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Military Veteran Traders
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Military Veteran Traders

  #1 (permalink)
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Military Veteran Traders

So a few others, like @dbarno, @Devil Man, and @GFIs1, posted in the guns forum about their military service, so I figured I would start a separate thread to discuss the military and how it relates to trading. I know there were a few others too that mentioned it in separate threads, but I can't remember who. Maybe they will participate as well.

A little about myself, I spent 6 years in the USMC as an infantryman, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I spent most of my formative years as a young man either preparing for war, at war, or just returning from war. I actually got interested in trading after my first deployment. As a single man with no bills or kids, I had all this cash sitting around and decided to invest a share of it in equities, and made very generous returns over the next few years. So needless to say I got hooked, and here I am.

I have read and heard from others that military veterans have a hard time trading because they cannot accept that they are wrong. Coincidentally all these people saying that probably base their opinions of the military off TV and movies. I was once a recruit at Parris Island, I am used to being constantly wrong about everything. In the military you are wrong all the time, even if you are right. I remember being pitted over and over again because I wasn't sitting Indian style with my left foot over my right foot, when I clearly was. Even if you are the Commandant of the Marine Corps, you are still wrong when the President or the Secretary of the Navy says you are. So I don't buy that argument.

I believe it was @dbarno who said his military discipline has greatly aided his trading. I would agree. There were times that I violated my own rules, overtrading, exceeding my daily loss limit, etc. I then told myself I would never again do it, and I didn't.

Perhaps the biggest advantage I see to my military background is dealing with chaos and risk. Combat is chaotic, you have very little information about what is going on. There is no clear picture, no maps as there are in tactical field manuals, with Xs and Os and arrows showing a perfect envelopment or an L shaped ambush. You have to absorb what little information you have in your shitty little scared brain and make a decision. I won't go so far as saying trading is the same, because nobody dies when you trade poorly, but there are parallels. From the military you are used to dealing with risk, whether it is rappelling down a tower or interrogating an IED. Accepting the risk is a part of being able to thrive in that environment, just like in trading.

I was also a student of my craft when it came to the Marine Corps. I was constantly educating myself when it came to military history, tactics, strategy, memoirs of past wars, and guerrilla warfare. I was responsible for approximately 40 Marines by the time I got out, and I didn't want to let them down. I hope that I bring that same passion and drive to trading as well, constantly seeking improvement. As the sign leaving Camp Fallujah read, "Complacency Kills".

I hope to hear from other veterans and see how their previous experiences have aided their trading. Semper Fi.

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  #3 (permalink)
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The concept of pulling the trigger doesn't have to apply to vets. It is a series of things that must be done in sequence without excuses. You are responsible for what happens when you pull it. It made things perfectly clear to me when first heard about that phrase.

Learned a lot when joined the Army. The biggest thing was about people. How to sort out the braggarts from the ones you could trust. Also learned about myself. When I asked myself if I could learn trading, knew instantly it was something that could be done, and attacked it. Learned a long time ago that you something all the way or don't do it. You have a very could idea of what you can and can't do. Stay flexible, there usually isn't a straight line going to where you want to be. The NFL and Mensa are safe from me.

Perspective. The chances of me getting shot at today are not too good. Don't have to deal with the jungle, the NVA, what the weather is, run out of chow, will we get out kinda on time and in one piece. With this in mind, it makes "problems" seem trivial, which in reality they usually are. You learn how to prioritize and deal with problems much better. The trading part of dealing with things are written down, practiced, reviewed, and if necessary improved. Trading for me is boring, but something that I really enjoy.

Never quit. Go until you are drop (Broke). Pick yourself up and go again. That mental attitude will come in handy any where or what you do.

Another thing learned was never to get in a war that is not really want to be won. We had worn out equipment, an unending battle with the REMF's, CO's that were constantly being riffted. Our ROE looked like it was the size of the LA phone book. When it hit the fan in the bush, it was 101%.

Joined in 1972, went thru jump school, infantry school, found out had a knack for being sneaky and wound up in recon. Spent a week in the back of a C-130 that never took off that was aimed at Israel. Sent to the DMZ in Korea, ran a sport parachute club, blundered into Halo school. Sent to Thailand to be on a 6 man LRRP team. Worked Uncle Ho's trails in Cambodia and Laos. We lasted longer than most teams, 8 months. Got out in 1975. Joined up for 4 years of college. Too pragmatic for the military.

When first started to trade realized that some people would learn faster if they had a Drill Instructor looking over their shoulders. " What kinda trade was that, give me 20 push ups!!"

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  #4 (permalink)
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Mike I've had 3 Marines I served overseas with kill themselves and another is currently in a psych ward after an attempt, so that hits pretty close to home.

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  #5 (permalink)
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dbarno View Post
When first started to trade realized that some people would learn faster if they had a Drill Instructor looking over their shoulders. " What kinda trade was that, give me 20 push ups!!"

Agree with you 100% about everything brother. Funny thing is I actually started doing pushups after bad trades, not just as a punishment, but to blow steam off so I don't dwell on it. In boot camp they used to say "you'll either get smart or get strong" so I'll get rich or get strong enough to go back to OCS before I need an age waiver.

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  #6 (permalink)
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Sg7JR View Post
Mike I've had 3 Marines I served overseas with kill themselves and another is currently in a psych ward after an attempt, so that hits pretty close to home.

I believe in it strongly as well. Last year futures.io (formerly BMT) raised $2800.

https://futures.io/feedback-announcements/31798-big-mike-trading-memorial-day-suicide-prevention-fundraiser-2014-a.html

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  #7 (permalink)
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Sg7JR View Post

I have read and heard from others that military veterans have a hard time trading because they cannot accept that they are wrong. Coincidentally all these people saying that probably base their opinions of the military off TV and movies. I was once a recruit at Parris Island, I am used to being constantly wrong about everything. . . .

I believe it was @dbarno who said his military discipline has greatly aided his trading.

I'll go with dbarno. Those who say that soldiers/airmen/whoever can't accept being wrong have probably never served, or at least have never served during wartime. Without strict discipline, however, you will very likely end up dead.

One thing that strikes me about today's beginners is their inability to adhere to the simplest rules, if they have any. If one can't do even that, I see no point in continuing.

One might also draw an analogy between the unquestioning attitude among soldiers et al regarding authority and an unquestioning attitude toward the authority that is the market. If one has been trained not to argue with authority, he may well be much less likely to argue with the market, which, to a trader, is the ultimate authority.

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Big Mike View Post
I believe in it strongly as well. Last year futures.io (formerly BMT) raised $2800.

https://futures.io/feedback-announcements/31798-big-mike-trading-memorial-day-suicide-prevention-fundraiser-2014-a.html

Mike

That's awesome Mike, I appreciate it. I look forward to participating next time.

I'm not a big rap fan but this one guy that goes by the name Soldier Hard is pretty good. I was raised listening to country music and still do sometimes, but the patriotic country music doesn't do it for me anymore. It is all feel good music geared towards civilians, not military. Soldier Hard is an Army OIF veteran who raps about the real issues we face, death, PTSD, alcoholism, divorce, suicide, VA, etc. A lot of it is pretty raw, but it has a positive message to it. He's walked that path himself and is looking to help others make it through.

This song here is dedicated to a young Marine that took his own life. Sums up many of our experiences pretty well.

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  #9 (permalink)
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Perinde Ac Cadaver?

Not in my Nation, not on my watch.

US Vet, lost a son in the Airborne, not buying the servile claptrap embraced in the training highlighted in the first post.

Intellect, Individuality, Self Control, Self Elevation from your present state. In a word - Independence. The strength of the American military man/woman in all ranks. And the ability to tell the Command Structure to f-off when you know yourself in the right...even to the extent of training your weapon on your own (Mai Lai)...without regard for life/limb/military or social standing.

We only Serve the Constitution...we are not servile slaves to men...even while in the military. We are not unthinking automatons. "I was just following Orders" is ever the excuse of the ignorant and criminally irresponsible.

I wonder how your trading goes, without the ability to know yourself right in the moment, stick to your guns, and proceed. Unless, perhaps, you are ever market neutral in options and trading only in time?

Sorry to come off so harshly but this meme is constantly trumpeted by folks today lacking critical thought or simply being too lazy to learn...and I've had my fill of it.

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  #10 (permalink)
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Smalltime View Post
Not in my Nation, not on my watch.

US Vet, lost a son in the Airborne, not buying the servile claptrap embraced in the training highlighted in the first post.

Intellect, Individuality, Self Control, Self Elevation from your present state. In a word - Independence. The strength of the American military man/woman in all ranks. And the ability to tell the Command Structure to f-off when you know yourself in the right...even to the extent of training your weapon on your own (Mai Lai)...without regard for life/limb/military or social standing.

We only Serve the Constitution...we are not servile slaves to men...even while in the military. We are not unthinking automatons. "I was just following Orders" is ever the excuse of the ignorant and criminally irresponsible.

I wonder how your trading goes, without the ability to know yourself right in the moment, stick to your guns, and proceed. Unless, perhaps, you are ever market neutral in options and trading only in time?

Sorry to come off so harshly but this meme is constantly trumpeted by folks today lacking critical thought or simply being too lazy to learn...and I've had my fill of it.

What are you talking about? I never said anything about "just following orders". I was talking about dedication to my job and discipline. You don't know anything about me or my service, yet you imply that I am some sort of uneducated robot. Even worse you imply that I am lazy and "criminally irresponsible". It also doesn't seem like you really know much about the military, for claiming to be a veteran. You are required by the UCMJ to obey all LAWFUL orders. A massacre doesn't count as a lawful order. Also once you stick around for a little while and get promoted you are the one giving the orders, which requires independent thought, something you claim we lack.

I say again, you have no clue what kind of man I am, the nature of my service, or the level of my education, but yet you make wild asinine assumptions. Your attitude and verbal masturbation are not welcome.

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