The Joys of Being a Trader – and Why the US Election Doesn’t Matter
I have been very lucky over my journey in the market. I had a great mentor, Stuart McPhee, who I met early on in the piece and who really straightened me up. Stuart only cares about the price of a stock. Nothing else. And when I say nothing else, I mean nothing else. What the company does, who runs it, what they made last half, what products they produce, the latest news stories… he couldn’t give a fig. Being exposed to this way of thinking early was a godsend.
At the start of your time in the market, it’s hard to know which way is up and what a trader is supposed to do. What will I buy? How do I buy it? Should I read company statements? What is a MACD? What would Buffett do? Should I subscribe to a newsletter? What’s a small-cap? To borrow a line from Star Wars… 'I need someone to show me my place in all of this'.
Stuart showed me my place. It has evolved since then (he would argue unnecessarily) but I will never forget what I am here to do: analyse data efficiently, have a process for making decisions, and make said decisions. All in aid of one, solitary goal – to make as much money as I possibly can. It sounds brutal and cold but that’s why I play this game of market. It’s a difficult and often unforgiving game and I want to be rewarded appropriately. I already have written about the importance of your mindset when it comes to trading.
With all that said, I submit to you that who wins the US election simply does not matter to me – as a trader. Like any human being, I care about the furtherance of the species, about leaving the world better than I found it, about how to build a just city. It follows that I have very strong opinions about economics, trade, politics, justice, fairness, truth, and our leaders – none of which I will ever share with you (unless, perhaps, you buy me a beer) apart from the few titbits below, which I only share for the sake of this article.
I won’t do what Marcus did a few weeks ago and talk about Trump or what I think of him – good or bad. Or Biden, or Dan Andrews, or anyone else. And that’s not to suggest that what Marcus did was in any way wrong. He has an opinion and you are paying to hear it. My opinion does not matter but it does not matter just because most of you wouldn’t want to hear it anyway, it doesn’t matter because it does not serve my goal in the market.
My father was a doctor who voted labor all his life and always taught me that everyone deserves a fair go. My favourite prime minister is Paul Keating. The most effective prime minister I have known in my time is John Howard and his introduction of uniform gun laws, I believe, is one of the best things that ever happened to this country. I liked Kevin Rudd. I thought Malcolm had a lot to offer. Being a student of economics, my political considerations are influenced by economic rationalism - the most good for the most people - although I can appreciate arguments for providing a safety net to those who need it. Everyone deserves a fair go.
If, after all that, you can figure out which way I would vote, then good for you. The point I am making is that doesn’t matter, even if you could. And that, right there, is one of the joys of being a trader.
A successful trader is capable of blocking out bias and pre-conceived ideas, and instead focusing just on the data. During the week Henry posed the question in the Facebook group about whether people consider ethics in their investments. The answers were both enlightening and encouraging – there are still plenty of good people in the world, trying to do the right thing (or perhaps just all the good people are Marcus Today members).
There was one answer which stood out to me however; ‘That's all they are to me, tickers going up and down’. I agree. Stocks, and the companies behind them, are simply vehicles through which I can create or destroy capital. As a trader, I don’t care what they do. The simple fact that they exist and are able to be traded is all the sign-off I need.
And before you email me saying I am heartless, understand that the injection of morals comes after the deals are done. I donate to charity, support my local community, am conscious of my carbon footprint and the impact I am having on the world and, most importantly to me, I am very mindful of the lessons I am teaching to my two young sons.
But who wins the election, what policies they implement, what companies do with those policies, etc, cannot matter to me as a trader. They must remain separate, so that I can remain objective, focused and profitable – for myself and for you.
Perhaps all the good people are Marcus Today members, sign up for our 14 day free trial today!