Recently, I attend an event featuring Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary along with guest speakers Steve Sitkowski and Jeff Tomasulo. They promoted a software called Interactive Trader, a tool designed to help you make “smart financial decisions” with the stock market. I was at first tempted to buy into their program so that I could make money too. However within the few days that followed, I realized that this was not the path of a heart. I couldn’t help but feel disconnected from the Wall Street path, which seems nothing more than a mere numbers game. You basically benefit or gamble on other people’s money, meanwhile not contributing anything of value to society. Doesn’t that seem pretty empty and unfulfilling?
When you chase money just for the sake of having more of it, your life turns out to be only about money or numbers. And for those people promoting the software, they get some money in exchange for your ignorance or cluelessness of how the stock market works.
In the stock market, there are two main ways to make money. You either earn money through dividends, or you earn it on capital gains (a.k.a. market inefficiencies). They presented the game of options, which they say will make you a sustainable income. But in order to truly make money from options, you have to know the insides and outs about different stocks and companies. And like I mentioned before, you are simply making money based off of other people’s ignorance. Do you really want to live that way?
They promoted both ways as follows: earn passive income through dividends, and earn income through options. The passive side of earning money seems to be the better deal as you invest money into a company that seems to be doing well. But the income part is tricky, in my humble opinion more risky than just trying to earn your own passive income through other means.
When it was Kevin O’Leary’s time to speak, he shared some of his own methods for saving and investing money. He did not promote Interactive Trader as the other two did, so I’m guessing they just cut him a deal to speak in front of an audience about his financial success. He offered valuable advice such as making the large part of his income through dividends (or royalties such as with his Shark Tank deals), and he suggested living off the interest, not by the principle.
Another point that Kevin O’Leary noticed was the trend of successful women entrepreneurs. He mentioned how they have better time management skills, set achievable goals, maintain low employee turnover, and assimilate feedback to enhance customer service. In turn, men struggle to set achievable goals due to testosterone, setting too high of goals that are unrealistic and hard to keep up with.
With Steve Sitkowski, I had a few valuable takeaways. He said to stop caring about what others think and to just do what you want to do. Everything is temporary, so learn how to give from a loving heart. Improve your life first, and then focus on improving others’ lives too. Also, align your actions with your objectives. I don’t agree with him on using options as a way to gain steady income, but hey, he said it worked for him. Good on him for that. (; Personally, I cannot stomach the thought of just playing with numbers all day long. If I were to invest in the stock market, it’d be for dividends, not options.
There were three main takeaways from Jeff Tomasulo. One is that many people have trouble speaking about money (even though it is the main concern for the majority of people). So the more comfortable you feel with talking about money, the more of a chance you have succeeding with money. He said to take care of the downside first, because the upside can handle itself. In other words, face those main problematic areas and find a way to improve it, and everything else will be taken care of. The last point is to form a team or mastermind rather than trying to do everything yourself. Get your advice from the experts. Try to find a mentor that aligns with your beliefs and values, and replicate success from them (as a shortcut).
Overall, the event was not bad. There were a range of people attending the event, from college students to close-to-retirement folks. But still, I am skeptical about their program Interactive Trader. I know someone who is going to the event, so I’ll see their take on it before I completely write it all off. In the meantime though, I am focusing on my streams of passive income, doing my best to provide value to people before I gain anything from it. With the internet, it’s easier than ever to share with others and make a meaningful contribution. So, that is what I will focus on.