My Mission: Advocating for Truth in Trading and Empowering Traders

Sometimes the most obvious solutions are staring you right in the face, but you’re too blinded or distracted to see it.

During the past month or so, it has become crystal clear to me that I have a very important role to serve in both the retail and professional trading communities. In sharing my stories — of trading failures interrupted by random strings of seductive successes — I seem to have opened a vein in the social trading community that people have a hard time talking openly about: the real struggles of making it in this business.

Since I published this blog post (The Career Risk Most Traders are Unaware of), the number of friends, colleagues, and complete strangers that have reached out to commiserate, to share their own similar stories of struggle, to offer encouragement via anecdotes of how they climbed out of a hole (if ever), or to simply offer jobs that I might be interested in has been nothing short of astonishing. The one thing that is painfully clear is that I am not alone.

The range of people I’ve had conversations with covers the entire spectrum. I’ve had frank, very personal discussions of struggle with Traders managing hundreds of millions of dollars (successfully, I might add!), as well as newbies who’ve never really figured it out, and everyone in between. If there is one new thing I learned during this whole experience, it is this: No matter how much money you’ve made or lost in this business, there are still struggles. There is still doubt. There still is a question of the value you’re providing to the world.

Frankly, I’m tired of watching all the “Bro-Marketers” on twitter selling a fictitious lifestyle of building wealth through day trading from the beach while living a life of permanent vacation, fast cars, loose women, and international travel. It’s dishonest, it’s setting improper expectations, and these sharks are preying on the basest elements of the human psyche while taking advantage of too many who can’t (or aren’t willing to) accept the reality that trading — especially retail trading — is goddamn hard. It’s easily the hardest endeavor you’ll ever undertake (career-wise). There are just too many people out there selling a dream that is so far out of reach for their target audience that these purveyors of smut should be ashamed of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great individuals, teams, and firms offering honest businesses that offer real value (hit me up for referrals), but for every one of them there are 25 widow-makers at the other end of the scale.

All of this is a setup to describe how and why I’ve landed where I’m at now. Going forward, I feel it is my responsibility to continue sharing the truth about the retail trading business. Exposing the warts. Tempering expectations through sober realities. But I’m not telling you success is impossible. No, I’m telling you there is a better way. And everything you need is already inside you.

Step 1: Don’t quit your day job.

Or more specifically, make sure you have other (preferably multiple) sources of income. Never give those up. I don’t care how much money you make in trading, the reality is it’ll mostly be lumpy and it is tough to plan your financial future around lumpy returns. Build steady incomes elsewhere and make your trading money be the “extra” money. This is your best chance to turn this pile of money into something meaningful for you and your family.

Step 2: Get the right tools.

One of the greatest tools ever introduced to me early in my trading career in the early 2000’s was a simple little AOL-messenger-like styled widget that sat in one corner of my trading screen which fed me actionable trade ideas based on custom parameters that I set. Yes, I was using technology to leverage my ideas. Not a guru’s ideas. This little widget became so indispensable to my daily trading activity that on days when I was traveling or otherwise away from my main computer where the software was installed, I simply wouldn’t trade. Otherwise, I felt like I was trading blind.

Fast forward to today and the company providing that little widget has now grown into a full-fledged trader technology company with a robust platform to help you surface actionable trading ideas ideas in real time as well as Artificial Intelligence that scans the entire market place — the entire firehose of real-time financial market data — to let you know in real time what kind of market environment you’re dealing with now, giving you a statistical edge in determining which style of trades you should be engaged in now, and how you should be managing exits on your existing trades. This company is Trade Ideas and I’m pleased to say that I’ve recently joined the company to help get the word out about their fantastic and essential trading product.

My friends at Trade Ideas, especially Dan MurkinSteve Gomez, and David Aferiat, reached out because it was immediately obvious to them that I’m the type of person who cares about the plight of individual traders & investors and I will do everything in my power to further our mutual goals of making money in the markets. My time spent building a social financial community at StockTwits, Inc., my podcasting, and my candid openness about my own trading experiences being clear examples of this. The synergy of thought in these guys at Trade Ideas and myself is incredibly in sync and it’s embarrassing on my part that I didn’t think to connect with them sooner about joining the team. Nonetheless, I’m now where I need to be and I’m excited to be able to put useful tools into the hands of as many market participants as I can. Check out these tools for yourself, you’ll be amazed.

Social media is filled with all kinds of boastful players, “gurus” offering sketchy mentoring services, and systems developers promising an un-ending path to trading riches via “can’t miss” algorithms. They are all lined up to sell you their sky. Trade Ideas lets you build your own limitless sky. Trade Ideas gives you the tools to build your own success story. They won’t promise you riches or a golden ticket, but if you’re willing to take ownership of your journey and get behind the wheel, Trade Ideas provides the vehicle to get you there.

And don’t just take my word for it. Let this graph showing the growth of paying customers in recent years be all the proof you need that Traders are finding tremendous value in Trade Ideas:

I am humbled and filled with gratitude towards so many people that helped me get to a place where I need to be.

Sharing my stories, not shying away from the truth, having honest discussions about expectations, and giving the best tools to those determined to follow their hearts to reach their trading or investing goals is my mission. Join me.

Oh yeah, and to finish the steps I started above, the final and last step —


Trading is simply an extension of your whole being. Be the trader you want to be by being the person you want to be.

Trade Ideas will be hosting its first ever Affiliate Conference and Trade Ideas Summit in beautiful Carlsbad, California on Sept 30th-Oct 1st. I’ll be in attendance and can’t wait to press the flesh with our users and hear their stories. Come out and tell me yours.

Your humble correspondent,

Sean McLaughlin, @chicagosean

Originally published on medium