In the first episode of this Getting Started series Getting Started – Part 1 – Knowing Yourself we talked about the importance of making sure you start off on the right foot with the right system and the right expectations.
In this episode I want to talk about practical solutions to getting started. Namely, getting some training.
Imagine you don’t know how to drive. You get in a car, manage to get it started after a bit of faffing around, and you pull out of your driveway onto the main road. You know how to steer the wheel, and you’ve worked out the accelerator is on the right. But you’re struggling with the rest. You don’t even know which way you are going.
That’s all one big cheesy metaphor for anyone starting out in Spreadbetting without any training behind them. Without any training you will have a bad experience of the financial markets. You’ll crash. I’ve been trading long enough now to know that things don’t end well when you just try to wing it.
Early on in my consulting career I met up with a company director of a travel company who emailed me and asked me to spend some time with him to teach him how to Spreadbet. I should have known the omens were bad when instead of wanting to pay my daily rate he only wanted 2 hours of my time. In hindsight I should’ve said no, but I agreed, assuming he already knew a fair bit and just needed some ‘over the shoulder’ pointers.
We used one of his offices to work from for the day and as I arrived I noticed his computer was on and his trading account open on screen with a few positions open. I wasn’t rude enough to take a closer look, but I said to him “so, how long have you been spreadbetting for?”. He replied “Since about 8 this morning”. I laughed, and explained I meant how long ‘in general’. When did he place his first trade? Turned out he was right the first time. About an hour before my arrival he had opened an account from scratch and begun trading.
The transcript went something like this:-
CC – “oh, so do you have a system?”
CD – “not really, I am doing pretty well though so far”
CC – “i noticed you have some positions open, what you got going?”
CD – (twisting screen to show me) “I’ve bet on the FTSE”
CC – “I see you are LONG at £10 per point, how much is your account?”
CD – “i just put a small five thousand in”
CC – “I see, and you aren’t using a stop loss, any reason why?”
CD – “what’s a stop loss?”
Any experienced spreadbettors out there reading this might be cringing right now, but I come across this more often than you think. People with more money than sense as they often say. This guy was risking his entire £5,000 account and he was effectively driving the wrong way on the motorway with the accelerator down flat and hoping for the best.
If you want to have even a mildly successful opportunity to make money by Spreadbetting the Financial Markets then you need some training. The legendary investor Charlie Munger once said “To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want. The world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a whole bunch of undeserving people.”
To me that means, if you don’t invest some time and money into learning how to Spreadbet properly then you won’t be rewarded. You don’t deserve to make money. If it were that easy then everyone would do it.
So what are your options when it comes to training how to Spreadbet profitably? I can think of 5 main sources and i’ll go through each of them in a little more detail.
- Reading Books
- Joining a Spreadbetting community
- Being mentored
- Attending Seminars
- Enrolling on Courses
I am a massive book lover. I haven’t always been. I liked to read here and there most of my early years but once I became a Dad for some reason reading books became a key part of my life. I guess it was the responsibility of needing to pass down knowledge to my kids. I was worried I didn’t know enough.
I now read every single day. Non-fiction only. I don’t get any knowledge or insight very often from fiction. So I don’t invest my time in reading it. Obviously being a trader and active spreadbetter I read a lot of books on trading and investing.
The downside to learning from books is that around 80% of them in my opinion are not worth a lot of your time. You can spend hours reading books only to realise by the end that you are reading the wrong ones. Just because a book has been published, doesn’t mean the information inside is any good. Especially some E-Books and some of those kindle books on Amazon. I once paid £10 for an e-book on Forex strategies out of curiosity. When I opened the kindle I found it was fraught with spelling mistakes, bits were missing and the information and advice inside was awful. I’m not grammatically perfect I know. This article probably has the odd mistake, however some books are just rubbish and only deserve to go into the bin.
One tip I have here is to go to the top, and only look for books by people who are or have been doing it successfully. Why learn from anyone else? However, please also bear in mind that just because the author has been a great trader, doesn’t mean they know how to teach others how they did it. I find a lot of books fall short in actually explaining things properly. You can often be left with a ton of additional questions having committed several hours to reading these books. The author was very successful, but they just didn’t do a great job of explaining how they did it in their book. Nothing more frustrating than closing a book and thinking “but what about…….?”. Lol!
Having read many of these books, I have a list that I am compiling of books which I have read which I have enjoyed and gained insight from. Books that have helped me improve as a trader and spreadbetter and which I think can help you. You can find the list of these books, as well as some reviews on them, by going to my Book Page here.
Joining a Spreadbetting Community
Meeting others in the same boat as you is a great way to learn. Online forums are a useful place to ask questions and get a variety of answers from other people on a similar journey as yourself. The downside to this approach is of course the fact that many of these people are students of Spreadbetting much like yourself, and you will therefore have to take some of the information you receive with a pinch of salt. However, there is no doubt that online Spreadbetting forums and message boards can be a good place to ask specific questions. Many simple questions can be answered here and you’ll find some very helpful people willing to share what they know.
Spreadbet Beginner does have an online forum on the website which you can use to meet likeminded people and to share ideas and ask questions. Click here to check it out.
Whilst being personally mentored by a Spreadbetting “guru” would quite clearly be one of the best solutions to you learning how to spreadbet the markets, the majority of those who have achieved success are unlikely to offer you their time. Most successful people have better things to do and just don’t have the time to be offering you hours of their day. Those that do make themselves available are often incredibly expensive. So whilst the idea of personal tutoring would clearly be the best model for you, it’s often an unlikely and unrealistic solution for beginners unless you are lucky to know someone personally.
This is something I personally need to do more of, but I do believe there is a lot of value in getting out there and learning in person. There is something about getting out of the house, into a new environment and learning in a room with a speaker and slides etc that helps people learn. Books are great, but in that environment it’s just you and the book. No interaction, no Q&A section where you can raise a hand and throw out a question you want to know the answer to. There’s a lot of people out there who are giving out bad information, and others out there giving out great insight and knowledge. To a certain extent you will have to filter your way through that yourself, but once again the rule of “go to the top” still applies here. Focus your learning on people who are seemingly doing well. Beware though, there are many scams out there on the market. If it seems too good to be true, it pretty much always is in the financial industry. Seminars are a great tool for your belt when it comes to learning. The travelling can be expensive if you go to a lot of them, but I do recommend them once in a while. I need to go to more myself.
Enrolling on Courses
Personally speaking this is the route I go down a lot of the time. I’ve spent a lot of time doing courses on many different things. I once bought an online course on how to coach American Football to kids and I loved it. I love to soak up knowledge and insight, and online courses are perfect for my lifestyle. Back in the day it used to be VHS cassette tapes. Later it became DVD packs and workbooks, and today more and more people are using online courses. The benefit of online courses are that you can view them from wherever you are, on a phone, tablet, laptop, pc and even gaming consoles these days. You can view them at your leisure, whenever it fits into your daily schedule. From a tutor’s perspective I also like teaching through online courses as it means these courses can be constantly evolving. If I come across a change that’s required or a new piece of information comes out that I want to include, it becomes very easy for me to update the course and keep it current, allowing students to get the updates in real time.
Online Spreadbetting courses are a great way to learn how to trade the financial markets and what’s more you don’t have to be the leader or pioneer here. Look for testimonials from other people who have taken the course. What are other people saying about the course and is it value for money? Many people can now enrol onto these courses with a very good idea of what to expect based on customer testimonials and it therefore makes online courses one of the best options available to you.
Of course, if you are looking to learn how to spreadbet the financial markets profitably I do have a very solid online training course on this subject which has now been completed by over 400 people and has yet to receive a bad review. The course is available at an extremely competitive price and is aimed at complete beginners who not only want a system to begin trading but also want a strong understanding of risk and money management techniques as well as knowing which markets to trade and when. You can find out more about it by going to the 4 Hour Spreadbetting Beginners course page on the website. There are other courses out there as well by other people which are very good. I have not personally enrolled on many of them but Vince Stanzione does some good work if you want an alternative to mine. You can also find some Spreadbetting brokers themselves offering some basic online how-to guides.
Have I missed anything? How do you you like to learn best? Leave a comment below and i’ll always reply.