I was raised in Yorkshire, the youngest of three children and had a very happy – yet uneventful – childhood. I left school and headed off to university where I acquired a BA (Hons) in Business Management. I look back at the university years as some of the best years of my life; I met many people and made some wonderful friends, and retain two very close friendships to this day.
My most endearing memory of university was meeting a stunning brunette who, after several futile attempts at getting her to accept a date, succumbed to my then boyish charm. Several years later she became my wife, and we went on to have two children, a girl and a boy now 22 and 19 respectively.
After university, I followed my parents’ path into the NHS, albeit, I was interested in management not nursing. Initially, I became involved in hospital management in a junior capacity and worked my way through several management tiers, ending up at Health Authority level. After several years, I tired of the red tape and bureaucratic practices which strangled any entrepreneurial flair to make improvements to the system, so l took a major decision to leave and set up my own business.
This proved hard initially due to my background and lack of experience but, I have a ‘never say no’ attitude to life, so I persevered. Over a period of twenty five years, l established several businesses, developing them into profitable organisations, then selling them on and re-investing the monies into new ventures. I took semi retirement several years ago, but kept the ‘cash cow’ business, for which I employ a management team to run; my input being restricted to five days per month.
Trading – the early years
I’ve dabbled with FTSE 100 shares for many years, resulting in some good successes and some abject failures. My big trading break came in 1999. I live in the suburbs ofHull, which, for those of you who don’t know it, has its own municipal telephone company. To this day, they have the monopoly for the area; we have no choice of provider like the rest of the country has. Uniquely, KC telephone boxes are cream coloured, unlike the red BT ones (a good tip to remember if it comes up in a quiz night!). They floated as Kingston Communications at £2.25 and the price rose rapidly to over £17.00. The IPO was restricted to their customers. I (we) used this opportunity and went for the maximum allocation and sold out after the peak had been hit and the price was starting to decline.
Corus Steel was another major success. In May 2003, shares hit an all time low of £0.25; research showed this was an opportunity to buy big and sit tight. We eventually jettisoned the stock having seen it rise considerably over the next few years, giving me the base to move forward and the enthusiasm to enter the trading ‘game’.
Armed with an over flowing confidence and with finances in place, I was off to milk the markets dry. I remember thinking, “surely it can’t be difficult”. I set up my charts, which in all honesty looked great, but only as a piece of art. There were so many indicators and trend lines etc. which, on reflection, made them completely impossible to interpret. In reality, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. The result: two pots of cash blown.
After dusting myself down, I reviewed my actions. The stark reality was I’d been a complete fool. Unlike my business activity, I hadn’t even made a trading plan, I had no strategy and I had no system: I was doomed to fail.
I was determined to succeed in the trading arena as I’d not experienced failure in business and I was determined I wasn’t going to in the markets either. I went back to basics, applied my business acumen to my trading and over time I ‘found myself’. I knew the products I wanted to trade and the timeframes I was comfortable with. I knew my entry and exit criteria, I knew how to manage a trade and I considered risk and reward (R&R) etc. In other words I made a trading plan and, armed with that, I moved forward.
My preference is Index trading, although I’m not averse to FX or commodities, should the conditions prevail, and I also invest for my SIPP. (Self-Invested Personal Pension.)
I day trade only, start flat, trade through the day and close flat. I trade the confluence of two time frames, aiming to achieve between three to five trades a day.
I’ve learnt never to assume, expect, predict or try to guess what’s likely to happen. I trade momentum as per the timeframes employed, any time frame higher than my strategy is of no value to me. I use price action to good effect, to identify when and where the price is trending. I like to jump in after the move has started and jump out before the move slows.
I also like to get my stop loss close to breakeven as soon as is realistically possible and, depending on the time of day, I trade different R&R’s to reflect the volatility of the markets.
Statistics are an integral part of my trading; an important factor in enabling me to make my trading decisions. They are part of my daily routine; I update them daily and review them regularly, so I’m fully aware how I should be positioning myself, identifying not only my entry, exit point, stop loss, along with the exit point should the market fail to move or turn against me.
To carry on trading as per my trading plan. Eventually, to sell on my business, retire and reduce my trading activity to one or two trades a day to boost the pension!
Tips to pass on
- Never trade without a plan. It should encapsulate every aspect of your trading: the good, the bad and the ugly.
- Aim to be consistent in your approach; replication of a successful fully tested system will bring the rewards.
- Willpower and self discipline are needed to succeed, what you want to happen may not happen unless you remain 100% focused.
- Never listen to another’s trading advice or opinion, focus on your plan.
- Don’t get greedy.
- Always use a stop loss; it’s your insurance policy to protect you against capital loss.
- And finally, keep your system simple, less really is more! I use a confluence of Heiken Ashi candles from both time frames, following the trend line on my upper timeframe, confirmed by one (bespoke) indicator on my lower timeframe.
And finally . . .
Don’t lose heart, whilst initially the mountain might appear insurmountable, ascending it, is not impossible. How you deal with the emotional factors is key, remaining calm and in control of your actions are paramount, and before you know it you’ll will have started to gain confidence, and hopefully your P&L will start to fill out.
There are some good threads on T2W to help you on your journey, and many good members who will help you with any questions you have.