Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Classic Post

Let's get right into this...

Another FREE quality article.

What does your capital allocation say about how you feel about shares?

Most people in the UK and worldwide know nothing or very little about shares directly. Of their own volition they probably have put no money in shares.

I reckon less than 10% of people in the UK have actively decided to put money into shares. It will be higher who have money in shares via a 'pension pot' though.

So... of those people... how many short shares? I reckon less than 1% of people in the UK short shares.

All that matters in shares is how much money you make. For many years I have just been 'long term buy and hold' and that generally is a fine way to do it. It beats cash in the bank...


Obviously shares do not go up in a straight line. Over the last 2 weeks the FTSE 100 has fallen about 10%. In general with shares when there is a fall there is a steep fall...

So how much you have allocated in shares should reflect how confident you feel in your shares... and the economic situation as a whole.

Ben Graham's rule of thumb is interesting. He says that if you're 75% in shares you should be very positive about the market... if you're 25% in shares you're very negative about the market.

The thing is, even for say a year, it might not be a bad thing to have a high percentage of your wealth in cash. If you have 80% of your wealth in cash and quality shares drop say 30% then may be the time to pounce...

This has been on my mind quite a lot... let's see if I can get the right words out...

I think in general it would be BAD to have the vast majority of your wealth in cash for most or all of your life. Especially with interest rates as they currently are- in the UK you're lucky to get 1% in a savings account now and millions of people get nothing. How much you have in cash does depend to an extent how much interest rates are. If they were 10% then it might make sense to have at least 30% in cash, maybe more.

It will be a long time if ever if we see 10% in the UK though.

At the same time... ideally I don't think it's ALWAYS good to have a high percentage of your wealth, say over 75%, in shares. Because there are always sharp drops from time to time and then you can lose a lot of money. Warren Buffet has a ton of cash piled away right now to pounce on good shares. Who knows, maybe he is even buying right now, it could well be a good time to do so.

The amount of cash you have in shares depends on many things... and how much time you can dedicate to it. I dedicate quite a lot but I am not like Chris Bailey who regularly sleeps 3 or 4 hours a day then spends the vast majority of the rest of his time on shares. There are people who are better analysts of shares than I am in some ways. I still spend quite a lot of time on shares though and believe after almost twenty years in the game my instincts are good. There is always more to learn. As long as I have enough money I will be doing shares for the rest of my life.

Of course Ben Graham is dead now. In the 70s there were much better interest rates than there are now and in general it was harder for smaller or private investors to invest in shares.

In the current climate it can be tempting for people in the UK to have a high percentage of their money in shares. After all there are millions of people getting no money in interest from their bank.

Also you can obviously have money allocated to things other than 'cash and shares'. Off the top of my head there is cryptocurrency, gold, oil, property...

Most people at some point will have quite a lot of their money tied up in property because they need a house to live in. Property is a solid investment which over the long term consistently rises. I would like to invest in property more, although it is a different skillset and more challenging in some ways than investing in shares.

But how much should you have in shares as a percentage?

It depends how positive or good value you think shares are. However there are other ways to make money with shares. You can short them. I have just started doing and learning about this. Shorting a share or index is an expression of a negative attitude towards the markets.

In general you can say having money in shares is positive towards the market, cash is neutral and shorting is negative.

So your capital allocation should reflect your view on this. At some times it may be fine to have a decent amount of 'negative' attitude towards the market. Or stay 'neutral' with say 20% of your cash or more so you can pounce on good opportunities.

This article is one I just keep coming back to...

The key thing to remember about high yield shares is that plenty of opportunities will usually be there. OK so it can be a bit annoying perhaps thinking of having a lot of cash stuck making practically no interest.... and that interest being paid once a year. However shares with good yields can get even better. Look at Imperial Brands as a recent example.

Dividend cover is key... because remember a company can cut a dividend to nothing at an instant. Then you have a big capital loss AND no dividend. Look at Capita as an example. Even a good history of dividend payments can't stop a cut. I can see why some people want dividend cover to be two times cash available. I think I will look for at least 1.7 myself. You can look at 'free cash flow' and possible extra capex.

Imperial Brands btw... I bought more shares and think the share is really cheap at this price. A PE of 10.75 can EASILY go to 15 for a tobacco company and British Amercian Tobacco has traded at around a 20 PE. Imperial are saying they are going to increase the dividend by 10% per year too.

In fact I would rather have good dividend cover and a history of nice increasing yield than a very high dividend yield. It's down to 'free cash flow'... I probably should research this more in companies.

But they key point is... wait until you see a GREAT opportunity for either shares or spreads. Good opportunities will be there most days... great opportunities? If you know shares and spend a lot of time looking at the market hopefully you will see two a month, maybe more. Especially if you know a lot about shorting shares which I have plenty to learn about.

Real life examples...

I instinctively felt in 2016 that we would vote for Brexit yet I was stuck in my 'long term buy and hold' mindset. What I should have done before Brexit is selling practically everything then buy back shortly after Brexit when there were many great value shares.

People like Warren Buffet and Chris Bailey often have a sizeable amount of cash to pounce on good opportunities. Chris had quite a lot of cash available so has been able to take advantage of the recent downturn. I have less cash overall as a percentage but still may take advantage of it.

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Monday, 30 March 2020

My Truth


Instinctive idea for an article...

My Truth.

So I'm blasting out decent articles pretty much every day now... chatting to smart people, having some interesting conversations etc... may go into more detail with that later or in private...

My Truth.

So when I write I feel like like I'm blasting out my truth. Nobody can write the way like I can. Sure everyone is different. Every style is different. Yet there is only one Mark Howitt really...

Only I can write the Mark Howitt writing.

And people always have their opinions on it. A lot of people are impressed etc...

But it's kind of more interesting when people say how it could be better or if I added something in...

Yet it's like... when I'm in the flow of writing I never worry about what other people think. I just aim to deliver my realness. And that's the way it should be...

Society Must Return To Normal

As share investors we must aim for the UK to get back to normal as soon as possible...

So... been getting quite a few nice things being said about my last article... with even the esteemed Chris Bailey thinking it was of my best for a while...

Time to blast out a new one then!

I believe the UK must get back to work and start functioning as normal as soon as possible.

All these new 'laws' restricting movement etc are not natural and not sustainable.

The government cannot afford to just keep handing out cash for long. It will mean higher taxes later on...

For all businesses they NEED to get back to normal as soon as possible. There are different ways for people to die. People can die of hunger or depression. One nurse I read about committed suicide over the trauma of having to deal with the virus.

The economic hardship caused if we are on lockdown for too long will cause more deaths that the virus.

So let's be prudent yet aim to get back to work as soon as possible. And all UK share investors should advocate this...

Sunday, 29 March 2020

What I Learned Working For British Gas

"If they've already got gas you've got a chance I guess."

My dad said that.

It was 2007. I had worked for Safestyle (will do another article on that in future... some experience...) and Fitness First where at one point I worked 14 days in a row to get the most sales. This was my third sales job.

I knew one guy called Richard Boylan who was a chessplayer who worked for British Gas. He had a nice car.

British Gas, aka Centrica, where far bigger than those companies though. I didn't know a lot about gas and electricity before I started... I knew a lot by the end.

So you were given sheets of paper stapled together and sent out to get sales. The sheets had letters by them- y for yes and n for no. A lot of people had gas with British Gas... but then a lot of them didn't have electricity. Some didn't have gas or electricity... this was called a dual fuel...

So I had a week shadowing other salesmen then on the Friday of that week I was sent half a day out on my own...

I took practically no days off. I didn't sell that many at the start. One day I talked to another young salesman... saying to him how I focused quite a lot on houses which had British Gas for gas... current customers should be easier to sell to right?

He said how he focused a lot on those who didn't have either. If they'd changed before they could change again. Plus it was 2 units, not 1.

Later that day I walked up to one house who practically rolled out the red carpet for me to switch her back to British Gas to both... she hated her current supplier.

I started getting more sales gradually.

British Gas actually cared about its salespeople. When you had a day's holiday they gave you average commission for that day. When the company put the prices up and people cancelled they still paid you for the sale. At first we were paid weekly, it turned to monthly later.

My best sales week was 47 units. It was 2008. British Gas had put the prices up, but then the other companies did too. There was a fixed price tariff which worked well. Unlike some other sales companies over a fairly low threshold British Gas paid for every sale- sometimes £20 per unit or more.

6 days a week selling that tariff... house to house. In my British Gas uniform, knowing the product knowledge. It was September 2008 and the weather was decent...

So what did I learn?

Hard work and doing lots of days is essential in sales. There were some people in my team even back then earning at least £60,000 a year selling gas and electricity. I was told that the best in the UK made over £100,000 doing it...

Brand is important. Everyone knew who British Gas was. You can have the best product in the world, but if people don't know or believe in your product you will not sell.

The more you do sales the more product knowledge you learn which is important. I knew a lot about the competition by the end- I worked for SSE and Npower later.

So yeah... lot more I could say and may do later.

I am available for interesting sales jobs now!

Friday, 27 March 2020

Over 124,000 views on www.markhowitt.blogspot.com now... I haven't forgotten I'm a writer... More powerful writing to come...

Over 124,000 views on www.markhowitt.blogspot.com now...

I haven't forgotten I'm a writer...

More powerful writing to come...

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Job hunt starts full throttle today. Already have a number of potential interesting job offers yet want to get a good one soon! Every day is goal day.

Job hunt starts full throttle today. Already have a number of potential interesting job offers yet want to get a good one soon! Every day is goal day.

Monday, 23 March 2020


There will be lots of opportunities after this virus has died down... I'd like to do sales or write in some way to make money from it... contact me if interested in my skills!

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Chinese Virus

Remember that Italy and China are the countries worst effected in THE WORLD by the Chinese virus....

China could have stopped it better- the first case there was actually November. Apparently there aren't many/any new cases now...

Remains to be seen but the UK doesn't have to have it as bad as those countries...

Thursday, 19 March 2020

New Drugs

China has closed down its last coronavirus hospital. Not enough new cases to support them.

Doctors in India have been successful in treating Coronavirus. Combination of drugs used: Lopinavir, Retonovir, Oseltamivir along with Chlorphenamine. They are going to suggest same medicine, globally.

Researchers of the Erasmus Medical Center claim to have found an antibody against coronavirus.

A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China.
Apple reopens all 42 china stores,
Cleveland Clinic developed a COVID-19 test that gives results in hours, not days.
Good news from South Korea, where the number of new cases is declining.
Italy is hit hard, experts say, only because they have the oldest population in Europe.
Scientists in Israel likely to announce the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
3 Maryland coronavirus patients fully recovered; able to return to everyday life.
A network of Canadian scientists are making excellent progress in Covid-19 research.
A San Diego biotech company is developing a Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore.
Tulsa County's first positive COVID-19 case has recovered. This individual has had two negative tests, which is the indicator of recovery.
All 7 patients who were getting treated for at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi have recovered.
Plasma from newly recovered patients from Covid -19 can treat others infected by Covid-19.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020


Looking for an interesting job! I have good sales and customer service skills please contact me if interested.



Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Stay Positive and Avoid Hysteria Over Corona in the UK...

Blasting this one quick out early morning...

There is too much HYSTERIA in the UK over Corona currently...

There are 67 million people in the UK... or more... about 50 have died...

Those who have died have mainly been elderly. The youngest one was 59- and he had an 'underlying condition'.

Even IF someone gets the virus and is healthy/normal they will still survive.

Not trying to be harsh but an 87 year old with health problems would have died anyway fairly soon.


What is important for the UK economy is not to be effected by HYSTERIA. If everything starts shutting down then people start losing jobs and real hardship starts happening.

Let's focus on getting back to normal as soon as possible.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

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Hi to Barbie from Lativa... let's see if Latvia can make the list for next month. Keep spinning Playtech girl...

Monday, 9 March 2020

Available for new job offers :). Lots of betting to do too...

Available for new job offers :). Lots of betting to do too...

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Stay Tuned Fans...

Made nice tonuge in cheek comment in last article about how fans should 'stay tuned'...


Chris Bailey telling me to do free share writing...

I'm actually SURPRISED at some of the people who've read this blog. Bernard Cornwell has read it... Kevin Spraggett reads it quite a lot (one of the best chessplayers in the world in the 1980s... in the 1990s I thought GMs were like... higher beings)... I would guess some other chess GMs have read it too... I'm even notorious enough to be BLOCKED by Nigel Short on twitter... lols...

That's the thanks I get for one of my first proper chess books by being by him... I don't hold anything against Nigel though...

But yeah... I guess I am my biggest fan really... as I can remember all the good things I write...


This is not meant to be a brag post... blasting it out at 4:40 after hustling cash for hours... I'm thinking of moving less of my money away from shares WHEN they are fairly valued- there are lots of cheap shares around now. This virus thing is way over blown. More people die of the regular flu. Many more men take their own lives every day, you don't see the media chat about that...

Overall just too much hysteria.

Next time something like this happens though I want to be even MORE in cash than I was before this happened... and I was already a lot more in cash than most people. Ideally obviously would short some companies before... we'll see...

Ha... so yeah that's some FREE share content for you...

Maybe I do have some 'fans' who've read me before this blog... as I have written before this you know... starting from age four published in the paper...

If you count all the different forums and things...

250,000 share views on my articles...

With everything added together... all my views ever on all my writing... I would guess around 700,000...

I mean that's alright...

If I was a hot model I could get that in 10 snaps easily...

But I've always tried to stay true to myself. The truth is a lot of my writing is NOT for the masses. It's not... and I do say some things that might in effect cost me money or not be 'politically correct'...

People have used various words to describe me over time. Some nice, some nasty.

But at the end of the day I am just me. Mark Howitt. I guess I can only really be judged as a writer when I am dead. Everyone is free to have their own opinion of me. I've worked hard enough to not need the money to write now. I've never really directly paid anyone to 'teach me to write'... and as a message for young writers now you DON'T need to do that.

You do need to read a lot though... because other great writers are your best teachers for free. In the UK for sure going to uni to do an English degree is not the way to go. At all... too much leftist shit there to be frank...

You have to push yourself hard... because in this day an age being just a writer is not enough... unless you're one of the under 0.1% who makes good money from it... and even then for sure you need a lot more skills than JUST writing...

Because I've been thinking of a lot about this lately...

It's like a lot of how much money you get is how much value you provide to people and the connections you have with the right people. This can be done in many ways...

It's like I don't feel the need to buy hardly any books anymore... most people don't feel the need to buy my novel after all...

Anyway yeah... stay tuned... this is more an article for the die hard readers who've been reading me for years...

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

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Will be pushing out some new nice content soon... stay tuned fans... remember to donate and contact me about paid writing!