Search for “Financial Freedom,” and you’ll get an astounding 78+ million results. So, whatever the economic headlines may say, it would seem that vast numbers of people are dissatisfied, frustrated, and perhaps even desperate about the position they find themselves in.
Truth be told, though, if you share these feelings it probably has surprisingly little to do with how much money you’re earning.
You might be pulling down a big salary in a high-end corporate job, but if you’re chained to your desk for eighty hours a week, enduring a spirit-crushing daily commute, or forced to travel constantly between identical business hotels, you’re probably not feeling very “independent.”
Likewise, a supposedly comfortable middle-class salary doesn’t seem to pay for much freedom if you still have a mortgage, car loans, multiple credit card debts, and kids to put through college.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that so many dream of finding a better way to make a living. The problem is that until recently, it was difficult for most people to break away from the corporate grind.
After 27 years in the biopharma industry, and disillusioned with the corporate world, James Lillibridge of Denver, is now looking to turn his interest in trading into a full-time occupation. He finds the stock markets a highly-enjoyable challenge and a welcome relief from office politics and the monotony of constant traveling. But more importantly, his early successes have shown him a realistic path to true financial independence and a way to pursue his life passions while spending more precious time with his family.
Fortunately, the coming of the internet has changed all that. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to set up a home-based business with minimal risk, and with a relatively small investment of time and money.
Modern technology and the internet have enabled people from all backgrounds and walks of life to trade the stock markets from the comfort and safety of their own homes, with excellent prospects of success.
The potential financial rewards are undoubtedly an attraction, but if you ask traders why they do it, you’ll find that freedom and independence are the answers that come up most often.
Freedom and independence are indeed powerful motivators for Total Alpha member, James Lillibridge of Denver, Colorado.
After 27 years in the biopharma sector, James had become so disillusioned with corporate politics, the constant grind of business travel, and endless repetitive meetings. Fed up, he was no longer willing to wait until retirement to start enjoying the fruits of his labors.
“Options trading is so cool! It’s a very heads-up game. It reminds me of rock climbing. You’re either on or off!”
Better by far, says James, for him to pursue financial independence and his other passions right now, using trading as the vehicle:
“My ambition to become a successful trader is because A) it is fun!, B) it gives you freedom and independence. And if I’m successful will give me the freedom to pursue my love for winemaking, skiing, spending more time with family and less time traveling and dwelling in poorly-lit conference rooms listening to the same old same old.”
James is very clear about his passions and goals, but the beauty of using trading as a means to financial freedom is its great flexibility and upside potential.
Everyone has different tolerances for risk. Different amounts of money they’re able or willing to play with. And varying amounts of time they’re prepared to devote to trading and learning.
If you want, you can choose to go “all in” trading full time and funding a substantial account. But unlike many other so-called “side businesses,” it’s possible to get started in trading with a minimal investment of time and money, taking only minimal risks as you gradually build confidence.
Likewise, you can deal in options or underlying stocks, choose short time frames, and sit glued to your trading screen all day. Or you can set up longer trades, protected by tight stop losses, and head out to do other things you enjoy.
In short, trading can accommodate a variety of individual preferences, and all that’s necessary for success is a willingness to learn and persevere through the occasional setbacks which will inevitably occur.
“I like Jeff’s teaching style and the ability to apply his knowledge to my own set of expertise. Nathan is an amazing addition to the team. I’m learning so much; it’s exciting.”
Trading is like everything in life; the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. And not just financially.
As James has discovered, trading can be tremendously enjoyable, but the fun comes mostly from pitting your wits against the market, and in understanding the real-world sentiment and hard data that underpin and produce those apparently random chart patterns.
Paying daily attention to the international and domestic political and financial news stories which may impact the markets can also be a rewarding study in itself.
Loving trading as much as he does, James doesn’t doubt that he’s going to be an “all in” type of trader. And he fully intends to treat it as a whole new career opportunity.
With the help of his trading mentors, Jeff and Nathan at Total Alpha, James has recently scored substantial wins in trades in the TLT and XOP Exchange Traded Funds, which have helped build both his confidence and his trading account.
“My goal is to double my account annually,” he explains, “I started with a $25K trading account in late December, now it sits around $41K. I think I’m just a couple of wins away from achieving that goal.”
Going all in like this by definition implies that you’re prepared to assume greater risk to your trading account, and perhaps your total wealth than the more cautious trader who’s content to begin with small trades on a small trading account.
That’s not to say that placing larger trades is necessarily a bad thing: indeed it is essential if ambitious goals such as James Lillibridge’s are going to be achieved, but it does necessitate a robust and highly-disciplined approach to risk management.
It’s an area in which James admits he has fallen short in the past. Making what he calls “beginner mistakes” in the use of stop losses has made him realize that he still has a lot to learn.
“Applying these techniques to TLT and XOP recently have helped me grow my trading account about 68%. That said, I’ve made plenty of beginner mistakes (e.g., not using stops effectively) so I still have a lot to learn.”
It’s humility which will stand James in good stead throughout his journey because doubling a trading account year after year may not be a goal that’s easy to achieve.
Why? Well because it gets psychologically and emotionally more difficult as the required size of each trade becomes ever larger.
But it’s fine to be ambitious, especially if you realize that the miracle of compounding even slower rates of account growth can produce some truly staggering financial returns over time.
The key to success, as James says, is perseverance, and understanding that going “all in” applies as much to learning as to the amount of money you’re prepared to commit to trading.
“Read as much as you can,” he advises, “and go all-in on learning this craft. It’s very exciting and rewarding. Never give up just because you made mistakes and don’t expect to become an expert quickly. Persistence pays.”
With this attitude, and continued guidance from his mentors at Week Money Multiplier, James Lillibridge appears to be well-positioned to achieve his goal of financial freedom. If he does, not only will it be a big win for him, but also for his family and the ski slopes of Colorado.
Do you have a Raging Bull success story to share?