I started following the financial markets in the 6th grade (late-80s) and bought a mutual fund from a Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor. I saw that the fund was not gaining value even though the market section of the Washington Post was full of stocks that were making fat gains. I stuck with the fund, but started learning about stocks and options. I called the FA and asked him to sell the mutual fund, buy DELL and write a covered call. To my surprise, he had no idea what I was talking about. I closed the account and began a journey of self-directed investing through E-Trade and America Online (early-90s).
In the late-90s I discovered a natural inclination toward option trading. I would make decisions based primarily on options chain data. I did extremely well on an annual basis mostly by hitting base hits with option spreads. In the mid-00s, I was assigned a tanking stock after writing naked puts. I let that loser run, and took a beating on one position. That experience humbled me, and it made me give consideration to technical analysis, which I had previously dismissed as hokey.
Technical analysis gave me an entirely fresh perspective on the markets. Technical analysis combined with option chain data proved to be an extremely powerful combination.
My dive into technical analysis drove me toward the futures markets. I found mentors who had extensive experience trading futures. One trader introduced me to patterns, another to price action, another to multiple time frame fibonacci analysis, and another to market profile. 10,000 plus hours later, I have developed a simple system of rules and setups. Now I sit around, staring at screens, waiting for setups. I don’t read commentary or listen to news. Trading has always been extremely lonely, but in some ways, it has now become rather boring.
In my search for camaraderie, I started posting observations and trades on StockTwits. I like that forum because you can stream by product and you can block with ease. Because trading requires so much mental focus, I’ve been quick to block people who only post winners, continually post after-the-fact entries and who debate direction. I’m not into all that. All I care about are setups and rules.