Stickman Readers' Submissions July 7th, 2012

Plan B With Benefits

There is a very old saying that goes along the lines of “How do you leave Thailand with a million dollars”…I have been told the answer is to arrive with at least 10 million dollars.

Thailand has the effect of leaching money from the vain and stupid fast.

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It’s no doubt that Thailand is a wonderful place to live if you have money as the options available to spend it on are limitless. Without disposable income it is a very much different prospect on offer.

Many articles have been written regarding the possibilities available to work in Thailand, but quite frankly the options open to work for the average non-pensioned foreigner wanting to reside here long term in some form of comfort with a visa are very few and far between. As the western hemisphere becomes more problematic with its social and financial infrastructure the desire to live in a tropical, lower living cost environment is going to become a greater attraction to many.

One thing is for certain – to live in any form of comfort in Thailand with a visa you will need money, and that in most cases will involve how to generate income, and for the majority of us that’s going to involve working and this is where the real options available to be stationed full time in Thailand become very meager.

Things change fast and unexpectedly here and the wise men amongst us will have in place a plan B. This could be anything from covering a quick exit back to your home country, or generating further income.

Many residing in Thailand will not have in place a plan B as deep down they are not expecting the plan A to work out long term.

It was by chance a friend of a friend asked if I had ever traded stocks. Up and until that point in time I had never given this any consideration and it got my interest and out of curiosity I decided when I got some spare time that I would look further into.

I quickly found that there are many types of online trading available and after a while I became interested in foreign exchange FOREX and commodities. Now I know to the uninitiated this sounds complex but in truth with a little time it could not have been easier to understand if broken down to what we face daily in our lives in Thailand. The majority here will know and watch their home country exchange rates. We see daily the move on gold prices marked in the many gold shops and we all see the results of the price of oil on the garage forecourt. In essence what we see daily in Thailand is almost a miniature version of the global markets working.

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For the start I read up on how in general basically the whole thing worked. There are many examples on the net or simple to understand books you can find. The one main overriding point I worked out early on was that you are only going to be as good as the broker company you use to trade through. Trust is also a vital part as you are going to be at some stage handing over some of your hard earned money to start trading.

The vision widely painted of sitting on a laptop trading while relaxing was too much to ignore and I found a company advertised on the net that was Thailand-based and they arranged for me to meet with one of their staff at their office in Bangkok. I have to say whoever their personnel manager is they did a great job. The broker assigned to help me was one of the most switched on Thai girls I have ever meet, in fact from what I could see the whole office was made up of only girls. Initial training took around 2 hours and I was shown the way around the system. Dangers were outlined and my every question was answered very professionally from how to set up a specific bank account to trade through to how to close a trade.

To start up I was given a demonstration account which would run parallel to real trading times. On this I would be able to trade without the risk of losing real money. This I did for 2 weeks. Very often during this time I would get a call from the broker assigned to me asking if I needed any help or advice. After 2 weeks I was feeling quite confident and my demonstration account was showing a little profit I felt confident to open my real trading account.

Now this is where it gets interesting and things were about to change. Just a little background for you. I’m 42 and married to one of the jewels of the Northeast. We live from what I can understand is a regular, normal life. Now up and until this point in time my wife had shown very little interest in anything that was going on, but as soon as she saw how “our” money was involved it got her attention, so much so after that a while so she asked to try and we set up another demonstration account for her and she did quite ok in fact a lot better than I was doing.

After many discussions and for many reasons we agreed to use the one account I had already set up that we would both trade on. The benefits I have seen for us trading together as a couple are vast. We now both have an interest that can jointly generate some extra income. We have different styles of trading somewhat I feel linked to our cultures. I prefer to read up what is happening in the world to make calculated judgments where possible she tends to look at how the graph is moving to base a trade on almost like if everyone else is going that way I will too, but together it’s working for us.

With the world markets presently in turmoil it’s a good time to trade as the markets are volatile and you see more daily movement. For ourselves over a period of time we focused on specific trading as you become more comfortable with focus going into fewer known areas. We have learnt a lot with many mistakes in the early days. We have meet a Thai lady broker who gave us good confidence and has become a very good friend of the wife.

The real benefit for me is that it’s put into place the basis of a good plan B to fall back on if needed. We can trade from anywhere at any time as long as we have a good laptop or smart phone and net connection. As a couple, in the past most of our arguments as with most couples here were in one way or other money related. Trading together has given my wife good face with her family and friends and an understanding of the money she can call part of her own responsibility make or loss.

Over the past 9 months we have been trading I have learnt a lot from this and the importance of working together. Looking back we almost had 2 separate lives. Now having a common interest it has brought to the table a lot is issues that almost without us knowing needed to be overcome.

The major one was trust as without trust there is no relationship it’s a simple as that. You can have a shame of a relationship with all smiles on the outside when people are looking but there will be nothing of true value truly there. In a land where you are forever told trust no one and nothing this is a hard nut to crack together but one that is so very vital to get over if you want to go forward in a long term relationship.

Honesty versus loss of face is also one of the hardest bridges to cross out here. We are all aware that it’s the Thai nature if given the choice to loss face or tell a lie will choose the latter 9 times out of 10. No one can have a successful relationship based on lies. Even lies used to cover a loss of face can soon turn into bigger lies that forever need to be covered up. You’re going to need to sit down on this one and set some rules on this as it is going to be impossible to work together unless you have 100% honesty with each other.

And my personal biggest learning is to try not to argue or use harsh words. Thai nature and non confrontational upbringing is just not built for this. Agree to disagree. Not every couple is going to agree on everything that would be impossible and impracticable. If it is not a life threatening matter then just let it go.

I hope that this has given a brighter side of what is possible especially if you are in a relationship or married. Working together will bring its rewards.

Stickman's thoughts:

I know a couple of guys who do this full-time in Thailand and as best I can tell both are doing well. But….they each spent the best part of a year of intense study of the markets before they leapt in for real.

I admire you for getting your Thai wife involved in this but I wonder if it opens up the chance for major arguments…if the investment goes south and one partner blames the other!

nana plaza