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Happily Ever After; The true story of how David Warren made Millions in the Markets.
Wall Street on Main Street
If I was worried about the number of books I needed to sell I would begin by telling you I learned my trading skills at Yale and have all the secrets you need to get rich. Luckily for you I am rich, at least by my own standards’. I don’t believe that any individual or couple really needs more than a few million dollars to live out their lives relatively comfortably and content. As I have surpassed that goal I really don’t care if this book generates any profit at all.
I actually wrote that before I had made any money in the market. I had just invested my first one-thousand dollars in March of 2013 and was very happy when I saw that I had made twenty dollars and twenty-three cents within the first few days before the market had closed for Good Friday. This really meant that I had only covered two of the nine dollar and ninetynine cent trading commissions but we’ll get to that later.
I was always a hard worker with an insatiable desire to learn. The problem was I wanted to learn everything and would become bored very quickly. This led to my having a multitude of jobs throughout my life most of which what a Yale professor would call derogatory. I saw that term used by a Yale professor toward working people when I first began studying finances and never forgot. Perhaps I should look him up and e-mail him. Ivy League silver spoon types should always remember that without us “working” class they would have no markets.
I didn’t study so hard and generate my wealth from greed. After having become disabled from years of real work I saw the market as merely a desperate chance to support my wife and family. I was thankful for Social Security Disability but never saw it as a solution. I've built homes, driven tractor trailers over-the-road, hauled steel on flatbeds, climbed steel bridges, cooked, repaired electronics, this list could go on endlessly but getting to the point; I was a physical worker and needed to produce in order to satisfy my own work ethic. I didn't believe real men should ever have easy non-physical jobs. My view has changed but I’ll admit that even today my level of respect is much higher for a person who has done some real work in their life. This turned out to be a tremendous advantage while learning the markets. I spent every waking moment studying and reading. The day after I opened my TD Ameritrade account I went to the library and picked up four books on trading, read them cover to cover including taking notes, learned the Thinkorswim platform software, and completed an Open-source finance class at Yale simultaneously in just days. This was a remarkable accomplishment given my physical limitations. Exhausting and painful indeed but as anything non-physical didn't fit my definition of work I still categorized this as fun.
Enough about me; the purpose of this book is to lay out step by step how I made my fortune in the markets. Hopefully I can save you from some of the many pitfalls in the investing world. When I opened my account at TD Ameritrade I didn't even know the difference between a bull and a bear market. I would have guessed the bear was ferocious and the bull was slow and clumsy. In the market when stock is going up it is said to be bullish and when it is going down it is bearish. Within the first hour my head was throbbing as I tried to learn all of the theory and terminology related to options and FOREX trading at the same time. Each time I would read something new about them more of it would make sense and within three days I was comfortable in at least understanding the basics. Looking back I would advise you to have a bit more balance than I did. The market isn't going anywhere and you won’t get rich overnight so relax and enjoy the journey.
As I had zero experience or knowledge other than what I’d picked up with prior mutual funds and 401k plans that I had cashed in years ago I was initially terrified that I had picked my own stocks and purchased them prior to reading anything. Thankfully I at least had some diversity in my first portfolio. This is an actual picture of my first investment in the market. I bought two shares of Boeing thinking this would be my long term outlook, four shares of Face-book thinking Mark Zuckerberg must surely have some grander plan in mind, two shares of Ross Clothing only because I have a son employed there and wanted to tell him he needs to work harder now, twelve shares of Diana Shipping because they were inexpensive and had potential, three shares of Oracle, four shares of Viropharma Inc., two shares of Gilead Sciences, and only one share of Randgold because that was all I had left of my one-thousand dollar deposit and my wife liked the idea of gold. After commissions I had a balance of about thirty-five dollars. I listened to the end of 4th quarter calls for all the companies, thoroughly studied each of their websites, and went to every other free website that analyzes companies in the markets. I would highly recommend that you do this before you purchase any stocks. I would never buy without researching first now. I held these stocks simply because I wasn't going to pay commissions for trading before I’d recouped the commissions I’d already paid. Also by luck alone they are all listed as buy categories currently.
The first and perhaps most important lesson I learned is that there is no magic formula that will make you rich. Correction, there actually is a website called magicstockformula.com or something to that effect. It is actually a free website that will give you specific stocks to buy. Personally I find it hard to believe that a hedge fund manager just gives away anything just to be nice so although I did print the list I haven’t purchased any of the “recommended” stock from it. I have learned a lot from the handful of books I’ve read about investing and they basically strengthened my common sense thoughts that there are no secret simple strategies for successful investing. Many have been tried and inevitably go down in flames. Investing is a personal venture in which you alone are 100% responsible, win lose or draw. Nobody will look out for your money better than you do and have only your interests in mind. A given strategy that worked for one person may not work only moments later as the market changes. I have a close friend who is good friends with the VP of a large fund and will be meeting with him soon. Advice should always be sought but again you and you alone are responsible for your own money so why would you let anyone else manage it?
To be continued.