As an aside, I want to point out that although this period of intensive study helped me immeasurably in my ability to call the markets, it cost me substantially in my personal life. My daughter […] was at a crucial formative age […] and I spent almost no time with her. It was a bad mistake that both of us are paying for today. If I had it to do again, I would draw out the study period and give her more time. – Victor Sperandeo, Market Wizard
When reviewing the assessment questionnaire I send to traders that seek help, one thing that stands out is their answer to the question
What are you afraid of?
The answer I would have expected to hear most of the time is
“Death & Taxes”
Instead, 80% of the time, the reply I get is some version of “I’m afraid of not being able to become a successful trader”. Clearly in this day and age when all primary necessities are taken care of, we tend to screw up our priorities. So in this short blog post, using Trader Vic’s own confession, let’s just review how healthy our priorities are, so we don’t dwell on dreams and forget to live.
Life Requires Balance
I point this out not for the sake of catharsis, but to make a very important point […] about attaining and maintaining both financial and personal success. I failed to integrate both at that point in my life, and it was a mistake. There is a balance in life, and the bottom line is not measured in the dollars you make, but rather in your overall happiness. – Victor Sperandeo, Market Wizard
The main point I’d like to make is that most people seem to become addicted to the trading game without realizing it. And this is true especially for people that have been successful in life outside the markets: their approach to trading is something like “I’ve got a history of success, so I can crack this”.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand market movement. But it does take time & dedication. The people that are used to being successful make it a “personal challenge” and in doing so, attach a strong emotional value to their success in the markets. At the same time, less fortunate people see the markets as a path towards financial independence and freedom. And this is no less dangerous because it also leads to emotional connection with the markets.
By making trading or succesful speculation the top priority in your life, you are actually setting yourself up for failure on multiple levels. Trading doesn’t bring joy, nor wisdom. The inherent uncertainty of the markets brings much frustration with it, because you can do the right thing and have a string of losses anyhow. Don’t put trading on a pedestal, it is not the solution to your problems and it might create new ones.
Over to You
Could it be that you’re falling into the same trap as Victor Sperandeo, and neglecting your family, friends & other hobbies, in the pursuit of trading success?
Surely there’s a better way to organize your time, in order to maintain a balanced life and be happy. If a market wizard, despite the amount of personal success achieved, cautions us to not throw ourselves 100% into the markets, it may be worthwhile advice.
About the Author
Justin is a Forex trader and Coach. He is co-owner of www.fxrenew.com, a provider of Forex signals from ex-bank and hedge fund traders (get a free trial), or get FREE access to the Advanced Forex Course for Smart Traders. If you like his writing you can subscribe to the newsletter for free.