When I (Pat) started out as a trader in 1997, it was in the trading pits—first at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, and then the Chicago Board of Trade. In order to trade, my physical presence was required—being smart was essential, being tall was also beneficial, being loud was helpful, but being aggressive was mandatory.
That’s not me, though I was standing about three feet to the left of this frame.
Today, physical presence means nothing to a trader. Being tall will not enable you to get more trades, and being loud or aggressive will earn you no points with your computer screen. Living in Chicago, or New York is no longer necessary. I spent the past few months on my boat in the Bahamas. Not at a dock in the capital city, but all over the islands, at anchor, often in the middle of island National Parks.
The first time I sailed through the Bahamas was 2004. At the time, my niece was six-years-old and she loved the Grinch. I did a great Grinch voice, so I’d call her up and spend twenty minutes talking silly. Thing is, to make a call to the States I first had to buy a calling card at $20 for 20 minutes. The Grinch got expensive. Not to mention, just finding a working phone booth to make a call was a monumental task.
Fourteen years later my life’s path took me back to the Bahamas, this time with a different boat, and a six-year-old (and eight year-old) of my own. During that time other changes had taken place—notably for me, pit trading had gone the way of the dinosaurs, and computers had made a reality of trading from anywhere.
But maybe best of all, the Bahamas had developed nearly universal cell coverage across their hundreds of islands. In fourteen years they’d gone from $1/minute land-line phone calls to $35 for 15gb data and unlimited minutes.
When we started Wanderer Financial it was with the goal of providing trading advice that could be implemented by anyone, from anywhere, any time. Since then I’ve traveled extensively across Mexico and the United States, but the Bahamas by boat was the first true test. And it works. It really does. I traveled mostly effortlessly from island to island, anchorage to anchorage, with three or four bars of solid data. I was able to analyze charts, hold discussions with Wanderers, and make trades. Then when the markets slowed, I was able to jump off the boat to go looking for sand dollars and sharks with the kids. Trading in the pits of Chicago was fun, but my days there never ended like this.