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You Wanted to Become a Millionaire?

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A couple of days ago I wrote my reflections around my first investment to reach $1 000 000 in equity. I received an interesting comment saying:

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Thanks for the honnest follow up.
But…….
You wanted to be a Millionair ??????.
With this investmemt that is not going to work.
You need to take risks for that.

This is not a dumb comment, it is exactly the comments I want on my posts. Comments that are challenging me on the choices I take. So I’m grateful for the comment and will explain why I believe I can become a millionaire with the investment choices I’m making.

Make interest rates your new best friend

As I explained in my previous post, I chose to invest my first 10 000 NOK (approx 1200 USD) in a corporate bond fund that has seen a 10% increase on a yearly basis. The corporate bond fund has a higher risk than governmental bond funds and money market funds, but its less riskier than placing your money in an index fund or stock fund. At the time being, I do not feel comfortable going into stocks or an index fund due to the record highs. There has been more than 7 years since the last recession, and I feel we can easily plunge into a new recession when the FED sells bonds they been using for quantitive easing. I might be very wrong, but this year I’m looking into less riskier investments.

When that is said, I’m not only going to invest in a corporate bond fund (for ever), but it’s better to have money placed in a corporate bond fund than in my savings account. I’m waiting on the correct timing to enter other markets, and I need to have patience for that (and CASH).

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But still, I believe I could become a millionaire by just investing in corporate bond funds.

The math

Let’s say I invest 30% of my income in the same corporate bond fund I invested in, and let’s say that corporate bond fund will see a yearly ROI of 10%. I also believe I’ll be able to increase my income with at least 10% per year. So:

Year one

I will have 120 000 NOK in a corporate bond fund (10 000 NOK x 12 months). With a 10% ROI I would have a total of 132 000 NOK (after 12 months per investment, I’m simplifying the math here).

Year two

I will invest a total of 132 000 NOK in the corporate bond fund this year (10 000 NOK x 12 months x 1.1), making the total funds in the corporate bond fund 264 000 NOK, and after the expected 10% return, the fund will have a total of 290 400 NOK.

Year three

A total of 145 200 NOK will be invested of my income. The total funds will be at 435 600 NOK and after the 10% increase it will be 479 160 NOK.

Year four

Investing: 159 720 NOK
Fund size: 638 880 NOK
10% increase: 702 768 NOK

Year five

Investing: 175 692 NOK
Fund size: 814 572 NOK
10% increase: 896 029 NOK

Year six

Investing: 193 261 NOK
Fund size: 1 089 290 NOK
10% increase: 1 198 219 NOK

Year seven

Investing: 212 587 NOK
Fund size: 1 410 806
10% increase: 1 551 886

Year eight

Investing: 243 745 NOK
Fund size: 1 795 631 NOK
10% increase: 1 975 194 NOK

Year nine

Investing: 268 119 NOK
Fund size: 2 243 313 NOK
10% increase: 2 467 644 NOK

Year ten

Investing: 294 930 NOK
Fund size: 2 762 574 NOK
10% increase: 3 009 339 NOK

Year elleven

Investing: 324 423 NOK
Fund size: 3 333 762 NOK
10% increase: 3 667 138 NOK

Year twelve

Investing: 356 865 NOK
Fund size: 4 024 003 NOK
10% increase: 4 426 403 NOK

Year thirteen

Investing: 392 551 NOK
Fund size: 4 818 954 NOK
10% increase: 5 300 849 NOK

Year fourteen

Investing: 431 806 NOK
Fund size: 5 732 655 NOK
10% increase: 6 305 920 NOK

Year fifteen

Investing: 474 986 NOK
Fund size: 6 780 906 NOK
10% increase: 7 458 997 NOK

Year sixteen

Investing: 522 484 NOK
Fund size: 7 981 481 NOK
10% increase: 8 779 629 NOK = 1.02 Million USD

So..

As you can see, I’ve reached 1 million USD within 16 years. Of course I’m relying on a 10% ROI per year, which may not be the case, and I’m relying on a 10% yearly increase in investments, and I’ve not included capital gains taxes. However, it is possible to become a “millionaire” by risking less – even if it takes longer time. Some might say 16 years is a long time, but it’s really not. If you reach 1 million USD, it’s much easier to hit the next. More money means more possibilities.

This was just an example, and I’m pretty sure I won’t just invest in a corporate bond fund, and I also believe I’ll hit the 1 million dollar mark much sooner. The most important thing when investing your money is to: Never Lose Money.

What are your thoughts?

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. NYoo

    April 30, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Have considered whether this will be enough money for you in 16 years?

    I live in Los Angeles and frankly it would not be enough for me to live here in the way I’d consider comfortable. In the last 5 years, rents have gone from $1700 USD for 2bdm to $4000 USD. 2 bdm homes start at $650K and most at this price will need significant work.

    Even if I could get 10% interest per year, after capital gains taxes, I would be looking at $60K or $5K per month. No way.

    I’m not sure if you’re talking about retiring on $1mil a year but as you can see from the math above, I would need at least $2-3mil USD in order to live comfortably in LA.

    • Jonas Borchgrevink

      April 30, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Hello,

      Interesting thought. My main goal is the following:

      – Having a cash flow of $10 000 a month (passive or semi-passive)

      – Having $0 in debt

      – Owning a decent home where I can live for the foreseeable future with my family (4 rooms, nice garden and community = approx. $1 000 000 in Norway)

      – Having a cash backup of at least $500 000

      You have to adjust your expectations and your goals depending on where you live and what you want to accomplish.

      What do you do for a living? I expect that you earn more than me since you are living in LA?

      And I’m not talking about retiring. I will never want to retire, but for me financial freedom is to be able to stop worrying about your own finances and that you have the freedom to do whatever you want to do.

  2. sambkf

    April 30, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    We inspiring. My mother wants to invest but doesn’t have time and the willingnesss to understand financial assets. Your blogpost gives me food for thoughts and a path to walk. Thanks !

    “financial freedom is to be able to stop worrying about your own finances and that you have the freedom to do whatever you want to do.”

    As an aparté along that line…
    The last of the ten richnesses Napoelon Hill identified is material wealth; of your own choice and quantity (ref: Think and Grow Rich). However poverty and want are the number one negative thinking seeds “the devil” relies on to control people and hold them away from their highest purpose (Ref:Outwitting the devil).

    • Jonas Borchgrevink

      April 30, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      Thank you for your nice comment. I’m very happy that I can spark some reflection.

  3. jacobss

    April 30, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Hello Jonas,
    Thanks for the explanation.
    Your math for 16 years is best case scenario. But succes planning is important in this business.
    The 16 years can easily become 20 or more and inflation will take its part as well.
    I would suggest to spent 3 years full blast in Cryptos like Ripple and Lumens and a few decentralized as well. Give it a nice spread and as long as you make money ? don’t give up.
    If you find yourself in a year or 2 in the minus all ready then you can still swop to your “safe” way of investment.
    At this point I’m way ahead of my schedule so I continue with the cryptos
    I wish you good luck.
    Regards
    Jack

    • Jonas Borchgrevink

      April 30, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you Jack. Of course, it can easily drag on for the next 30 years, but still, I’m going to reach $1 000 000. I’m out of cryptos for now, for me it’s just too unsafe. But for others it might be the correct market to be in. That’s totally up to you to decide.

  4. JonasMertens

    April 30, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Nice thoughts, but I’m a bit horrified by the mathematical simplifications and unrealistic assumptions in this piece. All in all I’m not sure you’re doing anyone a favor by publishing something that is so simplified that it loses its connection to reality.

    • Jonas Borchgrevink

      April 30, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Hello Jonas,

      I’m not quite sure I follow you. Can you please elaborate why it’s so simplified it loses its connection to reality? My main purpose with this blog post is to show that you can become a millionaire by investing in low risk opportunities, such as a corporate bond fund. But of course, the math is simplified to make a point.

      If you can give me some more details of why I’m so wrong, I would be able to give you a better response.

      And I must say I disagree with the statement that I should not publish articles like these, as for me personally, it does give people an idea that they do not have to risk their entire savings account to be able to become a millionaire, it just takes time.

  5. johnathankelly

    June 4, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Jonas, you have done the most important thing with creating wealth. You have gotten started. As time goes along, you will learn more and make other investments. You can only invest in what you feel comfortable with. As a man with a family, you are constrained in what you can do. As a single man, you can take more risk that a married man with child, can not.

    A word of caution. The corporate world is not as safe a you may think. With all the easy money that central banks have provided, corporations have been making bad choices in their investments. Instead of building up their businesses, they have been buying their company stock and taking the prices higher. Make sure to investigate the company to insure they can sustain the 10%.

    I live in the US and in 2011 I took a job working overseas. One thing many people don’t know is that if you work overseas, you do not pay taxes in your home country on the money you make in a foreign country. This is a great way to build wealth. Unfortunately, the US is the exception. After $100,000, we have to pay taxes.

    My plan was to work for 12 years and buy 2 4-plexes (4 unit apartment buildings) in the US. After 2 years, I realized that it was taking too long to save the money to buy the buildings. So I started learning about investing. Everything I learned, cut time off my road map. I read an author who has helped people become wealthy in 10 years by working and building their business on the side until the business’ earnings eclipsed their paycheck. Doing this, I am down to only 10 years and with crypto possibly only 8yrs.

    Keep learning, you will get wiser and reach your goal faster. With your two websites, you are already ahead of the game. Both websites will grow in popularity as crypto becomes more mainstream and bring in more income.

    • Jonas Borchgrevink

      June 4, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Hello John,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Good ideas. I wish you all the best.

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Searching for the Meaning of Life in Dubai

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Last week I traveled to Dubai with a group of people in Wilhelmsen, where I work as a Digital Trainee, for our third module in Design Thinking with Pracademy. We are a group of 24 people which Wilhelmsen considers to be Leadership Potentials. We are fortunate to be a part of this year’s company program, and we have all learned so much about ourselves. In this post, I will try to communicate what we learned during last week’s module. Be aware that this is a four months program, and it’s hard to get the feeling of it by just reading about it. But I hope I can share some of the knowledge that I acquired and get you more interested in improving your own life.

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Find your passion and go all in!

Most motivators and teachers say that you need to find your passion, make work a hobby that you enjoy every single day. I have even caught myself saying that over and over again (on Hacked). However, as I learned during the sessions in Dubai, more than 80% of us do not know what their passion is. I started to wonder if I knew what my passion is. And I’m still insecure about that. I do know that I want to contribute to the world, I want to help and serve people. I want to create things that I know other people will love; I want to leave a footprint on this earth.

I often have this mind experiment where I picture myself as 80 years old with bad health in my nursing home. Do I think that I managed to get the most out of life? Am I satisfied with all the things I achieved? Or do I have regrets and feel remorseful? The goal for every person on this earth is to be satisfied with your life when you’re near the end. I guess most people aren’t in reality. And that’s a big shame. Some people might regret that they worked too much, had too little fun, too few good experiences with their loved ones, too few memorable memories.

I pray that I will be happy with my life and what I accomplished.

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How to find your passion

If you do not know what your true passion is, there’s still hope for you. You can spend years trying to find your ultimate passion. Think of what makes you happy, what you enjoy or care for. My strong passion for creating things started in my childhood. I always drew new inventions on a piece of paper and started small kid businesses. I played music; I was a drummer in a nu-metal band, I started to sing and rap and create songs. I painted and used my creative skills to visualize my thoughts. I traveled during holidays and experienced new cultures, new food. Oh, I love good food. I love cooking a great meal for family and friends.

I could probably achieved anything that I had/have passion for. I could have been a:

  • Cook
  • Artist
  • Painter
  • Drummer
  • Entrepreneur

I chose to become an entrepreneur mostly due to financial possibilities. As being financially independent was and is very high on my priority list. But that does not mean that I wouldn’t have a meaningful life being an artist with less money on my hands.

Economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman researched happiness and money in 2009 where the focus was on US standards, and it’s population:

So, where does the $75,000 come into play? Researchers found that lower income did not cause sadness itself but made people feel more ground down by the problems they already had. The study found, for example, that among divorced people, about 51% who made less than $1,000 a month reported feeling sad or stressed the previous day, while only 24% of those earning more than $3,000 a month reported similar feelings. Among people with asthma, 41% of low earners reported feeling unhappy, compared with about 22% of the wealthier group. Having money clearly takes the sting out of adversities.

At $75,000, that effect disappears. For people who earn that much or more, individual temperament and life circumstances have much more sway over their lightness of heart than money. The study doesn’t say why $75,000 is the benchmark, but “it does seem to me a plausible number at which people would think money is not an issue,” says Deaton. At that level, people probably have enough expendable cash to do things that make them feel good, like going out with friends. (The federal poverty level for a family of four, by the way, is $22,050.)

So if you live in the US, a goal for financial freedom could be $75 000 or $100 000 as income per year. If you make more than that, you won’t necessarily become happier just because of the money.

However, if you make too much money and you are in an in-group where your peers make much less than you do, you can be in a situation where jealousy and envy will affect your life. And that is not a good feeling at all. I believe that the people in the middle of the scale live the happiest lives. There have been numerous cases where people that won in the lotteries have ended their lives due to envy and jealousy from their friends and family. Where they thought winning a lot of money would make them happier, while it only magnified their problems.

Empathy

In Design Thinking, empathy is a crucial part of the process. The ability to feel compassion for other human beings. To understand their problems, feelings, and emotions and to share their pain, grief, happiness or sadness. I know for a fact that I could be much more empathic and that is something I will improve. See the video below that shows what empathy is:

We saw this video in Dubai, which almost made me cry (we were in a particular mood..):

There’s so much going on in that video. Mo Cheeks felt empathy with the girl singing the national anthem, and he could feel compassion since he had a daughter at that age.

Things change when you get a child, for me that has a daughter who is seven months, I can relate to the video above. You might not.

What characterizes a great leader?

We did a session where everyone in the room in Dubai explained what a great leader is for them. The list included:

  • Good listener
  • Empathic
  • Understanding
  • Good motivator
  • + more

Most of the points we as leadership potentials defined as a great leader had nothing to do with “IQ.” Most of them had everything to do with “EQ,” emotional intelligence. It is mindblowing that we do not learn more about emotional intelligence during school, and that all businesses focus on “IQ” when hiring, not “EQ.” I believe that is skewed and is important to reflect upon.

Mindfulness

We also learned how to be more mindful. They encouraged us to use 30 minutes to sit quietly, close our eyes, focusing on the now. Breathing slowly and try to get as calm as possible. There’s scientific research on how mindfulness can help you become more happier, healthier and more successful:

And then one of the many guides on mindfulness:

Communication

We did a session where we were paired up to use mindfulness to listen and repeat. A was given 6 minutes to talk about a challenge at work, B was given 3 minutes to repeat what he/she heard, A was then given 2 minutes to clarify what B might have misinterpreted, B was then finally given 2 minutes to repeat what A clarified. This was a session that made me realize how easy it is to misinterpret. This can be used in every aspect of your life. It is so easy to misunderstand what a person is saying or meaning, so try to ask a question after a discussion: “Did I understand you right, that you want…” or “Could you please clarify what you meant by…”.

Writing

A professor of culture and psychology from South Korea gave us a session on writing. How writing in a notebook can help you learn better and understand what was communicated. From now on, I’ll always bring a notebook in meetings and write with my hand. Then I’ll add the written information to my computer later on.

Emotions

We often say: “I am angry.” That is a big mistake. We are not angry, but we do feel anger. So whenever you “are angry, sad, or irritated,” say in your head that you are “feeling angry, because..” and you will be able to control your emotions in a much more sufficient manner. Do not let the feeling itself take over who you are. You are not your feelings, you simply feel them and they will pass.

And Finally, you have the Siberian Railroad: SBNRR: Stop, Breathe, Notice, React, Respond.

 

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How I Made It: Multimillion Dollar Cash Flow

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Please excuse the image. It’s not a picture of me nor my car. I own a BMW 318 2009 model with a car seat in the back for our seven months old daughter. It’s been some time since I last published a post on Hacked.com. I want to let you know that I’m going to be more active in the coming months. I’ve just had too many things on my plate, from my Digital Trainee job at Wilhelmsen to Hacked.com, CryptoCoinsNews, MoneyMakers, and family. I want to explain how I’ve managed to create a company with a multimillion-dollar cashflow. Remember, I’ve spent more than nine years on reaching my current level. I’ve had multiple failures, I’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I’ve also made a lot of money and recognition.

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When I was 16 years old, I started my first company which I registered on my mom. I called it for “Limitless Juggernaut, ” and it was a clothing line that I started to sell in Tønsberg (a small city in Norway). I managed to get my clothes in one shop in Tønsberg, but it did not catch on. I think I sold five to ten pieces and ended up with a loss of $5000. I worked as a phone seller to make the money I spent on my micro startup. In 2008, when I was 18, I started a phone import business where I imported phones from China and sold it on Norway’s “ebay.” I managed to make $3500 in profit each month while attending high school. There was a guy in Oslo, the capital of Norway, that wanted to get into the phone businesses with me. I was young and naive; I put too much trust in a stranger that ended up hustling me. He gained control of my stock, and I transferred some money to him, then I never heard back. I decided to shut the business down.

In 2009 I started studying Entrepreneurship and Business at a college in Oslo. That’s when I founded MyGoodAct which was one of the first crowdfunding platforms for social causes. During four years the platform raised more than 1.5 million USD to different social causes. I managed to sign up the most significant NGOs in Norway, but the main issue was to establish a positive cash flow for the startup. Even though we won awards, was funded by some larger companies and organizations, we never really got the traction we needed. I decided to shut MyGoodAct down in 2015.

In 2013, when I was working part-time for an NGO, I discovered Bitcoin (Cyprus chaos was blowing up the Bitcoin price and made it to the news). I fell in love with the digital currency, mostly due to its deflationary functions. I was sick of the fundamentals of our economy, with fraction banking and the private FED. At that time, there were few news sites for Bitcoin, so I started CryptoCoinsNews. I started writing two to three articles per day, posted stories on bitcointalk.org and Reddit. After a couple of months, the site had 100 to 300 visitors per day, and I managed to secure one advertiser that paid one bitcoin per month for the top banner. After that, I had some funds to pay other writers with, so I started to recruit writers. The site grew, I got more advertisers that paid a fixed fee per banner on a monthly basis. Today, CCN is one of the largest bitcoin news sources in the world. Last month, I bought CCN.COM for 150 000 USD, and we are doing a complete redesign of the site and hiring more full-time writers. I want to make CCN the world leader in cryptocurrency news, just like Marketwatch.com is for stocks.

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I bought Hacked.com in 2014 for $50 000. I saw the domain on Flippa.com, and I had profits from my previous bitcoin investments. I had no plan for the domain; I just thought it was the coolest domain I’ve ever seen available. I was up 24 hours bidding on the frigging domain while watching The 100 on Netflix. The other bidder I was bidding against only increased the price with 50 to 100 USD at the end of each auction period, which made the auction extend with another hour. I became so tired and angry at that tactic, so I contacted the seller and told him that I’d exit the auction if we do not end this soon. I was ready to bump it up with $5 000 or even $10 000 just to be done with it. The seller added a buy now price at $50 000, and I was able to purchase it before the other bidder.

We started Hacked.com as a technology news site, at one point, we had a trending story on Reddit that made it to the front page of Reddit.com. It generated almost a million visitors during one day; our servers could not handle the traffic. However, even with one million visitors, we only made $2000 in ad revenue from Adsense. And, you need to keep pumping out extraordinary articles to keep such a momentum. The prices for such articles could be anywhere from $50 to $500. I did not have the funds to keep funding writers and attract better talent, as the site always operated with a loss. After one year, I decided to put Hacked.com on pause.

In 2015 I started Tailored Message that was a news app for youth in Norway, with gamification and a shop. The idea was to make a clone of “Instagram/Reddit” for news and blogs and let the users earn points based on ads in the app that they could spend on products in our in-app store. We launched the app in April 2016, and we got more than 20 000 downloads, just in Norway, and made it to the top 3 most downloaded apps. I spent almost 100 000 USD on the startup, and in the summer of 2016, we secured 200 000 USD in funding including a marketing deal with one of Norway’s largest media companies worth 300 000 USD. I moved into the media company and hired a salesperson. Unfortunately, the marketing deal that was signed by their director was never followed through. I spent almost six months implement the marketing deal that we already had agreed on. The media company always had excuses for why they could not implement it, and we changed the marketing deal two times without any success. The investors I had became worried, and in the winter of 2016, I decided to shut it down, pay the investors back with what was left, and try to focus on something else. I went to a lawyer in Oslo, and he told me that we could sue the media company for our losses, but that it would cost $30 000 and could take a year or two. I was upset, but I did not want to have a lawsuit to define my next year. I backed out.

What I learned from this experience, which was a very tough period in my life (as I hate to disappoint people that put their trust in me), is that you should never depend on a single deal you make with any company. Especially large companies. In large companies, you have so many different opinions, so many shitheads, so many useless persons that only think about themselves and their KPIs. If you are working with large companies, you need backup solutions. I think the best way to run a startup is to be independent, and just gun for it on your own. Fuck the large companies; they are too slow for a startup.

Well, that’s funny. But I was hired in January 2017 by Wilhelmsen, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, as a Digital Trainee. I had lost most of my cash holdings due to Tailored Message, and I needed something more stable to focus on. My wife was pregnant, and we expected our child in April 2017. I’ve never worked fulltime in a large corporation before, and I thought it would be a great experience to learn how it works. Right now I’m working on a 3D print project where Wilhelmsen wants to 3D print ship parts to the maritime industry, which has been and is an amazing project. I have a leading role there, and I’m learning many new things.

I’m a person that need multiple projects to be satisfied. So after working hours at Wilhelmsen, I pivoted Hacked.com into becoming the service you see today, based on subscriptions. I hired a couple of people, and we started small. After a couple of months, we had a positive cash flow, and I could hire more people to take over some of the time-consuming tasks. And now, Hacked.com is probably the largest paid cryptocurrency community in the world. My initial idea with Hacked.com was to educate people in how they can become more independent of the 9-5 job reality most are living in. This is something that I want to focus more on in the coming years. I also want to host conferences and meetups in 2018. I think we can make something great out of Hacked.com and be supportive of each other.

Right now, both CCN and Hacked.com is generating more money than I would ever dream of. It’s now a multimillion-dollar cash flow business. And I think it’s safe to say that I’ve already reached my long-term goal. Of course, we have large expenses, but the profit is still positive and enables me to invest more in the ventures and improve them.

I’m still working as a Digital Trainee at Wilhelmsen, and please understand that I’ve been working nonstop now for the past two years, I’ve never had one full day off. Sometimes I’ve had to work nights because of DDoS attacks, server problems or similar. I’ve employed more people to take some of the daily tasks I’ve had. I’m also focusing on spending more time with my wife and daughter, as I’ve been absent for an extended period. Money, cash flow, and business is not everything, family, friends, and experiences are what you will remember when you are 80 years old. Remember to enjoy your life.

However, I’m still not satisfied. That’s the way I am as a person. Damaged. Entrepreneurial. I continuously want to improve, want to launch better services, give more people the services that they appreciate. Help people reach their full potential. I think there are some good opportunities in the shipping industry, and I may be able to do something fascinating with Wilhelmsen in the coming years.

Focus on what you love to do, and never look back. Don’t let a shitty job bring you down.

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My first experience with Robot Trading: Up $5 000 in Two Weeks

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Since I’m pressed on time with multiple obligations (job, familiy, hacked.com, CCN, MoneyMakers) I decided for a couple of weeks ago to look into robot trading. I wanted to find one or multiple robots to do the trading for me. I ended up with downloading MetaTrader 5 and buying two different robots from their marketplace. I started with 16 000 USD on the trading account, and after two weeks the robots have made me $5 000.

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That’s a whopping 31% increase within 2 weeks…!

My robots usually trade during the night, and I’ve decided to completely trust them. The 16 000 USD is a sum I’m more than happy to lose if I can learn anything from dealing with trading robots.

When that is said, MetaTrader’s interface really “SUCKS”. It’s so bad, I can’t understand why MetaTrader is considered the best trading terminal for robots. Maybe that’s a good business idea for someone out there? Disrupt MetaTrader.

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So, which robots do I use?

I do not want to disclose that just yet, I need to test my robots rigorously before I can recommend any of them. And if this is a money making machine, we can laugh all the way to the bank.

Have a good weekend.

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