When I was twelve, I met a thirty-five year old stockbroker who was retired. He had two houses, two Harleys, and a boat amongst other things. I didn’t know any other thirty-five year olds who were retired so right then and there I decided I needed to become a trader. The important part of this beginning is that I mistook broker for trader. I decided to become a trader. Not a broker. What a mistake.
When I was sixteen, someone handed me a pamphlet that had a picture of a guy in a cowboy hat on it and that guy’s picture told me I could get rich trading futures. Amen and hallelujah. Rich by twenty-one, baby.
By the time I was twenty-one, I had lost about five Gs.
In my search for riches, I managed to land a job at a stock brokerage firm in Colorado which had started a prop trading division. The whole prop thing was shut down within four months. This seems to be a common occurence with proprietary trading firms because the people who start them aren’t prepared to put in the time and money necessary to make them work. It was here that I got an inside look into the wonderful world of trading education. The guys at this brokerage charged $3,000 for a week-long day trading course. Three guys taught the course. Two of them didn’t trade and the one who did hadn’t made money in three years. Did I mention the $3,000 a head part? And, of course, the goal was to then make these students into customers and get as many commission dollars as possible before the customer inevitably blew up. Incidentally, the owner of the firm managed to get a nice two minute slot on CNBC a year later where the CNBC reporter extolled the virtues of his day trading course. I wrote CNBC and told them I had worked for the guy and he was full of it. No one ever wrote me back. Go figure.
Several years after the Colorado debacle, I talked my way into a futures prop shop in Chicago. They were legit. They had the capital and patience to make it happen. The partners were all traders so they understood the deal. No one taught me anything there but what I was given was a small salary and time. I didn’t have to worry about the rent and worrying about the rent is probably the number one killer when you’re trying to learn. It’s very difficult to work a normal job so you can pay the bills and try to learn how to trade at the same time. If you can get in with a legitimate prop shop, I recommend it. I sat there for seven months before I got it. I did very well there but eventually decided to leave due to office politics. It closed a few years later.
Now I trade for myself and teach anyone who’s interested. And my name is John Grady, by the way.