Finance Writer



How I Started Trading - A Sheep Amongst Wolves

Every time I read the background of a successful trader it goes something like this:

“I’ve had a passion for the financial markets, exploiting edges and turning what I had into something more. I had a flair for numbers at school and so a degree in Computer Science seemed a sensible way to go, but I always knew I wanted to be a Trader. I’m comfortable balancing risk and for me the thrill is in the game not the financial reward, although it doesn’t hurt!”.

Now this most certainly isn’t me, in fact it couldn’t be further from who I am or how I came across trading. In all the character tests of what makes a good trader I tend to be as far from the top as you can get. I have a short attention span, hated Maths at school and even after 12 years in the Military hate getting up in the morning. I spent my childhood obsessing about aviation and it wasn’t until I was fairly established in that profession that I realised I was really under developed when it came to financial awareness. I was a spendthrift, had no idea how economies worked and had no idea how to go aspiring to financial independence.

What I did know was that I one day wanted to own my own aircraft, just a small one I might add, but yes I admit to such materialism. I hoped that one day I’d live by a small airstrip and teach my kids how to fly. I also knew that if god forbid anything ever took my flying medical away I had no way of earning an income, and that scared me.

Whilst visiting my parents for Christmas in 2008 I got to work looking at ways to earn extra income. Having been involved with flying since I was 13 I had pretty much no other skills or hobbies I could capitalise on to earn cash due to having thrown myself into aviation. It had paid off mind you as I was lucky enough to be flying Search and Rescue helicopters at the time.

Amongst a lot of ultra shit methods and some laughably obvious scams I kept coming across trading. Looking back 2008 seemed to be the emergence of what we now know as the retail trading space and I’ll happily admit I got sucked in. Currency Trading seemed to be the big get rich quick scheme at the time and I bought it, thankfully though, very cheaply. The company that kept coming up was a popular Forex brokerage at the time, so I thought why not I’ll give it a punt.

I opened a Forex account for something like £50 and promptly lost it all, I wasn’t that bummed out as I had a feeling I would, but it had gotten me intrigued. What I will say about my character is that I’m pretty determined and pretty inquisitive, so it wasn’t long before I was devouring everything I could about the financial markets and this crazy thing called Currency Trading.

Since then I like to think I’ve come a long way. I’ve steered clear of Currency Trading completely and happen to think that most of what is out there in the so called retail trading space is, shall we say, less than transparent. I’ve come to value things such as data reliability and transparency over flashy interfaces and see risk and trading costs as a key focus rather than trying to grab a quick buck.

I’ve spent money on quality training, spend money on poor training and have redesigned the wheel of my trading methods more times than I care to think. Presently I’m at a place where I think I know what is required to make a successful go at trading, this doesn’t mean I’m doing it because right now if I’m honest with myself I don’t think I am, however its a view from half way up the mountain that shows the massive bog I couldn’t see coming whilst standing at the bottom looking up.

Why do I mention all this? Why would you care? I just think there must be so many people out there like me who are coming at this endeavour from individual and often abstract lives and one of the biggest things holding some of us back is a simple lack of self belief, a feeling that we aren’t destined or that we aren’t from the right stock. I feel that the blinking lights of ads on the financial TV channels blind a lot of people into thinking this game is easy and that they then get disheartened when they get stuck in. I choose to not believe success (and for many that doesn’t mean great wealth I might add) is for the select few who are lucky enough to have had early exposure to trading or who know the secret sauce from inside the financial bastions of this world.

Instead, I choose to believe that we all have a shot, if we so choose to dedicating enough time and dedicating it sensibly to achieving the goals we set ourselves. I like to think there is an army of people out there who have successfully turned themselves into traders despite all the things that serve to discourage us along the way and I like to think I can be one too.

If you’re a retail trading who’s made it, or if like me you just get pissed off at the idea it’s a game for a select few leave a comment, it would be great to hear from you!