Here comes The WheelieDealer. More sophisticated Trading Tricks and focus on Psychology. Enforced Discipline.
- Those first 5 years or so of my Retirement were generally very enjoyable and productive and no doubt accelerated my knowledge of the Markets and freed me up to address things I never really had the time for when working - such as taking my time to write down a detailed breakdown of my Approach and Rules and stuff (something I see as essential for anyone taking on the Markets - whatever their Style). However, things were not by any means perfect and after some years I was starting to get a bit, well, bored. This manifested itself as a lack of motivation and a feeling of ‘Going through the Motions’ and I sort of lost energy and drive and just got a bit deflated. This is a huge danger when you Retire and everybody leaves Work with lots of Plans for things they intend to do but after a while all those Jobs are done and the boredom and lack of enthusiasm can creep in.
- Because I am a Paraplegic Wheelchair User, I am not keen on Winter (the Cold makes me feel crappy and I hate going out in the wet and getting mud on my Hands off the Wheels and all that stuff - it sucks quite honestly), and this caused me a lot of problems because I tend to be like a Tortoise in a Cardboard Box in the Garden Shed for most of December to March and I only venture out on good days or if I have a particularly strong reason to emerge and I can park my Car very near where I am going so I don’t get impacted by the stinky weather etc. For the first few Winters the cold and stuff didn’t get to me as much but over time the Psychological aspects started to concern me and I was very aware of the need to have special ‘Winter Projects’ to try to give me some sort of focus and to stave off the Seasonal Affective Disorder. Trouble was, as time went on my lack of enthusiasm was becoming a big problem and I was even a bit uninspired by Summer. So something had to give and during the Summer of 2015 I was very keen to find a new Project to get stuck in to and it was whilst visiting the Cliveden National Trust place (where the Profumo Scandal sort of took place) that I was sat with my mate Becks in the Sunshine by the Restaurant bit and we were discussing what she was going to do with her life after a long period of not working (she is a very young lady so it was crucial she found something to focus on as she was very much in the jaded frame of mind that I found myself).
- Anyway, the subject came up of her doing some sort of Website and no doubt we gabbled on around various ideas related to this and then suddenly she says to me, “Why don’t you do a Website? You could do one on Investing and stuff” and that was really the seeds of the whole Wheelie Dealer ‘thing’ (thanks Becks - sorry the outcome of that conversation probably worked out far better for me than it did for you or for the many addicted Readers to my Website !!). I’m not sure how things then progressed but I remember having the idea immediately whilst sitting at Cliveden that I could build a Website but also use Twitter so that I could talk directly to Readers and that this was quite an innovation and I didn’t think many other Investors really worked in this way (I‘m sure they still don’t). I had seen many Websites like Seeking Alpha which had a Twitter Feed embedded onto their Website Homepage but I did not use Twitter myself and quite honestly I had no real idea what it involved or how to build a Website or anything. I had not used Social Media before and my mate Mark (@MarkOtten1 on the Tweets) had mentioned to me that he had recently started looking at Twitter and how brilliant it was but I was very sceptical at the time and just saw it as a way I could perhaps send a few Tweets out in Real Time to enable WD Readers to get something very unique but useful.
- I was hugely inspired by Robbie ‘Naked Trader’ Burns’ Website and at this point he was rarely updating it and things had got stale in that regard. It struck me that for the majority of my Investing Life I had been reading Robbie’s Website every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and not only did it help my Investing but it also became an enjoyable and fun distraction from Work and often if I needed a break whilst in the Office or something I would skip over to Robbie’s Website and see what he was going on about. So I soon figured out that if I was a Newbie to this crazy World then perhaps there was no Website where I would be able to go which would give me something a bit like Robbie but perhaps could be a lot more educational and the Real Time aspect of the Tweets would hugely enhance what I was doing.
- And of course because it was to be targeted at Newbies who have no money, it was important that it was FREE - as it is and always will be (I had a problem with the idea that loads of brilliant Investors were charging for their offerings when in fact they were supposed to be amazing Multi-Millionaires anyway - if they are so good perhaps they don’t really need to be charging and there are other ways to make money like Adverts and writing Books and stuff if they really are so desperate for the Cash). It is also about credibility - I don’t need any Money as I can make plenty in the Markets and nobody apart from a very small group of Mates knew me or what I could do and to just appear from nowhere and expect People to pay me money struck me as difficult - and in truth I really can’t be arsed with the Admin side of things and all the complaints and I don‘t particularly go out of my way to ‘market‘ WheelieDealer. I enjoy doing the writing and pursuing my own Investing Activities - to me Admin is a chore and it is not something I want to be burning my valuable days doing.
- Over the years I had mentored a lot of Mates and helped them with their Stocks and stuff and one I had been helping for a few years was my Nephew who had come to me when he was probably only about 12 and said “hey, Unc, will you teach me how to make Money on the Stockmarket?” or something like that, so I set him up with a bit of Real Cash and we got going with him just buying a few Positions and moving things on from there. He has done really well and over the years it is clear he has learnt a huge amount and I have no doubt in the future he will be an exceptional Investor - it would not surprise me if he ends up working in The City because he clearly has a strong interest and the spark is no doubt there within him (he is probably reading this so - “Hi Cal !!!”). Part of my thinking was that when doing this sort of Mentoring it was very limited because I could perhaps only cope with a small number of People at any one time but if I had a Website I could in effect mentor loads of People from afar and it could become like an Online Course in how to Invest.
- Anyway, after my chat with Becks I sort of established a ‘Rule’ that I would think about the whole Website idea for a Month and I would then make a decision after this time with regards to whether or not I was going to do it. I felt quite inspired by the idea and it was clearly a good candidate for a Winter Project but on the flipside I felt that once I started it there was no going back and it was something I had to commit to for the foreseeable future and that it would be entirely unfair to Readers for me to start something like this and then just to abandon them after a couple of Years - it really was a huge part of my decision whether or not to go ahead.
- At this point it was just a vague concept but within a few Days I met with my Nephew in Hyde Park for a Rolling Stones Concert (I think that was it, but it might have been Radio2 in the Park with The Pretenders etc.) and I ran the idea past him and he was very keen that I should do it - I think our discussion helped me to develop my idea and I remember him saying that Robbie’s Website was not helping much anymore and he said it was not interesting for someone like him who was new to the game (I think partly he felt daunted by Robbie‘s incredible success). We then discussed some technical aspects like how to build a Website and getting a Twitter Account and stuff (he was young so of course knew all about this, whereas I didn’t even know what a Smartfone was !!) but I came away with a clearer idea of what I wanted to do and I had already thought up the name ‘WheelieDealer’ which was partly inspired by ‘Wheeler Dealers’ from Mike Brewer and Ed China fixing those beat up old cars on Discovery Channel - my nephew loved the name and of course it all fitted very nicely; however, I still had not switched to a definite Decision to get on with it.
- Anyway, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and with me if I get a good idea my Brain just races away (lots of sleepless nights) and I think of more and more ways of executing it and I think I had some discussions with my mate Martin (@InvestingMartin on Tweets) about the idea and that no doubt helped refine my thinking and it was actually Martin who took Mark’s inspired idea for the Wheel Logo and turned it into the Image I now use and none of us had realised just how much it would stand out on a Twitter Feed but I get so many People saying they can just look down their Feed for my Wheel (thanks guys, it was a work of genius !!). Of course, within a few Days the Decision was made (so much for mulling it over for a Month !!) and very soon I was reading about Go Daddy and One & One Dotcom and Weebly and I found Weebly the most easy to understand (bear in mind I had never done anything like this before) and I actually built the First Iteration of the Website in just a few hours - that was a big surprise but it is actually really easy to do and I have never paid Weebly a penny - I cannot praise them enough. It was amazing - I watched a Video on the Weebly Homepage about how to build a Website for maybe an Hour and then I was getting on with it straight away - so much easier than I thought it would be (although I fully admit the WheelieDealer Website is the most amateurish effort that has ever been created !!).
- Pretty soon I was on Twitter and I am sure a lot of the ‘established’ old hands on Twitter were wondering “who the heck is this guy and where on earth did he suddenly appear from?”, which is of course a great question because I had no Social Media presence up until then and had probably only ever written on a Bulletin Board a handful of times if that. I am sure I ruffled a lot of Feathers in my first Weeks/Months on Twitter and I apologise wholeheartedly if I upset or disgruntled anyone - that was not my intention and I know I was incredibly naïve and insensitive when I started but I had to gain an Audience or what I was doing would be pretty frustrating and there would be a big risk that I would lose interest and give up as a miserable failure - and that would help nobody. Anyway, over time and after some woeful first attempts at some Blogs (I look back now at my first Blogs and cringe !!) and slowly populating and restructuring the Website, I gradually managed to sort of figure out what I was doing and I got some superb support from some very influential and outstanding Investors and Traders and without their help I would probably still only have 15 Readers !! So a huge “THANKS” to all those who helped me get going at the start.
- A big feature of my WheelieDealer Years is my ongoing battle with trying to trade the Major Indexes with generally very poor and painful results. Partly as a result of my experiences of Shorting during the Credit Crunch, I am totally convinced that the key to Lowering Risk and avoiding (or more truthfully, reducing) the intense pain of Bear Markets and the heavy Drawdowns we get when Markets go through a ‘Correction’ phase like we were suffering in early February this year, is to use Index Shorts to ‘Hedge’ my Long Portfolio of Stocks but in addition to this the trick is to go Long on the Indexes once the Market has bottomed and is on the way up again. As always it is easier said than done but I reckon I have now created a ‘System’ which is working and will enable me to pursue this Strategy with some real success going forwards - already I am seeing the benefits with some nice Profits from a Santa Rally Trade at the tail end of 2017 and I banked some reasonable Profits from my Index Longs which I placed as the Markets rebounded from the early February 2018 Sell-off, and I had also banked a bit from a Short that I had on for the drop (see my ‘Trades‘ page for full details on these).
- Once this Blog Series is finished and I have issued a ‘Buy Rationale’ one on EU Supply EUSP (it is half written) I intend to put into Blog form exactly what my new ‘System’ consists of - it will help me a lot to put this down on ‘paper’ and I am sure Readers will be intrigued by my latest attempts to crack this particular nut. One crucial feature of this new System is that it would have entirely avoided the expensive problems I suffered in 2016 when I in effect Hedged my Long Portfolio perfectly but this meant that I got nowhere for the Year because decent Gains on my Long Portfolio were wiped out by Huge Losses on my Shorts…….(this was obviously a key driver for my efforts to work hard to develop this System).
- Linked to the above Index Trading System I have been putting huge efforts into my Simple Technical Analysis Indicators and Patterns etc. and the beauty of this is that the techniques I am using to help with my Index Trades are helping on my Stocks as well. I use the same simple Indicators over and over and over on everything and doing it this way it becomes robotic and I think I am sort of ‘Training’ my Brain to see patterns very easily and almost automatically and this is most definitely helping. I have put particular focus on reading and interpreting Candlesticks and using such great predictive Indicators as 13/21 Day EMA Crossovers (Exponential Moving Average) and RSI (Relative Strength Index) and Heiken Ashi Candlesticks in particular, along with the basics like Support and Resistance and Trendlines. This kind of focus on a few Indicators also chimes with my strives for simplicity and for ‘Cutting out Noise’ - that is a huge area where I think I can improve how I do things.
- Chiming with the ‘Cutting out Noise’ theme is my obsession with avoiding and ignoring Secondary Sources of Information (garbage more like !!) and just sticking to Primary Sources such as Company RNS Statements and then using my own interpretation and trusting my own Judgement. This is quite a new concept for me and probably something I have really only understood and started to address in perhaps the last year or so - and not only do I think it leads to better Decision Making but it also reduces the time taken trying to manage Investments and hunt out new ones. I am convinced I used to waste so much time reading all these different Opinions and Views on Stocks I held and at best it was just contradictory and befuddling me but at worst it was inaccurate and downright dangerous because it was shaking me out of good Stocks which I should have held on to - this goes to the heart of my contention that the Biggest Error I have consistently made for most of my previous Years of Investing has been to sell Quality Stocks far too early.
- I think it is during the WheelieDealer Years that my obsession with making Trading Decisions out of Market Hours has really become full blown. Perhaps before this I was already moving to such a model but it is most definitely something that I have stuck to more rigidly since starting the WD thing (I suspect about 99% of my Trades are now decided the Night before and Out of Hours - I am certain it is one of the most effective things I do towards helping my Returns). It cuts out Noise and it gives far superior clarity. If you make Decisions during Market Hours you cannot help but be influenced by what the Market is doing on that particular Day or at the Time of Day you are making the Decision - yet this might be completely the wrong Trade when you look at things in the context of the Bigger Picture - and the big and easy and less costly money is made on Longer Timeframes. If you wait for the Close of the Day you will get a much simpler and clearer view of what is really happening and it smoothes out the Intraday Wiggles.
- I might have the timings wrong here but I think I started my Income Portfolio around the same time that I started doing WD. This has been an interesting and useful exercise and after the limited time that has gone by I am of the view that this is a very valid approach and I intend to keep the Income Portfolio growing and will probably be adding Cash to it when I feel flush enough (I am still catching up after burning a lot of Cash on my 2016 Index Hedging disaster - but things are heading the right way thankfully). It’s hard to know how things will play out in the distant future but I can see a situation where I switch a lot of my existing Portfolio over to this kind of Income Approach - it requires less maintenance and when I am a really old duffer I won’t perhaps have the ability or the inclination to be mucking about with Stocks in the way I do at the moment.
- Starting WheelieDealer forced me to address a huge lack of discipline I had suffered from for most of my Investing ‘Career’ where I simply held too many Stocks. Fairly soon after starting WD I was getting so much stick from Peeps on Twitter about all the Stocks I held that I figured something had to be done and I created the concept of the WD40 and I think over that time I have got down from about 55 Stocks to 42 at the time of writing - the aim is 40 obviously in my Main Trading ISA but I’m not desperate to dump the 2 that are taking me over the threshold - it is a guide rather than an unbreakable law !! I have also got down to just 2 Unit Trusts now and I am moving away from such Collectives because I actually think I can do better buying the Stocks myself and if I want a Collective then I can just buy an Investment Trust in my normal Trading ISA.
- I have no doubt that starting WD has instilled a huge amount of Discipline on me and the simple fact I am telling the World about every Trade I do and what the Outcomes are - good or bad - is having a hugely beneficial impact on my Investing. I am most definitely far better at my Stock Selection and I take a lot more time about things and consider every angle in depth before taking the plunge to Buy. The Discipline of writing ‘Buy Rationale’ Blogs has really helped and has formalised most of the Checks I had been doing before anyway but this just tightens up the whole process and ensures thoroughness - an extremely worthwhile exercise (and the side benefit is that Readers can gain from my endeavours as well). Another big bonus for me is that writing the Buy Rationale Blogs has often made me realise that I am Underweight on the particular Stock and it has driven me to buy more.
- Patience is utterly critical in Investing and Trading and again the whole WD thing has helped force me to be more patient and not to snatch at Trades that are not there. I am far better now at ‘Stalking’ the Stocks I want to buy and I am also better at planning ahead and making no Decision without loads of careful consideration beforehand - Investment is not something that ever should be rushed. Quite often scribbling my Blogs and bashing out Tweets helps to clarify my thinking and get me to a Decision in steps in a progressive and fully thought through manner - this is hugely beneficial.
- Doing WD enabled me to come in touch with truly excellent Investors like Jason @stealthsurf and Peter @conkers3 (along with countless other quality people) and I have learnt a huge amount both directly from these guys but also through watching what they do. From Jason in particular I have become much more obsessed about the importance of upwards Momentum and Breakouts and these are things that have become the Bedrock of how I do my Trades these days. Twitter and various Blogs that ‘normal’ People write has been a massive help with regards to how I do things and I am picking up little ideas from people all the time that I then incorporate into my own Trading - you can read all the ‘Guru’ books you like and watch all the Videos and pay for loads of Trading Courses but the simple (and cheap !!) truth is that you can learn so much more that is actually useful in a practical everyday sense from outstanding Private Investors/Traders like these guys. In all honesty the only ‘Guru’ I have time for is Robbie Burns - all the rest are of no help whatsoever in my view.
- Psychology has probably been the biggest change to how I do things since starting up WheelieDealer. Up until the WD period I had perhaps read the odd thing or two on Investor Psychology but not really got stuck into it in a big way. I think part of the problem was that whenever you read a book on ‘Behavioural Finance’ and suchlike it always goes on about Loss Aversion and the need for Stoplosses and stuff and that always grated with me because I am not a lover of Stoplosses for my usual Investing Activities (although I fully advocate their use for Index Trades but they must be tight and allied to excellent Entries at Turning Points or Breakouts). Consequently I found a lot of the Psychology stuff as it related to Money very tedious but the big breakthrough for me was discovering the Daniel Kahneman book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ which is probably the book that has had most impact on me in the last 20 years (or maybe even longer !!), and this was not just for my Investing activities because it is just so profound. I then went further down this road when I discovered David Eagleman and his superb book and TV Series called ‘The Brain’ - this stuff is so insightful and makes me understand my own Mental inadequacies but also the errors that other participants in the Markets are making all the time and how they can be exploited. A good understanding of simple Technical Analysis and in particular Candlestick Patterns helps you exploit these behavioural traits of other Investors/Traders. If you skip over to ‘Wheelie’s Bookshop’ you can read more about these excellent Books and also click through to buy a copy if you want.
- I am sure that up until starting WD my Investor Education was going through a Plateau Phase and I was getting very stale and although I probably didn’t realise it at the time, I was not really moving forwards and I had hit a brick wall in this regard. It was perhaps more than just the Learning aspects - I suspect I was also suffering from a lack of Motivation and I know for certain I was feeling a bit jaded in general and I needed something new and exciting to get my teeth into. Luckily starting WD delivered this and more and has totally surprised me in so many ways. You may recall from the Introduction bit I wrote to this Blog Series, one of my hopes from writing this is that any Readers who are feeling a bit jaded and listless and lacking direction will be able to look at my Journey over the years and perhaps this will help them find ways to reinvigorate their own path to improvement.
That’s Part 4 done - Part 5 is in reasonable Draft form but I need to add quite a bit to it. I expect it will appear on the Website later next week.