What are you doing with the piles of cash you’re making?

This isn’t my first rodeo. I was but a young buck when the mining boom started back in the years after Y2K. I remember nickel was the first to ‘go BNPL’ (my new verb for ‘irrational exuberance’) and it had been a few years since the tech boom, so there wasn’t a lot of knowledge around the office for what that meant, exactly, and how to trade it.

So I cool-walked over to the analysts in our research department and asked what nickel was, and why we should trade it. The Simpsons had already told me what zinc was used for (“ziiiiinc….come back zinc…!”) but I thought nickel was what you flicked as a tip to an American shoe-shine boy.

Nickel, as I found out, was used in stainless steel, and apparently the Chinese had developed a hankering for cities. Cities contained houses, houses contained kitchens, kitchens contained sinks. Sinks are made of stainless steel.

That made perfect sense. Number of Chinese = x, number of sinks per household = x/3, amount of nickel needed per sink = handful, so they would need x/3 * handful = lots. Nuff said, we’re going long!

So we asked about a few stocks to punt, and they immediately rattled off some hopefuls that were drilling holes in dirt that may or may not contain nickel. The plan was to buy some shares in these explorers, wait for the drilling, and then be rich.


The first one came back, and JACKPOT!!! MASSIVE SULPHIDES!!!! MASSIVE!!!!!!!

Barely containing my joy, I rushed over to the analyst’s desk to ask about what sort of new car I should buy.

So, it turned out that massive sulphides can host nickel, but don’t always, and ‘massive’ doesn’t mean ‘lots of nickel’. Or even lots of sulphides.

Even more importantly, these holes didn’t contain any nickel even though there was a huge downhole EM target. And they were deep. And they weren’t anywhere near infrastructure. So the amount of money required, even if they did find something, was going to be enormous.

Woe is me.

Luckily, the stock hadn’t run up much to start, so it didn’t have far to fall. But instead of having a new car, I had an expensive lesson.

Now, amazingly, that stock then decided to go looking for the next boom metal, and found it about a year later, and 10-bagged. But I wasn’t there by then – and should never have been there in the first place because I didn’t understand geology.

I didn’t understand drilling or building a mine. I didn’t understand pretty much anything really. But the biggest gap in my knowledge was the power of karma.

Fast forward a few years, I’d learnt a lot more about geology. Market sentiment. Buying early and selling into rallies. What charts meant. Why depth and volume are one of the most important factors in trading. (Side note: we wouldn’t have put these things in the Marketech platform if they weren’t important.)

Still took me a while to learn about karma.

I was still thinking about the money I might make (and was making) in terms of what it could do for me. I was stressed and, to be honest, fairly displeased with my lot in life even though it was a really good ‘lot’. I saved a lot of that cash as my life goals were now based around that number on that page – total…net…worth.

I was more than a little miserly to get to that goal, but each time I hit a goal I found that little had actually changed for me, and the goals just got higher.

By this stage I was just over 30, had a new sports car, a 4 bedroom/2 bathroom in the nice ‘burbs just out of the city, perfect lawn, perfect garden, polished floorboards, expensive suits. Maybe a little tubby…

Boom. The GFC. Woe is me, again.


The start of the GFC was concerning, but it was mainly American housing, and we were all about the Chinese mining boom. Then banks started collapsing. Then we realised that China buys our rock, crushes it up and cuts it with plastic, and then sells it like a drug to America.

And America’s ass was broke.

I was ‘woe-is-me’-ing like a demon by this stage. But I still had my house, car, suits, youth…friends…uh, health? Oh.

Yeah, click, a light goes on. I was a self-absorbed douchebag. I was so close to money all the time that it had consumed my life goals, my self-worth and my happiness. I lived for that ever-expanding number and constantly stressed about that number.

I needed to get some perspective, and I was definitely short on karma, but, like most people I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into being a genuine good guy, even though I wasn’t really a bad guy. But I needed that karma!

So, in 2008 my mates made me throw a couple of grand into buying a 40-year-old Ford Fairlane. We were going to fill that car with said mates, dress up in ridiculous outfits, kit it out with an esky and tunes and then truck it over to Adelaide.

Then we were going to drive exclusively offroad on 4WD tracks in this old car and camp every night, through the Woomera nuclear testing range, through Coober Pedy, up to the Alice (to compete in the riverbed races), and even climbed Uluru (before we knew not to). In our dress-ups. With beer (but not on the rock, obviously!).

We had a team of mechanics, a couple of ambulances, our 3 meals a day were provided – for us and the 60 other cars that were rolling with us. There was entertainment everywhere, we visited schools and the kids were pumped when we rolled into town and kicked the footy with them.

We did push-ups with Dick Smith, watched the Screaming Jets and John Williamson and John Paul Young belt out tunes under the stars.

Not my kind of music, but still…

We were generally beloved everywhere we went, and we had one of the best weeks I could ever remember and not once did someone ask me what I did for a living or how much money I had.

We actually raised a million dollars for charity too. It was funny at the time that making money for someone other than myself actually gave me joy. But the karma was invaluable.


So that was my first Variety Bash. I won’t bore you with stories of other Bashes that took us to Broome and El Questro Station and the gorges, or getting bogged in the salt lakes or being dragged across a croc-filled river on a blow-up Aussie thong.

Or rallying through a forest in the mud with the V8 roaring and the stereo deafening with absolutely no concept of where you are – as you only get trip notes, not a map.

Turn left at 327.4km, look out for wombat hole, break car, pull out footy, crack a beer and wait for mechanics.

I probably blow a few grand each year on making my car louder and faster and fixing the dents. It’s another couple of grand to pay your own way in fuel, fees and Panadol.

And the memories. I can safely say that I would never have been to these places, or done those things, with such a great group of people. A group of people that understand the importance of karma, and give back to get ahead.

Variety raise money for sick and disadvantaged kids, and participants have to raise thousands of dollars to qualify for entry – which is pretty easy when it’s for sick kids. Certainly easier than share trading!

The Variety Bash entrants pay their own way to go, pay for a car to go in, and still raise millions of dollars a year to buy wheelchairs and communication devices and medical equipment for the most at-risk, in-need class of people.

So, this is for when you find yourself moaning about the ‘only doubled my money’ trade because someone else is still holding APT from $10. When you start counting your cash, and worse — counting your future cash before it’s in the bank. When you start waking up at 3am to check the silver price.

Remember, nothing is worth anything if you don’t enjoy it. And nothing is more enjoyable than knowing that you do a good thing to counter all the douchey things you do!

So, let me lay it out for you: Go to our website. Enter your email address and go straight to the platform in the live market. Have a look around and press a few buttons, see what those additional features could do for your trading and compare it to what you’ve got.

Then read up about charts, and depth and volume and technical indicators and see why we put them in there. Look at the live pricing and consider whether it might help to have watch lists and charts that show the price right now, not the price 20 minutes ago.

Get ahead of the game with our trading platform, we designed it to give you an edge – we didn’t cut corners and we don’t limit your stock data to a few pictures and old prices.

Get better at trading using the right tools. Make more money trading. Save money on your brokerage. Pay off that stupid credit card.

Then, think about investing in some karma. Go to a fundraiser. Buy a raffle ticket.

Or, if you really want to make a difference and change your life, join the Variety Bash!

Go to www.marketech.com.au to set up a free trial – you will be astounded by the simplicity and tools that this technology gives you.  No spin, just low cost trading and the tools that give you advantage over hype.

This article was developed in collaboration with Marketech Stockbroking Pty Ltd (AFSL 486148), a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing. 

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.