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What I Learned About Making Money

1 | By Shah Gilani

Thirty years is a long time to be doing anything; but it’s a short time if what you’re doing is something you love to do. And the time spent is even sweeter if you’re making a lot of money doing what you love to do.

I’m very lucky. I’ve been trading for 30 years. I love what I do. And I make money doing it.

The truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was growing up (some people say I’m still not grown up, I say thanks). I wasn’t handed anything. I didn’t go to college right out of high school. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t know what to study.

So I worked, I travelled, I adventured. But the operative word there is “worked.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lazy, I never have been, but I don’t like to work. I came to that realization after being a caddy, then a lifeguard, then a construction laborer, then a not-so-great carpenter, a dishwasher, then a not-so-great cook, tarring roofs in Arizona (in the summer) and working three jobs (at the same time) when I wanted to live in California and moved to San Francisco.

Then it hit me – all this stuff is work, and it feels like work.

I thought hard about what I really wanted to do. Something that was work, but could become a career, and it had to be something that wasn’t really like work, at least the kind of work I had been doing.

I didn’t have any money, but I had a plan. I figured that the best way to make money (when you don’t have any, but know it takes money to make money) is to make money with other people’s money.

That’s exactly what they do on Wall Street, so that’s where I was headed.

First I put myself through UCLA. I was 22, and back in 1978, tuition at the University (I had gotten a California driver’s license when I lived in San Francisco, working three jobs, did I say that?) cost me $238.00 a quarter, plus books, of course.

I packaged, loaded, and delivered health food from the pre-dawn hours to early morning (lucky me, my route took me along the beautiful Southern California beaches), went to school during the day, and painted bars after they closed. I’m no stranger to hard work.

But along the way, I had this plan, and I had to pay to execute it.

After four years – and about 50,000 miles on my only ride, a 1972 Triumph Bonneville – I got my first job in “the business.” I was a clerk for a market-maker on the Floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange.

I was fast learner. It’s easy to learn fast, and keep learning (I’m still always learning), when you’re doing something that’s not like work, but more like a game and you love it.

A year later, I was general partner of a hedge fund. It wasn’t my money back then; it was other people’s money. Not a lot, $10,000,000. I leveraged that one hundred times.

I’ve been doing what I do now for 30 years. And I am one very lucky lad, because I love what I do, so it’s not really work.

My point in telling you this story, my story, is that you can do it too. You can make money trading and investing.

How?

Well, you can learn from the people that know what they’re doing, like I did.

You can become a successful investor by learning that trading is the first step towards successful investing. Because every investment starts out as a trade, you take a position. That position becomes an investment if you end up holding it for a good while. Otherwise, it’s all about trading. And maybe I can help you with that.

I learned to create an investment portfolio by trading into great positions. I’m never married to any position (maybe that’s why I’ve never been married myself, ya think?), but I like building on my winners and am never afraid to jettison my losers, which I always have my share of – that’s part of the game.

So, now, as in right now, while we’re here in this strange place with the markets doing what they’re doing, I’m rebuilding my portfolio and the portfolio I recommend for my Capital Wave Forecast subscribers.

We just cleaned house and took profits on NGG (34%), T (22%), INGR (20%), MO (20%), KMP (20%), and a few more decent gainers. And we just lost 5% on two defensive options positions we had on for protection, because you have to be protected at all times.

My point here is to take winners when you’ve made some decent money and you think those positions are getting a little tired. And there are times, like now, when you should build a rounded (we’re always well rounded) portfolio that addresses where the new opportunities are coming from now.

I like working on my portfolio. I like taking on the opportunities that are always out there. I don’t like losing, but I don’t hate it, because I don’t ever lose so much on any trade that I have to worry about it.

If that sounds like something you want to do with me, you can check out the details of a Capital Wave Forecast membership right here.

You’ll get immediate access to our portfolio of trades, and I’ll share some of what I’ve learned over my 30 years doing what I love to do.

I hope you can take some of what I’ve learned to do, and love doing, to the bank. It’s fun.

Have fun. Life is too short.

Shah

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