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Brett’s Forex Adventures
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Brett’s Forex Adventures

by The MoleJune 10, 2014

This is the first post in a new Evil Speculator category we titled ‘Retail Trader Tales’. Writing down your personal experience forces you to relive them and perhaps come to terms with some of the demons that may still plague your subconscious. If nothing else others may realize that they are not alone and that many retail traders out there have been taken advantage of by shysters, false gurus, lousy brokers, the list is long. If you feel like sharing your own (sad or success) story please send us an email to admin@ – of course your full name will not be mentioned and your dirty secrets are safe with us 😉

My first foray into trading was back in 2009 when a work colleague introduced me to MT4 Expert Advisors (specifically MegaDroid).  I worked in corporate IT so the concept definitely struck a chord with me and before you knew it I had MT4 up and running, did a bunch of flawed backtests, ran a demo for about 3 days and then dropped it on a live account of $10k.  It was doing OK, but seemed to be losing as much as it was gaining, so I started hunting around for other EAs and deeper into the rabbit hole I went.  I wanted a healthy mix of EAs so that when one was losing the others would be gaining and I would have a perfectly smooth equity line.  I even coded a few of my own to add to my mix.  I was obviously very naïve back then but the most unfortunate thing is that it actually worked for some time rather than failing as fast as it should have.  This lead to me piling more money in (in a controlled fashion, every time I made 20%, I’d add another $10k to my account) and before I knew it I had dropped $50k in there and with a balance of around $80k thought I was a genius.  Obviously this merry little ride had to come to an end and when my account started to decline I didn’t want to believe that this wasn’t going to work (I had dreams of stopping work! I can’t let that go!).  I ultimately closed the account with $30k left in it.  $20k of mine down the drain.

In 2010 I came to the conclusion that EAs were not the panacea I had believed them to be and decided that manual trading was the only real way to make money, only humans could adapt to a changing market.  Having no experience myself I decided the best route was to go with a signal service.  I settled on a guy called William Deboeck who ran a service called WDFX.  Once again it unfortunately went extremely well… until it didn’t.  For 6 months it was profitable before its inevitable decline, and I bailed out after losing $10k of my own money.

So I can’t control what these guys are doing, I need to get into learning this stuff for myself so I can protect my own money.  In 2011 I signed up for a trading room run by a guy called Forexmeister who claimed he was an ex portfolio manager at some hedge fund.  Very few details other than that he would teach you to trade the way the hedge funds do it.  His strategy was basically to never let a trade lose, as it moved against you, you just averaged down because the market always turns.  When a trade has gone against you and you believe you are at an inflection point in the market, you open another trade in the same direction that will result in you breaking even when the new trade is 20 pips in profit.  There were calculators to help you work this out as part of the service.  Just so ridiculous looking back, I feel like an idiot even writing this!  Unsurprisingly (like all these basket style strategies) it worked well to begin with (you never lost) and I got more and more confident with the help of Forexmeister.  It did not help that he would constantly show off, dropping screenshots of his account balance and the profits from his individual trades into the traderoom (I was too inexperienced to consider this a red flag).  One night shortly after getting into a trade the market moved against me hard.  That’s ok, I’ve learnt how to deal with this, let it do its run and I’ll catch a retrace.  Retrace after retrace I bought more, bought more, bought more.  At 4am I eventually I closed the basket with a $20k loss.  One single basket.  I vomited from stress that same night and decided I was done with forex.  $20k of my own money gone.

Yet I continued to read and educate myself and after a reasonably lengthy hiatus from actually trading an account I came back in 2012 after stumbling across a guy called Scott Tuddenham.  He claimed to know how the big banks work and how to trade with them.  I read an interview of his in which he discussed privately training a small group of traders who were now all making money.  He did not run courses though.  I emailed him to ask if he would mind sharing some of his material and to my amazement he decided to take me on as a mentee (for a price) and teach me everything he knew.  I jumped at the chance.  I also decided this was my last crack at trading and that I was going to give it my all.  I quit my job (which I was angling to do anyway, I hated the place) and quickly opened another $10k account.  I spent about three months trying to learn his very vague system (just keep watching the tick chart, you’ll get a feel for when the big guys are moving then just jump in!) before dropping it.  I lost about $5k of my own money.

As this was coming to a close I was becoming dejected with the manipulated wild west of forex and was gaining rapid interest in futures.  I came across Premier Trading University and decided another opportunity to educate myself couldn’t be a bad thing (besides, I wasn’t ready to go back to work).  I actually don’t regret my time with PTU at all, a huge part of their focus was on trading psychology and discipline and I learnt a significant amount here.  My manual trading improved hugely.  I spent six months trading futures in their trade room and by the end I could calmly take every trade and enact every rule accurately and without worry.  I kept a trade journal, I wrote down my mistakes and by the end of those six months I was making almost no mistakes.  Unfortunately their system was quite hit and miss and even when trading in their live traderooms they were surprisingly bad at the discipline side themselves.  (Oh I was talking and missed that fast moving trade.)  Naturally it always seemed to work out quite nicely for them but my account never really hit the same returns as their claims.  I ultimately lost around $5k here, primarily in fees, my account ended up only slightly down.  At this point, the bigger sting was from paying bills and rent without a job so after 10 months off work I entered the corporate world once again.

Big surprise, still I couldn’t shake my love of trading (oh I’ll just read this new book, new website, new forum, whatever) and in 2013 I came across a service called Capital3X.  This was a signal service run by a guy called Mark who apparently was ex Goldman Sachs.  I had no interest in hurriedly jumping in again so sat on the sidelines and watched.  He made excellent returns (5-10% each month) for about 6 months before I decided to join.  As the fees were quite expensive I needed to open a $20k account in order to justify the service.  This amount of money made me nervous but I had been careful this time, I had been watching this guy for months and he was cautious and safe, right?  His success continued after I joined for about 3-4 months before the losing began.  Once again I didn’t let go, believing his constant promises that the market was going to turn and align with his bias like it had every time before.  It didn’t.  I lost the entire $20k.

My total loss from trading over the last 5 years?  $80,000.  I almost can’t believe that number, but there it is.  It’s not like it’s every penny I own, my job pays me well but that is still a huge amount of money for me.  That is essentially a house deposit.

I’m not sure what to take from the above.  If I read all that as a third party observer I would think the guy is an idiot.  Yet I am not a stupid person, I spent the majority of my university life doing every math subject I could get my hands on, I love math which I suspect is why I am so drawn to trading systems.  I am also a member of Mensa.  I’m sure it comes as no surprise then that hubris has been a large contributor to my failure (how could I fail at this?) and working on the psychology of trading has been one of the most important and one of the most humbling aspects for me.  That said, several times I have ‘quit’ yet still I come back.  (How’s that for a lack of discipline?)  I absolutely love trading though, the theory, the execution, everything about it.  In the last five years I have read countless books on all aspects of trading from Van Tharp to Mark Douglas and devoured them all.

I only came across Evil Speculator recently, at the time Scott’s second article on building a trading system was published.  There wasn’t really anything in there I hadn’t already come across in either the countless hours of study and research I had done or through my own experience but to see it all written down so succinctly and definitively was amazing.  I have read that series of articles several times over yet continue to resist the urge to do anything about it because I don’t want to get excited and commit more losses to this trading endeavor.

Am I an idiot for not pursuing these learnings from Evil Speculator and continuing to chase something I’m genuinely passionate about?  Or am I an idiot for considering jumping into another ‘new website’ which will ultimately lead to the same disappoint as all my other failed ventures?  I haven’t decided, all I know is that the dream of being able to make money doing something I actually enjoy is a difficult one to shake.


About The Author
The Mole
Mole created Evil Speculator amidst the chaos of the financial crisis in early August of 2008. His vision for Evil Speculator is a refuge of reason, hands-on trading knowledge, and inspiration for traders of all ages and stripes. You can follow him and his nefarious schemes at various social media waterholes below.
  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    So guys – I would love to hear some first impressions on Brett’s sordid story. Obviously he’s a smart cookie (he’s a Mensa member) and he loves math. Secondly he is not exactly a quitter and tried out several systems/approaches however in the end losing every single time. So what stands out there right away is something I have been saying for a long time: Intelligence and hard work is not a predicate to success – you can work your ass off and read everything you get your hands on and still lose your ass in the market. Meanwhile Mr. Dumbass on the other side of those trades may just blindly follow one single system and bank coin consistently.

    Food for thought? 😉

  • Skynard

    Red DI signals getting stronger, indicating a potential for a downtrend day.

  • BobbyLow

    Thanks for bringing back some very bad memories. :(

    Shortly after doing extremely well during the Tech Bubble while not knowing a thing, things began to go bad. Not wanting to experience any more pain I tried to take the easy way out and went from one Fucking Trading Guru to another. They all had excellent credentials and track records. That is until I subscribed to their services. Either I was a jinx or their trading records were full of shit because I eventually lost money with every single one of them.

    After that I also tried to be a student of the business and that got me results that were up and down like a YoYo.

    A person would not be an idiot for persuing the learnings offered at Evil Speculator. However, a person might be naive to think that personal growth and developing a satisfactory system is an easy endeavor. At least it wasn’t easy for me.

    I think the main difference is that I’m still working hard but my effort is being channeled in the right direction.

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    Thanks for sharing mate. If you feel like writing it in more detail I would be happy to share it (perhaps under a different pen name – hehe)

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    Honestly Skynard – no offense but I think you may make a great candidate for a post like the above. How do you feel about that?

  • datul

    This is my story too! Just names and amounts are different. Never failed in anything and always university topper in Engineering. But those endeavors had a characteristic of success being directly proportional to hard work and intelligence. Trading is non-linear and non-correlational and also not exactly non-linear and not exactly non-correlational. I appreciate Brett for his candor! Reading Brett’s story has been a cathartic experience for me.

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    A new face – welcome! Well, frankly we would like to hear more and I hope you decide to sit down and write it. May help you turn a new page and get on the right track. Obviously you are not alone… BTW, there is another way – keep dropping by.

  • piotrek_o

    As he is smart and knows how to code then I think he shall try to engage with Mentor or personal coach . I dont mean another subscription service . More like new business opportunity for you Mole :) Mentoring.

  • newbfxtrader

    Wow thx for sharing. Hopefully we will hear a happy ending sometime.

  • Peter Levchenko

    Brett I would say this:

    1) Strongly commend you for the honesty and sincerity with which you shared your past experience even though a lot of ppl
    Would find it hard to admit and instead live in a delusion.

    2) I would say that as famous Jesse Livermore quote
    Goes smth like “your success in the art of speculation will be in direct proportion to the honesty and sincerity with which you keep your own records and draw your own conclusions” so in that sense I think your key error again and again has been that you relied on someone else’s guesswork and put money behind it with no knowledge or control of how it performs. I always like to think that for a viable business you need to have a clear understanding (crystal clear) of how you make 2 dollars from 1. And trading is no different. I strongly
    Urge you to read “how to trade in stocks” (1940) by Jesse Livermore. It’s his less known book but it actually
    Contains more useful lessons for trading than “reminiscences…”

  • Wyo_Redneck

    Can’t post a chart, but there is a pretty good diversion between GBP.JPY and SPX. Maybe the master will give his thoughts

  • Peter Levchenko

    3) I’ve learnt from my trading experience that no one in the world
    Really knows anything about what is going to happen in the market tomorrow. NO one a can consistently beat the market every day every week, it’s simply impossible. My experience of working in the financial industry as a trader has allowed me
    To see how the biggest names and supposed gods of trading place trades and I have seen them all get it so badly wrong that it is almost
    Embarrassing.

    The key lesson is that this humbling happens to everyone and the good guys just leverage up their chips when risk reward and odds are in their favour, and they only trade specific situations which they have studied before, and that’s their business idea: highly
    Specific situations can be expected to
    Repeat with a higher frequency rather than any situation any day.
    I think the principle is really no different to playing Texas hold ’em poker.

    I would suggest that ES is a great place to start to learn about different successful market approaches. But ultimately if you want to become
    A consistent winner and love your trading career you need to come up with an approach that best suits your type of personality

  • BobbyLow

    There’s really not much more to it other than I guess one could say that “I’ve made my bones” when it comes to losing. :)

    I’m done beating myself up over it. I paid a price for being a “Babe in the woods” and that’s it. However, I am grateful for surviving through all of this.

    The ironic thing is that all the education learned from above boils down to two simple things and they are prices on a chart and probabilities. All the rest is obfuscation that will fuck with my mind if I allow it to. :)

  • Peter Levchenko

    out of people that post on here, and I’m
    Not a regular but I would definitely say that Scott Mole and Ivan have all mastered how to consistently bank profits in the market so following their guidance for self
    Development is a great place to start.

    I would add that from my own experience, observing how I sued
    To trade and what really made me
    Better and also watching a lot
    Of ppl in the market make average returns or break even and eventually
    Go bust, the key for me was this:

    YOU MUST keep detailed records of your trades. Why you put it on, how you felt etc. It’s painful and annoying cuz your ego just wants to
    Gamble thinking trading is a fun game.

    Only from keeping records notes observations I was able to crystallise why I was losing money and why i was making money. And also from these observations you record you can actually formulate your own “edge”. If there was one thing, that for me is the key to success in trading. Of course that is only one part of it, but I found it the most liberating and effective.

  • Ronebadger

    My name is Ronebadger…and I’m a Permabear. It all started on October 19, 1987 like this………………………………..

  • Spalding

    Wow! Hate to hear this. I have beeen around here for about 8 months. This is prolly not all that unusual in trading as in life. Trading is a business just like designing and buidling homes, which is what I do or did fulltime. My construction business is/was sucsessfull (which I started in 2006) until water scarcity became a very real thing where I live. So, instead of moving and starting all over, I looked to use my acquired resources to offset family living costs by trading. I was not like Brad as I was more conservative and had positive results but nothing that would support a family of 6. I was using a combo of EMA’s, an SMA with MACD to long and short the market using SPY and SH etf’s…. nothing to write home about but still successfull. That’s when I happened upon “The Evil Speculator” and met Ivan. Ivan was recommended by none other than Scott and so far so good! Ivan has shown me what it “looks” like to be a real trader and to be disciplined in my approach. His system is not complicated but does require effort and applied hours to understand (I coded it in excel). He emphasizes that trading is a business which I understood as I am a business owner. I am gratefull for this site as Ivan has given me the tools to succeed in trading as well as the information/mentoring for me to see it through. Trading involves MANAGED risk, not the search for riches. The greedy or overly wise (proud) flame out in construction and prolly the same in trading. Trade according to your “NEEDS”, not your wants. If you reach your goal of riches, give them to a noble charity and move along as we take none of this with us when we die. If any of you have the opportunity to learn under Ivan, snatch it up, you will not regret it and learn much about yourself and trading. Thank you Ivan and thank you Mole for “The Evil Speculator!”

    BTW, a coded system cannot replace what’s between your ears…. never can and never will.

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    Hey Peter – how was your vacation?

  • Skynard

    6 pt range, EVIL

  • nugie

    Looking at an ugly IHS on the RUT with a target of 1212 on the one year daily. Right shoulder is not very deep but bears watching.

  • http://dartht.blogspot.com/ Gold_Gerb

    these adventures stories may turn into a book.
    we’re gonna need an index, so to speak.

  • Skynard

    Bear/Bull line in the sand SPX 1950 for now, long above/short below.

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    Hehe :-)

  • http://dartht.blogspot.com/ Gold_Gerb

    Chaos & Order
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUsePzlOmxw
    it’s a 90’s documentary – but it can apply to the financial markets.

  • Billabong

    Thanks for sharing your story. I and many here can see ourselves in your story. I have a few I might share after 30 years of mushroom compost. The story runs the gamut from conservative investor to ninja warrior. I probably should have joined Traders Anonymous (TA) years ago…

  • Billabong

    Are you talking about me again Mr. Mole ….”Mr. Dumbass on the other side of those trades may just blindly follow one single system and [fails to] bank coin consistently.” :-)

  • bdoone

    VIX Step 3 sell signal looks to be close but a fail: VIX -.10

  • Ronebadger

    Yes, it is now: VIX Step Zero

  • aiki

    Yes, yes. This is a very good addition to ES. If nothing else, it shows that we are not alone in our trials, that successful trading IS possible, and that ego is our own (my) worst enemy. It also shows who is willing to keep at it even when things fall apart. Thanks for your story.

  • mugabe

    Idle thought: I wonder if trading attracts precisely two personality types that are doomed to fail: the gambler and the completely inflexible systems person (though I’m not so sure if the second is doomed to fail).

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    we all want to be that dumbass mate :-)

  • SirDagonet

    I’m not ready to fully bear my soul here (yet), but I actually LOL’d (I hate that acronym) at Bobby’s remark about the FTGs (credit to Bobby for a new acronym)… my disastrous path was moving from one system to another (with due respect to CI & HB)… I even told one developer that he’d probably be smart to pay me NOT to trade his system because it would collapse if I began to trade it (it did) (but in fairness, the failure was poor risk management more than system failure)… that was before I engaged the services of a few FTGs…

    And, as an aside, I could show you the (prior) claims of an honest-to-goodness rocket scientist (Astronautical Engineer), brilliant mathematician, genuinely nice guy, who (with his partner) promoted the idea of trading the full size S&P with his system (through an approved broker for trade execution) and $15k capitalization! (because – the equity curve never produced a margin call…) (as of then…)

    Brett – I echo Billabong’s response and add my thanks for your remarks. I share much with your painful journey (‘cept I ain’t got no Mensa membership). I have an advanced degree in counseling (though I’m not a practicing therapist) and I highly applaud your verbalization here – likely therapeutic for you, and as at least one has observed, cathartic for him.

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

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  • Scott Phillips

    Mole and I had this discussion yesterday. The problem is that most people don’t appreciate how good you have to be to play this game. Only the top 1% will make it.

    Let me give you this example. I’m a lifelong martial artist, I’ve been training for 23 years, I’ve owned my own schools, had ring fights in thailand. 4th degree in southern preying mantis kungfu, train BJJ 5 times a week. Had well over 100 streetfights and won 9 fights in prison. I *know* fighting, like the garbage man knows how to take out the trash. There is honestly no fear that I have about unarmed combat with another human being, I have literally done it so many times I don’t even get an adrenalin rush from a streetfight.

    If I was to show you some stuff, I have absolutely no doubt I could impress you with my knowledge or skill. I can and do make a little money teaching people.

    However, if I was to decide that I wanted to make ring fighting my career, there is just no way that could happen. I’m simply not.good.enough, and truthfully never was. I’m good enough to beat up guys in the street, but I train at a fight gym full of professionals and I’m in the middle rank of those guys. Not the worst, not the best, just in the middle. And those guys themselves are a long way from world class.

    That’s what trading is like. I’m good enough to impress you with my skills, good enough to teach, but not good enough to make it in the big leagues, even at my physical prime.

    Like a good weekend golfer, or a talented college footballer, or pick whatever analogy you want.

    My honest appraisal of my own trading skills (and I’m a profitable professional trader who works 12+ hour days 6 days a week in a very systematic fashion) is that in the last 6 months for the first time in my life I am JUST BARELY good enough to cut it. My honest appraisal is that I doubt there is more than a handful out of all the people who read the blog who are good enough to make it.

    If you read this you should ask yourself “am I honestly in the top 1% of all the people doing this?” If you are not, you have to ask yourself what you are doing to get there.

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    I haven’t seen YOU here for a long time – what happened to you? How’s life?

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    Sorry, was too busy today but will take a peek tomorrow morning.

  • http://evilspeculator.com molecool

    I just put up a new post – you may want to copy that over there mate.

  • orderbook

    This post makes no sense. Am sorry to be the evil advocate.

    This is a trading blog with sharp focus on trading setups instead of sharing the lament of each other. The only reason why mole may be allowing these posts is to get some traffic back (he did mention of people leaving).

    My suggestion to mole is not make a hash of this blog. Be focussed at what you are doing. Posts like this belong at FPA or donnaforex etc. This place has always been the place for sharp trading posts and setups.

    If such posts continue, I think your current clientele will be replaced by an entirely different one.

  • Skynard

    Did not get any likes for that comment for some reason:)