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Investing in Life Instead of Wealth

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Turning on the television is stereotypically a daily routine for most children. One day, turning on the television changed my life from being more than just stereotypical. This transformation occurred when I was only in the sixth grade. My novelty childhood character disappeared within a month! I no longer had time for video games; I no longer had time for sleep overs. In some instances, I no longer had time for homework!



You must be wondering what I witnessed on that special day. I was as curious as you are now when I turned on the TV 6 years ago. I was at eye level - less than a foot away from the screen - when I pressed the power button and impatiently waited for the box screen TV to turn on. When it finally did, I became perplexed with a uniform row of numbers and acronyms passing hastily across the bottom of the screen. The numbers and acronyms were in a race from the left to right. Some were red, some were green, and a few were gray. It was so overwhelming that I had to stand back for a moment and take it all in. The show that I was witnessing conveyed the same similarities as a news channel, but it wasn’t quite the same. The logo was replaced with the letters “CNBC” as opposed to the usual “WCSH” (my local news channel). I rushed to find my mother so that she could explain these numbers to me because “she always knew everything”. My mother quite simply stated, “Those numbers are the stocks, Dear,” and I replied with an understanding tone, “Ohhhh!” to conceal my confusion. But on the inside, I remained deeply mystified. I was now left with yet another burning question. “What are stocks?” My mother avoided explaining the answer the same way she would have if I had asked her, “Where do babies come from?”

The following nights and weeks and months, I became infatuated with the stock market. I was searching for answers to my endless tree of questions where one question would branch into another, and another. With research, determination, and a little help from Google, I soon found a steady and consistent resource for answering my questions.
My infatuation slowly turned into an addiction. My mother had to work harder than ever to obtain my attendance at the dinner table, even more than she ever had to when was playing video games. But what seemed to be an addiction became my passion.

Throughout middle school I drowned myself in everything stock market related. I learned the basics and wanted to put my aptitude to the test. I started out by doing virtual stock market trading and used fundamental analysis to make my investment decisions. I made profits using a fake 100k portfolio, but the gains weren't enough to satisfy myself for the amount of effort I would put into it. I was on average ranking 3,800 out of 8000 or so participants and knew there was something I was doing wrong. I did extensive research and realized the top ten percent players were day trading. This concept of making small but numerous gains through intraday trading astonished me, but school was a hindrance to pursue such a task. So instead of looking forward to summer vacation with the idea of staying up all night and sleeping in all day, I looked forward to practicing day trading.

High School is when I started to gain a reputation for being the “Stock Kid” or the “Stock Aficionado”. During my junior year, I maintained my high school’s winning streak in the Stock Market Game hosted by SIFMA. During the summer thereafter, I participated in another stock market game hosted by the University of Dallas at Texas. Jared Pickens, the coordinator of the competition, even commented that I made more trades in a single week than he has in his entire life. During the competition I maintained first place for a substantial amount of time during the nine week challenge. My downfall which earned me fourth place was that I hit the limit of a maximum of 200 trades. But nonetheless it was a learning experience, and one never forgotten. I not only earned the fourth place title but also the opportunity to visit the UTD campus and Mr.Pickens in person. My visit was a memorable one and hopefully not my last.





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