Let's be frank for a minute. After the pain and suffering caused by the global financial crisis, not to mention the losses many investors experienced, a lot of people still feel disillusioned with Wall Street.
Maybe you're one of them. I don't blame you if that's the case.
After all, the crisis we experienced wasn't some unpredictable market anomaly that was entirely unpreventable.
It was a house of cards built by large banks, risky traders and short-sighted government policies that came crashing down on our heads. And while some of the culprits have paid the price for their mistakes (Lehman Brothers, Bernie Madoff... to name a few), others got away largely scot-free.
But if you're one of the many investors who has used this painful experience as an excuse to sit out of the market, my advice to you is stop. It's one of the worst mistakes you could make with your portfolio. In fact, I would argue that if the events of the financial crisis taught us anything, it's how incredibly important it is for individual investors to take charge of their own portfolios.
Now, many investors are doing just that. They're doing their homework, looking for opportunities to buy solid stocks, and hoping the incredible rally we've experienced during the past few years can continue.
That's great, but it's not enough.
You see, when most people think of investing, they think of the stock market, which is valued at about $36.6 trillion overall.
Now, that's a lot of money.
But few people realize that there is a much bigger market out there -- one that's valued at over $790 trillion, 21 times more than the stock market.
In fact, The Economist calls it "the biggest financial exchange you have never heard of."
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The reality is that the stock market is only a tiny portion of the whole financial system. And when it comes to the Wall Street investment banks, hotshot traders and brokerage houses... stocks aren't their main source of income.
Instead, a large portion of their profits come from a category of investments known as derivatives. These are various types of "bets" -- what interest rates will be next month... where fuel prices will trade at... or even stock prices themselves -- that had a large part in bringing the system to the brink of collapse in the first place.
Many of these derivatives serve a purpose. They allow airlines, for example, to hedge against rising fuel prices, and they protect farmers from falling crop prices or bad weather.
But many of the bets being placed in this behind-the-scenes market are nothing short of downright risky.
Who is placing these "derivative" bets? Maybe hotshot traders... or Wall Street's wealthy clients. Some of them with perhaps more money than common sense.
This market is just a huge casino where they can place bets on the off chance of hitting some large jackpot to them. These people love taking risks and would feel equally at home in Las Vegas.
And in most cases, Wall Street firm will simply take their money like a dealer collecting bets from the gaming table.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather be on the dealer's side of this transaction. And I'll explain how my readers and I are doing just that.
For instance, I've discovered "bets" being made that Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) stock price will drop from $1,145 per share to $285 per share within a week.
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That constitutes a 75% loss. That's just ridiculous. But what's even crazier is that some of these people have wagered as much as $3,600 on this happening.
To show you how unlikely this bet is, consider that Google has been around for 26 years and is the world's no. 1 search engine. It makes over $40 billion a year, mainly from advertising revenue. So short of an unprecedented global disaster, I don't see how its share price could possibly drop 75% in a few weeks.
That's too bad for the folks making these foolish bets. They'll most likely lose the $3,600 they've put down on this wager. And one of the high-powered brokerage houses on Wall Street will be more than happy to take their money by taking the other side -- the safe side -- of this risky wager.
But instead of leaving it to "the house" to profit from this casino-like behavior, my readers and I are getting in on the action.
How do we do this?
Simply put, rather than leaving it to the bankers on Wall Street to make all the money from this activity, we step in and collect the money being lost on these bets instead.
My colleagues around the office have a funny term they use for what we're doing.
They call it the "Hestla Heist."
Now, I know it sounds like this is something that might be illegal. But it isn't.
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It's been legal since the 1970s. It's the easiest way for ordinary folks like you and me to pocket a few hundred, or even a few thousand dollars without doing much work.
The first thing you should know about this "heist" is that it's being done on Wall Street every day. It doesn't involve anything like reading technical chart patterns, sophisticated day trading techniques, or anything like that. And when I say "heist," I'm not describing any form of theft or robbery, either.
This type of "heist" is both ethical and legal. I have no reservations using it.
Neither should you.
As Jonathan Poland, a Washington, D.C.-based investment analyst, confided: "It's about as close to free money as you'll ever get in your entire life."
This tactic often lets us jump ahead of the big Wall Street firms and get away with a cut of their profits before they even know what happened. And that's why we call it the "Hestla Heist."
The bottom line is that individual investors need to reclaim their portfolios. If history is any guide, we simply can't afford to rely on Wall Street, our financial advisors, or the mainstream media to tell us where and how to invest.
By using simple strategies like the "Hestla Heist," my readers are able to do just that.