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16 trading Igor's biography Part 1


16 years trading... My biography

What are the parameters to measure if you are successful in trading ?...

Let me put it like this: what are the criteria to conclude if one is a successful baker or a plumber of lawyer or doctor or housewife …or a trader ?... 

With this topic I would like to share my life as a trader or give my biography as a trader.

I am now 48 years old “young”. When I was 16-17 years I saw that my father red once per week a “special” newspaper that was filled with numbers and numbers and numbers. It looked like a newspaper with numeric coding between special agencies of different countries. I could not understand that one could find information or learn something from the enormous amount of numbers and names that did not mean anything at all to me.
The names were the names of different stock and bourses and the numbers were the quotes of stocks and indices and indexes and currencies.
Fact was that I had the feeling if one can read such a newspaper and find his information in that puzzle of tons of numbers must be a very intelligent person. So my first inspiration to become a trader was more to become someone that can read such a newspaper so I could feel intelligent ;-) . By the way that newspaper was the Belgium equivalent of the Wallstreet Journal.

A couple of years later when I was about 19-20 years I started to have a serious interest in the stock markets. To find information about stocks I needed to buy that very same newspaper (because we were still very far away from the internet and its highway on information).
I started to understand more and more the information that this newspaper contained but also started to have second thoughts on the word NEWS. Because I felt that in the financial world the moment that you read it in a newspaper (the day after what happened) something completely different is happening on that very same moment. When I red in my newspaper that the bourses or stock markets went up or down (the day before) that on that very same moment the stocks were going the opposite direction. So I realized that trading in a very accurate way was only for those who were standing in the pit or had the real time information from the stock exchanges. That made me decide to keep away from that circus where I felt I could not be part of. I still followed what was happening but only from the corner of my eye.

A couple of years later a new information source was born and that was teletext. On my TV I could read information about sport or national or international news but also about the stock markets. BUT with an hour delay. Lets call this information the very first steps that would lead to the internet. Immediately I felt that maybe now I could do some business or become a part of the financial world. My interest became so big now that I also felt that just plain normal stocks would not be the game that I wanted to play.

They felt heavy, to slow, to much capital invested and most important you can only make profit with stocks if they go up. When stocks go down you loos money. 
Somebody that I knew (which later became a very good friend of mine and I am still managing his money) started to explain that there is also such a thing as options on stocks. He told me that there are call options and put options. And depending if you buy or sell them that one can make money with them even when stocks dropped. That was the moment that some HOLY FIRE started to burn inside of me. It made me realize that I no longer needed to depend on the mass hysteria that pushes a stock up so that I could make money. On the contrary. When I feel that certain stocks would go up I buy myself some call options. When I feel that stocks would go down I close my call options and buy myself put options. Yes yes yes I can also be rewarded for my vision if it would be bullish but also bearish.
The feeling and knowledge that I could be in control of bourses or prices going up but also down changed my whole life. From that moment on ( the year 1995) it became clear to me that this would be the path that I wanted to follow. Be part of the financial world. And the better that I could predict the market fluctuations the better I would be and the more money I would make. But important was that my main goal was not the money. It was the capability to predict where markets would go to. 

The very same moment the internet was born, I immediately felt and knew that this would be a MAJOR thing for people who are traders. Major in finding news in getting quotes in real time. In getting brokers so one can get in and out of a position with the click of a mouse.
Little did I know that this was only the very beginning of a very long journey that would have enormous consequences in my life. I thought that with the internet it would take me only a couple of months to become a professional trader. By professional I mean that I would be able to make a living out of trading. On that moment I was still a real estate agent. I made a good living. I drove a Porsche 911 Targa. I had a relation with a very beautiful woman. I had to 2 fabulous sons with her. We had bought our house 300meters away from the beach and with a open view on the park. In a few words, we were the dream couple and family.
But I had this fire burning in me and wanted to become a trader at all cost. As said earlier, I realized (on that moment) that the main thing was to be able to predict the movements of markets or indices or stocks. I got involved with the first software programs that were able to do technical analysis. Those programs contained technical indicators that opened an other whole new world for me. Names as stochastic and Par. Sar and MACD and RSI and moving averages gave me the feeling that I had some secret weapons in my hand that 99% of the financial world does not know about and if I would study them very thoroughly I would have an edge on the “rest” of the financial world. I also started to buy books through amazon.com about trading and candle sticks and trading techniques.
I started to learn to build my so called own systems…etc etc… I was spending 16 hours per day in front of my pc. And this for 7 days per week. Needles to say that my beautiful wife was not happy with this at all. We had many discussions and heavy fights about the way how I was living. No more interest for her or the kids or social life or friends or family.
I knew and realized what she said made sense but again that holy fire was burning inside of me and it was even getting stronger and more important then all the rest in my life. I wanted and would become a trader. I wanted to become one of the best traders ever. Where at some point she confronted me with the choice: or I continue with what I am doing or we separate. On that moment I was loosing as much money as I made money. Sometimes I made a very big win with a big position but a couple of weeks later I had lost all that money. In short I was not making a living out of trading and was happy to be with my wife who actually paid the bills (because my interest in real estate got to a zero point.
It was a very hard decision for me to take but I went for the quest that I had in my life. To be part of the financial world. To do something where I was better in then the rest or the big crowd. To do something that I developed. That came out of my brain. Not something that people around me would like me to do.
On that very same moment I red a quote from Confucius who said: Find a job that you like and you will never need to work one day in your life. For me that was the answer that I searched in my decision and it was made. I gave up on a beautiful family and knew that from that moment on it was only me and the financial world and no more support from anybody. No more financial support, no more emotional support. Only me against the financial sharks. No mercy, eat or be eaten. 
I lost on that moment an 18 year relationship with my wife, my house and only see my children every 2 weeks.