AlphaMind Podcast - Tom Canfield: Feeling the Joy and Sharing the Pain of Trading

Tom Canfield is a private retail trader with over 20 years in markets. In this episode Tom talks in-depth about the pain and the joy of trading and the emotional challenges he has faced in his career as a trader.

Tom is a popular contributor to the financial market twitter (fintwit) world and is known for his honest, deep and brutally frank reflections and insights about the reality and challenges of trading. 

We have been trying to get Tom on the Podcast for some time, however it was in response to a sensational Twitter thread which Tom pasted on the 1st January this year, that prompted us to reach out again. That Twitter thread, within which Tom spoke openly and candidly about a huge setback which occurred 3 years earlier, received huge attention and inspired many other traders to share their own stories. 

Twitter is often full of people boasting about their successes, most of which are highly dubious attempts by people keen to market and sell their services. Tom however was sharing with people the harsh realities of trading, and the personal trauma this often leads to in a way which is rarely heard or discussed. 

A transcript of the full thread can be read below: 

After trading profitably for a living every year since 2000, in late Jan of 2018 I lost 500k in an hour in the XIV blowup. It destroyed me mentally. I couldn’t think clearly for 18 months. Couldn’t stop “trying to get my money back” which just made it worse.

Finally, I shut it all down scared shitless that I couldn’t trade any more. I had to protect what was left of what I had built over the previous years. The village of idiots in my head had somehow taken over the castle.

I had to dive deep and fully accept the financial loss and so many other life losses that I was carrying with bitterness and anger to find neutral again. My career had become my compulsion to fix the wrongs of the past, my opiate that had huge hangovers.

Thru the painful process of true awareness of what I was doing, I started day trading 100 shares of AAPL just to keep connected to my roots. Not thinking, not caring just trading my feel of the day from all that I had seen over the years.

Not caring was liberating. It felt so good to trade and simply not give a shit if I made money or not. I just flipped 100 shares around based on my feel of the tape and I did this for 3 months while I licked all my wounds trying to figure out how to let it all go. cSummer 2019.

The 1st month I made like 1500, 2nd month over 2k, and by the third month I had bumped to 200 shares without really realizing it, had 1 red day and made over 5k. So in Sept of 2019 I realized “well, fuck, I guess I’m a day trader.”

Don’t care, don’t think, trade the tape.....just like I did as a swing trader before I went off the deep end. The rebuilding process has had its ebbs and flows as I’ve grown and clarified my structure. I’m trading more than AAPL now and I’m not trading 200 shares anymore.

I’ve grown about 15-20x since that realization 16 months ago that I was now a day trader, and I’m starting to think and care again which worries me. So, here’s to 2021. Don’t care, don’t think, Trade the tape. It’s just another way of saying “Be Dumb, Follow Price”

You can follow Tom on his twitter handle

The original tweet thread and some of the amazing responses can be viewed here:

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The AlphaMind podcast is co-hosted by Steven Goldstein and Mark Randall, market veterans with over seven decades between them in the financial markets. To find out more visit the AlphaMind podcast website

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