|I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph. - Shirley Temple|
Child Stock Market Prodigy
My curiosity for investments started at five years old as I would wake up naturally at 6 AM to watch the stock market on TV. I didn't know what anything meant but somehow I found it fascinating. My parents found it very amusing and would tell their friends how their little child was interested in stocks. Everyone had a good laugh!
Later when I was twelve years old, my parents subscribed to financial newsletters which they gave to me and I eagerly read. I was curious why stocks, commodities and currencies moved the way they did. I learned the importance of investor psychology, economic trends and financial liquidity. When I was thirteen, I started buying gold and silver coins with money I earned from delivering newspapers. Inflation was a nation wide concern and confidence in the system was low so on the advice of my parents I bought gold and silver to profit from its seemingly non stop rise.
At the age of twenty three, I was introduced to my mother's stock broker at a well known financial management firm and bought stocks on his recommendation. Over the next year, I was surprised how poorly all these "expert" stock picks performed. All their picks lost money and so I later withdrew my money in disappointment.
A year after that I got a phone call from a commodity broker suggesting I invest in options in crude oil to take advantage of the expected jump in oil price due to the upcoming war between Iraq and the US over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. I put nearly all my money into this risky investment because the investment theme seemed so logical, "Why of course oil will go up in price because we are going to war and these experts at this brokerage firm all think oil will go way up in price." In the opening hours of the conflict, oil plunged in price and I lost my entire investment.
I Learned the Hard Way
This bitter experience taught me to learn everything about the market by myself and not to rely on so called "expert" advice which had cost me a lot of money. Over the next seven years, I read every financial magazine, newspaper and newsletter I could get my hands on.
Finally, in 1998, after learning much humility, I had my first profitable year buying and shorting stocks. Since then I have averaged over 30% annual compound returns. I retired from the tech industry in 2001 on my 35th birthday.
I have been managing my friends' and family's stock portfolios for a few years. Unlike most financial advisors, I invest my own money in every stock that I buy for someone else.
Strategy and Principles
Wikipedia Stock Market Info