Let’s face it. If you want to play in the NFL, you need to have the right athletic genes.
If you want to be a lawyer, doctor, or architect, there are non-negotiable educational standards you have to meet.
In fact, almost any occupation you can name usually requires early specialization and highly-specific skills. But stock trading is different.
There are men and women of all ages and backgrounds, who have enjoyed tremendous success in the markets. They come from every imaginable profession, and they have lots of amazing stories to tell.
If all these men and women have one thing in common, it’s not so much an innate ability or a particular level of learning, it’s their mindset.
And there are few stories that better exemplify the importance of mindset than that of Arkansas native, James Rumph.
At age 19, James dropped out of college after just a year and headed to Washington D.C., where he quickly became a successful salesman.
A decade later, he moved his young family to North Carolina and built his career selling for the 3M Company, before setting up his own statewide sales and service business.
By age fifty-eight, James was in a good enough financial position to be able to sell his company and retire to tropical Marco Island, Florida. However, inactivity is not in his nature, and it wasn’t long until he had set up a new enterprise selling real estate.
Like many people in the real estate business at that time, James prospered mightily during the boom and bubble of the early 2000s. And like the others, he suffered the pain and bewilderment of the enormous losses that followed the bursting of the bubble in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-09.
James ruefully admits that he “lost most of my rump” during those years, but he was not prepared to meekly accept the loss of so much wealth painstakingly accumulated over decades of hard work.
“Slowly, but surely, I continue rebuilding my lost fortune. Now, I want to expand my knowledge of options trading.”
Persevering in real estate despite his bruising experience, James moved again. This time to the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina, and began learning the principle of equity investing.
“Slowly, but surely,” as he puts it, James continued to rebuild his lost fortune through equity investing, until now, in his seventies, he came across the team at Daily Profit Machine.
The drive, determination, and perseverance that enabled James to build several highly-successful businesses had gone a long way towards rebuilding his finances.
Although real estate sales played a part in his financial recovery, James’ traumatic experience meant that he was still understandably anxious to find a more secure source of income.
Perhaps few people would think of stock trading in that way, but James already knew something about options. Enough, as he puts it, to believe that trading options could help him rebuild his finances faster than the long-term equity investments and real estate deals on which he had been relying.
The simple, but authoritative approach to teaching options trading at Daily Profit Machine convinced James that the market could also be a very safe place, and was a major factor in his decision to sign up to trade with Ben Sturgill.
“As 2020 arrived, I met the RagingBull Team. I’m primarily a long-term equity investor, but with a little bit of options experience. Enough to learn it can help me build my cash.”
It’s certainly possible to practice risk management to avoid bubbles in a way you can’t do in sectors like real estate where price movements are sensitive to macroeconomic conditions and decisions being made by the government or the Federal Reserve.
Traders cannot, of course, control price movements in the market, but what they can and should do is lay down in their trading plans clear rules for when they’ll exit trades – both by setting profit targets and stop losses.
There’s an understandable temptation to hang on to a position indefinitely as the price spirals ever skywards, as you might remain living in a house during a real estate bubble, but successful traders know that regularly cashing out for smaller profits is almost always the best course.
It’s a lesson that James has already absorbed and he’s also determined to adopt a seasoned trader’s slow and steady approach to the markets.
“Pay real close attention to your advisor and don’t rush,” is what he tells himself. “You don’t have to make a trade every day.”
“Per Ben Sturgill’s instruction, I bought 4 SPY [SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust] contracts at 10 am and sold them at 3:30 pm for a $1,000 gain. Damn good!”
The wisdom of James’ own advice was immediately demonstrated by the spectacular success he enjoyed in his very first week.
“Per Ben Sturgill’s instruction,” recalls James, “I bought 4 SPY [SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust] contracts at 10 am and sold them at 3:30 pm for a $1,000 gain. Damn good!”
That $1,000 represented a cool 100% profit in just a few short hours. There was no need to get greedy and stay in the trade any longer. And no need to chase this kind of result every day.
It’s easy to understand why James’s life history should have made him cautious, but he can’t resist expressing the enormous encouragement that this terrific win has given him:
“Too soon to tell,” he says, when asked how trading will change his life, “but I’m convinced I don’t need to sell real estate anymore. Whoopee!”
If you’ve ever thought about trading stocks but held back because of personal circumstances, lack of money, or because “the time just wasn’t quite right,” you need to check out Bonnie Rakes’ story.
Originally from Nampa, Idaho, Bonnie was struggling to run a mobile home park in Oklahoma when her husband died suddenly just six months ago.
Her husband’s unexpected death was, of course, a shattering personal loss, but Bonnie also saw her household income slashed by two-thirds overnight. And as if that weren’t enough, she’s also dependent on government benefits because of a cognitive disability.
Even the most enthusiastic evangelists for the trading lifestyle would be hard-pressed to claim that Bonnie was in a good place from which to begin a career in the markets.
But Bonnie was undaunted, determined to find a way to replace her lost income, and downright elated when she stumbled upon Ben Sturgill and Daily Profit Machine.
“Found Daily Profit Machine,” is how she puts it, “YEE-HAA!” And this is not irrational exuberance. As odd as it may sound, Bonnie’s self-awareness regarding her disability is a powerful factor working in her favor.
“I have good mental days and bad mental days,” she explains, “Some days I’m extremely distracted, low attention span. Some days I’m extremely tired and can’t focus. Daily Keyword… If I have a good day, I can jump in. Bad day, I can wait until tomorrow to trade.”
This kind of self-knowledge is of enormous value to any trader. All experienced and successful practitioners have learned that there are days when they should stay away from the markets.
You may need to stay away because of a physical ailment of some kind, an emotional upset, or a family emergency, but there will be times when the mind is not as sharp and focused as it needs to be for safe and profitable trading.
So, when something unfortunate happens, the best thing to do is shut down the trading screen. As Bonnie wisely says, the markets will still be there tomorrow.
As important as having self-discipline is, it’s only a part of the picture.
Like all successful traders, beginners and experienced alike, Bonnie has the quality of humility. She appreciates how much she doesn’t know and is driven to learn as much as possible from those best qualified to teach her
“My husband and I moved halfway across the country to buy a mobile home park, run it, increase value, and sell in 10 or so years. He dropped dead in August, cutting my household income immensely. Uncertainty, stress, fear.”
In truth, there is little that is particularly complex or difficult in the principles of trading. But there is a steep and potentially risky learning curve when it comes to their practical application. And the help of an experienced mentor is crucial in helping new traders get started as quickly and safely as possible.
Perhaps the knowledge of her disability has made Bonnie even more aware of the benefits of a good mentor. That’s why when she came across Daily Profit Machine, she immediately knew she was in the right place.
“You have to align yourself with experts,” she insists. “With the trades that Ben has recommended, I’m able to watch things on Think or Swim, and it’s making sense. You don’t go to the dentist to get your car fixed. You don’t take advice or get your education from anyone less than an expert in their field!”
In case you didn’t know, “Think or Swim” is the popular trading platform offered by TD Ameritrade. It allows traders to practice with a virtual account, risking no real money.
It’s an excellent way for beginners to learn and for more experienced traders to test new strategies and indicators. But practice accounts can, paradoxically, make it harder for newcomers to get started.
Some traders become almost too cautious, reluctant to go live until they’ve tried and tested every possible strategy. They can become almost addicted to tweaking and adding to their trading plans in an effort to cover every possible situation that might arise.
The longer this goes on, the more significant the leap to live trading can seem, and the higher the stress and anxiety a trader will feel when, or if, they finally start risking a few dollars.
So, assuming a trader has the right advice and guidance, there’s a great deal to be said for going live right away, and beginning to build the confidence that only comes from real-life experience. This bold, but considered approach has certainly worked well for Bonnie.
“You have to align yourself with experts. With the trades that Ben has recommended, I’m able to watch things on Think or Swim, and it’s making sense.”
In her first week of trading, Bonnie placed just two trades, a win of $250 being immediately canceled out by a loss of the same amount. But everything changed in her second week.
On Ben’s recommendation, she bought put (sell) options on shares in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), and her excitement leaps from the page as she describes what happened next:
“Third trade was this week (SPY PUTS) …. Bought 4 contracts, Gross Profit $6,505.18, net profit $4,834.51. Bought in today but bailed when the market turned, Net profit $289.38. That’s $5,123.89 this week. I’m speechless!”
Markets may be tumbling around the world in response to the coronavirus emergency. However, even in a long-term bear market, there are still plenty of lucrative opportunities for traders who know where to look.
“Third trade was this week (SPY PUTS). Bought 4 contracts. Gross Profit $6,505.18, net profit $4,834.51. Bought in today, but bailed when the market turned. Net profit $289.38. That’s $5,123.89, this week. I’m speechless!”
So it’s taken just two weeks in the markets to convince Bonnie that a brighter future lies ahead, and to start to put in place some inspiring trading goals.
“I hadn’t even dared to look at that,” she says, “I was looking for a way to make ends meet”, but obviously I have to think higher! Total net gains last week over $5,000 in one week!”
Now, of course, Bonnie knows that she still has a great deal to learn. But she has the priceless advantage that she is thoroughly enjoying the learning process.
Combine that with Ben Sturgill’s excellent mentorship and the determination she has shown in overcoming personal tragedy, and she has every reason to look forward to a long and profitable trading career.
Do some research into the subject of trading later in life, and you’ll come across questions like, “Am I too old to learn at thirty?”
At first sight, it might sound ridiculous. Sure, there are some things you probably can’t start at thirty. For example, becoming a professional athlete or concert pianist.
Yet logic would tell us that the intellectual skills and emotional discipline needed to become a successful trader are as likely to be possessed by older as by younger people, right?
Maybe some people have taken to heart the idea popularized in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book, The Outliers, that to achieve excellence in the performance of any skill requires at least 10,000 hours of practice.
Now, of course, if your goal is to play golf at the level of a Tiger Woods, or for that matter, to reach the pinnacle of any profession, 10,000 hours may be the minimum requirement. And that means it’s better to start young.
It’s also true that many of the world’s wealthiest and most successful traders have devoted countless hours to the study and practice of their craft.
But that doesn’t mean that devoting 10,000 hours to perfecting your trading skills applies to everyone. In fact, people of almost any age can have fun and make significant money in the markets.
Furthermore, you don’t need a natural flair for technical analysis or any business expertise. What you do need is a sound trading plan based on a few simple strategies and effective risk management. And yes, some study and learning are required.
Actually, the more, the better. But by no means do you have to study for years before getting started as a trader.
Recent scientific studies are providing some important good news for older traders.
While scientists used to believe that the structure of the brain and its potential for learning was essentially fixed in early adulthood, modern research has shown that the brain can continue to adapt itself and form new pathways in response to new stimuli (a phenomenon technically known as “neuroplasticity”) well into old age.
Mature individuals also have other advantages. They tend to be less impulsive, to exercise better judgment, and are more risk-averse. Auto insurance companies know this well, and that’s why they give reduced rates to mature drivers.
Ohio retiree, Douglas Thorn, for example, decided to try trading after a 40-year career in county government. And like many older traders, he set out on his path with a cautious attitude and modest goals.
Initially, he wanted to develop a new interest, to find an activity to help fill the hours previously taken up with work. And, of course, to make a little extra money.
“I had never traded options and was actually afraid of them. But I wanted to learn, so I began reading Jeff Bishop’s lessons and watching his videos.”
Douglas quickly discovered that stock trading has a way of capturing the hearts and minds of its practitioners. The shifting patterns of the charts, the absorbing interest of fundamental analysis, and the influence of daily news events combine to exercise an almost addictive fascination.
Add to this the excitement of big wins, or even the satisfaction of frequent small wins, and it’s not surprising that many new traders quickly reconsider their goals.
Douglas, for example, freely admits to having felt afraid of options before joining Total Alpha. But he was interested and ready to learn, and with Jeff’s encouragement was inspired to take the plunge.
“Originally, I was focused on just trading stocks, but the Total Alpha emails encouraged me to learn options.”
A big win came for Douglas with his very first options trade, a 153% profit on the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) calls.
Naturally, he was “beyond excited” by this quick result, and eager to learn more. And one thing he has learned is that since the overselling of complex and poorly understood financial instruments led to the disaster of the 2008 crash, the reputation of options and futures contracts has been unfairly tainted.
Options are often seen as too complicated and risky for beginners.
While it’s true that few things are more dangerous for the trader or investor than diving into the buying and selling things they don’t fully understand, it’s also true that options have more moving parts to them than the underlying assets.
The concepts behind options and futures are fundamentally simple and have been around for centuries. For longer-term investors, these contracts can be a valuable way of creating an immediate income or protecting the value of their assets. For traders, the low price and relative volatility of options can make them an attractive source of short-term profits.
Like any other instrument, options should not be approached in a cavalier or reckless way. However, with a reasonable understanding of the principles involved, and the assistance of an experienced mentor like Jeff Bishop, there’s no reason for novice traders to feel any fear.
Now, Douglas can confidently say, “I may be able to make more than just a few extra bucks.”
And with his new-found confidence has come a growing realization that trading might be more than just an absorbing retirement pastime; it can be the means of funding an entirely new and exciting way of life.
“I closed my UNG calls today for a 153% gain. It was my first ever option trade and am beyond excited!”
“I want to be able to travel more,” says Douglas, “and not have to worry about whether I can afford to do it.” It seems likely that he’ll get his wish because despite his excitement he’s not getting carried away.
“You’re never too old to become a new trader,” is what Douglas tells his friends, “but you need to study, study, study and keep learning.”
He also knows that consistent success in the market above all demands discipline, perseverance, and the ability to stick to a daily routine.
These are, of course, the qualities you might expect to find in traders who have had successful, long-term careers and plenty of life experience.