In the sea of noise that is trading social media, Tom Canfield (@canny4) is a voice of reason … and a must-follow. 

As a trader, he’s neither gunslinging bro nor old bitter dude … Instead, he’s rather positive with plenty of valuable information to share with all kinds and levels of traders.  

In today’s episode, host Tim Bohen talks with this market veteran, who has over 20 years of experience. The two get into trading methods, the state of the market, and how to get into a better trading mindset. 

Check out the full episode for a peek into what real trading is about! 

Tom’s Story 

Tom’s been a trader for 23 years (0:30). His journey began years ago when he finished business school. That’s when he began to work in institutional fixed income sales at a New York firm. 

He loved the financial side … but he hated the people. And Tom eventually got burned out. He switched gears entirely, working in the restaurant business for nine years.

As his family grew, the restaurant business became a challenging world to inhabit. It was time to switch gears again. 

He attended a seminar with his father to learn about covered call strategies. This was when the internet was really taking off, and something about it hooked Tom. 

He wasn’t into covered calls, but he started to revisit his interest in the market. He decided to brush up on trading. This time he was really serious, eventually taking it on as his full-time profession.

Taking the Leap

“I took the leap … because I kind of had to,” Tom explains (5:20). On one hand, his timing was terrible. It was 1999 — the bear market had wiped out a generation of independent traders. But Tom was able to stay afloat, and he considers this time a powerful learning experience.

He describes why he began to migrate to a day trading strategy (7:40). He also reveals why, in his words, “I absolutely love it.” It suits his entrepreneurial mind, and he can get bored with other types of trading! 

A Steady Trading Routine 

In the first 90 minutes of the day, Tom typically makes what he’s going to and moves on. 

“It’s not about what you buy — it’s when you buy” (11:10). In other words, you have to consider the environment and whether the market is right for what you’re doing. It really does matter. 

Listen in to learn how Tom approaches his trades and why the process of trial and error can be so important for traders. 

Finding Success

Tim wants to know: how long did it take for trading to click for Tom? (19:20)

It only took about a year for Tom to understand trading. But it took far longer to actually make money –– about three years. Meaningful money took even longer … about five years. Tom explains how he, like many traders, had trouble actually putting the practices he knew worked into play for himself. 

The Ego

SteadyTrade’s been focusing a lot on the ego and its impact on trading recently, including in several recent episodes with Kim Ann Curtin, aka The Wall Street Coach (25:00).   

“I needed to do the stupid stuff,” Tom says about his trading blunders. “I still do it.” Tom knows the ego gets in the way, but he breaks down how you can ultimately learn from your mistakes. 

Life Beyond Trading

There’s life outside of trading … right? Tom and Tim discuss how important it is to find life beyond stocks, charts, and trades. (28:10). Sprinting has informed Tom’s trading … Just like with running, recovery is as important as the actual process. 

It’s super important to keep your mind refreshed. And sometimes that means avoiding trading-related topics off-hours. 

Parting Wisdom

Tom’s final words on trading: “It’s hard. Sometimes it’s brutally hard and it’s cruel.” (36:15) 

In spite of your best efforts, bad things can still happen in trading. When so-called gurus try to spin how easy it is … that’s a lie. Tom’s advice? Be smart. Ask questions. Be willing to do your own research.

Got a Question? 

Got something to ask us? 

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Thanks for tuning in to the SteadyTrade podcast. Stay tuned for weekly episodes featuring the hottest topics for aspiring traders.

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