An interview with Philip Jedar
I’ve decided to upgrade my relationship with money. So far, it’s been totally random and often disastrous but I’m now committed to improve that part of my life so, as said in my earlier post, I’ll start sharing information on how to build up one’s financial skills as I experiment various methods myself.
Today’s post will be an interview with my old buddy Philip Jedar.
Philip and I have worked in the same team in a Buddhist Center for more than five years. I remember him as a 24/7 guy who spent all his time injecting all his energy for free, just to support Buddhist teachers and all those who wanted to hear their message. Now, for the last seven years he has worked his tail off to gain expertise in the financial area.
He’s currently involved in crowd-funding and investing projects .
I’ve decided to interview him since I know his integrity and also because he’s great at simplifying complex systems and making them practical.
In short, he matches the requirement to explain money management to a financially retarded person like me. If you’re curious about how a philanthropist can use money to support himself and others, read on.
You’ve spent more than 10 years working full time for Buddhist organizations, now you’re a financial advisor, could you explain what motivated your evolution?
Indeed, I spent more than 10 years deeply involved and working full time for Buddhist organizations. At some point, my way of life required quite some travel and long stays in foreign countries.
I had to find a way of making a living during this nomadic period of my life. Also, I had to learn how to plan my savings, prepare a plan for my retirement, and build some kind of wealth in order to be able to develop some projects I am interested in.
I started to do some research, to gather information in order to be able to invest my savings.
Getting good at anything requires some time. And along the learning curve, I encountered all kinds of trial and errors. Little by little, I gathered enough knowledge to become good at what I’m doing.
So, I thought ” Why not do that for others? It can be your job! Why not be a financial advisor?”
At this time I was back in France. I went back to school, in order to pass all the legal accreditation allowing me to practice this profession in a lawful manner.
Here I am now, a financial advisor, taking care of clients, managing their money and mine as well. The circle is complete.
Do you think we can change the world by investing our bucks differently? If yes, how?
It seems to me that change will take place when a fair amount of people recognize that a long term vision is much better than a short term, get rich overnight, mass product mirage…
The majority of people I meet in my work are afraid and angry at the financial system. They see it as a big evil entity.
I don’t see it that way.
The financial markets are what we do with them. If we are motivated by fear and greed, that is what they will reflect.
Everything depends on our motivation. In order to be clear with it, we have to reflect, to study a bit and to communicate with each other.
The previous era was based on size, the motto was “Too big to fail” We might now be witnessing a shift towards “Too Sustainable to Fail”
I don’t know if we have already reached a critical mass, but it seems to me that many people are willing to use alternative ways of investing, using conventional supports.
For example, more individuals are now inclined to invest in companies that are opening their equity to the public.
To do so, they are willing to use the possibilities offered by using a crowd funding platform.
This way of investing will create different links between the companies and the investors. They will communicate with each other, learn from each other.
The richness developed by such means will be greater than just investing in the stock market, through an anonymous broker.
The development of a more interesting relationship between investors and project leaders led me to launch my crowdfunding platform and to assist both sides of the deal to make things happen.
I’ve noticed that you’ve investigated deeply in Bitcoin lately, could you explain what Bitcoin is?
Well, it is quite a vast topic!
In a nut shell, it’s a new kind of money, or “Digital Currency.” Exchange of BTCs is taking place throughout the internet. The network is made up of users like you and me. So no payment processor is required between you and whoever you’re trading with.
This decentralization is the basis for Bitcoin’s security and freedom. Bitcoin lets us send money to anyone online, anywhere in the world for less than a cent per transaction.
Bitcoin is a community run system, not controlled by anyone.
I’m interested to follow what is going on with bitcoins, because, it might become to fiat currencies what email is to “snail mail”, Skype to old fashion phones…
What are the benefits and potential risks of investing in Bitcoin?
Volatility! Btc is a wild animal. Its value is very volatile, therefore, quite risky to invest in.
For example, during the past 6 months, it went from $ 20 to $ 260, then down to $ 50 and at the moment I’m writing this, it is worth $ 106.
Banks have been accused of gambling with assets until the 2008 subprime collapse. Since then, many people wonder how to protect their life savings; they don’t feel confident in traditional investments.
If you had three tips to give them, what would they be?
As I said before, traditional investment is not a bad thing in itself. A bank can’t really do more than what we let them do.
I know it might seem a bit provocative, but I think we have our share of responsibilities … One day I was discussing with a Buddhist teacher about a similar type of problem and he asked me “If you invite a thief in your house and something is stolen, whose fault is it ? ”
Anyway, here are:
3 important financial tips
1) DO something !
Even if it is something as little as putting aside $ 50 every month ! You will see with time, that it will put your mind in a different mode. It will force you naturally to catch a rhythm and little by little you will see your savings grow.
Do something and do it now ! Don’t wait, don’t think it is not worth it to put aside just $ 50, I will do it when I have more to put aside… If you don’t do it, when you reach retirement age, you will be one of those who can apply Warren Buffet’s quote :
“After all, you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”
2) Seek the advice of a good financial advisor
I would say that it’s crucially important to have someone who is able to listen.
Someone who is able to explain clearly why he/she chooses a particular investment solution for you. You have to understand what is proposed to you. You have to understand fully what you are investing your money in and be sure it fits your profile and goals.
The responsibility of the advisor is to explain; yours is to understand.
When I was in New York, I went with a friend to see her financial advisor, and at the first question we asked about a particular investment support he used for her, his answer was “don’t worry about that.”
Well Man, it’s her money, she wants to know about it !
Sadly he lost a client… Well I guess it does not really matter as he was employed by the bank.
The moral of this story is that maybe it is a good idea to seek an independent financial advisor…
3) Please don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.
It’s a classic idea, but people usually forget it…
It is also a good way to weigh the “Independence” of your financial advisor. If he absolutely wants to invest all your money in a particular support, there might be a good reason … FOR HIM/HER … to do so. Perhaps a better commission on this particular product ?
Your advisor must propose to you a vast range of supports to safely invest your money, spreading the risk.
I’ve been a total loser in managing my finances so far, I’ve sometimes made real decent money and ended up dead broke a year after. What should I start with to empower myself financially?
I would suggest that you work at building a safety cushion. This should be your primary objective.
How big should be this cushion be? One month of expenses ? 2 months ? Try to define your comfort zone. “I feel good with x month of expenses in my safety cushion”…
Then you will need to apply tip #1 : DO something NOW. How much can you put aside every month ? $ 10 ? $ 50 ? … Whatever you can do, DO IT!
You can explore Philip’s crowd funding projects at: http://www.capital108.com/en/ or get in touch with him via Twitter at: @capital108