Profit Like You Work 100 Hours a Week, Without all the Effort
"Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically."
— Romans 12:11-12
Longtime readers know that I was raised on a vegetable farm in western Washington. And like all farmers, my father worked like a madman.
That's partly because that is what the occupation of being a farmer demanded, and partly because of our Japanese heritage. But mainly, it's because he believed working 100 hours a week would get him into heaven.
Yes, 100 hours a week.
That works out to 14 hours a day, seven days a week.
Unfortunately for my brother and me, my father thought his sons should work almost as much. So, we learned about hard work at a very early age.
To tell the truth, I really HATED being the son of a farmer. But those tough times translated into me outworking everybody — with the exception of Martin Weiss — at every job I've ever had.
[Talk about working around the clock — the cryptocurrency markets never sleep. Neither does the Weiss Crypto Ratings team, which recently expanded our system for grading nearly 100 cryptos to date. We now include sub-grades to help you target shorter-term trading ideas and investments for the longer term. See how our exclusive research can pay off for you here.]
I confess that I don't work 100 hours a week like my father. However, I have religiously worked 60-plus hours a week since my early 20s. And one of the "rules" I tell my three sons is that they need to work 60 hours a week for three decades to become the best version of themselves.
Compared to other Asians in Asia, however, this work ethic is pretty average.
The Dreaded '9-9-6' Schedule
Japan, Korea and now China are becoming global technology powerhouses. Their growth is fueled by a maniacal work ethic.
Take China, for example. China has always had a culture of putting work ahead of family. Its rise as a global tech powerhouse is thanks to a massive army of workers who work long, long hours.
Employees of tech companies routinely work a "9-9-6" schedule; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.
The grueling schedule is mandatory, and there is no overtime pay. "996 is an unspoken rule at tech companies in Beijing," writes The Wall Street Journal.
Consider Alibaba (BABA, Rated "B"), the "Amazon of China." There, "We ask three people to accomplish a job of five people, and pay them for four," according to CEO Jack Ma.
In fact, Alibaba provides back braces for its engineers. This helps them sit at their desks for hour after hour without collapsing from back pain.
Huawei Technologies, the Chinese equivalent of Cisco Systems (CSCO, Rated "C"), requires its staff to sign a "dedicated employee agreement" whereby they voluntarily forgo paid vacation and overtime pay.
From the WSJ:
"A year into their jobs, Chinese staff may sign a 'dedicated employee agreement,' voluntarily forgoing paid vacation days and overtime. One Huawei engineer said he signed the agreement four years ago to start receiving shares as part of his compensation. The closely held firm says its shares are owned entirely by its executives and employees."
Good luck to any company trying to get its U.S. workers to agree to that!
As an investor, however, you can profit from that maniacal work ethic by buying China-focused ETFs. Here are three worth considering:
The iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI, Rated "C") seeks to track the performance of the FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index. This index consists of the 25 largest Chinese companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC, Rated "C") seeks to replicate the total return performance of the S&P/Citigroup BMI China index. This index consists of the largest 342 companies that are publicly traded and domiciled in China.
The Invesco Golden Dragon Halter China ETF (PGJ, Rated "C+") seeks results that correspond to the returns of the Halter USX China Index. This index consists of 103 Chinese companies whose common stock is publicly traded in the United States. The index uses a formula that prevents the largest market-cap companies from becoming too big a component of the index.
Those ETFs are pretty broad. You can also consider more sector-focused China ETFs like:
- Claymore China Technology ETF (CQQQ, Rated "C"), which tracks the GICS Information Technology Index.
- The Global X China Consumer ETF (CHIQ, Rated "C"), which tracks the AlphaShares China Consumer Index.
- Global X China Technology ETF (QQQC, Rated "C"), which tracks the Nasdaq-OMX China Technology Index.
I believe, however, that you'll do much better with a basket of carefully selected individual Asian stocks than broad-based ETFs.
Investing in Asian stocks is easy. In fact, there are more than 100 Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. on the NYSE and Nasdaq.
Yup … more than 100 Chinese stocks are as easy and accessible to buy/sell as General Electric or Boeing.
You don't have to work 100 hours a week to make a fortune. But investing in companies with that type of dedicated workforce could make you a mountain of money.
P.S. The Weiss Ratings team currently grades nearly 100 cryptocurrencies, and we regularly add new names to our coverage list. We just released our latest crypto ratings to our subscribers last night; click here now to see how you can gain instant access to this exclusive list.