Off-road Finance is an educational blog about finance in general and trading in particular.  Eventually I hope to offer enough information that you can learn to trade profitably based just on this site.  Hopefully the same information will also be of interest to investors, salesmen of financial products, analysts and advisers.

A bit about my background is in order.  I am an engineer by education, and discovered after starting my career that finance was a more interesting machine to study than the more conventional automata of engineering.  Over the past 10 years I’ve dedicated the majority of my evenings and weekends to studying finance and trading, with the goal of moving to trading my own capital as a full time career.  This move is not yet complete – my trading activities are profitable but I need to increase my capital via trading profits and savings before it makes economic sense to quit my job.  Unfortunately this creates a conundrum – I dislike internet anonymity, but I also don’t consider it prudent to attach my real name to a discussion of quitting my job while simultaneously expecting that job to make a contribution to my trading capital.  As such I will post under my first initial “W” for now with the intention of shedding my anonymity as soon as it becomes feasible to do so.

To be clear, this is not a blog about the details of my individual trades.  I will provide information about my trading strategies however.  I do want to be careful about how strategy information is presented and I don’t want people blindly duplicating my trades.  It’s not so much that I care if you’re trading the same strategy as me.  I’m OK with that.  But I want to protect my readers – copying someone else’s trading strategy without understanding the underlying assumptions is profoundly dangerous.  Of course the standard disclaimer applies:

Nothing on this blog is a trade recommendation.  There is substantial risk of loss in all trading.  I am not soliciting funds for any fund or pool, and will not take them if you try to give them to me.   I do not have any financial credentials or licenses – I’m just another guy with an opinion.

That said, here’s what I am going to blog about:. over the last 10 years I’ve synthesized a lot of information about how the markets work and how to trade.  That information was hard won – there are few if any good books on the topic, and the Internet trading resources have a massive signal to noise ratio problem.  Mostly I learned by losing money aka the hard way.  The problem is exacerbated by bad faith in the trading education sector.  Selling trading education, especially canned strategies, is a lucrative business that attracts an incredible number of hacks and more than a few outright frauds.  It’s a depressing example of “those who can’t do, teach”.  My goal with this blog is to provide for free the information I dearly wish I’d had available 10 years ago.

The appropriately cynical reader should now be asking why I would share the information, what precisely I might be selling, and if I am in fact one of those hacks.  Let’s start with the last point: I hope not.  I really won’t know for sure until I can point back to a lifetime of trading without serious blunders and say “Look, it all worked.  I knew what I was doing”.  Of course that might not happen – something I currently think is true could be wrong, and I could be bankrupted by my misunderstanding.  The best defense I know of against this risk is to release my ideas early and often, both by trading them on small size and via publishing them on this blog.  Hopefully the resulting trading losses and/or criticisms will correct any faulty ideas at minimal cost.  That’s my first motivation to release information for free on this blog – the idea that losses prevented can “pay” for my blogging activities.

My second motivation is the value of labor.  At the point where it makes sense to quit my job, that means the value of applying additional labor to trading my capital is fairly high – higher than the value of my engineering salary.  By similar logic, it would then in short order make sense to add even more labor and hire one or more traders.  What that means is that I will eventually be in the business not only of trading, but of training traders, and to teach them well I need teaching materials.  This blog is a sandbox to develop those materials.

Last, I want to promote literate and positive discussion on trading and finance.  There are other forums for these topics on the internet, but as I previously mentioned the signal to noise ratio is pretty bad.  Worse, the attitude on many trading forums is just poisonous – bitter people sniping and dick waving while continually predicting the end of the world.  I’m certain that rational, thinking people can do better and have constructive and positive discussions on trading.  I’m happy to put in the moderation effort to make that a possibility and I look forward to participating in the discussion.

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