Hi everyone,

I just wanted some advice on my path going forward. I’m starting to feel as if I’m failing @ life and do not want it to continue. I recently took 1.5 years off to work in a sales role for an insurance company where I made very good money, but was not finishing my last semester of school and the CFA (even though I always dreamed about finance). This was essentially the first job I was offered, and I had tried teh two previous summers for internsihps to no avail (I’m the first ever future graduate from college in my entire family so I simply did not know what to do to put myself in good standing for summer internships).

Anyway…long story short, I’m 24, no longer work at the insurance co, and am writing L1 in December. I’ve been pretty depressed because at my age, I’m starting to think I’m failing pretty hard considering I still have another semester left of school. A lot of my buddies have moved on to great positions and I’m still a ‘student’. Quit my job to focus full time on finding something in finance, but I have only had a few bites and still zero job.I worked my ass through school after starting it at age 19 after playing professional football (soccer) in europe for a year before I decided that I wasn’t going to surpass all the guys better than me. I’ve been a big ‘stock guy’ for the past 4-5 years so that is essentially the only thing I have going for me in terms of finance…i’ve had a few 4 baggers, never had below market returns, have been following equities markets for 4-5 years, etc.

I’m sick of failing at lfie and want to move forward. Does anyone have suggestions for a lost bro like me who wants to get 'er done? FYI, I’d like to eventually get into ER or AM.

what is “a few 4 baggers” ?

400% stock returns. I have had two 4 baggers and a 2 bagger in the market so far. Obviously the risk/reward on these kinds of stocks are pretty big, but it proves I know at least a little something about the market considering how long I have been following it for.

Try talking about those ‘4-baggers’ in an interview with a PM. I’ve learnt from my mistake.

The look on his face was who the funk does this kid think he is. If I had the choice of explaining in an interview a small cap stock that had returned 300% and a boring named mid-cap which had returned 40% I now go with the boring named mid-cap every time.

not sure why a couple fella’s haven’t heard the term ‘bagger’ - it’s quite common in the finance world, no? And I’ll agree with this, it’s not even listed in my resume because a PM would either think I’m lieing, a complete gambling risk taker, or both.

Any idiot can get “4 baggers,” just put $10 in 500 different stocks etc and bam! The more important thing is what losses do you have on your books?

yeah, you’re completely correct, idiots outperform the market by 380%ish multiple times.

for the record, i didn’t follow the strategy of diversifying until a winner is found, I only invest in a small, concentrated bunch of stocks. When I make an investment, I’ve usually done 40-60 hrs of due diligence.

in terms of losses, a few. bought eldorado gold in the 9’s and sold around 8. I remembered trading galleon energy back in 2010 I believe and didn’t do to well. I essentially broke even in yamana gold as well. That’s it in terms of losses.

ok if you are so smart what should we buy/short now?

a few I like or have positions already are BAC warrants, ALS on the TSX, LKQ (TSX). ALS is still a screaming buy imho.

In this market idiots can outperform the market by those figures! Since March of 2009, everything has been a Beta play. A lot of idiots probably bought Apple and Amazon at the lows of that time and locked in “4 baggers” because everyone else was talking about them. As far as your 40-60 hours of due diligence, what exactly are you researching? Are you sifting through Seeking Alpha articles and watching CNBC or are you breaking out models? At 24 your best bet is to finish school ASAP and continue with the CFA program. If I were you I would consider going back to the insurance company too if you can spin it as work experience to CFAI. If not, get a role as a financial advisor or something similar because it is unlikely you will get the type of job you are looking for right now. I would start such a job right away and take night classes to finish school. Take LI in December, LII in June of 2014 and LIII in June of 2015. If you do this you very well could be a charterholder at 28. Also you will have graduated school and be ready to enroll in a good mba program if need be. That is your best shot I think.

I have a friend who returned 900% in 2006 and wanted to start a hedge fund in late 2007 – he couldn’t find any backers and is now out of the game after losing a bunch of money after having one good year.

Another friend returned almost 800% in 2009 but has lost money every year since (still way up though overall).

You can do really well or really poorly if you go super concentrated into a few names and have good or lucky timing. But that is not a repeatable or scalable process. The business requires being able to consistently grind out above average returns in any kind of market with low risk.

I’m not saying you can or you can’t, just something to think about.

Don’t worry too much about your age. I took a year off to pay for school and didn’t graduate until I was 23 and didn’t get into the business until I was almost 24. I finished the CFA at 25 and got onto the buy side at 26. These are not world records to be proud of but I’ve done really well since then. The truth is that over the span of your career, a year or two isn’t going to matter that much. Lots of people who start fast end up blowing themselves up anyway (in this business, the biggest thing is to just not lose – if you do pretty well or well and avoid blowing yourself up, you will do REALLY well over time because of compounding and just the simple fact that you survived longer than everyone else).

I wish I had known that when I was your age – it’s not a race. At 24, if you retire young at 48, that is still double your life time including the time you spent crapping in your diapers. Take a deep breath, don’t stress about it, and focus on developing skills that will help you over the long run. This is a game of averages like baseball, and while in baseball it’s sexy to hit homeruns, the best players of all time are the ones who had excellent on base percentages (Ruth and a few others aside). As a fund manager today, I’d much, MUCH rather have a Ted Williams style hitter than a Ruth style hitter, it’s not even close.

+1 bromion - well put!

Yea bromion said it pretty well. Just calm down, you’re still pretty young and def finish school and CFA asap, very hard to get anywhere without a degree. As far as your portfolio, that’s great you got those high returns…but anyone could be killing it with equities with all the QE these past few years…even my 401k shit target fund had a few crushing quarters…should rebalance that soon. Anyway, bragging about a few concentrated positions will likely just have a manager thinking you’re a lucky gambler. You have to show risk-adjusted returns and a consistent track record over time. Risk allocation is just as important as asset allocation nowadays…also document your due diligence process and show that everytime you conducted this process, those were the winners. Keep your head up…and no I don’t think bagger is a common term.

Thanks for the comments guys. It actually means a lot today because I’ve been down in the dumps in the past recent bit thinking I’m way too old to be still in school and haven’t achieved much. So again, thank you.

My plan is eventually to get into AM or ER. I had a couple interviews recently with some decent firms (wholesaler position and a position in treasury department at a bank) so things are turning up a bit. I will pass the L1 in December and finish the LII by June. Then I will assess my options and finish L3 within two years.

With respect to my returns in the market, yes I have had a couple lucky stocks but I have been following the damn markets since I was 18 religiously so it is not like I am a total idiot when it comes to having a feeling for how markets move. I have been learning about the markets for the past 6 years, read 19283091238 investment books, have direct experience, etc so I’m not some asshat who thinks because I had some winners, I should run a hedge fund. I’m smart enough to know that we are all retarded (lol), as Socrates pointed out.

Again, thanks for the kind words and I hope my prospects turn better with a little hard work.

"You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. " - Tyler D.

Take a breath. I’m 34. At 24 I was super ambitious. Then settled down, married, couple kids. You have time. Don’t waste it, but no need for meltdown. Get your degree, work towards L2 and get your foot in the door somewhere and start building yourself up. Not everyone is going to work in the front office of Bridgewater when they are 25. You will be fine. We all stress out. Just have to take a look at the big picture every once in a while.

Thx man. I’ve realized throughout my life that its damn stupid to compare yourself to others. Obviously, we are all different, some people are more talented in certain areas, have better connections, different skills, etc so it is futile to make comparisons to other human beings. It’s time I listen to my own advice and chill the F out.