In 2007, after having sold my company - a specialized online job board - for USD 5 million, I paid my taxes (43% Danish tax!) and invested USD 1 million of my post-tax money in a mutual fund with more than 20 years of great results and a risk goal of loosing maximum 15% over the course of 3 years. They invested 2/3 in bonds and 1/3 in stocks using a model developed by a Nobel prize winner and their shares traded on the national stock exchange with good daily volume. I felt comfortable with my investment.
During the financial crisis of 2008, I was enjoying a 3-month trip with my family in New Zealand and had decided not to bring my laptop and not to look at any of my investments while away to enjoy the trip fully. Unfortunately, this is when the mutual fund began doing everything wrong and finally ended up loosing 80% of the invested amount by the time we got home. I sold my stocks in the fund immediately in disgust (today, in 2013, they still haven't recovered even half of what was lost).
I decided it was time to learn how to trade and win back what was lost myself.
As most of you will recognize, becoming profitable in trading takes time and starts out but reading dozens of books, newsletters and trying tons of indicators out. Today, I only subscribe to a few newsletters and trust only my own analysis of the market. And I adopted Dr. Alexander Elders principle of 5 bullets to a clip - i.e. use max. 5 indicators. I use primarily technical analysis but usually won't short a stock with i.e. a P/E of 5 as the downside is then most likely quite limited.
For results, I had a small loss in 2010, a small profit in 2011 and in 2012 a 30% profit. 2013 is so far following 2012's success, so I feel that I've now found an approach to trading that fits both my goals and personality. I use a long term (months to a few years) as well as a short term (swing trade) strategy. Sometimes I daytrade as well using the same strategy as I use for swing trading.