Market, You Can’t Scare Me; I Have Teenagers!

Seems a funny first posting–a fluff piece–but while I’m waiting for something totally wicked awesome to happen in the market, I was inspired to write this. Hope some get it.

I have a lot a correlation work that I do in my trading and consulting work: $UST:$SPX, $HYG:$XLE etc. It struck me how correlated trading is to raising teenagers.

I am not one who relies on the universe to raise my children anymore then I am expecting fish to jump into my boat. In parenting teenagers and trading, I do expect to be wrong, a lot. And I fully expect my kids to take advantage of it. Likewise, the market is counting on my miscalculations and has No Mercy. So how should but a humble (and single) trader and mother combat this truism?

Play to my strengths:

I was a baby mama (total devotion, sacrifice and joy) so teenage noncompliance is not my forte. Thank God for my memories!! After trading for a while I realized every error I made would be leveraged to its fullest by the market. References to the market as shark-like come to mind but I just thought of it as an opportunistic son-of-a-bitch.

Maybe personification of the market is not perfectly akin to teenagers but I clearly saw one parallel: our selfish interests did not align.

I felt powerless to defend against it:them at first until I learned I did not have to give my power away…by taking everything so personally. That’s when I discovered in trading how to wait for a better set up, have a plan to cut bait and how to be proactive to defend against an unexpected attack when all seems to be going swimmingly.

When selfish interests don’t align:

Emotional toughness is paramount to trading AND raising teenagers. Administering consistent consequences without anger is the goal. Sometimes I suck at this, but I try hard every day.

Trading Pros say preserving emotional capital is just as important as financial capital. They are one and the same for me. I know when I’m vulnerable: when I’m wrong a lot, let myself get taken advantage of or fail to safeguard capital of either kind.

I had no idea that life as a mother of three teenagers would be playing out in my trading philosophy but it has. I am less easily shocked now. (Oh baby.) I am more open-minded to others’ perspectives (if reasonably intelligent) and less convinced I am smarter/know what’s best (this is a work in progress).

Having said that, I am less inclined to be talked into or out of something, and in fact measure market sentiment much like a teenager’s whims: with suspicion.

As a pattern recognition technical analyst, I am wired to look for patterns everywhere, and broken patterns are high probability plays in my book. Said another way: motherly instincts are strongest with divergences.

As a volatility trader… I can kind of tell when volatility is about to erupt at home and in the market. I had no idea when I started trading that this would become my specialty.

Intermarket Analysis as a tell:

In addition to forecasting and chasing price behavior, I rely heavily on what takes place under the surface using relational strength and correlation analysis. Sniffing around for chart divergences has really helped me as a parent of teenagers and vice versa.

For example, I know for a fact the good times can change abruptly and the bad times will not continue indefinitely. Flexibility required in raising distinctly different, oppositional and often slippery teenagers closely mirrors active trading in so many ways. And sometimes the best trade is simply not to engage.

I summarize my top three priorities as a parent of teenagers as follows:

  1. Keep them safe.
  2. Help them realize their potential and not squander their talents and opportunities.
  3. Teach and model respect–both of themselves and others.

Trading is ALL about realizing potential while keeping that financial and emotional capital safe. Hopefully the self-respecting part is earned from setting realistic goals and achieving them. Too much fear or greed and the laws of natural consequences kick in. As traders we know if we don’t practice humility, the market will teach us some.

I can’t wait until I’m through the wormhole of raising teenagers for my emotional and financial capital are constantly under attack. But I also know that without this ‘trial by fire’ I would not have forged a stronger technical analysis skill set and process that honors my instincts and capital so I can trade, and parent, with less fear.

Hope to see you on the other side.


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