Que Sera, Sarah Quinn?

Silly money

I’m a bit old school insofar as I prefer to be paid for the work I do.

And I don’t just say that because I still get offers, every so often, to contribute to someone’s new online whatever-it-is, in exchange for… nothing. Well, the promise that “when it starts making money, and someone finances or buys it, blah blah blah…”. That’s okay. I have a blog of my own for whenever I want to write for free. You can link to it any time you want.

I still foolishly try to pitch a story whenever I find a website that seems to actually contain well written, original articles with things like opinions (as opposed to obvious pastiches of press releases and Wikipedia articles based on earlier press releases) only to discover “we don’t really pay contributors, but we’d happily run your article in exchange for promoting you…”. That’s okay, I have a blog of my own for whenever I want to write for free. You can link to it any time you want.

I’m not quite into speculating on the stock market. I think you ought to have money before you start buying and selling shares. Lots of it. And I particularly am not impressed by the concept of CFDs – or ‘Contracts for Difference’ – which seem to consist of gambling on how much the price of stock or assets will change… without actually having to own the stocks or assets. I’m sure it sounds less dodgy when you actually have the money to toss at such market speculation.

But not a great deal less dodgy. 

Like betting on a horse race being run by horses that don’t exist. “Hey, wanna wager on who’s gonna come first in the unicorn race? No, it’s okay… I’ve got the money…”.

Take this  GFT ad I stumbled upon, for example, encouraging you to try out CFDs with a “risk-free GFT practice account”.


The term ‘risk-free’ is foot-noted with the statement, ‘Risk-free applies to demo accounts only’.

At the bottom of the page is a more ominous statement that people like me do well to heed:

“Trading in derivatives, such as contracts for differences and foreign exchange contracts, and other investment products which are leveraged, can carry a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. It is possible for investors to lose substantially more than the initial deposit.”

Oh yeah.

That’s exactly why I’d avoid CFDs in general.

But why I’d avoid GFT’s CFDs specifically is because of something else that’s in the white box containing the list of advantages to CFDs.

Did you spot it?

It’s the third item:

“24-hour trading, 5.5 days a week.”

What can that possibly mean?

If GFT doesn’t have a problem with this statement, you perhaps don’t want to be giving them any of your money. And if you don’t have a problem with it, whether or not you should give it to them is academic – you’ll be parted from it soon enough.

See, for five of those days, I’m sure they can enable you to engage in 24-hour trading. But as to that remaining 0.5 of a day: in what half day, in what week, can they be offering 24-hour trading? None, surely. No half-day contains 24 hours, so by definition, they can’t be offering ‘24-hour trading’ in it. Not unless the people at GFT are wizards who have somehow found a way to violate certain laws of physics.

Whatever happens on that last day, “24-hour trading, 5.5 days a week” is nonsense.

Yes, yes, I’m sure what GFT means is that they offer 24-hour trading Monday to Friday and… half a day Saturday? Because Australia is on the other side of the world from major financial markets. So perhaps they stay open til midday Saturday? While it’s still Friday in the US and Europe?

But if that’s the case, what time do they start on Monday? Not at the stroke of midnight as Sunday becomes Monday, surely… it would still be Sunday in the US and Europe at that time.

Yet if it’s not at the stroke of midnight Sunday, then there are two days for which GFT cannot guarantee 24-hour trading… that becomes ‘24-hour trading, 4 days a week – and some hours on two other days…’.

Perhaps the real clue is in the ad layout, with its excellent use of recursion.


It would appear more work went into composition of the image than the text. Except that both are patently absurd. You can't logically have an image of an object that contains the image of the object, containing an image of the object, containing an image of the object, containing the image of the object, cont… you get the idea. It can't exist in real life. The same absurdity applies to the statement, “24-hour trading, 5.5 days a week”.

So what do they actually, really mean?

Perhaps the computer within the computer within the computer getting smaller and smaller and smaller can represent the devaluation of your capital – a very real possibility. If you do intend to investigate CFDs, with GFT or anyone else, do indeed read and consider the Product Disclosure Statement on the company website. But with GFT specifically, get them to explain exactly what they mean in the phrase “24-hour trading, 5.5 days a week.” And while you’re busy pinning them down to the actual meaning of the phrases in their ad, make sure you do the same for the phrases in their contracts before you sign them. Because instead of “Contract for Difference”, you don’t want to discover ‘CFD’ could also stand for “Completely F*cked-over, Dear”. Or that GFT could come to mean “Got Fleeced Totally”.

Meanwhile, is there anyone who can offer this freelance writer a regular gig? I can guarantee 24-hour dedication for at least 0.33 days a week.

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