The Greatest Game in the World!
Over the years I have traded for a variety of different reasons. During the dot com bubble I traded because it was easy. I was in college and could buy a stock before a class and sell it before the bell pocketing several hundred dollars. Ya, it wasn’t huge but it was more than enough to pay the weekend’s bar bill.
After college I became a broker, cold calling people night and day pushing garbage stocks and insurance products. I hated it. I basically stopped trading and spent the first year of my career with a phone to my ear.
After I launched my own firm, the market had already topped and started its descent. I was ignorant about shorting and so I traded the vicious counter-trend rallies. It was hard and while I made some money, on balance I probably lost years of my life entering trades far too early, buying lower and spending a lot of time on my knees praying that a bounce would come. When it did, I lightened up and swore off dip buying. That is of course until the next time when I repeated the process.
Finally, around 2004 I stopped trying to trade and spent the next several years learning. I read every book imaginable. Marked up charts, journaled every trade and listened much much more than I talked. In 2005 I landed a partnership with an incredible trader who spent the next 2 years teaching me the game. From 2004 – 2007 I traded to learn and soaked in every move, every trend, every win and every loss.
In late 2007 when I again went out on my own I started to put all that I had learned to work. I had two homes, a new baby and a new advisory business. I primarily traded my own capital and at that time I traded to live. Each winning trade put food on our table, paid bills and kept me going while I worked evenings and weekends to bring in assets and grow the business. I never took trading as serious as I did during that time because each tick literally was the difference between success and failure. I traded well, grew the business and slowly moved from a short term, hypersensitive trader into a more methodical trend follower. Trading slowly to a backseat and longer term management became my primary focus.
Fast forward to today. Our management company now handles $60M in separate accounts. I’m sure this is small by many institutional standards but for someone who basically started over in 2007 with nothing, trading to pay bills, I’m beyond pleased with our progress thus far.
Until just recently I had all but stopped trading. I spent a majority of my time handling day to day business operations. Trading was replaced exclusively by longer term trend following. My personal capital mirrored that of my clients and in addition to my advisory firm, any spare time was spent within a manufacturing business I had invested in two years ago.
Then it hit me. For the first time in my life I was able to trade not out of necessity, not out of fear, not to learn and not because my life depended on it but rather out of pure enjoyment of the sport. I know it sounds strange but after stepping back from the manufacturing business and having more time to devote to the markets, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why not take this opportunity to once again trade, but do so out of love of the game rather than anything else?
You want to know the funny thing? I’ve been trading better than ever. I don’t care what the stock is, what the direction is or most important, how long I hold the pig. My only objective is to extract money from the market day in and day out. Sure, it won’t always be sunshine and butterflies but this freedoms allows me to, at the drop of the hat, sell every single stock just because I want a day off or maybe don’t like what I see. It’s probably the most refreshing and exhilarating feeling I’ve had in my career.
It has taken me a long time to be in the position to trade in this manner and my hope for you is that you too will eventually find yourself in the place of freedom such that you can trade because you love it and for no other reason other than to use that love and passion to extract money from Mr. Market as you choose.
I’ve been trading a long time. I’ve gone through great successes and experienced horrific losses. At the end of the day I can confidently still proclaim, trading is by far the best game in the world!