Get in the Game

This week at long last Major League Baseball returns as the single best sign that spring is here and summer is not far behind. All across the country this week teams will be running onto the fresh new grass carrying the hopes and expectations of their fans as the jog into position. Virtually every baseball fan cannot help but wish they were one of the those 9 guys jogging onto the field looking to make the spectacular catch or hot the walk off game winning home run. For the vast majority of the global population that is never going to happen. The skill set required to play major league sports is simply not attainable by the vast majority of people. The same is true of the markets unfortunately. Although many, if not most, people approach the markets with the dream of being the next Paul Tudor Jones, Jesse Livermore or Ray Dalio the simple truth is that the skill set required to attain those levels is extraordinary and simply not obtainable for most of us. Billions of people around the globe insist on trying to become short term traders of stock, bonds and commodities and only a very small handful ever achieve real and lasting success. It is as hard to be George Soros for market participants as it is for a little leaguer to be Mickey Mantle. It is easier than ever to get sucked into the short term trading game. There are ads and pitches all over the media and the internet. These systems promise you a high percentage of winning trade ideas and nearly foolproof methodologies. Others offer to teach the ancient secrets of trading to help you unlock the good life. You can find all sorts of ways to read lines, angles, candles and patterns and indicators that will help you power your way to profits. If you just learn to interpret them correctly you too can be a stock market master. Of course if you could run like the wind and hit a curveball 420 feet you could start in center for the Orioles and would not have to worry about this stock market stuff. Baseball players fail to make the majors because they cannot hit the curve or consistently throw a slider for strikes .It is just an inability to do the right thing all the time that makes one an ex minor league player rather than a major leaguer. It's the same for investors. It is chasing the hot stocks and over trading that leads investor to earn far less money that they should over time. Countless studies have shown the reasons for poor returns by individual investors yet the same mistakes are made with remarkable consistency by the vast majority of retail traders. When you realize that you are not going to make it to the major leagues you are done being a baseball player. You are relegated to the stands as a fan enjoying the game with a cold beer and a hot dog. The stock market is much more forgiving and allows you a chance to earn solid long term returns simply by adjusting the way you approach the markets. Forget trying to be a successful short term trader. You have better odds of starting for the Yankees than you do of enjoying a career as a day trader using some system you bought and a discount brokerage account. If you have a family, a career and other interests your chances are approximately nil. Stop doing what everyone else is doing. You are not going to have any more success swing trading Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) than everyone else and ultimately it is a losing game. Quit chasing tips, headlines and sound bites. Quit trying to predict the market because you can't do it. No one can with any degree of reliability. Research and real world results have shown that individual investors who adopt a deep value approach and a private equity mindset can outperform the professionals and earn high consistent returns on the stock market. A patient approach devoted to buying stocks when they are unpopular and trade for less their asset value and selling them when has worked since man developed the every first markets and should continue to work as long as there is a market. You may not become famous but your net worth should grow to allow you to achieve many of your goals and dreams in life. Except for playing center field. That's not going to happen Best of all this approach allows you to turn off the computer, close down the screens and go watch a ball game.
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