After my graduation from UCLA, I worked at a
Chinese Bank as an in-house real estate appraiser. The salary was
not ideal but I loved the job simply because it involved numbers and
photography. I was a happy appraiser at the bank for awhile when things
began to change. The bank changed ownership and also changed its business
philosophy. Working there was not fun anymore with unnecessary pressure
and internal politics. I began to look for a way out.
All of my brothers-in-law are businessmen. I carefully observed
their businesses and tried to find a model that fits me the most.
My oldest brother-in-law was doing business oversea. He flew
frequently to Asia to take care of his
customers and business deals.
Flying for vacation is fine but flying for business is different.
I knew the difference when I flew to San Francisco in 1990 to help reviewing
the appraisal reports for the merger when my bank decided to expand. It
is definitely not fun flying often to work from my personal perspective.
My second brother-in-law traded the market full time for a living.
I believed he traded commodity as well. I was told during a market crash
he was in a tough time financially but he weathered through it. He
continued his trading career after he immigrated to the United States.
I didn’t know the financial side of his career, but I observed one
interesting fact: He had flexible working hours.
My other brothers-in-law owned restaurants in upstate New York. One opened a full line restaurant and
the business was doing well. The others jointly opened a smaller scale
fast food restaurant and they were struggling to make ends meet. I
observed one common issue for restaurant owners: They all work long hours
and won't get home until midnight.
Making money or not, restaurant is definitely not my way of making a
After reviewing the businesses of my brothers-in-law, I like the
trading business mainly because of its flexible working hours. When I
first started, I was nervous since I realized I was doing it for real.
One wrong move could be disastrous financially. The “golden era” of the stock
market in the 1990’s gave me a big lift in confidence but the market
crash in the 2000’s brought me down to earth and I felt the cruel reality
of this business. I realized blind trading is not the way to trade the
market for a living. I looked for ways to educate myself in stock and
I spent considerable amount of time, effort and money to learn how
to trade efficiently. During my study and real time trading experience, I
realized the most reliable way to be a successful trader is to make the
odds working in my favor and be mechanical when adjusting the trades. We
are not living in a perfect world and hence, not all of our trades will
work out the way we wish. We need to make adjustments when trades go
against us. Picture this: When we drive from point A to point B, how many
of us drive straight line with constant speed from start to finish? The answer
is probably none. We need to turn, slow down or speed up and occasionally
change route due to road repair or accident. In my opinion, the same
thing happens in trading. When trades go our way, we happily collect
profit. When trades go against us, we make adjustments and be
mechanical about it. In other words, we need to trade emotionless and
make sure the odds still work in our favor after the adjustments. Be
prepared to pay “tuition” not only during our formal education but also
during our real trades before we make consistent profit in this business.
The most persistent traders will most likely be the ones who enjoy the
sweetness of this business at the end.