Before learning how to trade with Platinum Trading Academy, I made my fair share of trading mistakes, including one incident where I lost half of a 20K investment in one disastrous day.
I didn’t always have the trading bug. Initially, I was in the property for nearly 20 years, but the lack of buyers and new properties back in 2008 meant I was starting to get bored. I was introduced to the world of trading by one of my estate agency colleagues, who held shares in several FTSE companies. I remember looking over his shoulder in total fascination as he watched his shares go up and down on the ADVFN website.
As business was dramatically drying up at the estate agency, and I needed some mental stimulation, I started taking hourly peeks at the share prices and quizzing my colleague on his holdings. I didn’t have any knowledge of the financial markets prior to this, but now I began to get hooked.
In just a fortnight I was glued to the FTSE100, my PC screen near-constantly illuminated by the flashing lights, as the share prices shifted. By this time, I’d long given up trawling for properties or buyers and was instead becoming transfixed by the rapidly unfolding volatility of the market that preceded the impending financial crash.
I watched transfixed, as the recently merged HBOS went up by 35 % one day, then down by 38 % the next. The crisis was beginning to bite. Rather than put me off though, the market’s fluctuations had the opposite effect. The fledgling trader in me realised they presented an opportunity, providing you made the right decision at the right time. I didn’t know how to do that yet at all of course.
My lack of knowledge didn’t deter me, and I opened a share account with Barclays, purchasing £20,000 of HBOS and RBS shares in October 2008, right as they were tanking. Naively, I thought their prices would rise to previous levels. This was a rookie error, which I found out that weekend when both HBOS and RBS became part-nationalised as a result of a government bailout, and my £20k investment, halved in value.
Instead of being burned by my experience, I was determined to press on. I opened a spread betting account, desperate to find that golden opportunity to make a profit. I was excited to discover I could trade with leverage rather than laying out thousands on more shares but had no clear strategy.
This was long before I signed up with Platinum and learned how to do things right. I do sometimes look back and wince thinking of all the money I wasted. If only I knew then what I’ve since learned at Platinum Trading Academy about trading.
I observed the banks, noticing how the price would bounce from a certain low price higher. In those days I'd never heard of shorting a market so I was only looking at buying. I took 5K and made my first trade at £50 a point.
Sure enough, the share price rose by 7 points and I quickly exited for a profit of £350. Ecstatic, I raced over to my colleague’s desk, bouncing around like some Wall Street broker who’d just made big bucks, boasting about my win. Before the end of the day, I’d convinced him to open a spread betting account, alongside his normal investment portfolio.
Of course, not knowing what he was doing, he lost £1,500.00 within a couple of days, and quickly closed his spread betting account. After my initial successful trade, and despite a couple of other minor wins, I followed the same route, losing 5K in approximately 6 weeks.
Why didn’t I stop?
By then I was completely hooked, watching Bloomberg, reading the Financial Times, and frantically Googling different courses, looking for the guru who could teach me the magic formula. I knew I needed to educate myself if I was going to trade successfully but I didn’t yet know about all the snake oil salesmen out there. I had no idea about the plethora of self -styled “gurus”, who’d promise the holy grail, only to give out the information I could have learned for free, or worse, duff or outdated advice.
I found a financial stocks course online, bought all the material, then shelled out £1500 on a ticket for a conference in Westminster, London. The place was packed out, but much of what the host talked about on stage just went over my head. One thing did come of my £1500 investment though. At the seminar, the guy sitting beside me was trading these odd-looking numbers on his mobile. Curious, I asked him what they were, and was introduced to the world of FX markets.
Quickly, I realised that stocks were not for me and began a fascination with FX. Within a few months, I had a demo trading platform, bought some software and was on the merry go round looking for the holy grail again. Let me state this now, it doesn’t exist, in case there are any curious rookie traders reading this and wondering. Smart strategy, on the other hand, is just what you need in your armoury, but back then, of course, I had a way to go before I’d get that essential tool.
While on the FX carousel, I met a Scottish trader, who offered to teach me how to trade. I paid him £500 and was taught a couple of systems, but nothing really delivered for me.
By spring 2009, I was shelling out again, this time £2,500 on a two-day event in London, which promised to turn me into a successful trader. You might guess what happened already—it didn’t. I went on like this for a while, chucking my hard-earned savings and wages away on get rich quick schemes that wouldn’t and couldn’t come through for me.
Despite all this, I had managed to keep my trading account replenished, using a patchwork quilt of knowledge that I'd put together from what I had learned. It was very much a trial and error process, I was doing things the hard way, and would later find out it didn’t have to be like this. As I was only trading for 50p-£2 a point though, I was still staying afloat.
I desperately wanted to give up my day job in property, as not only was the market in 2009 truly dire, but I didn’t have the heart to deal with the general public after 20 years or so. I was enthralled by the world of trading and became convinced that I could become a full time, successful trader too.
I was trading small, so was a long way from where I would later get to, but at that point, I told myself I could up my stakes considerably once I got used to grinding out pips a day in and day out.
Then it happened, my own personal Black Wednesday, 14th October 2009.
Even as I type out the date, I still get a shiver down my spine. There was one, small saving grace. I was trading 50p a point and was short the British pound against the US dollar, Euro, Swiss Franc, and Yen, as well as both the Aussie and Canadian dollar.
I was up in all my trades when suddenly the markets just went absolutely nuts. I still recall staring at my screen motionless in sheer disbelief as within a matter of minutes I was around 1500 pips down.
Trading can be a very lonely place if you don’t have the right advice and support. I wish I had had the pearls of wisdom and advice I’ve since gained from Platinum, as the pips continued to go against me and I panicked, confused, with no idea what to do. Eventually, I decided to pull out and exited all my positions. Though I was down some 1600 pips by then, I did felt relief sweeping over me. It was the same sort of sensation you feel when you finally squeeze the puss out of a massive spot that’s been growing on your face.
I later realised that the markets had tanked because of a news announcement from the Bank of England. Even after a year of trading, I had no idea of the impact of FX news, and how it can affect things so drastically. Back then I didn’t know where to find out in advance about this type of event.
Although I lost a fair bit of money, I took away a valuable lesson that day - to not put all your eggs into one basket, like avoiding going against more than two different currencies at the same time. I also had the importance of FX news events hammered home to me in the cruellest way, but I still didn’t have a reliable teacher, to help me learn the ropes of trading, and there was still massive gaps in my knowledge and skillset.
It would be many more years before I found Platinum, and I made many more mistakes along the way. The good news is now I have finally achieved my ultimate dream, have jacked in the day job, and am now a full-time profitable trader.
All along I had been looking for that magic formula, but at Platinum Academy, what I found was something else instead, which was actually, exactly what I had been needing.
Proper training in the fundamentals, and up-to-date platform with the essential market and currency news all in one place. Clear training materials, covering everything you need to know, smart formulas you can use as guides, easy-to-understand software, demo runs so you can try out your newfound knowledge and get to know how things work. Most importantly, at Platinum, I found traders who are passionate about trading and have made a proven profit from what they do.
Now I’m enthusiastic about sharing my experience with new traders because I know the one thing you need when you’re starting out is a good grounding in the basics. You need the tools and techniques to be able to trade successfully before you start investing your money. I don’t want others to throw their cash away as I did, but I also know that when you learn right, there is serious money to be made from trading, just not from some get rich quick formula.
To make money, you need to learn how to trade from the ground up, properly and thoroughly, from highly experienced teachers who aren’t just trying to make a quick buck.
So if I was going to give one take away, I’d advise any rookie starting out to save your money on all the untested, unproven, gimmicky conferences, courses, and gurus. You're much better off making one solid investment with Platinum Trading Academy who really knows their stuff and will teach you how to trade the markets properly.
All the best
*One last note I have shared my journey of success with Platinum and have given them full authority to publish and not edit my story.