When I Was a 23 Year Old Investor

Success. It’s something most of us strive for. But it’s elusive…often taking years to find.

There are many measures of success. Some are financial. Others are physical or spiritual. It’s a personal thing.

I believe success is about achieving a level of mastery. It’s about being your best at something.

So what brings me to this topic?

Recently I received an email. It was from Jonathan — a 23 year old member of my Quant Trader service. He had a problem.

You see, Jonathan is a casual investor who works full time. His goal is to build a large trading portfolio. But a lack of capital is holding him back.

Jonathan also says he fears picking the wrong stocks. He worries he’ll buy the losers and watch the winners take-off.

Reading Jonathan’s email made me think. Starting out is a unique time. And it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can start something new at any age. I’ve done this many times.

Two words describe my emotions at the start of a new venture: enthusiastic uncertainty.

I suspect Jonathan can relate to these emotions. In fact, I’m sure enthusiastic uncertainty is familiar to many of you.

I want to share my message to Jonathan. You might not be 23. But you may face similar challenges. I know I’ve been there.

This is what I said:

You’re already a few steps ahead of most 23 year olds. You have a starting stake…that’s a plus. Even better, you’re actively thinking about strategies to grow that base. 
The first thing I’ll say is be patient. It takes time to make money. Forget all that “get rich quick” nonsense. It almost never works.
Overnight success stories are great. There’s only one problem. I’ll bet you’ll find just about all of them were a decade or so in the making. 
I think you’re on the right track. Knowledge is everything. And I suspect you’re learning a lot. Experience will come in time.
You need to think about what sort of trading style fits your personality. This isn’t something you can answer over a weekend. It may take a few years to truly understand what’s right for you.
Let me tell you about myself.

‘I’m patient. I’ve also developed strong emotional control. These traits are ideal for a trend following strategy.

I also like consistency. This makes system trading the perfect fit.

It all sounds so simple. But it wasn’t. These connections didn’t happen overnight.

I guess the basic mental “wiring” was always in place. But it took years of practice to hone my mindset. I still work on it all the time.

‘No one is born successful. It’s something I believe we learn.

I’ve been trading for years. And you know what. I’m still learning. Still evolving.
There’s a book I suggest you read. It’s called Market Wizards by Jack Schwager.
The book is a series of interviews with top traders. They all have different styles and approaches. The one binding characteristic is they are all hugely successful.
I read it when I was your age. I was working on the foreign exchange night desk at Bankers Trust.
‘Market Wizards was a revelation…a pivotal point in my career. I began to think differently about trading strategies.
Learning through the experience of others is a great shortcut. It can save you years of trial and error.     
I found that I could really relate to a couple of traders. These were the chapters I read and re-read many times. Their methods became mine.
You mention fear. This is a trader’s worst enemy. It stops you from pulling the trigger on trades. And if you can’t pull the trigger…you can’t be a trader.
Sure, you’ll probably miss a few good trades due to lack of capital. But you’ll likely also avoid some that don’t work out — think positively. 
The important thing is that you manage your risk. Make sure you stay in the game. If you do this, then I’m confident you’ll get on some great moves over time.
Keep learning…you’re doing well!

Jonathan’s situation isn’t unique. Every success story typically has a modest beginning. The fact is, most successful people start at the bottom. They then work their way to the top, one level at a time.

So make sure you stay the course — no matter what your challenge. You’ll probably find your progress is already an inspiration to many.

Until next week,

Jason McIntosh
Editor, Quant Trader

PS: Quant Trader is a fully algorithmic trading system. Its aim is to identify ASX stocks with the potential for big gains. The system’s underlying strategy is to run winners and cut losses. While easy to say, many traders find this difficult to do. Quant Trader can give you the discipline and confidence to turn a small profit into a BIG one. To learn more, click here.

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Markets and Money offers an independent and critical perspective on the Australian and global investment markets. Slightly offbeat and far from institutional, Markets and Money delivers you straight-forward, humorous, and useful investment insights from a world wide network of analysts, contrarians, and successful investors. Founded in 1999, Markets and Money is published in 7 countries with a worldwide readership of almost 1 million people.

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slewie the pi-rat

“You need to think about what sort of trading style fits your personality.”

this is not about a new hat or belt, but psychology.
what is a “personality”?

some people are well-suited to this Tony Robbins-type of “challenge” approach, from a “Coach”, as the path-way to “success”.

what is “success” to a “personality”?

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