Trading Is Gambling

This evening I was talking to someone I know and she told me not in so many words that trading is gambling and for me to do something else. Her ex-husband traded, so she is quite familiar with trading in the stock market. And, frankly, because trading has such a strong hold on me, that I'm addicted.

There is a part of me that felt offended, but not super offended.

My mom makes similar comments along those lines that it's gambling. She doesn't mention any addiction.

Funny, I've never even purchased a lottery ticket in my life. Yes, I have gone through a whole lifetime so far without purchasing ONE lottery ticket. Seriously, there is no thought and it's all up to chance. I truly have no control over anything except whether to buy a ticket or not.

If you get to choose #s, I suppose that's one element more that you get to control. How many numbers are there and isn't each slot up to the number 99? What are the odds of you winning? I mean, really.

People think it's okay to throw a few bucks at the lottery system, which has been going on for at least 20+ years and has raked in many billions of dollars. People, no matter how poor they are, still think they have a chance, so they will play. What are your odds? Like 1 in 300,000,000 to be the big winner or a higher number than that? Those are not real good odds.

The times I've been to Vegas or Reno, I have never even put 1 penny in a slot machine or played any game where money could be won. Have I ever purchased a raffle ticket? Yes, I have, but it wasn't really so that I could win per se, rather it was to help out whatever benefit that I was buying the raffle for (usually some personal friend).

So, I highly doubt I have gambling tendencies, at least on the money thing.

I don't play chicken in driving, or doing anything along those lines.

In terms of assessing activities (physical), I weigh the odds of how it would impact my life. Going sky-diving or some what I deem as high risk at this point purposefully while I have young children, does not constitute as wise to me. However, I know that if you take all the reasonable precautions and educate yourself, training, you could greatly minimize your risk. It won't be risk free, but it being deemed as "high risk" maybe dropped down to low to medium risk.

To ruin my children and myself financially is not something I deem logical. Yes, we are in some pretty challenging financial situations, but let me assure you, I've assessed this quite well. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. But, I'm doing this to the best I can for this moment in time.

See, so many people are so afraid to take risks and go for their dreams. My #1 dream (outside of living my God-given destiny) is to raise my children -- not have other people do it, but raise my children myself. I didn't plan on a divorce and the financial challenges that I've encountered, but I aimed at making my dream come true.

I did start buying stocks in '95. I won't go through the long, gory history again, as it's probably somewhere in this blog. But, it did lead to me spending about a year's senior level engineer's salary for my formal trading education, which took about 1.5 yrs. That's a lot of money. It took a great deal of effort on my part to learn, while having a full-time job, marriage, family.

A month or so ago, I received an email from someone who was very frustrated in his trading and wondering why he wasn't successful. I asked him a couple poignant questions. That's it.

1. Do you have a solid, written trading plan?
2. Do you have proven profitable trading strategies within your plan?

If he answered yes to those, then the final question is:

3. Do you follow the plan and strategies to the "T"?

His answer to the first two questions were, "NO!"

Though I spent a boatload of money learning trading, they never told me about the trading plan or strategies. Yes, I did learn strategies, but it wasn't the same as having a good written plan to accompany it. It wasn't until I learned from my 2nd trading coach regarding the plan and strategies. But, even with him, it was still a bit confusing.

How do you expect to have success if you don't have a good plan or strategies? You're just throwing caution to the wind. Yes, you could have some great technicals, but if they are not written down (strategies & plan), you deviate and change all over the place.

When the Speed Limit says 55 mph, it's 55 mph. That's your gauge. It doesn't say "whatever you feel like". Can you imagine what would happen? It works that way similar in trading.

So, you have a good plan and good trading strategies. That's not enough. Can you execute flawlessly? That's where I mess up. It has nothing to do with gambling, rather being able to read and take precise action. There are other things, like the logistics, to make trading successful, but it really comes down to those 3 things, IMHO.

Though I'm not there yet, trading allows me to spend time with my kids. I can go to every school play, musical, field trip, lunch, etc. that I want -- well, provided my kids don't have them exactly at the same time, I can at least make one of them. I volunteer every day at their schools (barring sickness or the occasional other thing I want to do non-kids stuff), know their friends, the families, the staff/teachers. There is community.

My children feel a great sense of safety, with good/healthy self-esteems. They have a respect for those in authority over them. They are learning to think, be good citizens, think out of the box, not be afraid to go for their dreams. They are empowered.

Not saying that children whose parents work outside the home have kids that are horrible. You can certainly have close relationships with your kids even if you have to work a lot. But, as one child who greatly desired a closer relationship and time with her parents growing up, I didn't get it. The pain from that caused me to make a lot of wrong choices, as I didn't know any better, because they were huge voids that left me.

It's not wrong to have great wealth. I see many fancy cars dropping off kids at school. But, I do see some of the kids hurting, showing disrespect to their classmates & teachers & to themselves, kids feeling neglected. So many of the kids really latch onto me, sort of like a surrogate mom. Many have expressed that they wished their moms or dads could participate like I did in their schooling.

I know what it's like to be a parent and not be able to spend the time with their kids as my job always took me away from them. A number of parents I know would love to be able to spend the time with their kids doing what I do, but all different circumstances.

See, we all make our choices. If you truly want to spend that time with your kids and that desire is strong enough, you will figure it out. I'm not saying trading is the end all, because it's not. But, I will figure out how to make this work mainly because of God, and for my children. Another person may find some other means, and that's fine, too.

I must give my friend and my mom grace, as they lack the understanding, though, they are both moms. For me, it was a "gamble" to take on trading as my profession because it's a very challenging one. It will reveal all your fears, inadequacies, weak areas, and anything that is undesirable in your life. As a very emotional woman, my goodness!!!

The market has only 3 directions to take: up, down, sideways. That's it. My strategies cover all of those, and with fairly high probability of success. The better I let go of those hidden lies & fears in my head, the better my trading will be.

Could I go back to work as an engineer in a profession I immensely dislike? Yes. But, why? Why put myself through that torture? Life is really too short.

The lives of my children and I are very rich. We are so incredibly blessed. Financially we haven't hit the abundance yet, but we have all our needs met, plenty of good/healthy food, a roof over our head, good transportation, friends, family, awesome church, freedom to choose our professions.

No, right now I can't go out to buy that big 54" HDTV or whatever those things are called. But, I get to take my kids to school every day, participate in their schooling, help them with their homework, tuck them to bed each night, play with them after school, get to know their friends. I don't have to leave my kids in the care of anyone else. I get to develop deep relationships with my children. They desire and need that time with me, as I do with them.

Have I always made the best choices in trading? No, but when I do get there, it will be the story of a woman who had such a great love for her children, she set aside her own uncomfortableness & society's to just go for it, making her dreams come true with God has her pilot. I've had to overcome a lot of fears, phobias, criticisms.

It took me 6 yrs to get my engineering degree. Then, it took me another 6-7 yrs to even make $50K/yr.

No one balks at a poor college student raising his family on hardly anything while he gets his education. That's not a gamble. The college student when he graduates may make starting $40K or whatever, have a ton of student loans that will take him years to pay off. That's not a gamble. By the time he's through paying his student loans from the time he started school and done paying for it, it could be 10-20 yrs. That's not a gamble.

1.5 yrs of formal trading education. There was extra work because we had to undo all the bad habits I developed before getting educated. It's been about 3 yrs after the education. In the end, I've not netted a lot . . . . made a lot, but gave much of back due to various reasons, which I'm working out psychologically to not repeat (finding the root cause). During the 3 yrs after the education, went through the most traumatic period of my life.

I'm really 4.5 yrs into this and I see success right around the corner. After making $50K/yr after 6-7 yrs in engineering, I stayed to more than double (but not triple) that in the next 8-9 yrs. That's a total of 6 yrs education + 15 yrs work experience = 21 yrs to make $100K+ compensation/yr.

Let's say, and it's highly possible when I get my psychological act together to make at least $100K/yr in the next 1.5 yrs. That will be a total of 6 yrs to accomplish that. That's about 29% of the time. That equates to trading 200 days/yr making an avg $500/day. Yes, that means being consistent.

Being able to do that in a year consistently, the sky is the limit.

As I look back at all the trauma I've faced over the past 3 yrs, it wasn't fun, but it certainly did bring out a myriad of emotions I would've never experienced otherwise. It puts it all out there so I would have to deal with them. Praise God!!! What the devil meant for bad, things are working out for God's glory.

Yes, trading CAN be gambling and it is for most people. For me, in the late 90s, yes, it was gambling. It was less gambling the more I learned, but with limited knowledge, and lack of humility, that was quite dangerous.

Anyway, is there a better way I could do all this trading? Maybe. I don't know, but I do know that I want to be the one to raise my children.
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