Member Profile: options-george
Last month I turned 40. I have spent my life in equal thirds in Germany, New Zealand and the UK. Initially I qualified as a chartered accountant in NZ. But since the age of 25 I have always worked as a contractor, a freelancer or just independently in some form. I have tried and failed and tried and succeeded at quite a few things. I developed a habit of putting money to the side when the ‘sun was shining’, and that’s allowed me to get involved in various opportunities and to have a bankroll when needed.
Since August 2013 I have been trading full-time once again. In the two years since then, I have not made any profits from trading. I have not lost a lot either – I have approximately gotten to the point where I am breaking even or losing just a little from one month to another. I am not used to having to work so long without seeing success.
In this Member Profile, I want to get across my impression that I have found/am finding the journey to consistent trading profits incredibly difficult. Thus, my message is not an overly encouraging one (you have been warned!).
Trading - the early years (2003-2011)
Although interested in the Kiwi stock market as a teenager, it wasn’t until 2003 (in my late 20’s) that I properly started trading and had the first of many full-time trading phases. I began with US stock options – learned what I could on my own, and proceeded to blow up my $15k account in about nine months. After more accountancy work, and another six month full-time spread-betting stint in London at some point, I spent six months in Bangkok, again trading US stock options, trading from 9.00pm to 4.00am local time. This time I managed to keep my loss to just 5-10% of a $20k account.
Looking back to those trading periods now, I realize there were huge gaps in my trading knowledge and I should have approached things much more professionally. I never went on any courses - I just read books and learned online – but my time at the screen wasn’t spent productively either.
On returning to London from Asia, I lucked out scoring a trainee position with a successful independent options trader, who was a market-maker for Euribor options and I spent half a year with him, eleven hours a day, learning a tonne before hitting a plateau and deciding to follow up on some IT consultancy opportunities for an extended period.
Some months after the market-making stint, after reflecting on my various trading experiences, I concluded that I most likely did not have what it takes to be a profitable trader. As one does, what started as something little on the side of the IT work, I stumbled down the road to becoming a serious poker player which led to a reasonably profitable period of gambling professionally online and offline for several years. With that I learned the principles of expectancy and associated variance in results, gambling with an edge, bet sizing and risk/money management and I continued to build a bankroll. Certainly, that was one piece of the puzzle missing in my prior trading experiences.
I decided to return to the markets armed with this new understanding, this time trading FX – shared an office with a fellow T2W member, who steepened my learning curve. Adventures also included trying out a live trade room trading opening gaps in the US indices and, on my own, trading Sunday night FX gaps as well as a host of other technical strategies on the FX majors. After around 12-15 months of this and getting depressed after a big six week £20k losing streak, I returned to playing online poker and more IT work, this time in France.