In an effort to better understand why the returns on my invested money are decreasing rather than increasing, I decide to open a self-directed trading account. Like everything I do in life, I put on my research hat and set out to learn everything about it in the shortest amount of time possible. After all, how hard can it be? Not as hard as that dang Russian Cinema class I took in Uni. Those Russian names are so long and hard to remember!
I give myself one day to accomplish the task of becoming a investment wizard in the the hours between late morning and tea time. Anything longer would just eat into my biscuit eating time, and that just won’t do.
I spend approximately 4 hours researching everything on the topic, then spend another 2 hours delving even deeper by watching snippets from the greatest finance movies of all time including, “The Wolf on Wall Street“, “Inside Job“, “The Big Short” and that one where Bradley Cooper takes a magic pill that makes him super smart and rich, but unfortunately ensnares him into a life of violent crime. Then I have a cup of tea, and waste approximately an hour considering all the smart things I would do if I had access to this drug and start making plans for an indoor bunker in my house to hide all of my money.
How much space does a lot of money take? Scrooge McDuck needed a warehouse for his giant money pile, but he needed a bit more extra space so he could swim in it. But money is dirty and I’m a germaphobe so I’ll just display my money pile behind plexiglass like a modern art piece.
So all in all, a perfectly productive day and if you don’t mind me tooting my horn a bit, I’m pretty sure I’m a market genius now. Buy low, sell high. Buy fear, sell greed. Short sell, high yield, bonds, ETF, yes yes, I feel very smart now!
The next day after watching one “Market Call” show on BNN, I admit that the people on the show may know a bit more than me. Also, Jason Donville seems like a nice, honest guy. He wears smart glasses and speaks with a bevy of financial lingo, whereas I still speak in investment cave person speak.
Jason says I should buy Valeant stock. It’s one of Canada’s biggest drug companies with a stellar record and an excellent management team. Done deal! The stock is pretty pricey at $301 a share, but Jason seems confident, so I take the plunge. I buy a couple more of his stock recommendations and figure I’m going to be rolling in money pie any day now.
6 months later.
Valeant stock plummets to $45 a share. I’m 85% down. SHHHHH##***T. I curse the stock market. I vow to never get involved with the dirty dealings of the market again. Both Jason Donville and Bradley Cooper lied to me. This was supposed to be easy with my excellent knowledge of the market and my eagerness to learn about it in one day.
1 day later.
The fact that I’m down a considerable sum of money eats away at me. I start jamming my brain full of the Financial Times, the Globe and Mail investor section, and Motley Fool. I can do this. I can win win win. I stay up all night plotting my stock picks. I feel like an evil mastermind. I chuckle to myself at how sinister it all is.
I go big that morning, betting on another rocky health stock. I buy low and sell high later that afternoon and make $1000. I’m pumped and totally hooked. I read everything and anything I can get my eyeballs on. I buy dodgy diamond stocks, failing airline stocks, tanked energy stocks in the hopes that I, like Bradley Cooper, turn my $1000 into a million dollars. Buy low, sell high! It should only take a couple of days.
My progress is slow as some of my dodgy stocks go down and I have no choice but to keep them another day, and then another, and then I’m down. Down in a gully of my own incompetent doing.
2 weeks later.
I’m exhausted from staying up all night reading the Financial Times, I’m drinking way to much coffee, and I’ve developed a mild twitch in my eye. I find myself yelling a lot of random words and feeling very unsafe. Clearly, I don’t have the bollocks to day trade.
I will however, offer financial advice to anyone wishing to make a quick 40% gain followed by a 60% loss. It all evens out in the end, right? You do the math ;)