Thursday, 14 August 2014

Cocaine and Strippers

The two traders who I have most looked up to since I began learning how to trade, are Mark Iverson and Matt "Jolly Green Giant" (I also have a great deal of respect for Tradeshark but his journey is not as well documented). Mark is a genuinely nice bloke who seems very down to earth and the few personal dealings I've had with him have left me in no doubt about that. His online story is the most compelling because it's one of the few that cover the entire process of going from that initial Betfair deposit to making a quarter of a million. Matt is the guy who pretty much all of us tennis traders aspire to be. He built up from scratch and is still going strong a decade later, both as a trader and retailer of quality tinned sweetcorn. He shares much of what he does online and it's a constant reminder of what is there to be achieved if you really want it. He's also proved a generous guy in the conversations I've had with him.

My goal was initially to just make as much money per month as I did in my old job (and I really didn't make much either as a writer or before that as a teacher). I felt that I didn't want to get greedy and would be more than happy to just make enough to live off per month. I didn't even really think it was possible for a normal guy like myself, to make huge sums from trading. But when I saw what these two were doing, I gradually began to change my thinking and started to believe that I could aim for that too. There came a point last year, when things started to really take off for me, that I was convinced that I could be up there alongside these most revered of traders.

I personally don't like to talk about exactly how much I'm making and I don't tell anyone, not even my friends. I was brought up to think it is distasteful to do so and I think you'll find the same with many British people. You'll notice Mark never puts monetary figures on his graphs and I stopped showing my P&L a while back. But it's interesting to see exactly what the potential is within the markets, to know what is possible to strive for. Both Mark and Matt have liabilities in the 5 figure range, which is pretty scary territory from where I'm sitting! I'm not there yet and I don't actually need to be. So it becomes a case of, do I want to be? I'm not sure I want the added stress or the added guilt (as I mention in a recent post). I can't truly consider myself in their league unless I do push on again to that level but then, do I really want to be considered in their league? Would I get satisfaction from that? I don't spend much time on Twitter, unlike the aforementioned, who clearly both love to chat away during their trading hours. I do too but personally find it too distracting and detrimental to my trading and eyesight! But I'd probably need to do more Twitter-based activity in order to gain that same status. I thought about tweeting this little beauty from earlier this week but I couldn't quite bring myself to. Felt too much like showing-off. Besides, it's not quite £29,000! But what the hell, it's my biggest ever win so why not!

Someone recently tweeted me joking that I needed to go through the cocaine and strippers phase. It made me laugh but I think there is a grain of truth in what he said (and I'm sure he was only half joking!). I deciphered the meaning behind the tweet as being that instead of all the worrying and introspection I've been going through of late, I should just forget it by enjoying my new found monetary gains and splashing out in opulent fashion on a few vices. Maybe he's right. Maybe I need to just spend, spend, spend for a short while, get it out my system instead of over-thinking and remaining a tight-wad. Not on cocaine and strippers though. Cocaine isn't for me and never seen the point in giving away money just to be teased. Ben and Jerry's and strippers is more up my alley, though don't for one minute think I would waste the delicious ice-cream by letting it melt onto anyone's body. A friend of mine wants us to go to Las Vegas - the perfect place to splurge on pointless crap. Weird thing about that is, he's a failed gambler who would spend all night there throwing his dollars at the house and I'm a successful gambler who wouldn't even stick a quarter in a one-armed bandit!

No, I'm just not the kind of guy who is going to gleefully waste hard-earned cash on trivial shit. I've never been into material possessions and money just doesn't get me wet, so to speak. I'd much rather stay in hostels and cheap backpacker hotels, making new friends and mixing with locals, than stay in some plush 5 star palace. I love driving but I genuinely don't care about cars and know next to nothing about make and models, so shiny motor-vehicles with massive horse-power are wasted on me. I prefer a cosy flat to a big house. I do love clubbing but I go for the music, to dance and for a friendly atmosphere, not expensive bottles of champagne at exclusive table service bars where you hang out just to be seen.

I just want security and freedom, two things I never had in either of my previous jobs, which is what drove me to look for alternatives such as trading. That's what drives me to make money. Now that I have that (for the time-being at least), I'm not sure I have the ambition to move into Matt and Mark territory. They both have families to look after, which is obviously a  huge motivational factor. I don't. I'm sure having that extra responsibility brings a greater focus and intensity to your trading and these guys have fingers in pies other than their own individual trading. I don't. So I need much more to keep me interested. Exactly what that is, I'm not sure yet.

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