「服務他人是你住地球應該付出的租金。」– 穆罕默德‧阿里 (拳擊手)
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth." -- Muhammad Ali, Boxer



Dear Beginner Investors,


What would you do with $1000 USD? Perhaps you would go travelling and spend it on a holiday. Maybe you would buy a luxury item or put it towards a big purchase like a scooter or a TV. Would you put it into the bank and save something for a rainy day? For me, I would invest it in the stock market. This might be frightening for some and you would not be alone if it scares you. There are always horror stories about people losing the majority of their portfolio in a market downturn. There is indeed risk in the stock market. With some research and discipline when trading, it can be an effective way to build wealth.

Step 1: 選債券還是股票?

A major consideration in investing is whether you want stocks or bonds. You can think of a stock as owning a very small percentage of a company. A bond is like an IOU from a government or company where they pay you the money back over a fixed period with interest. Many people have a mix of the two products to suit their needs.

Traditionally, bonds are seen as safer than stocks because you get fixed payments. However, over time, stocks tend to outperform bonds.

Step 2: 通過「兩分鐘」測試再進場

There are thousands of stocks and bonds in the US market alone that you can choose from. Where do you begin? You will need to read and do your own research. There are countless free online references, such as Investopedia.com or Bloomberg. A great start is to buy some books about the basics of investing and build from there.

Peter Lynch, a famous investor, has said that you should be able to give a two-minute drill about your chosen stock. The drill is a mini speech where you give your reasons for buying a stock or bond which is explained simply enough that a child can understand it. To do this requires a fair amount of time and research. The very first stock that I bought I spent about 24 hours researching over several weeks to give my two-minute drill.

參考網路資源:Investopedia.com or Bloomberg

2-minute drill範例影片:https://dai.ly/x4kezva

A big barrier to giving your two-minute drill is the amount of jargon that is used in the financial world. Do you know your ETFs from your mutual funds; your P/E ratio from your return on equity? English makes this more confusing by having the same word for different situations. Take the word “funds” which could either refer to your available cash or products such as an ETFs or unit trusts. Look up the jargon, read and re-read until it makes sense!

Step 3: 注意手續費跟自以為是的"Dave"

You've done your research and are ready to buy some stocks or bonds, but how do you choose your broker? Your bank might not be the best choice. Just because you have a current account with them does not mean that they will offer competitive rates for investing. Does 1.5% sound good to you as a fee? It sounds pretty cheap but it means that your stock/fund has to beat 1.5% to break even. Do your research and you will find that some brokers charge as little as 0.03% for the same products. To put this into perspective, a $100,000 investment with 1.5% fees would cost $1,500, compared to $30 at 0.03%.

Bear in mind that your bank is also looking for their commission, which means they might not offer the best products for your needs. Look into their products and see if they are right for your situation. When doing your research try to stick to the facts and filter out the noise, such as sensationalist news or the advice of “Dave” - the friend of a friend with a “hot” stock tip. This is the type of person who always has a piece of advice that is not backed up by any research. You may as well take your money to a casino if you listen to them.

Step 4: 關注地緣政治新聞:脫歐、貿易戰風險

When looking past the noise of the markets you need to investigate market swings that are caused by geopolitical events. Brexit, Trump's threat of shutting down the government, or America's recent trade tariffs with China (and others) worry people and this has been reflected with the recent volatility of the markets. As soon as a decision is made the markets will settle and resume moving upwards. This may take longer if an unfavourable decision is made, but history has shown that the markets always move up in the long term.


You might be asking how all this compares to the Taiwanese stock market and whether it would be better to stay local rather than look to American stocks and bonds?

The USA still makes up over 40% of the world stock market, compared to less than 5% that Taiwan comprises. You would be opening yourself up to more buying opportunities. This can be seen with the main indexes of each: The S&P500 and the TWSE 50 – the top 500 US companies vs the top 50 Taiwanese ones.

Their markets also work a little differently. In the US you are free to buy a single share of a company at any time of the trading day. In Taiwan you need to purchase at least 1000 shares of a company during the majority of the trading day. The US stock market does not have a breaker system in place like Taiwan does. Taiwanese trading will cease if the market moves up or down 5% for bonds or 10% for stocks. The US market will not do this.


台灣的TWSE 50,選取在臺灣證交所市值前50大之上市公司為成份股;美國的S&P500(又稱標普500),則是根據設定條件挑出的500家成份股,包含大家熟知的Google、Facebook或微軟、亞馬遜。


Whatever you decide with your investing, you should have a long time frame (over 10 years) and be using money that you do not need in the immediate future. Patience and reading are true friends of the investor, and you should have the discipline not to panic when everyone else does. I wish you all the best with your portfolio and may you receive great returns on your investments!

文/ Jon Bines

I Read...

1. Barron's
2. The Economist
3. New Statesman

Jon has an educational background in history, which surprisingly led him into a professional background in banking. Having worked in several large investment banks in London, Jon wished to see more of the world and so he set off on his travels. 

After extensive escapades that took him across Europe, South America, the Middle and Far East, Jon found himself in Taiwan and has not looked back since. Jon currently keeps himself busy here managing several English schools, tutoring professionals and providing guest lectures at educational establishments. 

Jon regularly keeps up to date with the financial world and its related markets.  As an avid reader, when he has a moment, Jon likes to follow geopolitical news, articles about business and the latest innovations.  Jon feels that there is always something new that can be learned and is a keen proponent of broadening horizons through reading and self-learning.

本文收錄於英語島English Island 2019年4月號