People’s self-concept puts a lead or a cap on what they can achieve, and one of the big things about trading or investing or money is when we don’t have the proper psychology around money. We don’t have the vision of ourselves as successful at managing our money. It becomes so fulfilling. So it’s essential to have some aspiration to improve your self-concepts of the image around money and work on that, but also start having some big dreams about what life could be like with more abundance because it’s only by having those dreams that we’ll be driven to do the learning, the work and the things required to get there. After all, we just bumble along doing what we’re doing without a big plan since there’s nothing to drive us and lift us.
What do you want to go after?
Having that vision and clarity about what you want life to be is an amazing enabler of all of this. If I want that life, then I have to be the sort of person that can create that, and if I’m going to be that sort of person, then I need to learn specific skills, and I need to be able to do certain things. So I need to go and do specific courses or learn or read certain books, and it creates all of the activities required to have that fantastic life.
What kind of mindset do you need to have? What is the mindset of a multimillionaire and where’s the gap?
When you talk about investing or trading mainly, specific preconceived ideas come up in people’s minds that tend to either block or enable them from becoming that. Suppose I talked to a lot of people who aren’t stock traders. In that case, they might get images of some of those scenes in the movies like the Wolf of Wall Street, which is just disgusting and awful people, driven by greed, ripping people off, doing harm to society to make themselves rich. Since it’s just a movie, it’s a fictitious image. Yes, there are probably some people like that out there, but if you have an image of something negative like that, you’re not going to want to go and be that. So many people will dismiss trading stocks or trading or even investing because they don’t want to be that “bad” person who is greedy and money-hungry. If we can get past that fake image that Hollywood uses to sell movies and figure out or share what it’s really about, it is fairly sedate, mundane, very calm. There’s no screaming down the phones at your stockbroker. There’s no high stress and freaking out or exploding relationships. It is seriously just a slow, simple process to follow each day that ultimately cranks out wealth.
When did you start Enlightened Stock Trading and how did that kind of start with you?
A lot of people assume that if you can support yourself, you’re already free and go on holidays but life needs purpose and there’s only so many cocktails you can drink before you start putting on weight and getting unhealthy. As human beings we need purpose and what I found when I had my corporate career was its very all-consuming and it took up a lot of my mental energy. Most of my time I worked like a crazy demon most of my corporate working life. I got to the point where my trading income exceeded my corporate earnings, I had to look at myself at the end of the year and asked myself “what am I doing?”
I stepped out to trade, spent more time with the family, became a stay-at-home dad, did my trading each day, and continued to support ourselves. What was interesting was being free was amazing, my stress levels dropped, got much healthier, got fitter, got time with the kids, and got time with the family. I did find that something was missing, I didn’t have purpose apart from home and family. I also found that I didn’t have many people to talk to about my trading because a lot of people will sit at home and think that they should invest or do something with their money but don’t necessarily know what to do and don’t have anyone to talk to about it.
Money is a bit of a lonely subject and I’m always at home just doing trading. All of my friends were working and I didn’t know any traders. I basically learned myself from reading hundreds of books and attending a bunch of courses. It was pretty lonely combined with feeling purposeless and having a bunch of friends who were asking “How on earth did you do that? Can you teach me?” It’s like purpose fell in my lap so I started teaching some friends or colleagues.
We’re just basically meeting up with them and teaching them the basics on the process but I found that I was giving a lot and spent hours to prepare to do presentations. I was doing it for free for my social contact and my sanity, but then I realized that if I do it for free and I’m always pushing it at these people rather than them having the desire to really learn and dig in and the skin in the game. I was doing that for six or twelve months and I realized that this needs to be a business because it needs to serve people who want to be served, who needs and wants these skills,and who have a drive to improve their financial situation in life. It was at that point, I realized that this was my calling and it needed to be turned to a business to make it self-sustaining. That’s when I started teaching formally, developed the process and products, which then later came to a series of online programs which my students are now I’m doing.
It was really born out of all of that and wanting a community of traders to engage with and support, and have them support each other. It took me three intense years to learn how to make money in the markets because I was literally on my own and when I was explaining it to people who were wanting to learn after I left the corporate world, I didn’t want them to have to go through that difficulty. I wanted them to have a community and people they could ask and support and a crowd of people cheering them on and those sorts of things.
.Do you find it really frustrating that there are people that teach trading but are actually just making money off the program or the commissions and not because they’re actually good traders?
Yes, there is absolutely a large amount of truth to it. To point this out, have you ever been to a doctor, walked away thinking that you really don’t think he knew what he was talking about and you wanted a second opinion. After the second opinion, you want a third opinion. It’s not just in trading education, that there are people who are not as good as their marketing appears, it’s in all industries. There’s a spectrum of quality particularly when it comes to teachers. If you think back to your high school experience, did you have some teachers that were amazing and some that were like “Oh my God, shoot me. Do I have to go to another one of these classes?” So it’s the same thing. The difficulty is it’s tied up with money. As you know, when something is tied up or intertwined with money, it’s intertwined with emotion, preconceived ideas, stress, and fear. There are absolutely trading educators or investment educators that are just doing it to make money off the people rather than to help the people. I think there’s a couple of signsso I’ll talk a little about what these are and what to look out for.One of the most important things is to look at how do these people really make money. You may or may not have visibility of their investing fortunes, but the good thing is you don’t really need that. If you go to a trading educator, look at their website, look at their products and programs, and if they’re pushing you in a certain direction or to a certain broker to buy a whole lot of subscription services to sell you a constant flow of tips, trade calls, or trade advice, like what stock you should buy, what stock you should sell. If they’re trying to get you onto all of that, what they’re doing is making you dependent on them. The number one thing you want when it comes to money is to invest in yourself to build the skills so that you don’t need the advisors. I’m not saying you should not have advisors. Having advisors is fine but you don’t want to be completely dependent on them and at their mercy. You got to be educated and not buy things that just tell you what to do blindly without giving you a depth of insight. One that I really hate the most is trade advisory services where you go and you pay $2,000 a month and every day they send you a list of stocks to buy and a list of stocks to sell. It’s like that is the worst form of trading education out there because you’re not actually educating at all, you’re making the people completely dependent. I know for a fact that the vast majority of people who buy those services don’t make money because they don’t have the skills and they just fall victim to the same human emotions that cause most people to lose money in the markets. They pick and choose which ones to buy and sell and they pick and choose how big an investment to make in each one. You need the education to understand how to actually invest in the market like a process so that it’s consistent and you have an edge. Avoid just getting told what to do because it’s dangerous. The other thing to avoid is the recommendation to go with my broker who’s the best broker in the universe.
The educators who push really hard their broker, probably also teach very short-term trading strategies. They also sell automated trading robots and encourage you to use those, talk about the benefits of leverage, and talk about how you can make X percent return per week. These things all have one thing in common, they’re all driving you to spend a truckload of money on commissions at the broker. The reason they’re doing that is because they’re recommending their broker and their broker gives the educator a commission, a share of all of the brokerage that their clients generate.
This can be a huge amount of money at the client’s expense. If you recommend a broker, there’s deals out there where the person who does the recommendation can get 50% or 70% of the brokerage that those clients pay. Just imagine that they teach high frequency trading just 15-20 times a day using an automated robot on huge leverage. Then all of a sudden the broker and the educator is making an absolute fortune of the commissions while the investor slowly goes broke. This is why I don’t recommend a broker. I actually have a broker that I recommend but I have zero financial relationship with them. I only recommend them because they’re amazing and they’re cheap. I literally don’t get a commission at all.
A lot of the marketing focused people don’t actually trade. You can also see a lot of them have really polished sites, huge content production machines, thousands of articles they get produced and videos every day. Just imagine, if you’re doing all of that, you can’t possibly have any time to service your clients and you can’t have any time to answer questions. If you buy something from them and bought a bunch of these programs just to see what’s in there, you get zero contact with the expert. When you’re dealing with money, you actually need to talk to the person who knows who’s doing it because you’re going to have questions. In fact, one of the biggest drivers of success that I’ve noticed in my programs is not how much experience someone has, where they come from, how analytical they are or how much trading experience they’ve got when they come to me, it’s how willing they are to ask questions. If they will just ask questions when they get stuck, then they’ll get unstuck and move and hit the next barrier and then they can ask a question about that, get that resolved and move on to the next one and the next one. We’re talking about the quality of questions evolving as someone learns. You can tell that someone is growing and they’re going to succeed because the quality of the questions just keeps getting better and better. But when someone freezes and refuses to put their ego to the side and say, “Hey, I have a question. I don’t know the answer, I don’t know what to do,” when someone refuses to put their hand up like that, that is a big driver of a failure.
What do you need financially, mentally, psychologically, emotionally to become a trader?
Trading stocks is not for everyone and I’ve seen people try but fail badly because they didn’t have the missing ingredient. After teaching hundreds of people to trade, what I’ve found is the most important ingredient is not what you think. If you’re interested in these:
- How does money work in the stock market?
- How does the stock market work?
- How to grow your money?
Then that’s NOT a good starting point. But if you’re fascinated by:
- How does the stock market work?
- How does the market work?
- How some people make and lose money?
- Why does the market go up and down?
- What is a crash and how does it work?
If it fascinates you, that’s what you need. You don’t want to go in and out of a misguided sense of obligation.
Some of the biggest reasons for not starting to trade is saying “I’m too busy. I’ve got three kids, I’ve got a career and I got this and that. I’m sick.” When I learned to trade, I was working in a job that required 12 to 16 hours a day, Monday to Friday. I was managing projects across three different cities simultaneously and I was on two to three airplanes a week. I had a young family and my wife also worked. I did not have the time to learn to trade but I had the desire to change my circumstances. I did not want to be doing what I was doing for the rest of my life and I wanted something better. That desire was enough to help me carve out the time so I would sacrifice other things like watching TV, watching the news. I didn’t read anything other than trading and I didn’t read the newspaper. On the bus on the way to work, I would read my trading books and do my analysis on the plane between Sydney to Brisbane, and Sydney to Melbourne, and Melbourne to Perth, and Perth to Sydney, and Sydney to Oakland and back, I would do my trading work. I would wake up half an hour earlier so I could place my orders and I made it work because I had the desire. Everyone is busy, so I don’t want anyone to be under the illusion that your busy-ness is busier than anyone else’s business. Everyone in life is busy. If you want it enough, you’ll find a way.
It took three years to teach myself by reading books and now I can now teach someone the basics and get them started in three to six weeks because I kind of got the process down and it’s much smoother now and I’ve probably made it clearer to get someone started. The second misconception is that trading is not like what you see on the movies, where there’s a daily routine where someone is sitting in front of a computer all day buying and selling stocks, screaming at a broker, I’m stressing out of their mind, drinking coffee then sleeping.
Trading is a spectrum, this very short term high-frequency trade. I don’t promote that, I don’t actually actively discourage it. At the other end of the stream, there is like the Warren Buffetts of the world who are like buy and going to hold forever because I love this company, I’m going to work on this company and help them. Everything in between is some form of trading or investing. My style of trading, which is systematic stock trading is I have rules that if certain things happen rather, I will buy a stock and I’ll buy a certain amount of that stock. If certain other things happen, I’ll sell that stock. All I need to do to make my decisions is update the data from the previous day’s activity on the stock market and just press the button on the computer and downloads it. I run my rules that I just built into my trading software. It’s just like spreadsheet formulas, it’s not complicated analysis or anything. The rules tells me what stocks to buy and sell. I place the orders with my broker and I go and do something else, and that’s it. The processes takes about somewhere between five to thirty minutes a day for me But I it might take you 45 minutes or an hour to start with. After a week or two, you figured it out and you’ve got rid of all the lumps and bumps in the process. Then it takes you 30 minutes so it’s really sedate. It’s just following a process daily and traders use a set of rules to trade or invest that you run. I also have students that don’t want to do it daily because they’re too busy or they just don’t want to do much. There’s some amazing approaches to trading that you do weekly. I’ve got a trading system, which is a trading system is just a set of rules that tells you exactly when to buy how much to buy and exactly when to sell.
It is once a week and takes about ten minutes a week to run and it makes incredible money plus really good returns. The return on effort for running that system is lfar better than anything else I’ve ever done in my life. Just because someone is busy, doesn’t mean you can’t build wealth in the stock market and you don’t have to be sitting staring at screen for hours every day. You just need to learn a process that suits your lifestyle. It’s understanding your personality, objectives, lifestyle, and finding the trading rules and approach that fits you.
What are the right questions to ask your mentor/teacher about trading?
I recently published a blog and a video about asking the right questions to really help you grow and develop independently. You need to ask different sorts of questions and the first question is, what is my personality objectives lifestyle so that I can understand me, and then I can go look for a method that will fit me?
Be aware that you need to do that. In my mid-level program, I have a whole module on your trader profile, figuring out who you are as a trader so you can find the right set of rules and follow them. It’s pretty much stress free so there are guide posts and programs that you can use to understand who you are and what the right approach is, you don’t need to figure all that out on your own. Just be aware because there’s different ways to do it. Just because the conventionally discussed ways or the preconceived ideas don’t fit in your life doesn’t mean you can’t build wealth in the stock market. I’ve seen it, people with all sorts of crazy constraints and weird and wonderful lifestyles have had success with this.
How would you explain discretionary, technical, fundamental, and systematic approaches?
Think about the way most people make investing decisions, they start off by asking advice from a few different people and then they latch onto a few ideas, do a bit of research, look at some data and trends. From all of these different bits of information, pull together a logical course of action and then decide. That process is not repeatable and it takes a lot of time. You’re basically trying to assimilate lots of different sources of information and different considerations to make a sensible decision. There’s a huge amount of pressure on that decision that you’re trying to make, that one decision to be successful. On investing in trading and stock market, there’s lots of businesses you could invest in lots of stocks you could buy and you’re not going to buy just one.
If you buy just one and it does well, that’s great but chances are, if you buy just one stock, you can have a very rocky ride, so you need diversification. That means you need to hold lots of stocks and if you think about the amount of research, time, and energy required to find lots of different stocks to hold to get diversification in your portfolio, it’s an immense amount of time. Discretionary trading is difficult because you’re looking at lots of different sources of information about these stocks. You look at the annual reports, charts, different indicators, mathematical calculations on the price chart, recommendations from brokers and you’re trying to assemble a sensible decision out of that. If you multiply that by 10, 15, 20 stocks in your portfolio, all of a sudden, you’re drowning and there’s no way you can do that if you’ve got a busy life. Not to mention the fact that t’s inconsistent because one week you might be really positive because of some positive things that happened to you. Next week, something bad might’ve happened and you’re looking for things to sell.It’s inconsistent because the emotions get in the way. Contrast that with systematic trading and investing, which is investing and trading using a process that is absolute and objective, if A and B and C are true you buy, if B or A is true, you sell. A systematic approach to trading and investing is rules-based where your human judgment does not come into the decision. The only human judgment is in creating the rules. Then after they’re created and tested, you just follow the rules each day. By following the rules each day, you get a couple of things like consistency and repeatability, and you also get confidence because they’re objective rules. You can test them and make sure that they made money in the past. You’d be surprised how many people are trading using methods that didn’t actually make money in the past, hoping that they’re going to make money in the future. Trading and investing systematically like this gives you a huge advantage over all of the people who aren’t doing it. It also dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes because I know time is one of the biggest concerns since we’re all so busy. When I started trading, I started with discretion using analysis and reading the reports and looking at the charts and trying to make my decisions. I was spending three or four hours a night at the very beginning, trying to find stocks to buy and sell but when I went systematic, that time dropped from three or four hours a night to 30 minutes a night. All of a sudden, I could cover a lot more ground in a lot less time get a lot more diversification and I made a lot more money with a lot less stress.
Systematic trading also helps with choosing the right stock to buy because it takes the pressure off each individual decision. It’s not the individual trades or investments that make you the money, it’s following the process over again that extract money from the market. When you trade well, each trade doesn’t matter. If you have a loss, it’s so small, it doesn’t matter. If you have a win, that’s great but that one win doesn’t change your life. What you’re doing is you’re following a process that has a positive expectation of making money and you just risk a certain amount each time over many trades and investments. It builds your wealth, much less stress and pressure on being right. You don’t have to be right 100% of the time and don’t have to be right 50% of the time. You can be right 30% of the time, be wrong 70% of the time and still make a ton of money because what happens is when you’re right, you have really big winners and when you’re wrong, you have tiny losses. Lots of tiny losses plus a couple of really big winners actually makes a lot of money. A different way of thinking about it that most people don’t realize.
When someone asks if what stocks am I holding, there’s about 60 of them or 80 of them and they’re all managed by different systems and I don’t even know what a lot of the companies do because it doesn’t require me to. I follow the buy and sell signals that come out of my systems and it doesn’t take me long each day. I just take lots of trades over time and the account grows. Most people look at me sideways and then turn around and go to the bar and conversation over because trading this way is not something that you talk about wildly like a cocktail party.
Have you ever got a hot stock tip and got big right after?
Absolutely. It doesn’t exist because it’s just a crystal bowl that’s broken and it’s not the way to make money. That’s a lottery ticket and what do we know about buying lottery tickets over again over time or how much money do you make? None, it’s a negative expectation game. You will lose money and taking hot tips in the markets is also a losing game. There’s always going to be that story of that one person who bought that one stock and it tripled or ten folded in value in a couple of weeks and then they got tired. There’s millions of people out there who are doing exactly the same thing, losing money, blowing up their accounts, destroying their future wealth because they’re not following a sensible process.
If you go into the Facebook groups or the online forums where traders in inverted commas hangout. The people who are talking today are not the people that have just blown up their account, have just lost money or just done something stupid. You’ll see the people talking who are crowing about that lucky call that they took, like their lottery ticket that paid off. From a psychology perspective, this is really dangerous because you go to those forums and you’ll see people talking about making this much money but don’t see them talking about losing that money.. You don’t hear that because people don’t do that.
You can’t rely on a hot tip or some guru to tell you to buy this stock and it’s the next Amazon so you can retire. What you need is a process that you follow that grinds out profits over time and builds your wealth.
What would you suggest people on where to start with your programs?
It depends on the level of conviction that you’ve got. If you have a fascination about the markets or the drive to learn it, I suggest that you would just go straight into the Trader Success System because it has the introductory components built into it. As part of the Trader Success System, you also get as a bonus access to Launch Pad so anyone can start with the Trader Success System, but it’s bigger and more all-encompassing program.
If you think that you want to learn a bit about the markets and just get started right away, then that person can get started with System Trader Launchpad and then you can upgrade. If you find that this is for you and you love the concepts and ideas, and you want to learn more, then just continue on a logical curriculum.
There’s also the financial consideration. If someone has a couple of thousand dollars to invest and they’re just getting started, don’t go all in for the bigger program at the beginning. It’s still going to be hugely valuable even if it takes up a reasonable chunk of your investing capital because the knowledge that you get and the long-term benefits of that knowledge is going to pay back many hundreds of times over. If you’re just starting out and you’ve got a couple of thousand dollars of savings, don’t spend too much of that. The introductory program is going to be better for someone who’s just starting out on their investing journey. Someone who’s more established and ready to go to investments then again, the Trader Success System is going to be a logical starting point because you’ll get even more value and more information you’ll be able to accelerate much more quickly.
How does the people around you affect your trading?
Having people who are positive, growing, learning, wants development in becoming something more, or interested in making more of their lives and in helping others, having that in your environment is very important. One of the things that I really pride myself on is probably the thing that I love most about what I’ve created in Enlightened Stock Trading is how the community interacts with each other.
If you go on a lot of groups around trading and investing, they’re quite toxic, people bragging and then people blaming other people and people asking questions and other people abusing them for asking stupid questions. My group is the absolute antithesis of that, nothing but helpful people all positive all up this thing, no question is too simple. Everyone moving forward together, it makes a huge difference and its that kind of group that you want around when you’re still learning.