“If I quit now, I will soon be back to where I started. And when I started I was desperately wishing to be where I am now.” Unknown 

Even if there is room for improvement – and no doubt there will be gotchas – here’s why I’m not giving up and why I hope you don’t either.


There is so much distrust for Wall Street. And with good reasons:

  • *Big bank boys lie big. 
  • *Penny stock pumpers sell trading porn. 
  • *Brokerage houses who we trust with our money sell our trading order flow to big institutional high-frequency traders. 
  • * High Frequency Traders and Algos outrun and outgun any human trader. 
  • * Market Makers know where our stops sit and seek them out. 
  • * Flash crashes are planned. 
  • *Analysts are paid to recommend the companies they’re supposed to independently review.
  • *Insider trading is the norm not  exception. 

Conflicts of interest are easily ignored by authorities. Or the bad players are just too many to control. One thing is for sure: The game goes on of playing us, all of us, and our money.

Retail money wants to learn to play, sometimes for no other reason then they trust themselves more than the “professionals“. Sometimes retail money traders become pro traders and make a living out of it. Professional traders from inside the system leave and become retail traders. This is where we are now.

In the last decade, both insiders and outsiders have converged onto the market and compete with each other in offering various forms of mentorship and research through the catchall category called Trader Education Services.

Some of these services have learned how to scam or manipulate the public to follow their style of trading and their “trades”. The worst of these are purely fraudulent, stand out of course and make the rest of us look bad. The most respected services may mean well but most are still only cherry picking their best trades and hiding the worst.

The sheer number of paid trading services has risen exponentially in recent years as has the incestuous ‘affiliate’ relationships that have emerged between unregulated trader education and regulated money management and brokerage houses. The line is so easy to cross and leverage that it only serves to propagate the myth that one is safe and the other isn’t!

Whether retail traders know it or not, they are being targeted. In egregiously rigged markets to very imperceptible order flow kind of ways but also by Trader Education outfits that sell ‘success’.

It’s like the large school of fish swimming together in a sense of safety, but in reality, it just makes it easier for the shark to eat more at one feeding.

A few smart ones swim alone. Odds feel safer. We play the edges. We aren’t addicts or gamers wanting constant action. We aren’t even looking for the fast, easy, sure win because we know better. We are passionate about this puzzle, for the  ego of being quietly right, for the lifestyle that trading can create for ourselves and our families.

We aren’t angry either fighting against the rigged machine.  We’ve learned how to negotiate it. Some of us want to elevate and level the playing field. We’re building our own Community, our own prism, that encourages integrity, personal responsibility, grit, curiosity, growth.

Retail Traders Meet Real Trading

Those who trade their own money, and even those who trade other people’s money, know they can benefit from learning how full-time pro traders who generate positive returns “do what they do”. So they sign up for their services to learn, to shadow, to get inspired, to make money of their own.

Often times in the industry, these folks pop around from service to service as they keep looking for that pro trader service they can follow that will best fit their trading style, risk tolerance, time-frame and whom they can hope they can trust. They move around a lot statistics show.

This trend is only increasing as brokerage firms attest each quarter. More retail money is entering the space as folks decide to manage their discretionary income instead of throwing it over the wall to Wall Street. More retail money is entering the game as the connected world becomes smaller and the demand for rewards grows larger. More retail money is entering the game as trading attracts ALL types of people  – Young and old, rich and poor, male and female – from ALL over the world. Some trade as a hobby, others as a career. But a good number of them are looking for advice. Advice from the pros – Sophisticated to Slick.

In a space with gurus of trading – both real and fake – the divergence between playing the game and being played have increased. From Penny stock “pump and dump” to fake news that is published to manipulate a large stock, or even market, the system is fraudulent in places that retail traders know nothing about.

Does there exist a world then where trust matters? Where a new trader can believe the mentors’ trades they signed up to follow are real? Where a wealthy investor can trust their money manager isn’t a Bernie Madoff?

The access to sophisticated analysis by the most respected financial thought leaders is in our hand – whether from Bloomberg, Twitter, RealVision or countless other internet searches, we have unparalleled access to Data and Context to help us make better investment decisions. So where is the real trading that is real-time by real traders selling Trader Education Services?

Maybe some of these outfits aren’t scamming but they are hiding.  “Do as I say not as I do” doesn’t work in parenting and it shouldn’t work for Trader Education. Trust but Verify is not just a credo in many homes, it should be with our money as well.

News Flash: Many trading education services don’t actually trade.

Or they do but cherry-pick only those that represent the best look at what the service wishes it could be and wants you to see. But that’s not helping traders grow or trust themselves to learn how to better avoid and overcome the really bad trades. It only hides it, for awhile, until it happens again. It doesn’t grow a relationship of trust or a community of trust. It erodes emotional and financial capital.

How can we trust but verify our mentor and trust that their trades are real? There are no regulations that control the fast growing and very lucrative retail segment of active trading. And I’m not suggesting there should be as that surely does not regulate reputation or results and does nothing to keep your money safe. Think Bernie Madoff and the thousands of hedge funds, money managers and RIAs each year that lose your money.

That’s where I wanted to be different. To build a platform to share the actual trades when they are actually made in an actual brokerage account!!

The great, the good, the bad, the ugly. Not only does full transparency force better trading because pro traders know they will be judged by their results, but it forces all clients to study and learn, not just blindly follow.

And when given the choice between choosing a mentor who offers verified trading from one who promotes only cherry-picked results, you are only going to want to do business with those you can Trust but Verify. Otherwise, it’s not worth the risk.

And trading is all about risk.


Thanks for reading and please consider joining me in the LaDucTrading LIVE Trading Room where I take macro and market-moving news, give it context, and recommend trade ideas from it. For additional education, I provide my LIVE Trade Alerts from Interactive Broker to clients interested in my Value and Momentum stock and option plays.

At LaDucTrading, Samantha LaDuc leads the analysis, education and trading services. She analyzes price patterns and inter-market relationships across stocks, commodities, currencies and interest rates; develops macro investment themes to identify tactical trading opportunities; and employs strategic technical analysis to deliver high conviction stock, sector and market calls. Through LIVE portfolio-tracking, across multiple time-frames, we offer real-time Trade Alerts via SMS/email that frame the Thesis, Triggers, Time Frames, Trade Set-ups and Option Tactics. Samantha excels in chart pattern recognition, volatility insight with some big-picture macro perspective thrown in.

More Macro:  @SamanthaLaDuc  Macro-to-Micro: @LaDucTrading