I got a phone call from a novice trader last night asking for advice on selecting an auto-trader. I asked him if he wouldn't rather learn how to trade before trusting a piece of software to do it for him. He answered that he didn't have the time; the robot only cost $79; and it would probably double his money before could learn how to trade on his own anyway.
Now, I'm going to tell you what I told him. I led him to the Advanced Trading website and showed him a picture gallery of the UBS trading floor. The caption that accompanied the pictures read as follows:
"With 1,400 seats, 2,000 computers and 5,000 monitors, the UBS trading floor is noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest single trading floor in the world. The floor is home to traders, sales traders, quants, technology support, executives and others among its various groups, which include fixed income, commodities, currencies, money markets, derivatives, equities, international trading, algorithmic trading, direct market access, program trading and more. UBS manages more than 1,689,000 transactions a day. The firm deals in almost every asset class and trades across almost every region."
Then I told him, "The people that you see in these pictures are professional traders. They've had the best training; the most resources; the most up-to-date information; and the finest support money can buy. They come to work every day focused on meeting their quotas and making money.
This is just UBS. There are hundreds of trading rooms like this one all over the world abuzz with traders with one objective -- taking your money.
Do you honestly think you can beat these professionals with all their knowledge, experience and support with a $79 piece of software?"
I've been trading Forex for five years. I blew up my first account because I traded a system that I really didn't understand. I blew up my second account because I got greedy and over-traded. But I stuck with it and along the way, I met a lot of people who taught me a lot about the business of trading. That's what trading is -- a business -- not a hobby. About two years ago, I finally began to earn a living at it. Some people "get it" faster. It took me three years. I still make mistakes from time to time. I'm human. But there is one thing I absolutely won't do and that is trust "someone" or "some thing" else to trade my money.
To paraphrase Brett Maverick, "It's like my old Pappy used to say - you get what you pay for and you pay for what you get." Seventy-nine dollars? Please...