. 

Recently Gentherm purchased all of remaining outstanding shares of W.E.T. Based in Odelzhausen, Germany, W.E.T. is a global manufacturer of automotive seat comfort systems, specialized automotive cable systems and other non-automotive product solutions. This has only helped Gentherm move towards becoming the global leader in thermal technologies.

As with many fast-growing companies, we will look to see how they are funding their operations. It is without a doubt companies like this will have debt. After all, even with Apple's huge cash stash, it still decides to issue bonds and hold debt. To much of my surprise, Gentherm holds debt a very low interest rates. I'm talking about at rates of 4.25% or lower. This is not typical for companies of Gentherm's size, which currently sits at an approx. $1.8B market cap. 


Another highlight is the company's gross margin. For the six months ended June, gross margin was approximately 29.4%, which is an increase compared to the same period in the prior year of 25.6%. This shows that the company is without a doubt growing. The increase in gross margin was due to new program launches and strong production volumes and sales of vehicles equipped with climate controlled seat systems mainly in the luxury segment of the automobile market. 

While much of Gentherm's revenue (over 95% in the quarter ended June 30th) is derived from the automobile industry, it has made a concerted effort in 2014 to enter into the industrial segment. This segment is focused on improving efficiency of thermoelectrical devices and advanced heating wire technologies for applications outside of the automobile industry. Also included are governmental sponsored research projects in the U.S. and Europe. This only adds to the limitless potential of the company's reach beyond the automobile industry.

Highlight Technicals

From a technical perspective, Gentherm has been on an absolute tear. It has risen from about $23/share to just a hair above $50/share as of early September 2014. However, it appears as if it is consolidating before what could be another breakout above $50.

Personally, I would've liked to have entered in at the retest of the 50 day moving average late May. As you can see the hammer candlestick (highlighted below) served as a reversal of the small downtrend. However, that boat has sailed. The next opportune time to enter the trade would be break of the $50 or a retest of the lower trading range just under $42.50. A break of the $50 range would signify that resistance has been broken. Albeit it is most likely more of a psychological resistance at $50 than anything.  


The oscillators are showing that the stock still needs to work off overbought conditions and waiting a couple weeks before entering could lead to a more beneficial price. As you can see, in early June the oscillator dipped below 25. Coincidentally, this also happened to be the retest of the 50 day moving average and an excellent buying opportunity.

Disclaimer: This article is written for informational purposes only and not intended for investment advice.
Disclosure: I do not have a position in THRM.
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How to Be a High Performing Intern

Aug 27, 2014 -

Three Tips to Becoming a Stronger Intern




Be Positive, Be Friendly
As an intern, you might be asked to do certain things that you would rather not do. Such as making photocopies or even making a coffee run. Resist the urge to complain. All of us had to do this at one point in our careers. It is called paying your dues. Just know that one day you will be giving the orders. Until then, suck it up.

Find Out what Impresses your Manager
While most of the time we don't expect much from interns, taking initiate to solve issues or improve practices will wow your manager.  If you are complaining about a certain way you've been asked to perform a task and believe there is a more efficient way of doing it, bring up your solutions. Each manager has a unique way of doing things and by asking your colleagues whether or not your manager prefers in person communication or email, can make all the difference. Make a concerned effort to learn your manager's preferences.

Be Proactive
From time to time you may find yourself with nothing to do. You've completed what was requested of you and everyone else is busy with their own work. They are either too lazy to train you or don't have the time. Be proactive in your own job training. Pick up the company's manual or guide and start familiarizing yourself with the business and company procedures. This will help you get an edge against other interns. Think about when someone gives you a task and every minute he or she is spending with you is time he or she can be spending doing their own job. The more familiar you are with the task the less time they need to spend with you and the more impressed they will be.

Other Tips and Tricks

1) Have you checked every possible resource to look for information?
2) Have you looked at all the different possibilities?
3) Am I providing a recommendation or asking more questions?
4) Am I making my manager's life easier or more difficult?
5) Because I already know my manager's preferences, is this presented in such a way that will impress him or her?
6) Have you explained yourself clearly and quickly? Are you thinking in bullets?




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Stock of the Week - El Pollo Loco (LOCO)

Aug 10, 2014 -

El Pollo Loco IPOs up over 100%


Little do most people know, El Pollo Loco had previously tried to IPO in October of 2006. They cited market conditions as a reason for pulling out of the offering. Just recently El Pollo Loco IPOed. Since 1980, El Pollo Loco has grown to be one of the largest differentiated restaurants in the U.S.. The first location opened in LA and they have since expanded to multiple states and grown to over 400 restaurants.
  

Highlight Fundamentals

El Pollo Loco has grown it's restaurant sales eleven consecutive quarters including 7.2%, 6.5%, and 3.7% in Q1' 14, Q4 '13, and Q3 '13, respectively. As a result revenues have increased from $273M to $294M from 2011 to 2012 and $294M to $315M from 2012 to 2013.


If you look closely at their financials they have not been able to churn a profit until recently. This is mainly due to the 'Loss on early extinguishment of debt' amounting to costs of $21.5M and $20.1M in 2013 and 2011 respectively. When El Pollo Loco refinanced their debt, it was replaced with senior secured credit facilities that carry longer maturities, but had lower interest rates. As a result of the refinancing, call premiums and write-off of deferred financing costs and accelerated accretion charges were incurred. Having taken this into account, El Pollo Loco would've had a net profit of approximately $5M and -$12M in FY 2013 and FY 2011 respectively. 

Highlight Technicals

From a technical perspective, from El Pollo Loco's initial public offering at $15 it is without a doubt that it has doubled since IPO. Now the general public, myself included evidently did not have the change to buy it at $15. But it was at 18.48 on the first day. Honestly, that gap up on Monday after the first day of trading on Friday should have been a green light. If you had traded that gap up you would be up a significant amount.


Technically speaking, I always like to wait for a pullback to the 61.8% fib extension. Especially if its the first pullback. But, it looks like the stock is strong enough to only need to bounce at the 38.2% fib. For me personally, the first entry point was the gap up on the second day of trading. If I were to pick an entry point now, it would be after it clears $41.7. That way there is no resistance. Everyone holding at that point will have been in the green. There would be no sellers waiting to get out at break even. 

Disclaimer: This article is written for informational purposes only and isn't intended as investment advice.
Disclosure: I do not have a position in LOCO.
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Top Seven Tips to Becoming a More Interesting Person to Women

Aug 4, 2014 -

Ways to Become a More Interesting Person


1) Understand that becoming a more interesting person is a process. Therefore patience is involved. It doesn't happen overnight, nor should you expect it to. Focus on who it is you want to become in six months versus training for tomorrow's game. Be disciplined and start building the habits today that will be with you a lifetime.

What makes you a more interesting person?

2) Read. Read. Read. The more knowledgeable you are of what is going on in the world, whether it be history, sports, or just life in general, the more you can draw from in your conversations. One of the best ways of keeping up-to-date with the latest news is reading the newspaper. Alternatively, you can be subscribed via a feed to interesting blogs.

3)  Discover your passion. There is nothing more interesting than a person who is passionate about something. When you are passionate about something you will naturally exude confidence and excitement. That excitement is contagious and others will be inspired by your enthusiasm. Even if others do not share in the same passion, you'll find most people are intrigued by what captivates you. If you aren't sure what you are passionate about, get out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Best way to be interesting? Be someone who is interested in life.

4) Workout. Studies have shown that those who exercise are more alert during the day and actually get more done during the day. Another benefit towards working out is just the pure discipline it requires to go to the gym day in and day out. Be motivated to change your life. You'll be able to carry this disciplined to other aspects of your life. Being fit and exercising will ultimately raise your confidence, which will seep into your daily life.

5) Develop a great circle of friends. Not only is this a great way to share your knowledge, it is also a great way to keep up to date with the latest happenings. Having a diverse set of friends lends you to consider different personalities and helps you learn to interact with different people.

6) Go to more places so you can recommend better places. While most of us Yelp things, everyone understands that reading about something and actually being somewhere are two different things. Furthermore, just because someone else says something is great does not mean you will think it is great. While it may be likely that may be the case, there are plenty of times when my friends had an opinion about a certain place that I disagreed with. It's not a one size fits all, so it's better to experience things.

7) Have something that gives you a diverse range of interests versus watching Game of Thrones every Sunday night. Pick up a hobby whether it be eating and blogging about fancy restaurants, painting, or playing a new sport.
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Book Review: Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending

Jul 16, 2014 -

About Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton, Authors


Elizabeth Dunn is an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. Michael Norton is an associate professor of marketing at the Harvard Business School. Both of their works have been featured on numerous well known media sources. For example, Michael Norton's research has been featured twice in the New York Times magazine. Furthermore, he was selected for Wired magazine's Smart List as one of the "50 People Who Will Change the World."





What is great about it?
We've all heard that money does not buy happiness. Despite the numerous well-publicized studies backing the aforementioned statement, we still refuse to believe that it is true.

How can we "buy" happiness? The authors of Happy Money go through five chapters of  how money can buy happiness.

1) Buy Experiences

Humans adapt to change and we typically get used to what we have. While we may experience an initial spike from buying a new car or a house, the satisfaction wears off pretty quickly. What we remember more vividly are novel experiences such as traveling. Believe it or not, there are studies that have suggested unpleasant experiences are sometimes the most memorable.

2) Make it a Treat

In general, the more exposed we are to something the more its impact diminishes. "One afternoon, students came into a psychology lab to complete a simple task: eating a piece of chocolate. The following week they returned for a second piece. Overall, the students enjoyed the chocolate less the second time than they had the first." This also means that that BMW will not make you anymore happier in the long run than driving a Ford.

"Abundance is the enemy of appreciation, scarcity may be our best ally"

3) Buy Time

The longer your commute to work is the more unhappy you are likely to be. Time spent driving to work destroys happiness levels. Consider biking to work if you are less than five miles away.

"People who feel they have plenty of free time are more likely to exercise, do volunteer work, and participate in other activities that are linked to increased happiness."

4) Pay Now, Consume Later

Delaying consumption can provide the opportunity to further seek out positive expectations of the joys of product/service being consumed. For example, those who waited twenty-four hours to drink their favorite soda felt happier than those who drank it on the spot. When you pay prior to your consumption whether it be a concert or your fast food meal, you are more likely to enjoy what comes after. This is because you never have to think about how much your meal will cost or the concert during your "enjoyment process". It's already been paid for!

5) Invest in Others

Did you know that spending money on others actually gives you more happiness than if you were to spend it on yourself? Obviously you will be poorer, but it helps your happiness level. A recent study showed that those who were given $5 or $20 and asked to spend on someone else or donate it to charity were measured happier than those who spent it on themselves. Whether they had spent $20 or $5 on someone else, that amount didn't make a difference on happiness levels.

Here are some excerpts from the book:
Long after the housing bubble burst, almost 90 percent of Americans continued to describe home ownership as a central component of the American dream[...] In a carefully controlled study of more than six hundred women in Ohio, homeowners weren't any happier than renters [...].

"The benefits of investing in others don't stop at just making you feel happier. Giving your money away can make you physically healthier, and even make you feel financially wealthier. In a study of more than a thousand older adults, individuals who provided money and other forms of support to both relatives and non relatives reported better overall health."

What is the not so great about it?

The authors go through many studies and real life examples of their theories and concepts behind how money can be spent to increase happiness. While I understand the focus is on that, it doesn't necessarily talk about the repercussions of excessively "investing in others", the finance detriments of  paying now versus later, or even having a meaningful life vs a happy life. While it may be good for your happiness to "invest in others", if you had a friend that paid for your meal every time you guys grab lunch, that would condition you into believing or even expecting that he or she would pay the next time around. We call that freeloading or taking advantage of a generous person.

Therefore, it is important to understand that the authors' comments should be taken with a grain of salt and not to be used to its extreme. The concepts presented by the authors' do shed new light on smarter spending. Though some of which many of us are already aware of which includes buying experiences versus tangible items and giving to others.

What is your final recommendation?
It's always a good sign when what you think is not great about a book is the fact that it leaves you wanting more. That's how I felt when I finished the book. I asked myself are there more tricks and tips for getting the most out of your money or the bang for your buck. After all, what is money for if it is not a tool to bring us happiness and a well-balanced life. We trade our time for money and in turn we all expect that money will bring us happiness. While we should not believe that money by itself will bring us happiness, it is easy to understand that when properly utilized, money can be a tool used to bring us happiness.

Conclusion: Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending is a recommended read for those who seek to use money a tool to bring happiness, where money is not the end goal.
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Stock of the Week: Go Pro (GPRO) Up Almost 100% Since IPO

Jul 7, 2014 -

Why Did GoPro (GPRO) Skyrocket Since IPO?


Nicholas Woodman founded GoPro in 2004 and financed it from selling shell necklaces for $60, which he had purchased for $1.90 in Bali and borrowings from his parents of $235k. His inspiration for GoPro came when he traveled the world surfing and had difficulty capturing action photos of his activities. Ten years later, he becomes a billionaire.  Not a bad return on investment if I would dare to say so myself. 


Highlight Fundamentals

For about 10 years since its founding in Feb 2014, GoPro has been at the forefront of developing wearable and mountable HD camera and accessories to capture activities of everyday people, professional athletes, celebrities and other entertainers.


GoPro recently IPOed to raise capital to pay down their credit facility, which had an outstanding balance of $110 million as of March 14, 2014. Surprisingly the company churned a $60M in net income in 2013 even as it increased operating expenses from $143M to $263M. Last year, GoPro grew its gross profit by 59% from $227M to $361M. Much of the company's revenue is from outside of the United States with 53% in 2013 coming from outside the U.S. The important thing is that this company is highly profitable.

The company's sales channels include direct sales to independent retailers, big box retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, and Wal-Mart, mid-market retailers, and e-commerce.

Despite it's success in churning a net profit in the last three years including 2013, 2012, and 2011, GoPro did record negative stockholders' equity in 2013 and 2012 of 5M and 79M, respectively. As GoPro has plans to pay down the $110M credit facility, this will reduce their liabilities, which in turn will increase equity.

Highlight Technicals

From a technical perspective, from GoPro's initial public offering at $24 it is clear that it has gone up 100% since. While many of us did not actually have the opportunity to buy at $24, the stock opening at $28.65 appears to have been a bargain - at least so far. The stock saw three consecutive days of advances before peeling back just before the July 4th weekend. As of July 4th, per Google Finance the company sits at a $5.14B market cap.

While it may be to early to draw any significant technical analysis conclusions, for those who are looking to ride this wild wave, the first entry point would be a 61.8% Fibonacci retracement. That price would be at $39.09. I would then put my stop just below what it opened at at its IPO of $32.41. My first target would be for it to take out the prior high of $49.90.


Disclaimer: This article is written for informational purposes only and isn't intended as investment advice.
Disclosure: I do not have a position in GPRO.
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Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator Book Review

Jun 18, 2014 -

Book Review: Secrets of Power Negotiating


About the Roger Dawson, Author

Before becoming a full-time speaker and training managers and salespeople from all throughout the world in business negotiations, Roger was the president of one of the largest real estate companies in California. The company had 28 offices and four hundred and forty sales associates with over $400 million in volume a year. His previous business training clients include managers and salespeople from companies like 3M, UnitedHealth Group and Oracle.


What is great about it?
Recently I became interested in buying investment real estate due to current state of the economic cycle. However, I felt like a fish out of water when I began submitting offers on real estate. The seller's agent would come back with counteroffers and after six months and numerous offers submitted, I still did not have a house. My boss also offered me a lateral move in the company. I knew I had to come in with a game plan if I wanted to have a chance at a higher salary. In years previous, I just took what they gave me, which had also been below the market rate. I felt cheated.

Roger's book entitled Secrets of Power Negotiating is not just for salary negotiation or how to get the best price when buying a piece of property. It applicable in just about any business negotiation. He goes through real world examples and leads you to shape a deal that ends up looking like a "win-win" situation for both parties. His emphasis is on negotiating everything you want and still being able to convince the other side they have also won. It's an interesting take on the psychology behind negotiations.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

The Vise is a very effective negotiating Gambit and what it will do for you will amaze you. The Vise Gambit is the simple little expression: "You'll have to do better than that." Here's how Power Negotiators use it: Let's say that you own a small steel company that sells steel products in bulk. You are calling on a fabricating plant where the buyer has listened to your proposal and your pricing structure. You ignored his insistence that he's happy with his present supplier and did a good job of building desire for your product. Finally, the other person says to you, "I'm really happy with our present vendor, but I guess it wouldn't do any harm to have a backup supplier to keep them on their toes. I'll take one carload if you can get the price down to $1.22 per pound."

You respond with the Vise Gambit by calmly saying, "I'm sorry you'll have to do better than that."

An experienced negotiator will automatically respond with the Counter Gambit, which is, "Exactly how much better than that do I have to do?" trying to pin you down to a specific. However, it will amaze you how often inexperienced negotiators will concede a big chunk of their negotiating range simply because you did that.

What's the next thing that you should do, once you've said, "You'll have to do better than that"?
You guessed it. Shut Up! Don't say another word. The other side may just make a concession to you. Salespeople call this the silent close, and they all learn it during the first week that they are in the business. You make your proposal and then shut up. The other person may just say Yes, so it's foolish to say a word until you find out if he or she will or won't.

What is the not so great about it?

Without a doubt, Roger offers a lot of techniques to help in negotiations. For example, 1) asking for more than you expect to get, 2) flinching at proposals, 3) play reluctant, 4) use the "vise technique", 5) reference higher authority, 6) never make a concession unless the other side reciprocates, and 7) tapering down concessions. These are all great techniques that frankly if you aren't aware of will put you at a disadvantage. If you are not aware of these you risk them being used on yourself.

In Secrets of Power Negotiating, there is a section on some grey area negotiating techniques. These are techniques that are usually used by sleazy business or salespersons. I'd stray away from these because they can ultimately burn bridges (break trust) with your business partner, employees, etc.

What is your final recommendation?
While Roger may provide tips and techniques for you to employ in the boardroom, many times it is a lot more difficult to execute than you might think. His examples definitely make it seem as if you already have an idea of what the other side might do. When in fact, in real life that may not always be the case. In any event, he does give you a number of counters depending on what the other side might come back with.

Ultimately, if you are willing to walk away from the deal and the other party needs what  you have to offer more than you need what they can offer, in most cases you will have the upper hand. Be prepared to walk away, many times they might just come back with another offer. I can say from personal experience, I've employed many of Roger Dawson's techniques and have had positive results.

Conclusion: Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator is a recommended read for those who at some point in their career think they will need to engage in negotiations.
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Excel Tip #15 - Macro to Pull Information from One Excel Workbook into Another

Jun 10, 2014 -

In accounting sometimes we download GL detail from the accounting system or pull information from a third-party source and then we dump that data into an excel workbook. Often times that information is used in multiple excel workbooks. But it becomes cumbersome when you have to manually copy and paste that information from one spreadsheet to another. Why not just have a macro do it for you? Yes, we've created a macro that will copy data from one spreadsheet (doesn't have to be open) into another spreadsheet instantly.


Here is the solution. Though you will need to make some changes to the code below.

a] Get_Copy_Data - This is what you want to name your macro. Leaving it as is will not affect the code.

b] CopyDataSheet - This is the name of the sheet you would like the data copied to.

c] C:\Users\z3n\Desktop\hapy.xlsx - This is the file path of the excel workbook that already has the data. Make sure it is in the first tab.

d] hapy.xlsx - This is the excel workbook that has the data already

1) Hit Alt + F11 (this will open the VBE Window)
2) Select 'Module' from the 'Insert Menu' and paste the code below.

 Sub Get_Copy_Data()
    Sheets("CopyDataSheet").Select
    Range("D7").Activate
    Selection.ClearContents
ThisWorkbook.Activate 'start in THIS workbook
 Sheets(1).Select 'switch to data import sheet
'Opens source file (this filename never changes)
 Workbooks.Open Filename:="C:\Users\z3n\Desktop\hapy.xlsx", ReadOnly:=True
Workbooks("hapy.xlsx").Activate 'switch to source workbook
 Sheets(1).Select 'switch to source data sheet
 [a1].CurrentRegion.Copy 'Copy data to clipboard
ThisWorkbook.Activate 'Return to THIS workbook
[G7].PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteValues 'paste data to import start cell
[a1].Select 'cancels highlighted paste region
Workbooks("hapy.xlsx").Close 'close source data workbook
Sheets("CopyDataSheet").Select
    Range("A1").Select
    ActiveSheet.Paste
End Sub

At the moment, you'll have to save this in your "Personal" macro book. It has trouble when you save the macro in the workbook itself.  
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Charlie Munger's Psychology of Human Misjudgment - Part 2

Jun 4, 2014 -

Psychology of Human Misjudgment - Cause of Irrational Behaviors 

It's amazing how many of these psychological tricks are played out on a day to day basis. All this time I thought I was rational, but like most everyone else my actions and decisions have been swayed by these psychological phenomenons.


Here are the other twelve of the twenty-four causes of irrational behaviors. 


13) Bias from Substance Abuse 

A chemically dependent individual is in denial of their alcoholism and addictions. Drugs change chemicals in your brain, which can ultimately affect judgment.

14) Variable Reinforcement Can Enforce Behaviors

Near misses of three 'bars' on the slot machine will get you to keep putting money into the machine because you feel as if you've been deprived of a win. If you are rewarded sometimes and not others, you'll have that rewarded behavior pounded into you time after time. Furthermore, the moment you feel you have committed to something you feel like it has to be good. For example, if you pick numbers for a lottery, the moment you pick them you get extra validity that you feel like you can win. The odds have not changed since you picked your number, but what has changed is that you've committed.

15) Tendency to Like Oneself, One's Kind, and Own Ideas and Structures

This is a very strong subconscious psychological tendency. You like yourself and your ideas and when other people validate them you agree with them. You are attracted to those who are similar to you and this is good, but also bad. This means you can be misled and not appropriately learn from someone disliked.   

16) Human brains are Non-Mathematical in Nature.

We have a tendency to use crude heuristics and generalizations to compare and contrast information, which can lead to putting more weight on information that is conveniently available. As a result, we will misdirect our thinking tendencies. The solution is to train yourself to run down a list logically instead of jumping on information that is available.

17) Extra Vivid Information Distorts Reality

Being overly influenced by extra vivid information can sometimes result in skepticism. Have you ever played two truths and a lie and your lie was too vivid that people picked it out? Charlie Munger had a chance to buy 1,500 shares of a company that would've made him $30M. But the person convincing him to buy it described the deal in such vivid detail, Charlie was skeptical. In reality, the situation was foolproof. But swayed by the extra vivid information, Charlie turned down the offer and lost out on $30M.

18) Mental confusion Caused By Information Not Arrayed in the Mind and Theory Structures

Purely memorizing information for a test that involves application will not help you pass the test. If you want to convince someone of something you have to explain the "why". Just remember the "why".

19) Normal Limitation of Sensation, Memory, Cognition, and Knowledge

Not knowing and remembering everything limits what we can factor into our decision making process.

20) Stress-Induced Mental Changes Whether Temporary or Permanent 

Everyone is susceptible to stress-induced changes. On the golf course by yourself, you will not feel the pressure to sink a five foot putt. Picture yourself on the 18th hole of a major tournament, throw in a crowd of 10,000, and the fact that if you miss this putt you will lose the tournament by one stroke. Without a doubt you will start to feel stressed. Even Olympic and professional athletes crack under pressure. Those who are able to overcome such mental induce changes usually prevail.

21) Common Mental Illnesses and Declines

Nature is such that if you don't use it then you will lose it. Our bodies and minds work towards efficiency. Like a muscle, if we do not work at it or build it up, the mind will deteriorate or regress. Inevitably, as we age our bodies and minds will regress, but exercise will keep it strong for a long time.

22) Say-Something Syndrome

People behavior irrationally in organizations because they feel the need to say something in a meeting or discussion, but they do not know what to say. As a result, they try to communicate something just for the sake of communicating something.

23) Change Actions to Fulfill a Role 

You should act your age. Have you heard that before? The moment you hear that you perk up and start to act more mature. You are basically acting as other expect whether or not that is rational or irrational.

24) Emotional Appeals Can Led to Irrational Behaviors

I once met a girl who sold to me the story of a tragic childhood and an unfortunate life. My instinct was to help her and give her what she needed. I would go out of my way to make sure she was happy and take her to places she had not been before. After a couple months, I realized that I had been played and she was actually well off and her life was not as tragic as she made it seem.

Check out Part I  of Charlie Munger's Psychology of Human Misjudgment.
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William McRaven's Ten Navy Seal Training Life Lessons - Summarized

May 27, 2014 -

Admiral William H McRaven has been a Navy Seal for 36 years. He recently spoke at the University of Texas at Austin about life lessons he learned years ago from six months of basic SEAL training. Training that involved "long, torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacle courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable."

navy seal admiral mcraven

"It matters not your gender, ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward - changing ourselves and the world around us- will apply equally to all." - Admiral McRaven

1) Start your day off by making your bed.

Completing the first task of the day will give you a small sense of pride that will carry on to your second task. Eventually, that task will lead to you completing another task. The little things matter in life and making your bed reminds you of that. If you can't make your bed, then how can you expect to do the big things. If by chance you have a terrible day, at least you'll come back to a bed that has already been made.

2) Find someone to help you paddle.

Nobody does anything alone. We need our friends, family, colleagues, and the goodwill of strangers to get through life. When Adm. McRaven was in SEAL training, every day he and his boat crew paddled through high waves. If he and his crew were not synchronized in their paddle strokes, they would end up going nowhere in the water.

3) Measure people by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

The boat crew that finished first and beat out everyone else was not the boat with the biggest guys. They were actually all less than 5 feet 5 inches and were all of different ethnicity.

4) Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Just because you do everything you are suppose to do doesn't always mean it will turn out the way you expect. Part of SEAL training was uniform inspection. No matter what you did, the instructors would always find something wrong. When they did, they asked you to run into the water with your clothes on and then roll around on the beach until you became a "sugar cookie".

5) Don't be afraid of circuses.

Nobody wanted to be put on the circus list. The circus list is where you have to do an additional two hours of calisthenics (sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, etc.) designed to wear you down and break you down. But, those who went through that extra training over time became stronger, faster, and more resilient.

6) Sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head-first.

Dare to do something different or take a path less traveled. The obstacle course record had stood for many years until someone in Adm. McRaven's SEAL training course decided to slide head first down the slide, which was seemingly foolish. That and a combination of other time saving techniques broke the obstacle course record.

7) Don't back down from the sharks.

Midnight swims were not uncommon in SEAL training. Of course sharks infested the waters. Should a shark swim up to you, punch him in the snout and he will swim away. There are a lot of sharks in the world that will try and push you off your path. You'll have to deal with them if you want to succeed.

8) You must be your very best in the darkest moments.

Underwater ship attacks against enemy ships was one of the jobs of a Navy SEAL. It required you to swim underneath the ship to the deepest part of the ship. It is so dark that you can not see your hands and the deafening ship machinery can easily disorient you.

"Every SEAL knows that under the kneel (deepest part of ship), at the darkest moment of the mission, is the time when you must be calm, composed - when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear." - Admiral McRaven

9) Start singing when you're up to your neck in mud.

Hope is a powerful thing. When you are standing in mud and up to your neck in freezing cold water for what seems like forever, the idea that it will all end soon can keep you going. When you can see the light and believe there is still hope, that will keep you going.

10) Don't ever, ever ring the bell.

At SEAL training, if you rang the bell you didn't have to endure any of the circus training, uniform inspection, obstacle courses, or anything else. All you had to do was ring the bell. But, it also meant that you quit.



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Charlie Munger's Psychology of Human Misjudgment - Part 1

May 20, 2014 -

Psychology of Human Misjudgment - Cause of Irrational Behaviors 


You are not immune to these human misjudgments. While you may be able to recognize one or two of them when they are separate from each other, but imagine when you have five or six of these working in conjunction. Theses were likely evolutionary survival attributes passed on through human evolution, but times have changed and evolution has not caught up to the changing world. 

Without further adieu, here are twelve of the twenty-four causes of irrational behaviors. 


1) Underestimating the Power of Incentives

Why are you working at a job that you abhor? If it weren't for the money, you would be doing something you truly enjoyed. The answer is that you've been properly incentivized by your bosses.

2) Simple Psychological Denial

Reality is too painful to bear, so you distort the truth until it is bearable.

3) Underestimating the Incentive Bias in Our Own Minds and that of Our Advisers 

Your real estate agent is technically suppose to have your interests in mind. But, the more expensive a place they have you buy the more money they will pocket. Therefore as the buyer, you can not always assume your agent has your best interests.

4) Confirmation Bias

We have a tendency to favor information that confirms what we already believe. This is particularly the case in emotionally charged issues whereby we are so focused on what we believe we do not consider new information.

5) Misconstrue Past Correlations as a Reliable Basis for Decision-Making

Coca-Cola's has branded itself into the happiness drink. They want to be associated with every heroic and wonderful image. Drinking coke has nothing to do with happiness. The more Coke you drink does not increase your happiness, but all that marketing has made you associate positivity with coke.

If something is more expensive, you would think that item holds more value than something not as expensive. But that is not always the case. Costco may sell something for $10 and that exact same thing could be selling at Walmart for $8 and you will still believe the one at Costco is better.

6) Reciprocation Tendency 

This basically happened to me the other day. A cake shop set up a table on the first floor of my work building. I walked past it in the morning without batting an eye, but a co-worker asked to stop by it at lunch. It couldn't hurt right? I wasn't planning on buying anything at all.

The cake shop offered a couple samples and was very cordial. Of course I took the "free" samples and immediately, I felt the need to reciprocate. So I ended up spending $6 on a pastry the size of a muffin.

If you are negotiating salary start high and then peel back. By peeling back you are "giving" something up and this makes the other person feel obligated to meet you at your second asking price.

7) Everyone Else and Their Mother is Doing It 

"Some years ago one oil company bought a fertilizer company, and every other major oil company practically ran out and bought a fertilizer company. And there was no more damned reason for all these oil companies to buy fertilizer companies, but they didn't know exactly what to do, and if Exxon was doing it, it was good enough for Mobil and vice versa." - Charlie Munger. Needless to say it was a total disaster.

8) To the Man with a Hammer, Every Problem Looks Pretty Much Like a Nail

When you have a theory of how something works, you try and apply it to as many things as possible. Even when it does not make sense, you believe your theory is applicable.

9) Compared to What I've Experienced, Seen, Have, Done...

Relatively speaking this slightly burnt cookie tastes better than this charcoal cookie, but in absolute terms it may not appear to be edible.

Real estate agents will take you to a ridiculously overpriced house and then to a moderately overpriced house. This actually happened to me the other day. At the end of it all, the agent asked me which ones of those houses I liked best. Well, she only showed me a handful of houses. If I were to only compare the ones that were shown to me, I would be excluding a number of other houses that could have been better priced.

10) My Boss Told Me To Do It 

When I was working at a Big 4 accounting firm, you were suppose to do what your manager asked you to do. However, if your boss' boss ever came back to you and questioned whether or not what you did was the right thing to do, we were never to throw anyone under the bus. We took responsibility for whatever we did even if we were asked to do it by our bosses. But, all too common you'll see people do immoral things just because their bosses asked them to.

11) Rich People Have Money and Will Deploy it When It Is Most Advantageous

If your back is against the wall and you are forcing yourself to make stock trades to make money, you will most likely make decisions that you normally would not when you are working from a position of ample capital. Scarcity will make you behave differently.

12) Jealousy and Envy Drives Irrational Behaviors

For those who have siblings, how many times have you asked why it was unfair that he or she got this and you didn't. "It's not greed that drives the world, but envy." - Warren Buffet

Keep an eye out for Part II!
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Anatomy of $SPY on First Trading Day of the Month - Book Review

May 14, 2014 -

Book Review: Anatomy of $SPY on First Trading Day of the Month


About the Author - Kora Reddy

Most notably, Kora is known for being the co-founder of a quantitative trading portal (paststat.com) which analyzes and backtests stocks listed on the US stock market. Their mission is to provide individual investors or stock trader with stock screening tools that allow you to backtest trading strategies. Using a combination of probabilities and statistics, Kora has been able to create a site loaded with meaningful technical indicators.


What is great about it?
In the book Anatomy of $SPY on the First Trading Day of the Month, Kora explores how buying at the close of the previous day (end of the month) given a number of situations and selling on the close of the first day of the month has played out between January 2000 to October 2013.

Most of us are aware that many money managers and employee retirement funds buy into stocks and mutual funds at the first day of the month. This suggests that there is a positive bias on the first day of the month. But is it always a good idea to buy at the last day of the month and then sell on the close of the first day of the following month?

The book goes through a number of situations whereby it is more advantageous to buy on the close of the end of the month and sell on the close of the first of the month. Kora's research details how the $SPY is affected by moving averages including, but not limited to the 200, 50, 20 and 10. He also considers how the previous day's close whether it be up or down affects the subsequent day's results. As if this were not enough, the book takes it a step further and explains the seasonality on a day by day, month by month, and quarterly basis.

Is it better to buy on the last day of the month and sell on the first day of the following month if it is January versus February? All of this and more is detailed in his book.

Here are some quotes from the book:

"One would have been profitable, in 12 out of 14 years by employing the "go long on $SPY on the first trading day of the month trading strategy" as against the buy and hold approach of $SPY, which was profitable, for 10 out of 14 years."

"First trading day of the month trader was profitable in 3 out of 4 years, when $SPY had negative returns for the year."

What is the not so great about it?

At first glance, this book can be intimidating in the sense that it appears to have a lot statistics. The book does not include backup to test Kora's theories ourselves. However, he does mention that they can be made available through request.

Despite the fact that I've taken a number of statistical courses in college, at first I definitely felt like there were too many percentages and 'T-Test' or 'Payoff Ratio' lingo. Luckily, the book will summarize the statistical findings at the end of each study. For example, in one of the first studies, the author concludes that the $SPY fares better on the close of the first day when the last day of the previous month closed down. These tidbits helped me summarize the statistical tables that were presented.

Furthermore, the book does a fairly decent job of explaining what each of the statistical measures represents and how it is being calculated at the beginning of the book.

One of the best things about the book is that all the "best" strategies with the "first trading day of the month" are summarized at the end of the book. Though this in it in itself may not be enough to be a comprehensive trading strategy, it can provide you with valuable insight that may fit into your own trading plan.

What is your final recommendation?
For the individual investor who is not so much concerned with the day to day happens of the market, Anatomy of $SPY on First Trading Day of the Month provides valuable seasonality statistics that can be used to determine when it is most advantageous to buy into mutual funds or stocks for that matter. This book will definitely give you an edge in that sense. For the more active stock trader, the information in Kora's book is also very beneficial. Based on moving averages you can determine whether or not the probabilities are in your favor to employ the first day of the month trading strategy.

Conclusion: Anatomy of $SPY on First Trading Day of the Month is a recommended read for all traders and will definitely give you an edge to your trading strategy. 
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Learn to Say "Yes" to Opportunities - Promotion or New Position

May 7, 2014 -

Should I Take the Promotion or New Position or Not?


Recently I was offered a new role at my company. You can call it a promotion or a lateral move within the company. Either way it would involve new responsibilities, challenges, and uncertainty. They did not explicitly detail what the job would entail, only that it would involve some finance, SEC reporting, and technical accounting research.


For about a week, I debated whether or not I should take this position because I felt like I was quite settled in my current role. Many of the processes that used to take 4 hours, I've streamlined and improved so that they can be completed in forty-five minutes tops. More things have been automated since I entered into my current role. Everything had become familiar to me. In other words, it is starting to become comfortable.

The fear of having to go outside of my comfort zone, made me leaning towards not accepting the new role. If I accept the new position, there will be certain things that I would have to learn. While I do have some experience with the new position's duties, this particular role would definitely put me to the test. While the pay would increase, though I don't think by much, I would most definitely have to put in extra effort to fit into the new role. The upfront investment would be high and who knows if I will be successful or not.

However, in order to grow, sooner or later I know that I will have to leave my current position. I have hit the tail end of the learning curve. So whether it is a month from now or a year from now, I'll have to make a move. When you work in Big 4 accounting you might bounce from client to client. In industry, you are practically at the company everyday of the work week doing similar things month to month. There are exceptions of course. If you work in internal audit or are on some kind of rotational program, you would move around. In any event, I digress. The point is to grow and be better than you were yesterday, you need to put yourself in novel situations.

I was at a crossroads and had two paths to consider and ultimately a choice to make. One path leads to risk and fulfillment and the other to caution and regret. Accepting the new role that I feel I am not completely suited for is a risk. But if someone else believes I can do it then why not give it a shot? I know that on the other side of it there is a high probability of fulfillment waiting.

"The greatest moments in my life have always involved stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a risk."

Whether it be a career risk or even asking a girl out. Too many times have I sat there thinking to myself that I should have done this or could have done that and left myself wondering. What if? If you take the leap, a net will appear. You will learn or figure out a way to make it work.

Needless to say, I accepted the role.
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