Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Struggle

I'd just rolled over the five digit, finding myself at the ripe age of 60. I remembered being 25 like it was yesterday, yet there I was, staring mortality months after a terrifying heart attack. "How could this happen to me?" I thought. "I'm not that old!"

But it was true. I had become an old man. The thought of carrying my wife out of the old St.John's church in Oahu after we tied the knot -- it became surreal. 41 years together and we hardly even raised our voices. Our love is timeless, and to this day it's something I believe will outlive our physical being.

That aside, it wasn't our nearly pictureesque life that stuck with me -- it was the thought that I had failed. The thought that, if I had died, my wife would've plummeted into financial distress, we'd never see our dream of living Oahu, and I wouldn't have anything significant to leave my two sons...for their weddings or future. My grandkids might've never gotten the funding to go to Elk River to play pee wee baseball, or never had the opportunity to experience a free-time grandpa, AKA best-coach-ever.

When I got out of the hospital I wanted to grab my wife, whom to this day has never looked younger, and buy a one-way-ticket to someplace exotic; but despite the urge, reality quickly twisted like a lazy Susan and sunk to profound depths. Although retired, but due to bad circumstances, I was still working part time as a bus driver for a local school district. It wasn't fun, but it was making my house payments while my meager retirement cushion sat safely in the bank. I didn't have much, and when my health took a turn I felt tethered to all the failures I'd succumb to throughout the years.

After my surgery I spent a lot of time reading investment forums. None of it made sense. I'd found a young mentor, Jeff -- a local broker, who took me under his wing and helped me with my first investment. It was $10k minimum and, despite my best judgement, I threw in 40% of my retirement. I was terrified. I couldn't sleep at night and for weeks I was afraid to check my email. Jeff walked me through with baby steps until I began managing on my own. My slow investments crept and I put money aside to day trade with. The risks were scary, but with the time I had I felt I could make decisive trades.

On March 16th, 2010, my life changed forever. Jeff stopped in with his son to unload some boyscout cookies and noticed some user friendly software I'd been using to monitor my investments. He was surprised I'd begun day-trading, and started discussion a man named Lan H. Turner. A hedge fund manager at his firm had been using software designed by Lan called "TradeMiner". I was skeptical at first, but it was actually Jeff who bought me a copy.

Algorithms, formula's -- it was all new to me. After me first month my day trade portfolio grew immensely. Hell, I didn't even put my two weeks in as a bus driver, I just quit and left all my old market watch papers by the seat for the next poor fella'.

It's not often I write these sort of articles, but this one is different, because last month my wife and I bought a home in Oahu, on the plot where St. John's used to be -- right next to the ocean. There are no real gifts in life, except those which come out of a struggle, and you'll know when you get there, because you'll be able reach out for those you love, not out of worry, but out of happiness and knowing that everything will be all right.

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