I could spend an hour on each question, so I’ll just start with Q1. I wish I had forums like this when I started.
A1. I have traded as an amateur and professional for over 40 years, so I’ll start at the beginning. I started when I was 16. I saved up $2,000 of my summer job money and opened a stock account, found it slow and switched to futures. I was too young to open an account and my father knew nothing, but he allowed me to try, so he opened an account in his name for me and I put my money in there. I had to trade out of necessity. The problem was my parents hadn’t saved any money for my college, so it was my only shot to go to school full-time. I started trading Maine potatoes, because it was the lowest margin ($300) the commission were $120 round turn. There was no news service or quote service, just the New York Times I would buy as the truck came around at midnight or in the morning. During the day I would carry around a pocket of dimes and use the school pay phone between classes to call the broker. I lost it all in 4 months. I took a summer job again and earned another $2,000 and I bought gold. It was around 1978 and gold had just breached $200. I carried it and got out in 1980-81 near the top. I sold, not because I was smart, but only because I needed the money for college, but I realized I loved it…not the money, but the action and real-world analysis. I applied for a bank job on a trading desk when I graduated. The commodity metals desk hired me because of my story and I officially became a “career professional”. The moral is: You have to embrace the journey; it’s real life, it’s a business, not a game that you play and it never stops. Even after 40 years I’m still learning. If you keep working at, learning, reading, your goals will come, because there are a lot of different ways to trade, so there is a “style” for everyone in every situation, you just have to find what works for you.