To make a broad generalization, European cars lust after curvy roads. American cars are more about the power, rumble and straight line 0 – 60 speed. There are key parallels between investors and car buffs, but clearly there exist cars for every possible taste, just as there are limitless options of investment methodologies for every investor. Having said that, there are essential commonalities amongst all car enthusiasts and all successful investors without which disequilibrium inevitably results.
The famous Hollywood director Orson Welles was so captivating that it is said he could hold an entire audience in his hand by simply reciting a grocery list. It’s no secret that I’m captivated myself by the power of lists. I’m a “listaholic” of sorts because concise clusters of pithy ideas are relatively easy for me to memorize. When I discover a worthy list, I find that transitioning items from memory and integrating them into my trading methodology simply requires regular practice until they eventually become second nature and part of my trading intuition – which was the objective all along.
So how do I best lubricate the transition from memorizing these pithy ideas and effectively folding them into my daily trading intuition? I’m a car guy, so that’s easy. I use automotive metaphors.
- SAFETY FIRST: You wouldn’t buy a car without airbags. As an investor, first take care of protecting your assets with insurance, estate planning, tax strategies and the like before you trade equities. After you begin trading, you should once again put safety first by utilizing proven money management skills and stops.
- SERVICE & SUPPORT: I wouldn’t buy a Saab today because the maintenance and support are fading. Despite what some may believe, investing is not a solo gig. You should have the moral support of your family and the intellectual support of your trading circle. A supportive network increases the probability of success whether you are talking trucks or trades.
- HONESTY: If you’re 6’5” tall and believe a Miata sports car is the car for you, you’re delusional. As an investor, if you can’t be honest with yourself, you’ll be blind to your weaknesses and investing will be a brief negative passage along the highway of life.
- YOUR VISION: You have four teenage kids, you’re working two jobs and you put down a deposit for a new Corvette. Anything wrong with this vision? Think mini-van or SUV. Similarly, investors must do an inventory of their circumstances as well and personalize their trading vision to fit the trading time frame that matches their situation. Ask yourself these kinds of questions: Which markets will I trade? How am I planning to trade? How long do I plan to hold positions? Treat investing like a business.
- CONFIGURE YOUR METHODOLOGY: I used to have a Mini Cooper S. They claim that with the number of options they offer, it’s possible to configure over a million different Minis. Investors, too, are offered a smorgasbord that’s much larger in scope, and because of it, they have the power to thoroughly overcomplicate their trading methodology. If it were a car, it would never even start! Focus on clarity and simplicity and you will build a profitable trading system.
- SET GOALS: Dream big and motivate yourself. I was inspired to work especially hard last year because I wanted to buy a Porsche. We all have different hot buttons. I stayed engaged emotionally, mentally and physically in the markets, motivated in large part by that goal. True, some days were just work but I know “from whence my passion springs!”
- NEGOTIATION & EXECUTION: Here’s the hard part. It’s where the pedal meets the metal, where the rubber meets the road. Can you pull the trigger and do the trade? If you don’t have an action-oriented ability to execute your trades (or your dreams), investing should be farmed out to the professionals.
- READ THE MANUAL: These days, one can’t truly enjoy and experience the full potential of a Porsche or a BMW without reading the manual. (Sorry, guys!) Whether you are a car enthusiast or an investor, you must be capable of embracing this new reality. I used to drive a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle. No manual required. Today, investors must continually embrace change, take classes, find mentors, and participate in seminars. In other words, read the manual. You won’t figure out “launch control” without it!
- DISCIPLINE & SELF MOTIVATION: Racing school will shock and awe you as to the capabilities of your modern car. To achieve self-mastery on the road or within your brokerage account, you’ll need practice. Consistently applying yourself and pushing from within the framework of high performance routines will result in the stock market mastery you seek. If you maintain your passion for the stock market, your own capabilities over time will awaken that same sense of shock and awe.
- DETERMINATION: Cars get tired. Investors get tired, too. Just try not changing the oil in a car for 30,000 miles or ignoring that red light on the dashboard! Traders will have tough days and tough weeks. They’ll have 3-4-5 losses in a row. But then you change the oil, get a tune-up, do whatever you need to do to get re-energized and believe in yourself and your methodology again.
Investing requires determination and faith, as well as all of the nine preceding fundamentals.
Trade well; trade with discipline!
-- Gatis Roze