A long-time subscriber to the room, Geoff King, sent us this to our blog. It is his journey into trading.
Thank you Geoff.
I am now a full time financial trader. You could argue that that has been the case for the last 20 years but now I work for myself and so get all the profits but also have to provide the capital, cope with the risk etc which makes it a whole load different from working for an institution.
By way of background, I’m a bit older than Tom and a lot younger than Larry and have worked for banks for most of my working life. For the last five years of my career, I worked for Sportingbet, an on line bookie, before they kindly made me redundant.
I say “kindly”, only partly tongue in cheek. My aim for a long time had been to become a full time trader on my own account and had planned to start this all at the start of 2016 when I felt that I would have sufficient savings to provide the capital required and also some sort of financial security. Sportingbet’s closure of their office made me bring this forward 2 years with the compensation of a few months redundancy package. My wife worked as the Health and Fitness Manager at the local leisure centre and was offered voluntary redundancy at the same time which worked very well for us and pretty much covered the first year of the two years extra I was planning to work.
I used to be a half decent runner (32 minutes for 10k if that means anything to you) and my wife has been an international sportswoman and so sport is very important to us, although nowadays it is more about staying in good shape as opposed to being really competitive. The really compelling thing about trading full time was to give us the opportunity to live in locations with better weather and having a more flexible work schedule to allow time for plenty of aerobic exercise in a nice enviroment.
Back in the days when I had a proper job, I spent most of career in Treasury of one sort or the other. Whilst I am sure there are lots of people who really earn their money, one thing I learned is that there are also an awful lot of people who get paid silly money to do jobs that are relatively easy. I worked at many banks, as diverse as Barclays Capital to Bank of Butterfield and latterly Bank Julius Baer.
Treasury sales, is generally exactly what it says and this is what a huge amount of “traders” do – selling products at a margin to their customers and the requirements are selling techiniques and product knowledge, as opposed to trading markets. When I was proprietary trading, foreign exchange was difficult but it is easier when you aren’t putting up the capital or responsible for the losses. Fixed income markets prior to 2008 were relatively easy, with steep yield curves and it was easy for banks (this is prior to the financial crisis) to borrow large amounts in the overnight market and so exploiting the yield curve was very easy money.
As I said my last job was running the Sportingbet Treasury. I enjoyed immensely the involvment with the Sports Betting and spent hours talking to the Sports Traders. I would have loved to have had a job in that area but it is a single person’s game, as you need to work weekends and evenings, which is probably a quick way to divorce, from your wife and children! Managing the cash was part of the role, the remainder being managing the foreign exchange. As a business we earned large amounts of Euros and as a UK company we were a constant seller of EUR/GBP.
I remember talking to David Paul about my experiences and saying that I found this so much easier to do this for work than for my own account. He helped me realise that this was because the pressure was actually a lot less, although it seemed greater.
The purpose of all this rambling is to say that, certainly in my experience, trading for your own account is much, much more difficult than working for someone else. I messed around for around 10 years, losing money before I found Tom Hougaard’s original live trading room. Through him, I learned a huge amount about trading and David preached to me about the physchology and money management. In my mind, those first two aspects are actually the key to success and trading strategy will probably dictate how successful you will become, rather than whether you are profitable.
In the last few years, I have moved to profitability, although I still have plenty of learning to do. I am still susceptible to large, unnecessary drawdowns, I spent spring and autumn of 2014 in Portugal, whilst spending the summer in Guernsey where I was born and raised. I’m currently in Mexico for 4 weeks and so I really am living the dream.
As I said before, I have a good capital base and so successful trading is the difference between a life of luxury and a comfortable one but it has also become a huge personal challenge to me. One I am determined to succeed in.
Make sure you always have enough capital for the next day and never, ever give up!