About three years ago I got a call from Stan, my broker. “Jeff,” he told me. “You’re making us look bad. You’re running through what little capital you’ve got and you’re making a mess of it.”
I’d returned from an 8-month journey a couple of months earlier – a trip I’d been saving for the entire three years I was studying for my teaching degree – and my entire fortune was the $500 I had over. I was living with a girl I’d met along the way, and it felt like she could really be the one. But we needed to start making money fast if we were going to become a couple. I started working part-time as a substitute teacher and she found a job as a clerk at the local bank, and things were going OK. As for the $500 – we both agreed that that was spare money we could afford to spend.
$500 was by no means enough to start investing, or so we thought
Jennifer came home one day and told me about one of their clients who had made a killing on the stock market. Unfortunately, $500 was by no means enough to start investing – the broker at her branch said nobody would begin talking to us unless we were investing a minimum of 20k. I started Googling and discovered we didn’t need a broker: we could do it all ourselves.
And that’s how about three and a half years ago, Jennifer and I became Forex traders. We simply signed up with one of the brokerages that was offering the best possible investment terms, learned a bit about how markets work and how to invest (they had an on-line course which was quite simple to understand – even if you had no financial training whatsoever), and blew away $350 within a month.
And then Stan called. What he said in that fateful call was simple, “slow down!” We were down to really nothing. He told us that he’d spoken to his manager and that they’d agreed that young couples (yes, we’d gotten married in the interim) need a bit of help. We’d saved up several hundred dollars that we needed towards our belated honeymoon, but there was no way that was going to be enough. Stan said that they would match our investment. It took us a moment to figure out what he was talking about.
“Look Jeff, your wife has a financial head on her shoulders. I can tell when she’s calling the shots and when you are. You guys are actually making more successful calls than bad ones. It’s just that you’re losing more on the bad ones than you’re making on the good ones. I’d like to set you up with one of our analysts so he can give you some guidance. I really believe you guys make a great team, and we’re willing to stake you.”
What Stan was saying was that for every $100 we deposit into our account, they would deposit the same amount. But the condition was we take some time out to talk with their analyst and learn to strategize our trading. By then, Jennifer had picked up some of the jargon in the bank, and I had a hard time keeping up with them when we Skyped with Jeremy – the firm’s chief analyst. We deposited an extra $300, got 300 more from Stan and started paying more attention to what we were doing. What that meant was spending way more time reading the financials and watching and arguing over the historical charts a lot more. Jennifer is more analytical, but I seem to be able to see patterns and trends almost instinctively. It just wasn’t until then that I understood how everything comes together.
I’m not saying that it was all smooth sailing from that point on. No way! But suddenly, we were understanding why a position had lost out, what had gone wrong. And really slowly, we began finding that we actually were able to predict the market to a certain extent. Between October and January last year we managed to quadruple our equity by investing in gold – we got in when the US dollar was dropping on really bad economic data and got out just as it started climbing again when people started talking about an interest rate hike. And we finally had enough for that dream honeymoon that had actually- somehow – slipped our minds in the excitement.
We left our son – by then a spirited 2-year old – with my parents and went on a 10-day Caribbean cruise, all paid for through Forex profits. I realize that after an 8-month backpacking trek a cruise might sound mundane to you, but we’re planning on taking the kids with us next year on a 3-month trek through South America.
After all, what do you do when the income from your hobby has become your salary for a full time job?
Like I said, it’s been nearly four years, and Jennifer and I really do make an incredible team. At present, we’re even investing for some friends and a couple of friends of friends. We’re currently worth about half a million in total equity, and nearly half of that is all ours!