If you’re a stock market newbie and want to learn how to trade, or even if you’re an experienced trader who doesn’t know what to do or where to go next, finding a trading mentor could be the answer.
Listen and Learn
TD Ameritrade cites legendary trader Paul Tudor Jones, who tells the story of how he met his mentor in the investing book Market Wizards. Jones learned his craft by standing next to famed cotton speculator Eli Tullis and watching him trade.
It’s true, through the power of online tools, your mentor could be on the other side of the planet and you can still manage daily communications.
But the first thing you need to do before you even look for a mentor, is to determine if you’re ready for one. Not in stock market terms, but ready in terms of your ability to be open to new ideas, suggestions, and even constructive criticism.
Many potential mentees fall down at this stage, because, in part, of ego. You need to throw all that away and get yourself into learning mode. Remember, going back to school can be a positive experience, particularly in one-to-one situations.
Find Your Own Style
Matt Choi of Certus Trading says his mentor, the late George Fontanills, taught him that the most important thing is to find a trading style that suits your personality. “Most people think it is a magic strategy or the perfect indicator that can predict the future,” Matt Choi explains. “In other words, if you have no patience, don’t try to buy and hold as a strategy. You may end up in hospital because you’ll go crazy not touching the stocks, or you will get in or out too early and you will lose money.”
Matt Choi says that Fontanills also taught him that he was not suitable as a day trader because Choi hated sitting and watching screens all day. “Basically, he told me to swing trade, which means a medium-term trading style and he told me to focus on one market first. Don’t have this idea of trading everything under the sun, focus on one thing. So, he said start with crude oil futures, and I did. And rather quickly, I became pretty good at trading crude. Then I added gold, then I added gasoline, then cocoa, then the beans, and lean hogs. He then showed me how to trade options which actually became my favorite types of trade. So, he was instrumental to my success.”
Finding serious traders takes some work, but your trading success depends on it. You might even be able to find a mentor (or two) online.
At the end of the day, having a mentor is of supreme importance, stresses Choi, who is now a mentor himself through the trading education company, Certus Trading, that he runs. “If you can find someone who is already successful, who has already achieved what you want to achieve, who is passionate about the subject matter and who is willing and eager to help, then, you know, go for it!”