I totally fell for it. I messed up. I thought – like so many others – that I could beat Wall Street and create bigger returns through very active stock trading – including day trading. I failed and I certainly lost some money along the way. I think I fit every cliche you might find to throw at a loser trader. I was in denial for too long. I was greedy.
I joined a stock picking service and paid a monthly fee just to be unknowingly part of a stock pyramid trading scheme. I was ridden by greed and ignorance. I “discovered” something better and fell for a different type of stock trading scheme. At least I roughly broke even here, but what bothers me most is the time I lost away from real – proper – investing for the future. Then I got busy and abandoned my trading efforts completely, but failed to realize that I was paying a hefty monthly fee for the stock trading account I was in. I’ll be fair, this was my mistake – not the platform I was using (Lightspeed Trading). If you ever need a sophisticated trading platform with really low trading fees, that is Lightspeed Trading. But if you are not actively trading, it’s gonna cost you.
The funny (or scary) thing is how many stock trading gurus start threatening you when you start exposing their schemes in public channels like Twitter. The greed Gordon Gecko described in the Wall Street movie is real out there.
So, a big portion of my money set on the sideline not doing anything for way too long. Again, me “pissing away” valuable time where the money could have been actively working for me.
2018 rolled around and in the November and December I finally got my act together to work on my finances. This carried over into 2019 and now I am really on a roll. Even my wife joined in feeling the breath of fresh air and the motivation that comes with it. When we filed out tax return for 2018 we were negatively surprised that for the first time in 20 years we did not get a refund, but had to pay additional taxes – even though we thought we were very conservative with tax withholdings and even having more money taken out of paycheck when the Trump’sche tax reform happened. Well, thank you Mr. President – your tax reform did nothing for us. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Nothing.
Hit with having to pay additional money to the government, we went into high gear working on our finances. We consolidated all investment accounts, merged, rolled over as if there wouldn’t be a tomorrow. All accounts were added to our free Personal Capital account (Get your own free personal capital account and get $20 if you use this link). In Personal Capital we can now see exactly how our money is doing. Disclaimer: If you sign up for Personal Capital through my link we both get $20 from them. I personally use their service and love them. Your support will help me to finance this blog.
Well, now I am on a mission to give Wall Street the boot. I woke up and realized there is hope. You will see this being mentioned more often, but we are shifting our investments around to follow the Boglehead three fund portfolio strategy. In hindsight I do not know what drove to think that I could be a successful stock trader. Greed? Probably! I think I was quite bored in my previous job at Thomson Reuters and that probably added to the misery.
If I would go back through my trading statements I could probably put a number behind my losses and maybe one day I will do that out of curiosity. But would this help me today? Would that knowledge add value to my life today? In both cases the answer would be “No!”. I am one of those people that really live after this saying:
Don’t look back. You are not going that way.
I cannot change what I did before, but I can change what I am going to do in the future and that is what I am after now. I am properly educating myself, I spend time researching, I make informed decisions – completely letting go of greed. I ran the numbers for us and I think we can make it all happen. Early retirement (we are Generation X)? Yes, do-able – even if not all the stars align. There might be some flexibility needed by us, but we have goals and we are working on those now with a new level of determination.