Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday Notes - The Hallway of Life

7:15pm While I've referenced my other "non-market" endeavor from time to time, I've purposely kept notes in this trading diary specific to ... well, trading. Yet as my other effort (in the Finance field for those who have asked or are simply curious ... as I put that MBA and all those other initials to decent use over the years) finally winds down after a multi-year stint, it's appropriate to assess where I stand in my own personal journey, as well as where I'm going.

I've always preached that traders -- or prospective traders -- should find some way to have that steady income stream that "pays the bills". Spousal/significant other income, rental property, income on investments, part-time job ... something that allows one to trade with much less stress and to bank 100% of trading profits. And while that's probably the ideal situation, it's likely difficult at best for some to achieve, and has admittedly been a darn difficult balance at this end over recent years.

Many top or well-respected traders have supplemental income, and we can look no farther than those who have done so via the examples noted above. Some have pensions from their former careers. Others have second businesses related to the trading industry (e.g. Dr. Brett's consulting and book income). And still others have income streams completely unrelated to this biz (e.g. one of my students from years past who is a pilot and flies at night).

At this end, it's important to remember that this 18-month +$2.1M run that ended in June -- while featuring more self-imposed market focus, commitment, and tenacity during any point in my trading career -- was accomplished while balancing the responsibilities of another completely separate endeavor that often took my focus off the markets, not to mention family and other obligations ... not to mention this diary! Which begs the natural question, was I helped or hurt by it? Could I have done better with the added focus, or would I have done worse with the added "pressure"? Was the post-race "burn out" in May exacerbated by balancing the two efforts, or would it have happened anyway?

The questions are of course rhetorical and we'll never know the answers in hindsight. And using the future to answer the question will be equally difficult as I'll be generating a modest amount of income from my part-time return to the trader educational field ... although the primary income stream is intended to remain trading, as has been the case since I began pursuing this crazy business a decade ago.

Yet at the end of tomorrow, the door on a big part of my life in recent years will officially close, and I've been working feverishly this week to wrap things up ... including today which took my focus away from the market except for a few brief midday intervals where I didn't see much. Duh, of course the action was early and late! Frankly, I don't think I've ever worked harder than this week in terms of wrapping up that biz, prepping the Jellie effort, and trying to squeeze in some trading to keep my head in the game. Yes, I'm Type A all the way!

And so at the ripe "old" age of 48, I'm entering another phase in my life, one that I enter with extreme satisfaction of past efforts and acceptance of past lessons learned, as well as incredible hope for the next decade.

You see, I don't like to sit still, and like many, I need some sort of periodic personal renewal to keep the blood flowing to take full advantage of every moment we're blessed with on this planet.

Tomorrow I'll close one door and open another one.

This hallway called "Life" ... what a great concept (points upward).