Don’t Trade Your Life Away

Don’t trade your life away.

Life – it’s not really all about the money. (No, seriously, it’s really not.)

pot of gold

As we’re just beginning our “Million Dollar Forex Journey”, this seems like a good time to talk a little about what’s REALLY most important in life – and it’s not making a million dollars.

Having a lot of money is good for a couple of things: One, it does relieve some stress in your life. When you get a bill, you can just pay it, without having to stop and look in your checking account to see if you CAN pay it. That’s nice. And it’s also a lot of fun to buy stuff for people you care about. I love buying people ridiculously expensive Christmas presents. And I remember saying to a friend in college, “Money is for spending on girls – that’s all it’s good for”. 🙂

Despite the fact that having lots of money is fun, it’s true what they say – “Money can’t buy happiness”. Just think of all the ultra-rich people you know about who committed suicide. Jesse Livermore, the greatest trader who ever lived and definitely my hero, shot himself just ten years after making $100 million in one day when the stock market crashed in 1929, and in his suicide note wrote, “Things have not gone well for me”. Not gone well? – The guy had a mansion on Long Island, vacation homes, a yacht, his own private trading office…but in the end, none of it meant anything to him. Troubles in his personal life (like the love of his life being crazy and shooting their son) overwhelmed him to the point where he didn’t even want to be alive any more.

If you’re considering a career as a trader, that fact should be a very cautionary, sobering thought for you. And Livermore wasn’t alone – in a terrific passage in his book, “Waking from the American Dream”, Donald McCullogh writes about Livermore and six other men having a luncheon together at the Edgewater Hotel in 1923. Between them, these men had more money than the entire U.S. Treasury – yet three out of the seven committed suicide (and two others died broke, and the other two went to prison).

If you’re not careful, trading can become an all-consuming thing, eating up almost all of your time and attention, where you’re either trading or studying trading nearly every waking moment of your day. I went through a period like that myself – where I’d take a trade early in the Asian session, around 6 PM my time, stay up all night watching it, and then keep trading from the London open until halfway through the afternoon in New York. Please, don’t fall into a trap like that.

What trading SHOULD be is a great PART-TIME job, an awesome home business that you can make an excellent living at by only working, at most, 20-30 hours per week. If you’re in the U.S., be thankful that the market’s dead by noon on Fridays – you get to start the weekend 5 hours earlier than most people can! And don’t even look at the Sunday night session – if it’s already Monday morning in Tokyo, hey, that’s their problem.

Even when you’re actively trading, trading doesn’t have to consume you. Despite occasional dramatic moves, the truth is that the main currency pairs only move up or down, on average, about 10-12 pips an hour. So you don’t really need to watch that screen every second – that usually only leads to impatience and frustration. Once a trade has moved enough in my favor that I can move my stop to breakeven or better, I freely engage in other activities besides trading – clearing my email, working out, doing some online shopping, laundry, housecleaning, etc. Doing that also means that I have less things left on my daily “to do” list when the trading day ends, and therefore more free time to do whatever I like.

So what IS of the utmost importance in life? Well, there are of course a lot of opinions on that, and that’s a question that, ultimately, you can only answer for yourself – I can’t answer it for you. But for me, it’s two things: First, simply doing whatever YOU were meant to do in this life, and secondly but not any less important – people, relationships, family, friends, neighbors, anyone you take the time to care about. As to the first point, here’s a favorite quote of mine from the theologian, Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what this world needs is more people who have come alive.” Sounds like a good idea, right?

And as to the second point, there’s nothing more important than the people you love, and the people who hopefully love you. I lost my dear, sainted wife, the girl of my dreams and love of my life, because I was too wrapped up in what I was doing for myself. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her with every fiber of my being – and there’s no winning trade on the board, and never will be, that will ever take away the pain of not having her by my side. I’ve got a quote for that, too – from Barry Manilow – “Even now, when I come shining through, I swear I think of you, and God, I wish you knew”. Do I want us to make a million dollars? – Sure. But I’d trade every dime of it to have my wife back. (Of course, I’d prefer to have both. But I’m greedy that way.)

Jesus posed the question, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” So, hey, let’s make a million bucks, all right? But let’s not lose our souls while we’re doing it. The money’s just something to help us do the other stuff that’s a lot more important than money.

As usual, I welcome comments (and red wine and girls with dimples), and on this occasion, I’d particularly like to hear about what is most important and meaningful in YOUR life. Or talk about some things you plan to do with that first million dollars (my favorite joke about “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” is, “I guess I’d pay bills – at least, as far as it would go”). 🙂

See you later this week with an update on the Million Dollar Forex Journey. Until then, take care and enjoy your life. Money you can always make more of – your time and the days of your life, you can never get back. Each day is sacred. Don’t squander the gift of your time here on Earth.

Jack Maverick

Jack Maverick is a writer and forex trader. Find him on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/103534926809963693894/?rel=author and check out his novel, the psychological thriller “A Cross of Hearts”, on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Hearts-J-B-Maverick-ebook/dp/B006GHJ0ZC/

 

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  • Iron Maiden

    I was delighted to read this article as I too had been heading into the ‘all day all night’ Forex trap similar to the example you mentioned. Fortunately, I saw it and was able to take a step back and am adjusting my trades and my life accordingly. What works for me is to every day focus on the big five: Mind, Body, Spirit, Finance, Life.

    Mind: Train yourself every day in something new, whether studying Forex, another language, learning a new skill, digging deeper into the career you have outside of Forex, etc.

    Body: Work out every day in some way. Weights, walks, yoga, karate, stretching, etc.

    Spirit: God exists! Don’t forget Him. Take a little time to stop in at your church/mosque/synagogue/whatever, spend some time alone meditating on God and the infinite, pray. Do something nice for someone else.

    Finance: Manage your money. Look over your accounts. Put your statements in order. Determine if you are where you are supposed to be in your financial goals and how you can improve.

    Life: Go have fun! Do things you’ve always wanted to do! Ski. Surf. Hike. Hang glide. Skydive. Make pottery. Draw. Sing. Play guitar. Go hunting for fossils. Go back to where your were when you were a kid and do those things you wanted to do then.

    Additionally, I have a list of goals I created for the new year. There are 25 of them. I try to write them out every morning and if I can’t write them out, I try to recite them in the car on the way to work or wherever I’m going. This way I am thinking of them at least once a day. I also try to never let a day pass without having made some progress in one or more of those 25 goals. It’s amazing the things I’ve gotten done in three months.

    I keep a little log of everything I do on my text editor that comes with my iPhone. It’s ridiculously simple and easy to use. Just open and type. Since most of us carry our phones everywhere we go, I have the ability to pull out my list and check it and know where I stand in a matter of moments. Once in a while, I forward a copy to my online mail account as a backup.

    I find that no day ever really gets that bad now. You still have bad days, but they aren’t what they used to be because even on a bad day I get things done in either the big five or my goal list or both. So every day becomes a winner. And one more thing: Make every day a Friday. There are no more Mondays in your life from this point on.

    That’s all. Maybe someone will see my formula above and be able to use it for themselves or even take it and improve on it.

  • Baltar

    It is important thing to remember about all that. I think nowadays the world is creating zombies like people. All this new tech things are dangerous like drugs, trading is acting the same so you should approach them properly – like pilot landing in a fog..

  • David

    good article and the pravdivej

    but so far my case it není.co earn it so I lose money at zero but it comes and go crazy certainly do not intend to

    I wish you all good shops

  • Thanks for your comments, Daryl.
    Yeah, I never figured out how people in California trade – by the time most of them get up, the day’s mostly done in the financial world. I was thinking about moving back to New Mexico, but Heavens, I’d have to get up before I went to bed in order to catch the London open. 🙂

  • Daryl Koster

    Well said Jack. Your thoughts are well taken. I’ve still find myself watching every tick for hours only to realize it is midnight and I have to get up early the next morning for my J.O.B. Fortunately I live in California. With some discipline I could trade from 5:00am to 9:00am (primetime in New York) and then close the trading station until the next day. That’s the kind of part time business that makes sense. 60% of my fist million will be used to pay bills and become as debt free as I can. Then it time to earn the next million. I love watching your progress.

  • What?! TV won’t do it?? Oh no! 🙂
    Thanks, Chris, I really appreciate your thoughts.

  • Chris

    Thank you Jack for sharing this wise wisdom with us and my sincere condoleances for your terrible loss.
    Totally agree with you on the hapiness part. Hapiness is created by yourself, from inside. No TV, app, i product, etc is going to change / help that. We need to hang our own “party balloons”, together with our loved ones, every day of the year. So, in short, I agree with your goals in life. 🙂 Thanks again!