Keeping the Ship Pointed in the Right Direction

August 1, 2020

Having more is an endless horizon. No matter how much you have, that voice of “more would be better” drives you to make acquisition the name of your game.

~ Vicki Robin, Your Money or Your Life

In this quote, Ms. Robin is riffing on the common insatiable desire for humans to spend more and more money on more and more things in an effort to keep up with Joneses which turns into an unsatisfying spiral (at best) or a depressing and devastating black hole (at worst).

Measuring myself against anyone else’s possessions and toys is stupid. Instead, I should celebrate them and their success and hope that it brings them happiness.

This “having more” thread has relevance for me in trading as well.

I often wonder if there’s a number that if achieved, I’d pack up my tent, call it a career, and simply stop trading. Does such a number exist? If so, what would it be? $1million? $10million? $50 million? $100 million?

If feels like fantasy to even write those numbers down. But the reality is, I couldn’t even imagine right now what I’d be feeling at the moment I achieve each of those milestones. It’s one thing to declare that if I hit $10million, then I’ve got all the money my family will ever need and I’m good. That’s enough.

But is it?

Mo money mo problems?

In all reality, having enough probably requires far less money than I think. And if I could come to terms with a sensible number that doesn’t seem so far fetched, how might that change my approach?

Would I take less risk? Would I be more patient? Would I be easier on myself whenever I make a minor mistake? Would I remember that the long-term trend is my friend when I find myself in one of many normal-and-to-be-expected drawdowns?

This week, I found my trading equity declining Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Minor pullbacks in the grand scheme of things, but sufficiently annoying that it had me questioning whether my strategy needed some more fine tuning.

But then Thursday and Friday saw some gains and I ultimately finished the week with more money in my account than I started the week with. Win.

Was it worth getting all worked up on Wednesday?

How might I have acted differently if I worked from a position of knowing what my “enough” target is and having the frame of reference from the big picture of knowing this recent pullback was all just well-and-normal when viewing from 30,000 feet?

I know one of the things I need to work on as I achieve higher levels of trading success is to know when I’ve reached enough — on both an intraday, weekly, monthly, and yearly timeframe. Having these guardrails in place will keep the ship pointed in the right direction.

Thanks for enduring another “Sean thinks out loud” blog post 🙂