Ideas in the Making http://sett.com/alexisrivero Insights, Habits, Learning, Travel en-us Mon, 11 Dec 2017 07:57:15 +0000 http://sett.com Sett RSS Generator Its not that expensive http://sett.com/alexisrivero/its-not-that-expensive Coming from Puerto Rico, a place that many view as paradise, I always wondered why Americans were so infatuated with the idea of sitting at the beach sipping margaritas as a vacation. Furthermore a lot of americans view this as a privilege only for the rich or those on retirement, when in actuality there are millions of people in the Dominican republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaice and the rest of the islands who are able to shift into and out of this reality whenever they want..

When a lot of people think Caribbean they think Virgin islands or sometimes even Bahamas (not caribbean!!!) and yes, If you look at these places properties can be expensive and so can food and drink. I once had a 34 dollar burger in Antigua. But in reality, its not that expensive to live down here as long as you stay away from these super famous, super ritzy places. Take for example Puerto Rico. If you really want to step away from the world you can live in Cheap parts like the South west of the island, where there are beautiful beaches, tons of good food and drink, all for probably 1/3 to 1/4 of the price it costs to live in any Major city in the US. If you are form Europe you could probably find a way to live in parts of southern Cuba that are even cheaper!

While I don't really plan on going back to Puerto Rico for any extended period of time, mostly cause of I've been there a long time, know most of it, job opportunities are slim, and there are other places I want to see, It is hard to deny how awesome it was to just call up a friend, stop by a supermarket and be at a great Tropical beach with beer within 30 minutes. After living in the U.S. for a while I realize how ridiculous the whole thing was. Great beaches where only 15 minutes away from my house and AMAZING beaches such as this one only 30 minutes from where I lived. And unlike a place like say, Hawaii, this was all very affordable.

You could probably do all this for even cheaper in Dominican republic, or for the same price and live in more luxury.

But this post isn't just about tropical living not being that expensive, its about just about everything not being that expensive. in the Four hour work week Tim Ferris writes about geo-arbritage and dreamlining, the process of really outlining the costs and steps associated with any given goal. In the process he uncovers how if one really makes it clear how much something costs and what has to be done, it is much easier to see the true cost. In Geo-arbritage He underscores who if one has the freedom of time and place, they can easily pick the best deals.

For example, A lot of people like to travel Europe in the summer, but that is the most expensive season to go. If you want to go in Fall it is substantially cheaper. I'm talking half off or more sometimes in flight and accommodation costs, and sometimes maybe even transport. I've seen insane deals like LAX to Copenhagen for 500$ round trip! (Using the Kayak Alerts system trick). one time I spent new years in Barcelona with a friend and stayed a four star hotel for 80 euros a night, divided by two that's 40 euros per person for a four star! On top of that People were much more relaxed as their were less tourists and it wasnt ridiculously hot, Barcelona usually stays at a solid 45-60 degrees in winter.

Ultimately what I want to convey is that a lot of things aren't that expensive if you really look them up, use a couple of tricks or too, and think outside the box. Staying a month or two in Puerto Rico or DR is substantially cheaper than staying going to some virgin islands, or god forbid Hawaii (ridiculously beautiful, but insanely expensive). Travelling in off seasons can save you over 50% to popular places like europe or Asia, and if you absolutely want to go to a specific event (Running of the bulls, oktoberfest, or Cherry blossoms) Buying a ticket for the week before if you can might be better, Or just buying a ticket a year in advance if you really want to go to a specific event. Other cool things I've learned that aren't that expensive if you re flexible.

* Rent: if you are bit flexible with whom you live you can easily find subleasing deals instead of starting a lease on your own. I've found that I can save 30%+ on rent by finding people desperate to sublease because they have to leave for whatever reason. Usually with subleasing you get the added benefit of less time with the lease as well, so you can be flexible faster. Nothing is worse than being tied down to a lease all year.

* Cars: Another case where you can save a lot if you are willing to wait and be patient. I've seen multiple same year or one year old cars go for sale with less than 10k miles. When people need to liquidate pronto. In some cases if you only need a car for a couple of weeks and don't care what you get you can buy and older car and use it then resell it. I've had tons of friends do this and they just divide the difference between the people they roadtripped with and sell it really cheap to liquidate it. It ends up being way cheaper than renting.

Computer Parts: I do almost all my computer parts shopping on black Monday, when you can literally get insane deals online. If you have a PC its very easy to overclock cheaper CPUs to what extremely expensive ones run at if you just buy a good heatsink and fan, which usually costs round 40-60 bucks. Similar things can be said for Graphics card with good heatsinks. Also signing up for deals on Newegg and amazon can sometimes alert you to amazing stuff. I've had great success with getting monitors 30%+ off through these deals.

Books: I haven't tested this one myself, and I don't really use it cause i like having constant access, but one my friends noticed that you can buy a book and return it within one week on kindle. so if you are a fast reader and want to exploit this I guess its possible.

Adventure sports/experiences. Bar-non I've found Groupon to give you the absolute best deals on this. I've had friends go skydiving for 70 dollars or less with groupon deals. Anything that involves a short adventure like white water rafting, paragliding, etc. etc. can become very cheap through groupon deals.

Restuarants: Very hard to hack for the most part. Sometimes restaurant might participate in some sort of cheap tasting menu, but I've found these to be subpar and not a good representation of what the restaurants food is supposed to be like. Sometimes there are good groupon deals, but they can be incredibly stringent with how much and what you can eat. Ultimately the best I've seen is go to restaurants right after lunch. 2:30- 6:00 area I've seen a lot of places offer great deals. (Mo-chica in LA gives 20% off 2:30-5:00) A lot of very expensive places will give good discounts during this time. Also if their is a particular restaurant you like or want to go to, sign up for their newsletter, occasionally they have specials or incredible deals. For the most part though, Restuarants at the mid-top to top end are incredibly hard if not impossible to hack because they are constantly full and have rows of people willing to straight up pay. Lunch and the Post Lunch lull,if the restaurant remains open, continues to remain the best bet.

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Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:16:32 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/its-not-that-expensive
Update and trading journal http://sett.com/alexisrivero/update-and-trading-journal Last few weeks have been crazy trading. Have had some of the biggest swings Ive ever had since I started, have been trying out new ideas, been having issues with broker, and bitcoin has crashed so hard its finally creating a tradeable bottom. So first what I've learned, noticed and integrated

1. When people say find a trading style that fits you, they arent kidding. I finally found the trading style that fits me and it has worked wonders. Some people like to play micro caps, some people swing trade, some people day trade, some people do a bit of all but make their BIG money in one or two places to trade. Ultimately I've found that options day trading in high beta, liquid stocks such as TSLA NFLX MU TWTR FB is my favorite here is why for a couple of reasons

1. These stocks trend well as they usually have some insitutions in them, they dont have massive crasshes and boucne intraday or day to day for the most part like Microcaps and small caps (what i used to focus on) Which allows me to trust the trend more so to speak, as smaller companies can easily buck trend at first headwind.

2. The options are highly liquid and for the postions I trade I almost never incur slippage. It is very easy to get in or out of a postion. In some low float microcaps slippage and spread can cost you a lot more than you think.

3. The idea of risking small to make big is very appealing to my personality. I have been trading microcaps and the like for a while now, and making 5% or losing 3% consistently just wasn't exciting. sometimes u could hook a massive mover in micro cap land, as I have done twice (100%+ gains) but it is very hard as a lot of the companies are scams, and when they fall they fall too quick. You can be up 100% and within minutes be down to only up 70%, and these stocks rarely trend well so it is hard for you to know if stock is dead or not.

4. Day trading has lowered my stress substantially. Some people can't day trade. They think the 5 min chart is noise, or they hate having to micro manage their trades. but for me its the opposite, i hate having to constatnly manage long term trades. Everytime I swing traded, whether options or common stock I would always stress out. when should i close? how long should I hold? what if the sector etf is down x amount? a similar company reported bad earnings, should i sell this one? How do i interpret this news? how will other investors interpret it? what if the indices gap down? or gap up? What if the underlying commodity goes down?

With day trading none of that matter. I just find a set up for that day and worry on it acting exactly how I want, consistently, or I just take a small profit or not. If i manage to hook a bigger trade i can hook in massive 400%+ gains because of the way options work. if I dont I can leave my trade for even, small loss or small gain.

5. I really like the idea of getting in on a "pivot point" an area where the move in the direction you are betting against is much more likely to be bigger than against you. For example if you buy a stock that has been been basing while trending up you might be able to anticipate a pivot point. you give your self a shot and with options u can make a lot of money if it goes ur way, and lose very little if it doesnt. With swing trading pivot points might take days or weeks to appear, and sometime might not get follow through. furthermore there are all types of things you have to worry about consistenly when u swing trade. while day trading you only have to worry about how investors or going to act today, not how they are going to act consistenly, which imo is much more stressful and harder to predict.

The other thing iver truly internalized how trading is about two things 1. playing setups, 2. cutting losses. You need to have defined waht a setup is for you, depending on what kind of trader you are, and how that relates to cutting losses. If you play setups consistenly knowing when to sell for a profit should be the easiest part, but of course it all depend son waht your setups plan to do. are you trying to catch a big move? or u trying to just levereage heavily and get a 2% move? or you trying to swing trade? do u expect some bigger global macro event to help you out?

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Mon, 13 Oct 2014 07:09:37 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/update-and-trading-journal
Why markets can be extremely annoying at times: Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent http://sett.com/alexisrivero/why-markets-can-be-extremely-annoying-at-times-markets-can-remain-irrational-longer-than-you-can-remain-solvent I have been consistently trading the last few, focusing mostly on options plays and learning. Been taking very very small positions, usually less than 3% of my account if going into options, and if speculative (not news/event driven, or if large spread) something like 1% of my account. Overall considering ive never had more than 25% of my account at work the last couple of weeks, and I'm still learning a lot I am quite happy with my 11% gain since August 1.

But I have had some downsides. For one the other day i quite literally went on tilt and took an above average position in a stock that i thought was going to go down. I don't quite know why i was in tilt, I just felt kind of jittery that day and some of the other positions i had started werent working out immedeatily (something ill take about later) This mistake cost me a fair amount, and worse of I couldve gotten out the next day for a loss, but let it slide anyways. I don't want to name this stock, but overall its a stock that is a story stock pretty much. Its been going up for a while, has no real earnings, and is mostly hype, so I bet against it. Normally I only like to be against stocks that are up AT LEAST 3 days in rapid fashion after high level consolidation. This way the stock has to ethier break down, consolidate again, or go on another run the 4th day. I ended up going on tilt and breaking this rule and shorting way to early. But one of the main reasons I shorted to early is because I really believed this stock is trash, and if you use any sort of value metrics, this stock is probably worth 50%, maybe even 75% less.

And this brings me to my main point about the stock market that is so hard to grasp.Things that should crash, aka companies that should be worth considerably less based on expected growth, current growth, competitive factors etc, can be hyped up due to the nature of it all, and in the current euphoria bull market and story-stock market (see Tesla, Netflix etc.) This can really get out of hand. You can litteraly spend hours researching stocks that have huge growth potential, excellent management, and ton of prospects and they do nothing, or go down, while story stocks with hype can go up, up and more up. The market quite simply is irrational

I've been trying to accept this more and more each day to up my game. I still feel somehow that these mistakes are part of the process, I've read countless blogs, articles, and books detailing this,, but sometimes one really has to experience it themselves. Luckly ever since the march-april collapse, which luckly i was mostly cash for, I've started taking much smaller positions and trying to be MUCH more picky with my stocks. I still have a long way to go, I still trade too many tickers and try to be in to many things, instead of focusing on specific stocks with pivot points and staying true to my stop losses and price targets. The main annoyances that keep popping up.

1. I am deadly scarred of broad markets. Markets are up HUGE in the past 18 months, which has consistenly been a point where stack take on a correction or stall out. The easy money has been made so to speak. But there is still tons of money out there.also September and October have consistenly been tough months, ESPECIALLY after a strong august. This has been one of the reason i have been trying to also focus more on the short side. But this fear of markets has kept me from focusing on strong movers. Most of the time markets do not go down, but usually when they do they go down hard. But whenever I buy a stock at a pivot point , I already define good risk reward. So worse than can happen is i sell my stock when it acts weak, whether or not its because of a specific stock or because of broader market, while best thing is what wouldve happened anyways, stock goes up.

Timing the market is almost always a losers game, it is better to focus on the leading/best stock with well defined patterns and buy pivot points where your upside is MUCH higher than your downside if they resolve. This is incredibly hard to do, as watching the market can be addicting.

2. Irrationality can drive one insane. As mentioned above multiple times I've chosen stocks that have clear amazing growth prospects, good charts, and overall good sector, and watched them lag hyped up stupid companies with no balance sheet. Stocks like PLUG, which has had an insane year, and actually got pumped above 1.2b market cap, show case this. While Nothing quite as crazy as PLUG has happened again, yo u can see it everywhere in the stock market. In the long run these stocks end up falling for the most part,sometimes they actually keep going up ( PLUG is still up a ridiculous % even after being down over 50% from 52 week highs) And this kind of action can be incredibly frustrating if you are trying to find deep value in the markets. For the most part value investing is still strong, and stocks like PEIX are up 5x+ because of strong earnings growth, good management, and powerful sector. but for every one of these stocks there can be multiple other in similar sitaution that just fail to move.Ultimately coming to terms with how speculative the market is has been the hardest part for me, laser focusing on good risk reward scenarios is something I have to practice and remind myself that small losses are a part of the game

3. Buy strength, sell weakness. It is one of the funniest and weirdest thing about stocks. People here the adage buy low and sell high. But to be honest in stocks it is more like buy high, sell higher or buy pivot points, aka areas where a stock is likely to move strongly in the direction it resolves. This also happens when shorting. Sometimes u want to short something that is super extended thinking to yourself " IT cant go up more, its up so much" blah blah blah. But the thing is there are so many people out there that will buy that same stock thinking its going to the moon, this time is different. Humans are incredibly short sighted, espcially when there is bias or when has anchored a stock in their mind. If you have a friend in X stock and X stock keeps going up you think you are missing out, and the fear of missing out is far greater than the fear of loss at times, espcially if everytime ur friend mentions X stock it is higher. When a stock is down 50% most people won't buy, cause they focus on how it could go down another 10% instead of it going up, and for the most part falling catching knife is deadly unless it is down incredibly astutely. Selling weakness can be incredibly hard to do at times.

4. I haven't been able to set up rules. I trade the stocks and patterns I like, but a lot of the times I have no rule set plan when I go in, I just kind of except a trade to go my way. for the most part I've been selling weakness very quick, and it has upped my game a lot. If a stock doesn't act how I want to act strongly, or quickly, i take a small gain or loss. My rational is their is no point in holding a stock that isn't doing EXACTLY what want it to do. Why risk it? I bought it because i thought X was going to happen with Y downside and Z upside, I want to see strength, ethier in terms of time (e.g. immedeatily) or in terms of magnitude (e.g. strong % move) in order to validate my thesis, otherwise I was wrong and should get out. A lot of the times it is not about getting the best price you can, but rather getting the best opportunity. multiple times I will sell a weak stocks, only to watch it strengthen 3 days later and me buy it again because the opportunity has changed. Focus on the opportunity at hand, not on betting an opportunity will show up in the future, and you got in early as a sort of gamble.

5. Lastly, and probably something that is incredibly weird to me, but the dumber I get, the better I trade. Being too smart can lead to overthinking, becoming to technical, and questioning yourself. you start making up things and making minutia into conclusion in stead of focusing on what matter. In the process of choosing a stock it servers to be smart, focus on pivot points, set up good rules, and do thing like optimize position size, decide on possible stop loss areas etc. But when it comes to the actual trading, Being too smart/ thinking can lead to detrimental results. Do all the thinking BEFORE you make the trade. A lot of people think they need to consistenly be evulatuing new information. but I have found that to be wrong. If when u came up with the decision to buy you had X thesis stick to it and believe it strongly, and if it starts working your way, believe it even more. Sometimes believe it or not I might buy a stock, it works my way, and I think its too good to be true, and end up missing a lot of the big move. I've been getting better at this but as a rule of thumb. Do all the thinking beforehand, but once your in become a robot and stick to your thesis unless some major fundamental reason develops. And In these cases, if any fundamental reason develop (stock offering, CEO steps down, A factory has to go to repair) sell without remorse and wait for new opportunities to assemble.

So with that said here are the things I feel I need to do:

1. Stop caring so much about the market. Focus on powerful setups in select stocks and put your stop in place. If the market brings down your stock, you just sell at your stoploss.

2. Go back to basics. Its so true the more complex and filled with random stuff you make your trading, the more you fall to smart syndrome. For a while all I did was buy good news+breakouts+good sectors in small caps. For the last 2-3 weeks this strategy has been amazing, but i stopped doing this since march because momentum and microcaps started dieing and then i went on my summer trip. Of all the strategies I've used/observed this one consistenly offers good risk reward.

3. On the same note as above. Once your in a stock be stupid. Do all the research and fretting and analysis and risk reward points and set ups before you buy the stop. But once your in trust your initial judgement unless Exceptional news comes out. Hold on to strength and sell weakness.

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Thu, 11 Sep 2014 00:58:16 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/why-markets-can-be-extremely-annoying-at-times-markets-can-remain-irrational-longer-than-you-can-remain-solvent
What now? http://sett.com/alexisrivero/what-now I'm back to Los Angeles after my long trip accross Europe (which was an absolute blast) and my 3 week stay in Puerto Rico. Overall I couldn't be happier with my summer as I managed to see a lot of new places in europe, as well as revisit and experience new ones in cool ways. Highlights of the trip where:

1. Staying in a guesthouse in the middle of nowhere in Appenzell Switzerland off the side of a mountain.

2. Biking and/or walking through the myriad of parks in Copenhagen,Gothenburg and Stockholm, Deer park, djurgarden, And many, many more. These cities made me realize how important/awesome it is to have abundant access to beautiful green spaces

3.getting from Berlin to Barcelona in 36 hrs via train, while avoiding the ridiculously expensive brussels-paris line as well as wondering around Paris from midnight to 6 am because all the hostels were sold out.

4.Eating in Spain. The baseline quality of food in Barcelona and madrid is so high its astounding. Berlin is also a worthy mention. Tons of highly specialized small shops offering very high quality, specific stuff at decent (10-15 dollar) prices.

5.Reina Sofia museum: I had already been to this museum in Madrid before, but this time was, for whatever reason, the best time So far, There were a lot of amazing exhibitions and cool stuff to see, and I went around and read a lot of the cards to really try understand specific artists and pieces. This museum was already my favorite, and its only gotten better.

6. Berlin: I had liked Berlin last time I was there, but this time was so much better and made me realize just how much potential this city has going forward. The city feels young, alive and full of energy. Its filled with coffee shops, vietnamese restuarants, a bunch of art and creative institutions. But it also feels technical and sophisticated as times, with people speaking perfect english (better than anywhere else I saw in Germany) and talking about hard programming problems, or how to get funding for a startup. The neighborhood I stayed at, Mitte, was also amazing, and I can defintely see it becoming a sort of "Village" type scene similar to new york.

Dissapointments:

1. Didn't do enough. Even though I went through tons of countries, I felt I couldve seen a lot more niche things. I ended up staying in barcelona for almost 20 days, which while I dont mind Since I love barcelona, Means I didn't get to see other parts of spain, specifically the north coast, and maybe even portugal. also extended stay at berlin created slack.

2. My travel partner and I weren't always on the same track. He wasn't much of a sightseer and wanted to go off the beaten track as soon as possible. He also was more interested in seeing nature, vistas and climbing or trekking. While I don't mind doing this, I hadn't come with that mindset and hadn't researched enough about where and how to go about accomplishing those goals. Furthermore there where a ton of new cities for me on the trip and I felt My time was better spent getting to know the cities, and to leave the nature part of europe up to another trip where I have all the research and spots I want to go to beforehand as well as possibly a tent and other gear.

Now I'm back from My trips and starting to get back on the grind. I don't quite now what to do at the moment. I have one more year of college to go through and then I'm probably going to go out to vietnam or Thailand, or possibly Barcelona, or heck maybe just stay in The U.S. living in an RV. I don't quite know yet. I tried learning programming for the third time, and got past the whole beginner phase of learning what functions, classes, objects etc. are, but just feel stuck, and keep finding it extremely tedious. I have had some success trading, and am trying to keep growing my account. So, at the moment, I have three main goals.

1. make money

2. Pass college.

3. Go on an adventure.

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Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:46:15 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/what-now
Travelling cheap in Europe and Scandinavia. http://sett.com/alexisrivero/travelling-cheap-in-europe-and-scandinavia Everyone wants to travel cheaply for the most part. as of not too long ago it was thought that only those with a lot of wealth or business expense accounts could travel. Thanks to travel blogs and a bunch of other things that has kind of waned. While there is tons of info on what to do, here are some tips that I haven't seen too much, specifically for europe.

Flights

1. Get on alert list at kayak and other websites like momondo. Kayak and Momondo are my favorite, sometimes one has better prices than the other, so use both. Momondo covers more obscure airlines for the most part. Other sites are google flights hipmunk and skycanner. Set up multiple alerts for top cities in europe or where ever you want to travel. put the alert price around 20% lower than the average price. sometimes out of nowhere you can find insane deals saving you 20-50% on flights.

2. Book early. For the most part booking early is better. Use the tips above to get alerts, and when you see a flight on a timeframe that is good for you book it.

3. Be flexible. When flying to a general area be flexible. I wanted go to Barcelona this summer to start more europe trip, but ended up going to copenhagen to see something new and because it was 200 dollars cheaper. I also didnt mind leaving a couple of days earlier.

Accommodation:

1. if you have a lot of time in advance couchsurf, and if you can host people in your place that will seriously help you get your couchsurf rep up. I haven't done this yet, because travelling in high season without rep/booking what in advance is impossible, but if you have time to set up your profile and get some reviews via hosting others that can really boost your odds, also if you can send out request way before your travel date that is huge.

2. if you don't mind having to leave the city every night and go back in every morning (or if you aren't really into travelling cities to begin with) Camping can save you tons of money. In places like scandinavia, camping is absolutely free on public land, so a 30 min metro ride out of the city effectively gives you free accomdation if you have a tent. in Other parts of europe u can find campgrounds not far of just about every major city like Paris, Rome. Some cities you might have to go out a bit farther, but for the most part you save money if you are really tight.

3. Negotiate on wimdu/9flats/airbnb. This one has worked pretty well for me. if you are going somewhere last minute and see a place you like on one of these websites send the host a request saying you are willing to book right now, for tommorow, for a cheaper price. Alot of the time the hosts say yes because they rather have the money than not. This works espcially well in cities that aren't big tourist destinations.

4. Hostels: Sleeping in hostels is probably your cheapest bet if the above fail. Be careful with hostels though and always try to look at multiple reviews. Some can be extremely noisy if too close to the city center or might have hidden fees. Also some hostels are very open to negotiation if they are small/it isnt high season. Sometimes even in high season in some secondary or smaller cities you can get away with negotating the price a bit. This can be useful in expensive countries like Scandinavia.

5. Budget hotels/ hotels with friends. If you are travelling with 3-4 people you can get some INSANE deals for hotels granted everyone pays their share. I've stayed at four star hotels in barcelona for 20-30euro a person (4 people) and similar situations in berlin and Vienna. European hotels are weird and sometimes very strict about having more than 2 adults in the same room. Most of the time they don't care for the most part, but make sure to look up. In most cases you can probably sneak your friend in and just have one person check in and check out. But do that at your own risk.

Food. (note: this is mostly for Europe. If you are in South America, central america or Asia just go to any Food stall or food market and eat all the tacos/pad thai/noodles/ or w/e for extremely cheap)

1. the cheap food will always be cooking for yourself. Mostly pasta/bread/ cheap ham or processed meat. I don't cook when I'm at home so I really can't tell you much about this, I just know its the cheapest if you are really in a tight spot.

2. You don't nessecarily have to cook for yourself, but sometimes you can find great precooked meals at grocery markets. I've had 5-6 euro rotisserie chicken that I bought in Rome from teh super market taste amazing. In scandinavia you can get some good deals on smoked salmon at super markets. In France and Italy Good quality cheese can be bought super cheap at grocery stores and eaten immedeatily. This isn't as cheap as cooking pasta/bread and eating ham, but its very cheap.

3. My #1 travel hack for the most part, if you really aren't a foodie and don't care about local culture food is eat at subway. Yes I just said that, eat at subway. Subway imo is the best bang for buck fast food, you can get a footlong for 6-10 bucks, and depending on the country with double meat. This is feeling and you get a good amount of protein, carbs, and fats. If I were on a tight budget and didnt want to cook I'd stick to this and super market pre cooked food.

Transportation:

1. If you really really want to save money and don't mind slower or more convuluted methods, Buses and flights in europe are extremely cheap. Espcially if flying over multiple countries (scanidnavia to spain, italy to czech republic). The problem I have with flights is that They are uncomfortable, you have to get to and from the airport, instead of being dropped right in the center, and most of the time what you save isn't enough to justify all that hassle. But if you really want to go relatively far, it is probably your best bet. I don't have much experience with Buses in europe, but from what I've heard they are usually cheaper, espcially for popular routes. But they are slower and have weirder hours, while trains run every hr or two usually.

2.Get a rail pass. For the most part rail passes will save you a ton of money, ESPECIALLY if you are criss crossing countries and or doing constant rail trips. I got the unlimited because I am doing a lot of day tripping and train riding. For most people the 15 days in 2 months is probably past. there are also even cheaper options if you pick a specific region. For the most part this is much more convenient, faster than a bus. Although a bus and flights CAN be cheaper

3. You didn't hear this from me, but in some European countries its not even worth it to get a train or metro pass because there are no system in places to check. Don't feel bad ethier, I dont even see the locals paying most of the time. Use at your own risk.

4. because european cities are so dense compared to American-style sprawls, bikes are extremely handy. For some cities renting a bike might be a good idea, and if you like to travel with more stuff or are travelling by car, defintely take a bike.

Other random tips:

1. There are city cards in almost every major city. They won't always save you money but when they do they can save you tons, espcially in cities with lots of museums like Paris, London and Berlin.

2. This one is super obvious, but if you like to party I highly suggest you pre-game before going out, in some cities, espcially scandanivia, Paris and amsterdam going out can be prohibitively expensive.

3.Download all the major maps of every city/area you are going to be into your phone in advance then use location data to orient yourself. I still see tons of tourists walking around with the super annoying fold up maps and the like. Location gps is free from what i understand, or uses extremely little data ( I got the data pass from att, its expensive, (40$ for 120mb) but great for those clutch situations, so worth it imo)

4. When shopping in markets or small places, espcially in southern or eastern european countries, bargaining and offering to pay in cash can save you a ton. Haggling can be hard but really the best way is not to set a price and negotiate, but just keep saying too expensive, and pretend to be ready to walk away. 1. Show interest 2. ask for price 3. say thats too expensive. At this point the merchant will probably begin quote lower prices if not, ask how low can he go. 4. pretend to walk away or like you are no longer interested because price is too high. after he changes price 4-5 times say if he can go lower if you pay in cash, around 70% of the time they can take out another 5% off the price. The key is never set a price, because then the merchant doesn't want to seem like he is giving in to a tourist. A lot of people say quote half price, but when that happens the merchant wont want to go below 70% of the price. if you just keep saying to expensive, no, and feigh disinterst, the merchant will very likely take 50% off.

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Mon, 26 May 2014 07:19:43 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/travelling-cheap-in-europe-and-scandinavia
Travelling, Europe and working on the road. http://sett.com/alexisrivero/travelling-europe-and-working-on-the-road well now that school is over I decided to buy a one to Copenhagen with my trusty 19l tom bihn backpack in and thats it. I will probably be meeting up with a friend in a couple of weeks and keep europe hopping from there. So if anyone is in europe let me know.

A couple of thoughts:

1. Travelling light rocks. I'm walking around with my 19l backpack that has EVERYTHING and see all these people with 60l+ backpacks + a day pack and maybe even a yoga mat or w/e. Absolutely insane. I have no idea how these people do it. I got off the plane and immediately went to go hit up some sites, chill at a cafe and just organize myself for a couple of hours. With a huge backpack I would not be able to do that.

2. Cameras are pretty much pointless if you have a top-notch camera phone or aren't a serious photographer. I love taking photos, and taking raw photos and editing them on Lightroom can't be beat. But with camera phones being Good enough for most instances nowadays the only time i feel i need a good quality camera ( I use a cannon s100, but any prosumer point and shoot, or god for big a big dslr is what im referring to) is at night or in dark situations where i can really push the aperture/sensor. Although even the iphone has a pretty solid aperture nowadays ( I have a samsung s5). But in terms of just taking photos and sharing them you can't beat camera phones.

3.If you are travelling with friends Private hostels rooms are a REALLY good deal imo. I still haven't done this, although i have reserved some for when i do meet up with some friends in a week from now. But for the most part u can get a two bed private hostel for 30-60 a person depending where in europe you are. If you are travelling with 4 friends you could probably also sneak in some NICE hotels in europe and divide by 4 and end up paying maybe a bit more than a hostel for really good service.

4. Scandinavia is expensive. Especially alcohol, eatings out, and coffee. In copenhagen I ended up paying 6-7 dollars for a cappuccino that would cost me 4.50 at a good coffee shop in nyc or LA. A pint of beer 11+ and cocktails at a solid bar 17+ even in expensive nyc i can find 8 for a pint and 12-14 a cocktail at super good places like ECC cocktail club or pouring ribbons. Also 20+ dollar burgers seem to be the norm.

5. train passes are defintely worth it. I havent used mine much having just landed here, but if you are like me and like to set up shop in a major city spend a couple of days seeing said city, then a couple of days day tripping to nearby places before taking a longer trip, its totally worth it. I got the 2 month infinite travel pass because in places like Spain, Italy and germany I know I will be criss crossing borders and day tripping a lot, which are usually the passes that add up fastest.

6. Idk why people (or maybe its just the people i hang out with) are so against or weirded out by travelling alone. Everytime i told someone i would be alone for 1-2 weeks they would say "what are you going to do alone for two weeks?" or something of the like. Whats interesting is notice how they are not asking "what are you going to do those two weeks?", but instead emphasize alone. I find it funny because I am going to do EXACTLY what I would do if i was hanging out with someone. I would of course prefer to travel with a friend whenever possible, but for the most part when i travel that is just an extra. Alot of people say its not where you go but who you go with. I really think that depends on what your travel goals are. In my case Iike to just walk around in the culture, possibly go see some natural sights or museums, eat out and try the local fare and then maybe meet other people or focus on getting work done, which leads me to next point.

7. Getting work done is very... weird. For one It can really depends cause at times you are factoring in a lot of random factors. For example what the weather is like, which museums or exhibitions are open today or might have discounts, and other random stuff. also sometimes you might not have good internet, or a good working environment, for exampe if you are staying at hostels. other times its just hard to come back from walking and biking around for 6-8 hrs+ and then getting to work. ultimately unless you really wake up and approach the day looking to get work done from the get go I think it can be difficult.

8. Meeting people on the road can really depends on your situation and the country. I found meeting or interesting with Danish people colloquially was somewhat difficult. They are very introverted when out and about and seem to stick to their close friends much of the time. Coming from Puerto Rico and living in California its astonishng to see the lack of conversations going on in public. people are very quiet. That is not to say they are rude or awkward. at least in denmark and sweden people have been very coutreous, speak very good english, probably the BEST english as a second language ive ever seen, and are very happy. Meeting other travelers is another story, that can be as easy as going to a hostel lounge and just sitting down and saying hi.

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Tue, 20 May 2014 11:08:35 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/travelling-europe-and-working-on-the-road
My thoughts trading for the last 6 months http://sett.com/alexisrivero/my-thoughts-trading-for-the-last-6-months I've been trading to varying degrees with varying strategies the last few months and want to organize my thoughts here. Here is what I have learned, what I am excited about, and what I don't like.

1. Its harder than it looks. Going into trading I imagined it would be as easy as just picking what some of the pros picked and just taking profits. It actually IS that easy sometimes, infact most of the times the plays you should be in are dead obvious and are the "gimmes" of trading. The problem isn't so much that good plays are hard to find, its that when there aren't any you tend to get in bad or lackluster plays instead of waiting fro everything to be stacked in your favor. A lot of times I'd pick a company cause of X reason, it would go up and i would make money. then I would pick another company because it had the same X reason. But I failed to look at all the other variables in play, and ended up loosing money.

Furthermore, and possibly the hardest part of trading, is you never know when it "ends" blackjack, poker, and just about any other game u play has an or a rule that decides when the game resets. In trading you decide everything. You can be in for minutes, hours, days , week or even years. You can bet against or for. You can double down on winners or losers, and do this depending on time frames, sector performance, or for whatever reason. It is so open-ended that it is hard to determine what signals are quality, and when. Overall Trading isn't hard, but it also isn't easy, because it requires complete discpline and ability to miss the about. It is requires one to be 100% truthful with themselves and stop looking at potential missed gains or being happy for not being entangled in a loss. A lot of times you can sell on a stop loss, then the stock rebounds and u wish u hadn't. But sometimes that stop loss could save you from steep losses.

2. The general market is very powerful. This is what I hate the most about trading/investing. Generally the market, which is really "how are the biggest companies doing" decides what just about every stock does. If the heavy weights in the dow jones average or sp500 are experiencing a selloff, it doesn't matter if you find a microcap with stellar management, tons of cash, amazing technology, and tons of backlog, it will have a hard time delivering amazing results. This to me is infuriating. In private equity and Venture capital world it is very indiviually driven. When you see something like skype, Facebook or instagram when its not trading publicly you don't care how the dow jones or sp500 is doing, you invest in the idea, the people, and the vision. But once a company of any size goes public it is very much exposed to the broader market, and while companies with strong earnings and backlog etc. tend to whether market pullbacks pretty well, you are just much better off shorting. While I don't mind shorting, I just wish traders and investors were more individually focused on a stocks potnetial to succeed instead of being enamored by how market movements might cause there stock, which would probably be one of the best stocks if not for a turbulent market, could do in the future.

3. One big win (or loss) can change everything. I'm trying to get myself into this mentality lately of going for big wins and only sticking to a stock that behaves EXACTLY how I want it to no questions asked. Alot of people like to scalp or day trade. and while I dont mind doing both if the situation demands it. BIG wins of 50%+ are where real money is made and what can change your life. People say don't go chasing big wins and just settle for steady returns. But the problem is that some stocks beat the market by such a large margin that it is worth it. The main issues if you must avoid big losses. I try to cut losses like crazy, and while it hurts, espcially in a turbulent market, where you could be cutting losses 6 trades in a row, It has saved me a ton of money. The #1 rule is don't make big mistakes. Cut losses quick, or they will mess you up.

4. Unless you are investing in big companies, and even then, the market is almost 100% speculation. Big companies usually trade pretty in par with their growth prospects and earnings, and by big i mean 10b+ maybe even only 30b+ companies, and even then there can be some exceptions. What this means is market moves can literally happen based on dumb news. When TSLA announced some battery related news battery related names, who hadn't done anything notable, and a lot were not making money, had debts, a mired in a lot of other problems. Skyrocketed. These sympathy plays happen in various instances, and other stuff like Seeking alpha articles, random tweeters, and a bunch of other mumbo jumbo can completely change a stock's trading pattern and flow. Very little of trading, especially in small caps, is determined on value or a solid analsyis of a company, although that is definitely a huge plus fi the company is in a hot sector. Overall trading hype or anticipating hype is much more profitable, adn shorting exuberant as well. Trading like warren buffet won't make you money unless you have a lot of money, patience, and influence over companies.

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Fri, 02 May 2014 03:58:03 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/my-thoughts-trading-for-the-last-6-months
The winner take it all economy, the good and the bad. http://sett.com/alexisrivero/the-winner-take-it-all-economy-the-good-and-the-bad Recently I've been fascinated by this idea of a new economic model that has formed due to technology, new operating efficiency and the so called "post-industrial world". The economist has even mentioned this new economy being a sort of "winner takes it all type of economy" where those who innovate, take risks, and disrupt are met with a skewed amount of market share that has never been seen before. Here are some thoughts I have on the subject.

1. Because of the highly globalized, interconnected world we live in, being 1% better can lead to a disproportionate amount of more business. What is better is always questionable, but what I'm ultimately trying to say here is that things that are at the top or near the top of usable performance have become increasingly more useful, especially as capital, because the small advantage they give, while subject to diminishing returns, gives one a disproportinate advantage. This is even more important in human capital. The best managers, investors, programmers, politicians, inventors you name it have gotten to such a point that in terms of ranking being in the top 1% in these respective fields is just SO much better than not being in the top 1%. Its hard to describe it really, and of course its hard to name who is top 1%, but I guess the best way to describe it is the professionals in these fields who work hard, are constantly thinking of new ideas, applying their knowledge, and are highly discpline and motivated can syngerize all their charactersitics to perofrm at such a high level that their ability to leverage capital, factor of production, or people is just significantly higher in the long run.

Arguably more than ever I find human capital being valued at a ridiculously high level. CEO pay is at nosebleed levels. Companies are poaching executives and top performers from each other seeking to change things up, get information on rivals or otherwise just take massive steps forward. Because of communications technology, new management procedures and operating dynamics, whether it be having 20% of time off like at google, or being a part of a more traditional conglomerate like GE, the power of ideas, expert strategic decision making and management, has gone to a new all time high because it can be leveraged quickly, globally and significantly.

2. More than ever before people have access to almost everything, all the time, when they need it. Due to better global distribution of goods, and internet access as well as cheaper and cheaper international shipping it is now possible to literally buy almost anything, from anywhere. What this means is that being the best, whether it be in price, quality, or otherwise, is simply that much more advantageous. Before if you where the best in your hometown, people chose your products over say some multinationals, it would only be useful to you and a few people around you. But now it is significantly easier to expand, have a presence, and get attention for your higher quality product and slowly scale up and steal market share from multinationals or firms who don't deliver the same quality. Kick starter and other similar ventures have helped a lot with this as well, as companies can now almost immediately get attention, scale up, and test their product.

Unfortunately this has had some bad effects.

there has been a large divide between those that are skilled, highly motivated, have connections or some capital and those that simply don't make the cut. Simply not being in the top 1-3% just makes you significantly less valuable to companies, and sometimes you can have multiple really solid breakthroughs, ideas, or businesses, but ultimately the best are just more capable of taking market share than ever before. This is in my opinion is why the middle class has declined so much america, there is just simply no need for most because it is just too expensive. better to pay one more capable CEO 10 million more than to hire 200 additional workers. Another problem, that is somewhat intertwined here depending on industries is that capital is now abundant. Not necessarily money capital, but factors of productions. Demand ceiling are being reached much faster with less people, and more workers isn't really making production faster, because it is so much easier to scale production. production per worker is so high at the moment that simply producing more, and hiring more laborers isn't needed because there is excess supply overall, this leads and reinforces the winner takes it all mentailty, where it is ideas not just production that is valuable in this post-industrial world.

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Fri, 25 Apr 2014 09:43:35 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/the-winner-take-it-all-economy-the-good-and-the-bad
My thoughts on High frequency trading http://sett.com/alexisrivero/my-thoughts-on-high-frequency-trading There has been a lot of mis information regarding high frequency trading. Whether it be Algorithm or quote stuffing or a bunch of other things. First let me start by making this clear. I think HFTs are the dumbest thing ever and should be banned. For those that don't know the high frequency trading is hyperfast trading done by computer and something algorithms but no in the sense that you would think. From what I have understood and researched, for the most part, HFTs make their money in two ways.

1. Frontrunning orders. What does this mean? This means that because they have a faster connection to the than you or anybody else does they can literally see what stock has a pending order, push their stock faster than yours, buy the stock at a cheaper price, then sell it back to you at a slightly higher price. They do this accross numerous stocks countless of times of days, ensuring you get a worse price, and they make their fractions of a cent per share. By doing this they are not investing or even providing liquidity, becuase remeber, they ONLY buy if they know they have someone they can sell too immedeatily. They are not providing anymore liquidity than the market already has, because if they weren't in the way you would have bought from the person they buy from, whether it be a market maker/specialist or another investors/trader. Thus the myth that it provides liquidity is false

2. Arbirtage. These super fast algo bots will arbrirtage by trading ETFs and their underlying componenets faster than the ETFs and the market makers can by using their hyperfast connections and algos. These provides some function to the market, but overall doesn't really matter.

So what does this mean? It means HFTs are literally just screwing everyone up becuase they are doing anything other than scalping trades and defrauding normal investors. some HFTs do serve a legitimate market role by being speculators (using algorithims and the like to try and beat the market) but most of them are literally exploiting the underlying technology that runs markets instead of actually particpating in markets. To make it easy to understand, HFTs couldn't exist if everyone's order had a high minimum latency, thus ensuring everyone had roughly the same, if not almost indentical speed. if the HFTs couldnt have a faster connection than you they couldnt have an edge. Their edge comes entirely from exploiting networking and computer systems. There is very little, if any, actual analysis or risk being done or taken on by these firms. They are not helping in price discovery.

Some types of algorithmic or HFT trading is fine, particularly those that actually take on risk and do not exploit their speed or knowledge of computer systems, but rather act as legitimate market participants. But for the most part HFT trading firms are not in this business, and in the mean time are funneling a lot of talent away from useful ventures by offering extremely high wages to computer scientists and the like.

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Tue, 08 Apr 2014 01:07:35 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/my-thoughts-on-high-frequency-trading
Markets again! http://sett.com/alexisrivero/markets-again Markets where NUKED on friday, absolutely nuked, I smell a giant reversal on the way and I am short so I hope the sell off continues. Overall the last couple of days I have learned a great deal and what I have concluded is

1. Day trading is almost pointless. Only in absolutely exceptional circumstances should one day trade. This includes MASSIVE sell offs and buying on dips, or buying news that triple AAA with a stock that has seen no volume lately. Overall stokcs that have been hot as of late usually dont react to new (buy the rumor sell the news). Its best to find sleeping stocks if you are going to day trade.

2. Swing trading Strong stocks (based on sector/earnings/ theme etc) continues to be the best risk/reward scenario as welll as the least stressful and time consuming. The market has countlss of strong stocks that oscillate on a weekly basis and buying them on pullback is usually a good idea. Remeber, investors ALWAYS come back.

3. If the General market is high risk mode, get out of postions. I thought that certain stocks would be "immune" to market moves. Boy was I wrong. The market is merciless. VERY VERY few stocks survive a general market sell off, and those are usually stocks that have some sort of same-day catalyst.

4. Last but not least I've learned the #1 rule is to not be invested when there is uncertainty. Some day you feel like you have to be in something and the fear of missing out gets you. But the truth is its okay to miss out, Follow a strategy and be a sniper and wait for stocks to come to you.

So in general I shouldve sold all my positions and gone short. The market was giving clear topping signals and Ignored them, although I did end up taking a small short position to hedge. I guess the question I have to ask myself is why be invested in anything other than the BEST situations? Why be in the stock market if things arent in your favor? triple AAA setups appear all the time and they should be the only ones worth one's attention. The hard part is doing absolutely nothing while you wait for them and while you play them.

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Mon, 07 Apr 2014 00:40:23 +0000 http://sett.com/alexisrivero/markets-again