Story of a Spread Trader

It’s been said that investors discover who they really are when they enter day trading. So this is also my journey self discovery. And hopefully I make a lot of money doing it. I don’t think I originally had intentions to make significant amounts of money from the markets (boy, did that change later!) but the whole stock market thing really interested me and initially it was fun. I had (and still have) a reasonably well paid job. I did all of my own research and was moderately successful, investing small amounts and importantly had never heard of financial forums.

And through forums, an introduction to leveraged markets. I recall reading a comment on a thread along the lines of, ‘no investor should even think about leveraged products until they have invested successfully buying and selling real shares.’ With hindsight that was the best bit of advice I ever ignored! I soon ramped up my bank, over-traded and I suppose it wasn’t long before I suffered my first five-figure loss (it wouldn’t be my last).

So what lessons did I learn through this awful process? Some of the answers are already there of course, leveraged products, BB hype, over-trading, emotional trading, gambling (because that is what it became) lack of knowledge / experience, zero risk / money management and on it goes. I imagine I have made every mistake in the book and the point of this post is firstly to warn others and secondly to remind myself of the havoc I wreaked on my life (and some may add, others).

As far as trading is concerned I have gone back to basics, doing my own research, adopting a risk adverse strategy and putting into practice all those hard won lessons. There is no quick and easy way to make a lot of money (unless you get lucky) and I truly despair at some comments I hear from newbies. I have always been interested in technical analysis and that combined with good research is now reaping success. Since I returned to trading seriously last year, my bank (albeit by circumstance relatively small) has increased threefold, but with a few blips on the way (old habits die hard).

Finally, I tell my story for the benefit of all and to remind myself to stay on the straight and narrow; please don’t offer sympathy, it was something I created myself and I take full responsibility, concentrate on the positives of which there are many. I escaped from the abyss through the support of others, a belief in my own ability and a burning desire to succeed. That desire becomes ever stronger as I improve, but I won’t let it lead me down the wrong path again.  In any event, I do not regard my story as a failure; I am still in the game, making profits and in a much more positive state than I have been for years.

I am an ordinary guy

Most websites and blogs which relate to spread betting and share trading contain glossy images and references to people who (some genuinely) claim to be experts in their field.

You are provided with what amounts to a life history of all the great and interesting places they have worked and the other people they have brushed shoulders with over the years. Not all however tell you how successful these same people actually are at spread betting and share trading.

I have a full time job which keeps me busy

Many online traders reflect what is actually their full time job. Yes, they are making a living; but being a full time trader has its own pressures and issues which must be different from someone like us who is trading and has another job at the same time.

Time is the biggest factor. All the good intentions of turning on the computer when I get home from work can quickly turn to dust because the grass needs cutting, I am too tired, football training or some other fact of life.

The trading rules which I follow are those put forward by Guy Cohen. What I have found is that his approach allows you to trade successfully and review potential trades without having to spend hours and hours online – time which working people just don’t have.

This site reflects those same pressures and factors which we all have to contend with.

Attitude to risk

Spread betting is risky.  If you are entering trades at £1 a point then the risk should not be too high. If you are entering a trade at £30 or £50 a point (or more) then not only is the risk big but you will need a sizable trading bank to support such a trade.

Unlike the big traders making money, many people simply do not have thousands of pounds to fund a spread betting account.

You therefore will not hear from me tales of winning fortunes. What I will write about on this blog is a record of the points won or lost in my trades; the good, the bad and the ugly. What I won’t do is discuss the amount per point traded because I think that is a matter for each of us, individually, and depends on available funds and our attitude to risk.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and have a look.

All the best

Spread Trader